Monday, 30 December 2013

Quick Catch-Up

So in an attempt to try and ease myself back into blogging I thought I'd see how much I could remember from the last few months, and see if I could cobble together a few photos to go with it (I joined Instagram, but I don't really understand it). This won't be in any kind of order.

I've done some crochet. After the Skye blanket, I had a go at one based on Heather's Elmer Squares. It doesn't have a name, and both Chris and I decided that we prefer the back of it (with the cream seam grid pattern) more than the front.


It is folded over one arm of my new armchair. Yes, I finally got a new suite in the living room.

The day it arrived... Mischief approves...

... and so does Millie...

My ripple blanket is over the other arm of the armchair, and the Skye blanket is on the back of it. The sofa is similarly draped in blankets (bought ones) in an effort to protect it from cat claws. And it's nice to just drag a blanket off the arm and snuggle down under it if you're a bit cold. I do think having blankets and throws draped everywhere can make the place look a bit untidy. But so can having a sofa which has been shredded by a cat who forgets where his proper scratching post is...

I also crocheted some facecloths which were given as Christmas presents to Chris, my mum and my mother-in-law, along with a bar of organic soap from The Highland Soap Company, who I discovered in Spean Bridge when we were on Holiday in June. I decided which soap to get, and then tried to buy similar shades of cotton yarn (King Cole bamboo cotton) so that it was all matchy-matchy. I had to make Chris's facecloths whenever he wasn't here, and I even took them to work to do in my lunch break. In the end, I had to work on my mum's and his mum's when he was here, and just hoped he didn't ask me to make one for him, and spoil the surprise. He was very pleased with his, and I think my mum was too. His mum said she could use her facecloth as a mat. I'm taking that as a compliment, that she meant it was so nice that she'd like to have it on show (rather than "let me hide it under the fruit bowl"). She's a pretty nifty knitter and crocheter herself so she knew it was handmade and I think she commented on how neat it was.

A few months back we went to Skipton for a wander around, and whilst there I bought two 100g balls of what I would call a 'tweedy' kind of yarn. I made a slouchy beanie hat a few weeks ago, and I've just made some fingerless gloves to go with it. I'm now about to embark on the scarf, but I've been looking for a pattern for some kind of unusual or different stitch, instead of just working back and forth in plain trebles.

I had a go at doing some special Christmas nail art; I don't have any special tools or brushes so it's never as neat as I'd like it to be.

Santa suit nails... think I did these last year too
 I always get compliments on them though, and other people tell me that they'd never be able to do it themselves. So, since my birthday is coming up in January and Chris wanted me to give him some ideas for presents, I've asked for a nail art kit. I'm looking forwards to practicing some new designs and patterns.*

Snow and snowman - ridiculously pleased with these!

Christmas was good, but unfortunately I couldn't get any time off work this year (apart from Xmas day and Boxing day) and you can't enjoy it the same when you know you're back at work so soon. I got some crochet books from Chris (which I'd asked for) and a couple of sewing books, because I think 2014 will be the year when I get a sewing machine. I was going to get one for Christmas, but there was a last minute change of plan. I also got some perfume, chocolates and a few other bits and pieces. We went to my mum's for a lovely Christmas dinner followed by the obligatory sprawl out on the sofa, half watching Top Of The Pops and the Queen's Speech, and half nodding off, eyeing up the chocolates on the table and telling yourself that you don't have room for any more food. My mum bought us a food processor/blender/juicer/dough maker thingamibob, so I really want to use it to do some baking, but we've got so many chocolates in the house, I shouldn't be introducing more calories. I could make some buns for work I guess.

On Boxing Day we went to Chris's mum and dad's and had another gorgeous dinner. His mum did some pork, but Chris had bought a duck crown and took it over on Christmas Eve so that she could cook that as well. There wasn't much meat on it, but it was beautiful. I've never had duck before, but I'm sure I will again. Sorry if you're a vegetarian. To be honest, I would say that I'm a very reluctant meat-eater. There is no sense or logic to my decision about what meat I will and will not eat. I'll eat chicken, lamb, beef, pork, turkey. At one point I probably wouldn't have tried duck, but for some reason I was quite eager to try it this time. I always swore that I'd never eat rabbit, until my mum informed me that I ate it a lot when I was little, but she told me it was beef! I don't like the idea of eating animals, but I do like some meat, and there's no point in me pretending otherwise. Anyway, sorry about that.

