Sunday, July 30, 2006

Where did I go in such a hurry?

Well, as my neighbour's dog woke me AGAIN last night (this time at 3.30am!) I was up and doing the ironing at 5am.
Suddenly I knew - I had to go here........

well, not at 5am, obviously, but I felt I had to go to the town I grew up in. But not the houses I lived in, but the pool I spent some of my happiest times at during my turbulent childhood.

And as when I was a child, I went alone.

MB offered to come, but I felt I had to be alone. I packed my towels, cossie, slapped on some suncream and fled up the motorway as soon as MB was out of bed.

Sandford Lido celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, and I haven't been there for over 20yrs. This is when it was first finished.

While there, I did swing past my old childhood homes. All my schools are gone now, but number 37 and 57 are still there. No happy memories there - but I spent a pleasant two hours at the pool, swimming, diving, reading and reminiscing. I wondered if 'that' woman or 'this' woman went to school with me. No one knew me, I left town 24 years ago, I felt I was almost invisible.

Normally my condition drives me to flee home - this is the first time I have felt the need to go out of my safety zone. No MB, no crazies, no bobkat - just me.

Now? Now I feel a little at peace. Perhaps I have found somewhere I can go to free my mind from its nasty little demons - perhaps that's why I had to go.


Going on Instinct

Do you ever get the inexplicable feeling you MUST do something/go somewhere?

I have that today, so I'm off out for the day.

More later.....


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Seaside Daze

My parents live adjacent to a lovely beach. It is one of those magical beaches that has everything and nothing!

No ice-cream salesmen, no burger bars, no activity centres, just a sweet local beach about half a mile in length. On high days and holidays it is spotted with sandcastles and little creations of fevered childish minds, but this day someone obviously wished for a mermaid.........

The sea around the villages is teeming with jellyfish. This one is not particularly poisonous (and the local children love throwing them at each other!)

This one is extremely poisonous and can grow to 6ft in diameter!! This particular 'late' jellyfish was about 18" across.

At low tide the beach is covered in sandworm excavations. If you look at this photo, you can see the hole about 6" away where the sand is sucked from, before being expelled into the whirls of the hill. Every hill had a corresponding hole!

And, of course, every beach should have rockpools. The seaboard beach has rockpools at each end. I was having a Carmi moment when I took this photo - he inspires SO many bloggers! I love the cloud trapped in the pool........

And where there are rockpools and sea, there are usually some of these. They are often dead, but this little fella was alive and waving...

Whenever I go to a beach I bring a stone or shell home. One that has caught my eye. It dates back to an old tradition that taking a shell or pebble from the beach will ensure I will return. During another Carmi moment, I noticed my intended pebble - do you see it?

No? You don't see it? [grin] It's this one, marked with an arrow....

I loved it. It was pefectly oval and smooth - and was pink with black flecks. Usually I ask my geologist dad about the stones I find, but this one was so pretty it needed no geologic definition.

One more post on my Scottish trip then it's Business as Usual at the Palace.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Bad, Bad Blogger

I'm a bad blogger.......

Yes, I am.

Only three posts this week and hardly any visits to anyone else. I've even had blogbuddies emailing me asking if I'm ok.

I'm a bad blogger......

After the weekend, I just couldn't get up the energy to blog, and if I did have the energy, blogger photo was down or MB was on the computer.
Being so busy at work, the week flew by and before I knew it I had missed MM and WW AND TT! (I'm a civil servant - we LOVE abbreviations!)
My depression has been back, partly due to the hot weather and lack of decent sleep, I think.

Enough with the excuses. I'm sorry, I'm a bad blogger. No one's fault but mine.

I'm going to try and visit everyone this weekend. And also to blog - something interesting, rather than this drivel.

My name is cq and I'm a bad blogger

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday Night

Children in bed, Simpsons on the TV and the laptop left on for me :-)

Ah, I must be babysitting at the Aginoths! so a pause from the photo album tonight, as my files are at home.

But some news. I have been helped to a decision. Yup, the Queen has made a decision - been a long time since I've done that!

