April 28, 2005

Windy Isles

We’re off to the Western Isles, happy housesitters are in place to take care of animals, plants and security. Weather forecast is for gale forced winds…. Plan is to visit Iona, Staffa, Mull and the Treshnish Isles… for christianity, whisky & cookies, Fingals Cave, and of course puffins.

In that particular order.

Certainly we’ll see some of the most amazing scenery, I’ll give you some details when we return. See you soon!

filles at 9:34 am

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April 27, 2005

I wanted to sing…

… Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Gabriel, Happy Birthday to you….

Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!

more later

filles at 12:48 pm

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April 26, 2005

What do you think?

as a travel pic to represent Morocco?

filles at 7:01 pm

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Back to the cold

We’ve had lovely weather here in Glasgow. In Scottish terms, yesterday could be considered a ‘scorcher’! 18 degrees centigrade. Hotter than any day last summer I think. Of course, all good things must come to an end, and this morning, I’m sitting here in my office(!) with the heater on.. typical. Louise, our first guest of the season arrives tomorrow. Hopefully the rain will hold off for another week, so that she can come home with great stories of fine weather and sunshine. We’ve planned a scenic trip to Mull and Iona involving ferries, walking, world-famous fish restaurants and probably pokey little b&b’s, just to even out the overall effect. The closer it gets, the more excited I become. I’m looking forward to discovering more of Scotland.

filles at 11:27 am

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April 22, 2005

slowly, slowly

I know. It’s taking forever. But surprisingly the weather here in Glasgow has been just glorious. I’ve been out soaking it up, drinking wine, eating out – even cleaning windows. Don’t worry. I’m sure it will rain again next week. I’ll get back to my page then. In the meantime, have a nice weekend…

filles at 3:16 pm

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April 19, 2005

due for a clean up…

I really am due to finish this site. Tomorrow is a busy day, Thursday is a busy day… hopefully Friday it will be done. Don’t hold your breath though, I’ll probably be pottering about with it for some time to come…

filles at 11:17 pm

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the life of a hillwalker

We went away last weekend hillwalking. The bi-annual* hillwalking club weekend away. Thirty seven odd people, with varying levels of enthusiasm spent the weekend away in the middle of nowhere, and in this case, literally, at the end of the road. The Clova Hotel was the location for most of the group, but we were one of the lucky ones, the late ones, 8 of us, who were staying in a self catering house across the street. Brandy Burn House.

We ate all our meals in the hotel with the rest of the group, but we also had the pleasure of a full catering kitchen and living room with fireplace (and satellite tv) where we could retire to drink our own booze.

Whoever said hillwalkers were reserved never partied with any of this lot. We had a great time. Party at Brandy Burn House on Saturday night, wine, beer and of course whisky along with a couple of games of ‘pub quiz’.

oh… and we also got in some walking – the scenery was breathtaking and the company was fabulous.

All in all, quite a success. See photos here

* supposing that means twice a year…

filles at 11:04 pm

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April 18, 2005

Cake lovers

Thanks to all you cake and cookie eaters, I raised £45 for the MS Society…

filles at 7:16 pm

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April 15, 2005

Clever kids

These kids know when they see something weird….

like pink, pointy, running shoes….

filles at 1:35 pm

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Taking on the utilities

Is a broadband provider considered a ‘utility’?

BT has been advertising £17.99 a month for speeds of 1MB. Tiscali advertises £15.99 a month for 1MB or £17.99 for 2MB. Me I’m paying £23.99 a month for speeds UP TO 512kb. It’s not right is it….

I’ve sent a letter of complaint to Onetel asking what they intend to do about the fact that they are no longer competitive. I’ve given them a deadline of May 9th which gives us time to cancel with them and sign up with someone else (because they all require a minimum 12 month contract). It’s a pain in the backside really. Last time we had a price reduction was about 12 months ago, and it was Onetel who contacted us saying “we want to remain competitive so here you go, we’ve just reduced your monthly cost to £23.99”. It was so nice that a company was being proactive. It gave me a lot of respect for them, and ensured I didn’t even consider moving our broadband or even our local & international telephone line.