Over Christmas, I discovered two things. Celebrations have got rid of the Galaxy Truffle, which was one of the best ones, and replaced it with a Twix, which is ok, but not as good. Roses, however, now do a coffee cream, which is one of my favourites, although I know it's hit and miss for a lot of people. So, swings and roundabouts...

It was Chris's birthday just before Christmas. We went to see the latest Hobbit film, which was good but let's face it, just a filler. They could've squashed it all into two films. Afterwards, we drove to the coast (Hornsea) to have fish and chips for tea! It was dark, but we sat in the car looking at the moonlight reflecting on the sea, until all the windows steamed up from the heat of the food. We were going to have a walk around the shopping village but we got there five minutes before it closed, and the only shop that still had it's doors open was Thorntons. Oh dear. So we had to go in there and buy some chocolates for the drive home. And then we had his birthday cake to eat, a chocolate brownie one that I'd made in the morning. It was very nice, especially warm with cream...

Erm, I'm sure that lots of other amazing, interesting and exciting things have happened over the past six months, but they've just slipped my mind for now, so I think I'll leave it here. I'm off to eat some chocolate...

New Year sparkly nails

* I have quite long, thin fingers in real life, and I would probably say that my hands are one of my best features (there aren't many good bits to choose from), so why do they always look like a bunch of sausages in photos?

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My blogging has gone all to pot over the past few months. Since I wasn't writing much, I changed my settings to make the blog private, so I'm aware that I'm currently 'talking to myself' as it were. It's actually not such a bad thing, it's kind of liberating knowing that nobody is reading what I write, or don't write. I'm completely out of the habit of taking photos for the blog, which is another reason why I haven't been posting much. I know I've mentioned it before, but I think I've just really lost the blogging bug. I hope it comes back though, because when it's going well, I really enjoy it.

I haven't even been reading as many blogs as I used to do, apart from one or two favourites. I've just had a quick catch-up this morning, and I must admit, a lot of them are very samey. Everyone has taken photos of their Christmas trees, decorations, presents, turkeys etc. There are only so many photos of baubles that you can look at without getting completely fed up with them! The trouble is, if I was blogging properly, I think I'd have probably done the same, and I think that's another thing that I was getting a bit sick of.  I wasn't intentionally copying anyone else's style, but I think somehow all the blogs that I read (I'm mainly talking about the 'crafty' ones) as well as my own, they all started merging into one.

I don't know. I've got the radio on and it's distracting me, and I think I'm kind of waffling now! To be honest, I was going to write a proper post about all of the above, and my reasons for 'silent blogging', but it's all kind of come out there. This post was supposed to be just a quick one to say that...
I hope you had a lovely Christmas (I did, but there are no photos!) and to wish you a very happy and healthy New Year.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Strictly Come Dancing

Yes, I am watching Strictly this year, as always. I once blogged about it quite obsessively for a couple of years, but it's so time consuming, I can't be bothered any more. I'll probably just pop in now and again to comment on a really good dance. And speaking of which:

How absolutely brilliant was Sophie and Brendan's Charleston?? You'd never think it was a week two dance, would you? I loved her acting throughout, that kind of 'disinterested' expression (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). Everything about it just seemed to suit her.

I was glad that Tony left last week, I'm sorry but I just didn't like watching him. I get the feeling that Aliona probably didn't mind being voted off first. She's still taking part in all the pro-dances, so presumably she's still getting her paycheck?

I know that every year there's a debate over whether Strictly is a dance competition or an entertainment show - well, for me, I get entertained by someone dancing really well!! So although people like Dave Myers are quite funny to watch, I get bored with them very quickly. I just want to see really good dancing.

However, the good thing about the 'underdogs' is that it brings out the best in their professional partners (usually). I'm very impressed with Iveta (dancing with Mark Benton) and Karen (dancing with Dave Myers). They really try to give them good dances to do, and they've embraced their personalities and they seem to have great partnerships. Definitely the sign of a good professional.

Strictly is actually on now as I type, and I'm getting distracted, so I'm going to watch the rest of it!

Edited to add: Well, I wrote the above post near the beginning of the series, but it's now the 29th December and clearly I never made it back to add any more favourite videos! I watched the whole thing though, and I was happy with the outcome. I really liked Abbey. In fact, during the final I tweeted that I wanted Abbey to win, but I also wanted Kevin Clifton to win, and I also wanted Artem's choreography to win! So I would've been happy with any of the final three.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Yarndale 2013

If you're reading this blog then I'd say it's a safe bet that you already know all about Yarndale. Just in case you don't though, I'll explain. Yarndale 2013 was the first (but hopefully not the last) festival of creativity and craft, mainly aimed at all things 'yarny', held at Skipton Auction Mart on the weekend of the 28th and 29th September.