As previously mentioned on this blog and Mrs A's, I recently went to Berkeley Castle for the Joust and spent some time with the Aginoths in the 14C. Coming away, I was yet again struck by the thought that the opportunity to leave the 21C behind was maybe too good to miss.

So, subject to the agreement of the Company of Chivalry, I am debating joining the group for a weekend at the end of August to see how I fit in. Did they *have* single peasant women in 1370? Somehow I can't see MB leaving his engines and golf at home to don hose and braes and wield a sword.

I can't sew, I can't knit, I can't weave, I can't fight (haven't drawn a bow since I was about ten!). I did get a chorus of 'You can sing, though!' - BUMMER........ hard to argue as five minutes earlier I had been walking through the house singing 'Are you going to Scarborough Fair?'.......

More later - tea time :-)


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday, Church and Stones

Today is history lesson day! Lots of people asked about the Shandwick Stone (now safely encased in glass to protect it).

Not a lot is known factually about the Stone, but there are several around, although Shandwick's is the only one still in situe. Some believe it was a marker for fishermen, some believe it is a marker for a children's graveyard, and some believe it is a sort of 'information point'.

Here is the stone close up:

With a cross on one side and an elephant on the other, the designs are curious.

(From the Royal Commission On The Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland) :

This symbol stone stands in a field on a hillside sloping towards the sea above the S side of the village of Shandwick, where burials took place in former times. Blown down c.1846 and broken into two pieces it has since been repaired and re-erected on a circular stepped base which conceals some of the sculpture at the bottom. It is an upright rectangular cross-slab c.9ft high by 3ft 3ins with sculptured relief on two faces.

This symbol stone now lies within a steel framed glass case which is surrounded by a fence. The structure is to protect the stone from further erosion.

Class II symbol stone showing a cross on the east face. On the reverse is seen a double-disc in a panel above an elephant, which is itself over a panel showing fighting swordsmen and a crossbowman.

(Altara's Almanac) :

Class II stones, from 9th-10th Centuries, see the progression to symbols and knotwork carved in relief onto the stone, and of course the first use of Christian symbols and cross-slabs. Class II stones have both Pictish pagan symbols and some Christian symbols. The Christian symbolism mainly takes the form of a cross with relief knotwork or other decoration, and there are also many examples of depiction’s of biblical events. By this time too, the stones often have figures in battle carved on them.

In Ireland in particular the Christian Celts carved free-standing crosses. The Picts, however, did it their own way. The Picts created what are known as cross-slabs, a cross carved on a backdrop of an almost perfectly rectangular stone slab, ensuring that almost double the space was available for decoration.
This is primarily because the Picts always had a stone-carving tradition, whereas to the Irish and Northumbrians this was a relatively new skill largely based initially on plain wooden and stone crosses. This meant that the Pictish master craftsmen could use all that extra space around the cross to place the older symbols that were still required at the early times of Christianity, and so avoided putting them on the cross itself. The fact that these symbols were still used shows that they were still important to the Pictish community.

So, enough about a really old it's Sunday, we will also look at a really old church! While in Scotland I visited Fearn Abbey for Sunday service.

Fearn Abbey was founded at Fearn by the Earl of Ross in 1225. But not at this Fearn: rather at the hamlet of that name on the south side of the Dornoch Firth between Bonar Bridge and Edderton. The Abbey relocated the 15 miles or so to its current site on much better agricultural land in 1238.

The Abbey Church was rebuilt in the mid 1300s, and the St Michael's Aisle was added to the south in the 1400s, with a new dormitory building to its south and a cloister. At the same time the Abbey Church was reroofed in stone flags. Some time later a chapel was added to the south of the east end of the church.
After the Reformation of 1560 the Abbey Church became the Parish Church and a mausoleum was added to the north side of the east end, which was itself taken over as a burial place for the Ross family. On Sunday 10 October 1742 the church was struck by lightning during a service and the stone-flagged roof collapsed on the congregation, killing as many as 50. The Minister, who had been saved by the bulk of the pulpit, insisted a new church be built to the south, using stone from the remains of the dormitory and cloister, and from the west end of the church.
Yet by 1771 the new church was itself in ruins, and in 1772 the original church was reconstructed, employing where necessary stone from the replacement church built in the 1740s. What was not reused was demolished and no sign of this very short-lived church can be seen on the ground today.