Unfortunately, that respect has been slowly leaking away…. and today I decided to do something about it. If you are in the same position, I strongly urge you to contact Onetel and let them know how you feel. You can reach them here. Good luck.

We’re off hillwalking this weekend to a tiny little place called Milton of Clova. Apparently there is not much there except hills… might be fun? Let’s see if the weather holds out….

filles at 10:20 am

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April 14, 2005

a baking kind of a day…

I’ve baked a lemon & ginger loaf; a chocolate & zucchini cake; a blueberry and ginger gateau and 4 dozen lemon and ginger cookies today, and, I have another lemon & ginger loaf to bake first thing in the morning and a raspberry and yogurt gateau for Friday….

Hungry? No, neither am I. It’s all in aid of the MS Cake Break Day – supposed to be Friday the 15th, but because we’re going hillwalking, I’m holding my cake bake tomorrow Thursday the 14th of April. If you’re interested you can buy a slice for a donation of £1 (or as much as you are willing to donate) and my cakes will be available from No. 36 – Julie’s B&B and from The Rug Rooms on Otago St.

I picked all new recipes for this exercise figuring that if I was going to invest 3 days in the activity (shopping; baking; and delivering) then it may as well be for something new. Now cookies you can taste quite easily, so I did. I’ve eaten about 9 of them throughout the day, and I can safely assure you that they are wonderful. Light, tasty and crisp. Exactly how a cookie should be. The cakes however are another story. I can’t really dig a hole into the cakes to test them out so they’re all still a bit of a mystery, except that is, the chocolate one. The chocolate cake I managed to a cut a sliver off just to make sure it was cooked all the way through. Not for me you understand, strictly professional. I think it was okay, very chocolatey – which can only be good. The rest I’ll just have to trust are ok. They’re all very dense. Definitely getting your moneys worth.

In between all this baking, I managed to dash out to the cinema to see ‘Sahara’. Definitely not an intellectual movie; definitely not an arty movie; but definitely lots of fun. For all the formula smiles, romance, and story, it wasn’t too badly affected and indeed was actually a great way to spend an afternoon between baking cakes.

Tomorrow is a Play, a Pie, and a Pint at Oran Mor with Robbie Coltrane. Strange thing is, while I was waiting for my last loaf to cool down this evening I switched the box onto ITV3 and there he was, Robbie Coltrane in ‘Cracker’. Strange no?

filles at 12:30 am

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April 11, 2005

temporary theme

i’ve had a few comments on the new look… too hard to read, like the old page better, etc,etc, so I’ve plonked this stylesheet on for the moment, let me know if this is any better, before I start customising it….

filles at 5:43 pm

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Mangos on the weekend

One thing I miss about Australia is summer fruits. Not only the taste, but the smell. Whenever we go to visit mum, on the way home from the airport we would stop at the fruit stand at the bottom of the glasshouse mountains. You’d know you were in Australia because people choose their fruit by picking it up and smelling it. Mangos, pineapple, paw paw. The smells are amazing. In Montreal and here in Glasgow, tropical fruits just don’t smell, they have to travel from so far away I guess they get picked unripe and are supposed to ripen on the journey, but somewhere along the way the smell just disappears from the flesh.

Last Thursday I was dashing about in Roots & Fruits with 2 minutes to spare before closing, and the staff were busy around me restacking the shelves for the following day. On the ground I almost tripped over a tray of ripe, orange coloured mangos. Just out of habit, I picked one up and took a big sniff. It smelt. Of mango! I was so surprised I bought two of them. Now the smell wasn’t very strong, but it was definitely there.

I got home, unpacked the shopping, put the mangos in the fruit bowl and carried on.

The weekend was busy. Sandra was around Friday evening for dinner, which went well. We had been planning this meal forever, it was the first Friday night free we both had simultaneously available since January. I attempted another curry from scratch, this time a lamb, cashew and coconut curry with spiced basmati rice. It was good. Very good. We all had seconds, which subsequently meant that desert was delayed, and then unfortunately, forgotten. So no mangos.