I'd known about it for several weeks, and I was really tempted to go, but I'm not the most proactive person and I'm not a fan of making plans for the future either, so I wasn't sure if I'd actually make it or not. I mentioned it to my mum, but she's not a knitter or crocheter, so I didn't know if she'd be interested. She seemed very keen to come with me though - if nothing else, it would be a nice ride up to Skipton. So we made tentative plans to go up on the Saturday, and as the day approached I really started to look forwards to it.

It opened at 10.00, and ideally I wanted to get there before then to try and ensure we could get a parking place, so it meant quite an early start. I was up about 6am, but that was partly to give me time to hang all my washing out before I left. I picked mum up and we set off at 8.30 on the dot, knowing that it would be about an hour's drive. I borrowed Chris's satnav, but between me and my mum we pretty much knew how to get there, so the satnav was just a backup. We arrived just after 9.30, and although the car park was filling up, we easily found a space.

We walked down and joined the queue that was forming at the entrance to the building. Although the weather was brightening up, there was still a bit of a cool wind, so it wasn't much fun standing there for about 20 minutes, but then I suppose that was our fault for getting there early. When they started to let everyone in, it was disappointing to see a group of three or four women just walk straight to the front of the queue and push in in front of the rest of us who'd waited patiently. My mum, who is normally very quiet, started muttering and commenting; even though I found it frustrating, I didn't want to make a scene so I was quietly asking her not to say anything, and I kept saying "we'll all get in eventually" which funnily enough is what one of the pusher-inners said!!

So we bought our tickets and went in to the entrance hall, and the first thing you saw was bunting. Bunting Everywhere.

The photo doesn't do justice to how amazing it all looked. I actually took my photo on the way out - although people were stopping to take pics on the way in, you kind of felt like you had to keep moving with the flow of people entering the building, so I didn't want to just suddenly stand still in the way to take a photo.

I'm afraid I didn't take any photos once I got into the main building, as I was too busy just looking at the stalls, and trying not to lose my mum in the crowd! When we first got in it wasn't too bad, because it'd just opened, but it didn't take long to fill up and at times it was really hard just moving along from one stall to another, or getting in to see anything. At one point we found ourselves going up the row which was immediately opposite the entrance, and so naturally most people started walking down that one first - talk about swimming against the tide!

I said I didn't take any photos inside, but that's not strictly true. I didn't take any of the yarn stalls, but I was persuaded to get my camera out for these guys

Angora rabbits - the one at the bottom had been clipped (love the tufts of fur on the ears!). The young lady looking after them was holding another one in her hands, who was very kindly and patiently  allowing itself to be stroked by everyone passing by, including me and my mum. Their fur is so beautifully soft, you can barely feel it, it's like stroking air.

Further along we came across two separate stalls showcasing gorgeous alpacas

 My mum was very taken with them, I think I could've left her there while I went for another walk around! She even suggested that her back garden was big enough to keep one as a pet!

The stalls had everything that Yarndale promised - knitting stuff, crochet stuff, spinning, dyeing, felting stuff, and of course wool, wool and even more wool!! To be honest, it was all a bit overwhelming for me. I love crochet, but I consider myself such an amateur, and it felt like a place for serious professionals. That isn't a criticism, and I'm not saying that I didn't feel welcome - it's more a reflection of my own insecurities and self-doubt. I just felt a bit like I didn't belong there.

What didn't help matters for me is that I wanted to buy something, but I just didn't know what. A lot of the yarn is quite expensive so I didn't want to just buy something for the sake of it, and then not know what to use it for, or find that I hadn't bought enough. What I should've done was find a pattern for something that I wanted to make beforehand, and then I'm sure I'd have been able to find some suitable yarn for it.

In the end, all I bought was two balls of bamboo cotton, which I thought I could make some facecloths with, a pack of stitch markers, and a badge. I was disappointed not to have bought more, but like I said, I wasn't sure what to get, and also, I don't really have room for any more yarn, not until I've turned some of what I've already got into something useful!

Forgot to take a photo of the badge...