Perhaps the oddest feature is the much larger enclosure projecting from the south side of the church and very obvious in views from that side, as shown in the above photo. To the untrained eye this looks intrusive: almost as if someone has used modern breeze-blocks to build some sort of agricultural structure against the church.
Yet this is actually all that is left of St Michael's Aisle, added to the abbey church by Abbot Finlay McFaed in time to house his tomb and effigy on his death in 1485. And once inside the aisle, the great age of the structure is obvious. The difference between the internal and external appearance is because in 1790 a stone "skin" was wrapped around the outside of the aisle, presumably to keep it standing: it's a shame it wasn't done in a style more in keeping with the church itself.

Scotland is REALLY OLD.........


(Fearn Abbey information from here).

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Gone Fishin'

While I was in Scotland, I got the chance to go out fishing with my landlady's husband.

Here is his little smack in the harbour - I have marked it with an arrow.

Two of us on that was 'snug' to say the least. But the little boat went like a rocket.

We headed up to the mouth of the firth, where the mackerel are, and settled down to a lazy afternoon's fishing.

The sky was blue, the sea was bluer. With perfect weather the sweaters and hats stayed in the cabin.

Mike ran two lines. One heavier for cod and bigger fish and one four hook lightweight for mackerel.

I'm always torn with things like fishing, being a raging vegetarian, but Mike was 'fishing to eat' and I was reassured by his responsible attitude.

[sigh] Idyllic or what??

We were joined for the afternoon by two petrels, keen for some discarded fish. They were so patient that Mike threw them a couple of mackerel, but they were beaten to the treats by a seagull! And then a Black-Backed Gull swooped over us to see what was going on - I had no idea how big they were!

Another visitor to the boat was a little female seal. She popped up, huffing and puffing but, despite Mike's efforts, she wouldn't approach the boat. Bad for me (no photo opportunity), good for Mike (seals indicate poor fishing - they eat all the fish!). Apparently, they respond to whistling, but she was firm in her resolve and disappeared.

One of the downsides of my daily walk along the beach was when there had been a seal-killing. With salmon nets in the firth, the fishermen have got into the habit of shooting seals looking for a free lunch. Instead of disposing of the corpse, they are left to wash up on the beach. I saw one this week. Most of the villagers abhor this tradition, but then again, they are 'in-comers'!

With this in mind, it was fabulous to see this little girl enjoying her life of freedom in the ocean!

With a good haul of fish (two cod, two coley and about a dozen mackerel), we headed back home.

and another walk down a gorgeous empty beach by the light of a setting sun, scudding clouds and delightful silence..........

More, there's more! But tomorrow, dear readers - tomorrow........


Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Thoughts

Here we are, Friday again - and what a lot has been going on!

Firstly (and I can't help preening about this) I have been approached by the Department of Social Studies, Wartburg College, Waverley IA about taking part in a study of women bloggers!

This summer, two undergraduate psychology majors, Nicole Erspamer and Lia Kampman, and I are conducting research on female weblog authors and their online and “real life” friendships. We hope that you will consider participating in the study.

The study consists of a survey that takes 30-40 minutes to complete. In addition, if you were to decide to participate in the study, we would examine entries from your weblog to analyze how frequently you post entries, how many comments you receive, and the topics you discuss in your weblog. All of your survey responses and the results of our content analysis of your weblog would be confidential. Even if you do not regularly post entries on your blog, we welcome you to participate; we are interested in the opinions of a variety of bloggers.

I'm gonna get in touch on Sunday. They also add:
If you know of other women weblog authors who are at least 22 years old and who might like to participate in this study, please feel free to forward this e-mail message to them.
If you are interested, send me an email (if we are not already email buddies!) and I'll forward on the whole email.