Saturday morning we had dashed about getting ready for our big neighbourhood exercise, so we brunched at Stravaign on Gibson St. The full-on cooked Scottish breakfast. Great breakfast, sadly though, no mango. Saturday afternoon we were meeting a young couple who have just moved to Glasgow, Madeline and Dave for a pint. One pint turned into 3, and with much laughter we invited them home with us for homemade pizza and golf on the telly(!). Dessert was offered, strawberries or mango? Strawberries? ok. Oops, no mango. Sunday morning, hangover in place, Michelle left to play golf at 7.45am, I stumbled about, straightened the house, cleaned the kitchen, and decided the last thing I felt like doing was cooking breakfast. I called Julie, and left a message for Michelle on her mobile to meet us at the Observatory for brunch. Always good. BLT with a pint. Again, no mangos.

Sunday night we cleaned ourselves up and headed off to the Royal Concert Hall to see Rufus Wainwright. Despite the first 2 or 3 songs that were mumbled off to the side of the stage, it was a brilliant night. Rufus seemed to come into his own by about halfway through the show, he received a couple of standing ovations, and that was even before him and his entire band decided to strip and do another couple of numbers in their jock straps and bras…. (yep, bras even for the men!) Really good. He’s not your average body pumped Montreal gayman, but once he smiles, he could be Brad Pitt for all the audience cared. There’s character and talent there, in abundance.

Anyway, because of our late and very large brunch, we figured we’d eat a small dinner when we got home from the concert. How late could it be? Starting at 7.30, no support, should be home be 9.30pm… hmmm. Concert was delayed till 8pm. Joan as Police Woman opened, she was good, laughing to herself throughout, then an amazing 2 hour set with Rufus. We ended up picking up some noodles on the way home at midnight. Again, no mangos.

Now it’s Monday morning. I’ve prepared Michelle’s lunch and was looking about for what I could give her for breakfast. Clementines, kiwi, banana, and oh look…. mangos! I gave her half, added some yoghurt and sent her off on her day. I sat down with the other half and a paper towel and went for it.


I’m going to pop by Roots and Fruits today to see if they have any more. I could make some Mango sauce, they’re so good.

filles at 10:03 am

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April 7, 2005

Somethings got my goat…

Well the photos are back, thanks to JD, still having problems with the comments code though. If you get a chance can you try and post a comment, let me know if you are unable to or if you get some wierd looking code afterwards…

Other than that things are pretty busy around here. I am working on a project for our neighbourhood which is taking up quite a bit of time. Our city council has proposed a resident parking scheme to “assist” us with our parking problems. What’s happening is that because we are so close to the city centre, and have free street parking, most of the commuters to Glasgow choose to use our streets as one big parking lot. Unfortunately, as is want to happen, the council have taken our concern, twisted it into a money making exercise for themselves and presented a scheme that will cost us plenty but will not really do much to relieve the problem. Me in my infinite wisdom, decided to get involved. I couldn’t just write my own objection letter to the council….nope, I wrote a couple of letters expressing various views and distributed them through the neighbourhood email system and am organising a print run and mail delivery run this weekend. Like we don’t have enough to do!

Tough huh!

The problem is that it’s just such a shame. That, and the fact that they’ve dangled a carrot in front of us, giving us a certain period in which to respond to the scheme, and of all the residents in the area, I found out today that only a tiny % have actually taken the opportunity to voice their opinions. What would you do? The council want to put in metered parking from 8am to 10pm, 7 DAYS A WEEK! Can you believe their nerve? The place is empty before 9am and after 5pm and all weekend… so the only money they’ll be getting outside business hours is that of the residents!

It annoys me no end.

So that’s what I’m doing this weekend. Delivering objection letters to local residents that they can sign and forward, or use to draft their own. It’s almost as stressful as work.

Hope you have a stressfree, sunny weekend. And, if you live in any of the 9 areas affected in Glasgow, and need a pre-drafted objection letter covering all the issues, please get in contact with me. I have a few spares!

filles at 10:50 pm

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April 6, 2005

My new home

I hope you like it. There will probably be a few bugs over the next couple of weeks but I’ll be working hard to try and eliminate them, one by one. Right now I’m trying to find where all my pictures have gone from the posts…. Let me know if you see anything else strange (or don’t see something, as the case may be) I’m sure there will be a few different glitches depending on which browser you use. Don’t be shy. Post a comment and let me know what you think…

filles at 9:13 am

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