I did wonder if I'd see anyone I might recognise from the blogging world, because I knew quite a few people were planning to attend. I spotted someone who I thought might be Lucy, but I only saw her from behind, although I recognised her shoes(!). The fact that she was posing for photos with people like a celebrity made me feel sure it was her. I've since seen some of those photos, and now I know it definitely was. Just as we were leaving, I passed right by Heather and her mum, who were gazing up in awe at the bunting - in fact, I'm sure Heather was just getting in position to take a photo! I'm an avid reader of both blogs, but I'm not much of a commenter, and neither of them know me, so I would've felt a bit weird speaking to them, although I'm sure they would've been lovely. It was strange to think that I recognised Heather's mum too! She's famous in her own right!

We were only there for two hours, so luckily avoided having to queue for food or for the toilets (I've read some negative comments about both of those things). When we got back in the car, we had a chat about what to do next. The plan was to have a drive down into Skipton itself for a wander round, and maybe find a cafe. As we drove away from the auction mart, we saw just how busy it was getting - the line of traffic going in was unbelievable! We were supposed to turn right at the roundabout, but our designated driver (that would be me, then) got a bit confused, and went left instead, and we found ourselves on the A65 heading towards Gargrave! The traffic going the other way towards the auction mart was at a standstill for what must've been about two miles.

We didn't make it to Gargrave because I turned off for Grassington, knowing that there were public toilets in the car park. We walked into Grassington and had a nosey in a few shops, and then went into a bakery called Walkers (I think) where we bought a freshly made prawn salad sandwich each, and something for after (cream eclair for my mum, chocolate fudge brownie for me). We went back to the car to eat them - the sandwiches were amazing, really stuffed full, and my little square of fudge brownie was one of the nicest I've ever tasted. My mum said her eclair was beautiful too. I'd definitely recommend Walkers.

We decided to head home from Grassington, going through Burnsall towards Addingham and Ilkley and then back to Leeds. Just after we'd passed through Burnsall the oil warning light came on on the dashboard. Great stuff. I knew that it wasn't good to drive if the oil level was low, but we were out in the middle of nowhere, so I thought I better just keep going. I think I drove for about 10 miles before pulling into a lay-by on the way out of Ilkley. I'm afraid I'm a stereotypical woman who doesn't really know anything about car engines, so even if I'd checked the oil level, I wouldn't have known whether there was enough to get home, and we didn't know where the nearest garage was. I rang Chris to ask his advice - he said he thought I'd be ok driving home, but I wasn't convinced, so in the end I rang the AA. A very nice AA man arrived about 40 minutes later, told me I'd done the right thing to not drive any further, checked the oil and showed me that it was almost as low as it could be without actually being empty, and topped it up for me. I now know that I should check my oil once a month. I also owe the AA £13 for the oil that he used, and I owe Chris £16 because after I'd rung him he bought me some oil to keep in the car. So that was an unexpected little interlude on the journey home.

I eventually got home about 6.30pm after a very long, tiring but mostly enjoyable day. And as I said to my mum, if I hadn't have taken that wrong turning, we probably would've got home a lot earlier, which means my oil light probably would've come on one morning on the way to work instead, which would've caused me to worry just as much because I would've been on my own. So, every cloud and all that...

Despite my feelings of inadequacy, I did enjoy Yarndale, and I hope it's on again next year. If it is, I will definitely try to plan for it and have some idea in mind of what I want to buy. As I mentioned above, I've read some slightly negative comments about disorganised traffic control, toilets that wouldn't flush, the stalls not being arranged in a user-friendly way etc. In terms of parking, I didn't have any trouble, but I was lucky to be able to arrive early enough - I know for people travelling a long way it wouldn't have been possible unless they left in the middle of the night. I didn't use the facilities so I can't really comment on that, but obviously it's an important thing to get right. As for how the stalls were arranged, well, yes they were all quite close together. I wondered if it would've been better to only have them on one side, so that you didn't have people going up and down the same aisle, and in a lot of cases crossing over from one stall to another opposite. But maybe having all those people travelling in the same direction would be just as bad. Perhaps it would've been better to stagger them, so that opposite each display was an empty stall for people to maybe step out of the way? I don't know... On the whole, I think the organisers did a great job for their first time. I think the problems were fairly minor in the big scheme of things, and I think perhaps nobody expected so many people to turn up, so if they can be criticised for anything it's maybe just underestimating how popular the event was going to be!

I'm really glad I went though, because as well as enjoying Yarndale, it was really lovely spending the day with my mum.