OK, that's the study part for some fun.

Have you seen the Blogs of Summer Awards? Here on Bloggin' Outloud. It's a cool idea, and I have some nominations in mind.
Shame there isn't an 'Aimless Rambling' Blog category - I don't know where else the Palace fits!

And if you trundle over to see BooMama, she's created the inaugural 'Blog Tour of Homes'. Participating bloggers will display five pictures (or more, if you want) of their homes on Friday, July 28th.

On Monday the 24th my precious Pandora will be 18 (that's 78 in cat years) and tonight, courtesy of blogger, we are throwing her a big party at Pandora and Charlie's blog. These feline parties are HUGE - the last one pulled in about 570 comments and the imaginations ran riot. Shrimptinis, russianless white russians and trampolines figured massively. Wonder what our furry friends will get up to tonight........

Tomorrow we are all off to joust at the 'other palace'. Berkeley Castle (about 20 minutes up the road!) host Joust! every July and we religiously go. Now we have the added lure of Aginoth and the clan doing their re-enactment bit there too! You can read all about it on Mrs A's blog.

(and if Blogger sorts itself out, there will be the usual illustrations later!)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - My Trip

Thirteen things about my week away.......
1. I went here:

in the north east of Scotland to visit my parents.

2. Here is where they live:

in that little clutch of houses huddling under Nigg Hill.

3. This is the view from their kitchen window:

4. Behind their house, protected from the wind and rain, is the Shandwick Stone:

more on this later.

5. Also, on my walk to the Stone, I met some nice creatures:

I find cows very restful........

6. And there were BABY cows!

When I pause to talk to cows, which I like to do, it's a comfort to know I am not intending to eat them.....

7. There are three villages linked along the coast, and this is kinda cute:

The 'Seaboard Villages' - it's even on the buses!

8. Oh, did I not mention the sea??:

9. And then there's the harbour:

full of teeny little fishing smacks and a couple of small trawlers.

10. The original fishermans' cottages:

still lived in and so tiny!

11. There is a very modest stylish memorial to the men who have lost their lives to the sea:

two anchors in the small municipal park.

12. And while I was there, I got the chance to go fishing.........

Well, Mike did the *actual* fishing.....and I covered my ears for the necessary stunning of the poor little fishies.

13. And because I stayed in the next village, each night I walked back along the beach enjoying magnificent sunsets:

There will be more, this is just a taster..... :-)


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Thank you

While I'm away, this is for my beloved Crazies and for all you wonderful people who come regularly to my blog and leave cheerful messages with smiley faces - thankyou.....but I think this song sums it up!


Sometimes I wonder
How I'd ever make it through,
Through this world without having you
I just wouldn't have a clue

'Cause sometimes it seems
Like this world's closing in on me,
And there's no way of breaking free
And then I see you reach for me

Sometimes I wanna give up
I wanna give in,
I wanna quit the fight
And then I see you, baby
And everything's alright,
everything's alright

When I see you smile
I can face the world, oh oh,
you know I can do anything
When I see you smile
I see a ray of light, oh oh,
I see it shining right through the rain
When I see you smile
Oh yeah, baby when I see you smile at me

Baby there's nothing in this world
that could ever do
What a touch of your hand can do
It's like nothing that I ever knew

And when the rain is falling
I don't feel it,'cause you're here with me now
And one look at you baby
Is all I'll ever need,
you're all I'll ever need

Sometimes I wanna give up
I wanna give in,
I wanna quit the fight
And then I see you baby
And everything's alright,
everything's alright
So right... ...

Be back online Wednesday night 19 July!

Oh - you want the answer to my question??
So - what one thing singles out 'The Brave' from all the other Johnny Depp films over the last 22 years.......??
It was Johnny's directorial debut - and a damn fine job he made of it too!

(and Yellow Rose did get it right - I knew she would.......)

A Tasty Little Goodbye Treat

I'm away for a week now, internet-less.......even mobile phoneless (depending where I stand in the garden (BIG mountains!)) - so I have decided to leave you all with a treat.