Friday, 13 September 2013

"Blue and Green...

... should never be seen, without another colour in between..."

I've been thinking about this phrase lately, and a quick google tells me that it was originally an old Scottish phrase regarding clothing colours. I believe another version goes: "brown and blue will never do".

I guess nobody thought to tell Mother Nature though...



Millie Bobbingtons!!

The reason I was thinking about "blue and green should never be seen" is because of the colour choices in my latest finished blanket.

A few months ago, I bought some new bedding:

Wait, let me move the cat...

Look, life's too short to iron duvet covers, ok?
I found that I was quite drawn to these colours, so I decided to embark on a new blanket using the following yarn from my trusty Stylecraft Special DK collection:

Top row, left to right: Turquoise, Cream, Mocha, Aster
Bottom row, left to right: Spring Green, Cloud Blue, Meadow

I started the blanket in April 2013. Another ripple, but this time I thought I'd vary the number of rows in each colour. I didn't plan what order I'd work in, but I kind of wanted it to be mainly the blues and greens, with the mocha and cream just popping up now and again to break it up and add a bit of variety.

The reason I decided to make the blanket in the first place is a little bit embarrassing. I wanted to make a cot blanket for someone who was having a baby boy. I know it's old-fashioned to do the whole 'blue for a boy, pink for a girl' thing, and some people don't like it, but at the same time, I don't really know the person who was having the baby very well, and I didn't know her tastes, so I thought I'd play it safe and stick to blue tones. Unfortunately, I'm the slowest crocheter in the world, and she popped out Junior months ago when the blanket was nowhere near ready. I hadn't told her that I was making it, it would have been a total surprise, so in the end I, um, just decided to keep it for myself. I know, that's sounds awful, doesn't it? But when I said I don't know her well, I mean, I really don't, she's not a friend, colleague, acquaintance or anything like that. It actually might've been a bit weird to give it to her, considering that she's practically a stranger.

Anyway, I won't say any more about that, apart from the fact that I got my sizing a bit wrong and it came out a lot bigger than intended, so I'll just keep it as a kind of 'throw' on the sofa.

I know a lot of bloggers name their projects, and I've been thinking about a name for this one. Apropos of nothing much more than the fact that the colours kind of remind me of my beloved Scotland, and wanting something fairly short and snappy, I've decided to call this one...

... the Skye Blanket...

You're meant to think Highland lochs, rivers, moors, mountains etc

Look at our lovely plums! And gorgeous red gladioli! Oh, and the blanket too...

Ripple roll

So, facts and figures. Started 6th April 2013, finished at 15 minutes past midnight on the 5th September because I was damned if I was going to spend another day on it (just kidding, I enjoyed it really!). I used a 4.5mm hook with the aforementioned yarns. The foundation chain was approximately 90cm in length. I started and finished with Aster, and did a repeating pattern of  3, 1, 2, 1 rows. I chose the colours at random until I'd done 16 full ripples, and then started to repeat the colours in the same order, three times altogether. For the border, I think I did two rounds of mocha, and then two rounds of cream - the first one in trebles, and the second one in double crochet just to finish it off with a neat edge. I pondered about some kind of fancy finish, like picots, but then decided to just leave it plain, which I actually really like.

In fact, I'm really pleased with the finished product! It might've turned out a bit bigger than originally planned, and it might not have gone to the original intended recipient, but it's still a really nice-sized blanket which I'm sure will get plenty of use. And as for the colours, all I can say is...

... Mother Nature knows best!!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Last Holiday Post (Warning: Spider photos!)

I just thought I'd fit in one more holiday post.

You may have noticed that I've been doing a spider-watch all week. You have to expect creepy-crawlies in an old property, and it was interesting to see what we were going to find each day.

First spider seen on the day we arrived

This morning in the early hours, around 3am, I was awoken by the cats clambering all over my bags, which I'd packed last night. I had a feeling that they were probably spider-hunting, and after a few minutes I had to get up to investigate. Mischief almost had his paws under one of my bags, and when I lifted it up I could vaguely see a small dark shape. It didn't get very far though, because Mischief ate it. Oops. But at least he saved me from the fate of finding a spider amongst my clothes when I unpacked them this afternoon!

Later, when I went to sit at my usual spot by the living room window, I was faced with this lovely sight

I'm not quite sure how Mischief (I'm assuming he was the culprit) managed to squash it - the usual technique is just to chase them and eat them. So that was a nice thing to clean up just as I was about to eat my breakfast!

Anyway, enough of the creepy-crawlies! It was an early start this morning to get everything packed up and loaded into the car, including two reluctant cats who were just starting to enjoy their new life in Scotland. I took some last minute photos of the cottage.

Goodbye living room!

Goodbye kitchen!

Goodbye dining room which we never used!

Goodbye bedroom!

Goodbye other bedroom!

We left at 7.40 - I drove from the cottage all the way to Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond where we stopped for a quick loo visit, and then we swapped over and Chris drove the rest of the way home. We arrived back here just after 3pm.

I always feel very down when we get back from holiday, mainly because I love Scotland so much - I want to live there! (I know I'm being slightly unrealistic because living and working there will be different to spending a lazy week on holiday, but still...). Having said that, it is nice to get back to your own home, and your own bed - I've had a banging headache all evening so I'm looking forwards to collapsing into bed shortly. The cats have settled back in very well, as though they've never been away.

Just before I go, I'll show you the little stash of goodies that I bought myself.

From the Highland Soap Company, I got two bars of soap - Wild Scottish Rose and Sweet Orange and Cinnamon; a Lavender and Tea Tree body wash; and four bath melts - Rosebud; Orange and Cinnamon; Lavender; and Sweet Orange. I just had the bag on my lap as I typed out the names and the smell is divine! There was so much to choose from in the shop I could've spent ages 'sniffing' everything, but Chris was waiting outside so I felt a bit rushed. I think they have an online shop though... ;-)

I also got a pair of slipper socks, and a pair of ordinary ones (plus a pair for Chris, because it was three items for £10!). I bought three fridge magnets, which is becoming a bit of a tradition for us when we go on holiday, but I didn't photograph them. I feel like I bought more than this during the week, but I suspect the rest of it was food (fudge, mainly) and has been eaten already!

Well, I think that really is it for the holiday blogging. Cup of coffee, paracetamols and bed for me, now!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Last Day

Sadly, today was the last day of our holiday. We wanted to go out somewhere today, but not too far, so we went to Spean Bridge. We've driven through it a few times this week, and have been umming and ahhing about whether to go into the Mill, so today we finally went in for a look around.

It was quite pleasant - a gift shop and a separate whisky section, a weaving exhibition (which was basically just a loom) and a cafe. I bought a few items in the gift shop, and then we went next door to the Highland Soap Company. I'd bought some soap as presents for people earlier in the week in Fort William, but realised I hadn't bought any for me, and I just felt like treating myself. So I did!

After Spean Bridge we carried on to Fort William, but when we got there we decided not to stay, and instead we went back to the Nevis Range area, as we were toying with the idea of going up Ben Nevis on the gondola ride. In the end, we didn't bother with that either. A bit further down the hill was a farm shop and a rural education centre so we called in there for a quick look around and I took a photo of Ben Nevis - at least, I think it is!

I think it's the one in the middle with the little bit of snow on it...
We started to make our way back to the cottage, just stopping at one last gift shop, which looked more promising than it turned out to be.

When we got back I took up my usual position in front of the living room window to see what birds I could photograph, and later I had a walk around outside with the camera too.

As much as I love the cheeky chaffinches, I commented that I wished there were some different birds, and they must have heard me!

The blackbird has been a few times already, but then I 'spotted' the Great Spotted Woodpecker which was exciting for me because I think it's only the second one I've ever seen in my life!

We haven't seen much in the way of buzzards this week, which is a bit of a surprise considering the location, but I think this was one which was circling almost directly above, although it was a very wide circle. At one point I think it was being chased away by a gull from the loch.

I'd got so used to seeing the chaffinches, blue tits and great tits on the feeders that I nearly assumed this was one of them, until I realised it was quite a lot yellower! According to the RSPB website, I think it's a siskin

And when I went outside with the camera I finally got the photos I'd been trying to get all week, by various methods. The very cute housemartins in their nest under the eaves

So that's that. The holiday has come to an end. I've done most of my packing, there are just a few things to gather up in the morning. I should really go to bed early and get a good nights' sleep, but on the other hand I want to stay up as late as I can to squeeze out every last bit of the holiday that I can before we have to go, do you know what I mean?

Maybe I should walk round the cottage making a list of things that we need to remember to pack in the morning?

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed reading about our little holiday in Scotland, I've certainly enjoyed writing about it!

Bye for now!

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