For those who haven't seen Crybaby (and those who have [big grin]) here is a classic clip from the show.

Crybaby Wade Walker, leader of the Drapes, has been sent to the boys detention centre for playing Rock and Roll which started a riot. (Actually, the Squares started the riot, but its a long story!) Anyway, it is the first night, the guard (Willem Dafoe, no less) has said 'Nighty Night, Boys' and turned out the light.

Crybaby sits in the dark and sings 'Teardrops are Falling' the accompaniment of a handmade guitar.....and the rest of the dormitory.

I adore this song........I know it off by heart - not surprising considering I have this on DVD (2 copies), video AND the CD.......

Remember, this is not Johnny singing, it is singer/songwriter James Intveld.

And for those who haven't had a guess yet, see if you can answer the 'Bonus Question' on my post below :-)
Killired and Wystful1 have got it so far.......

Update: A couple of people have mentioned I have missed films off this list. Well, according to imdb Johnny has 41 films to his credit - it took me four hours just to load 14 pictures - and the post would have been HUGE!!
Anyway, putting Neverland on here would be TOO simple - although he did look cute as JM!
So I picked and chose my pictures, some easy, some difficult....not for a certain Yellow Rose Person, though!



OK, so there are some serious Deppites out there........

Yellowrose got almost all of them fact she only missed one...

1. Nightmare on Elm Street (yep, shortly before his character was eaten by a bed!)
2. Pirates of the Carribbean (PotC ONE, I believe :-) )
3. Cry Baby (a classic cult movie, highlighting the angst of teenhood with music. A fantastic film!)
4. Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton, need we say more - beautiful, just beautiful)
5. Benny & Joon (Swoon - Sam. Rumour has it they paid Big Bucks to be able to use the Keaton trademarks)
6. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (Not high on my list, I prefer the book - but a nice film)
7. Nick of Time (Depp - looking ordinary?? Yep, Joe Schmo caught up in high intrigue and a race against time to rescue his daughter)
8. Ed Wood (unbelievable film. 'Pink angora sweater? Stilletos? I know, we'll get Johnny to do it!' - apparently, he loved the pink angora sweater!)
9. The Brave (A unique film in this list (see below). Strong, disturbing yet touching and endearing)
10. The Astronaut's Wife (Another of my favourites. Johnny plays an astronaut with a few pschyological problems)
11. From Hell (Inspector Abbeline calling. Using chunks of Ripper material, a fair hash at the topic)
12. Secret Window (OMIGOD - this film blew me away. Moody, dark and very, very strange - hmm, sounds like perfect Depp fodder to me!)
13. The Libertine ([wails] not seen this yet, but it's on my birthday list - especially as I bought it for Aginoth!)
14. Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (Finally, the Wilder Wonka has been laid to rest with this excellent new characterisation by - Tim Burton!)

The last photo?
'Twas our Johnny and Jimmy Intvelt (WHO?? I hear you all cry) Well, James Invelt is the voice behind Johnny in Crybaby. I could never work out why they didn't use Johnny's voice, but apparently John Walters thought it 'not right' for the piece, so James dubbed in.

And an extra bonus question - because you Deppites are all TOO clever for your own good......

The Brave is one of my all-time favourite Depp films. It is harsh, yet romantic. It is brutal, yet gentle. It is reality in the raw. And it was a personal voyage of discovery for Johnny.
So - what one thing singles out 'The Brave' from all the other Johnny Depp films over the last 22 years.......??


ps don't panic. Not only are you going to get a rest from Johnny over the next week, you're going to get a rest from me altogether. I'm going to visit my mum, and there is no internet.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday Memory - A Pictorial Game

From this (everyone say Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!)

to this....(everybody say PHWOARR!)

Some snapshots of Johnny's career - can you name the films?

And for an extra point - who are the two young men in the picture below and what is their relationship?


A leetle clue - they are in date order....except for the first section and last section.......


Thanks to blogger photo playing up, this took a total of about 4 hours to put together.....