Wednesday, 25 November 2015


In the supermarket recently I met someone whom I know. In fact in Stornoway it is impossible not to meet someone one knows but that's another matter. She knows me well enough to know that I have been spending a lot of time recently working at, or ferrying people to and from,  the house my son, Gaz, is building 15 miles away from where I live. Add to that the fact that I've been away in Glasgow and am also having work done at my own house and have a number of other things happening at the moment and my time has been pretty well occupied.

"Well, it will fill in the long winter days for you and they won't drag."

Now here's the thing. Never in my life since I was a child can I ever recall time 'dragging'. In fact I've never had enough time in my life to achieve all that I want to achieve. The fact that I always have too many things on the go at any one time and am not the fastest thinker on the planet when it comes to writing and so on probably contributes to what appears to be a lack of time.

So far I have used 'I' ten times but the thing is it's not really about 'I', it's about lifestyle and modern life and, so far as I can see with many friends it is a shared situation. 

After all what is 'real life'? Those of us who are retired fill our lives in many and varied ways. Some fellow bloggers demonstrate that: YP walks miles, takes photos and blogs; Adrian walks miles, crawls around in murky places and takes photos of landscapes and bugs and fungi and anything else that takes his fancy and then spends hours working out how to find new ways to play with his photographs; Frances writes, campaigns and falls off her horse. I could go on and I realise that many of the blogs I follow are not written by 'retirees' and I know that those I have mentioned have lots of life outwith the bits that I've mentioned.

The last few months have made me wonder, though, what actually defines the reality of having a busy life in retirement. I know people who are members of societies; people who campaign; people who work for charitable causes; people who spend much time looking after grandchildren.

I sometimes feel ashamed that I do none of those things and yet I still feel that I have a 'real' life. 

Anyway as a result of my temporary journey into the real life of 'working' my 'other real life' in Blogland is getting neglected. Hopefully that situation will soon be remedied and, as Arnie said "I'll be back.".

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It's That Time Again

This year seems to have been unbelievably and very enjoyably busy.  Recently I've been helping my son, Gaz, who is having a house built on the Island and who is doing some of the work himself which has it's difficulties for someone who is away sailing around the world for a living two months out of every four. This is, and has for several generations been, a very common situation for the men on this Island.

Anyway we had Sunday off and I decided that it was time to make the first two of the six Christmas cakes I make. It's a very rewarding experience and it starts the day before when the fruit is soaked in brandy overnight. It then takes most off the following day because they are baked for a long time at a low heat.

They might not look very appealing now but after six weeks of being fed with brandy and then iced they should be quite edible.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Summer Time is Over

Here but started There. So instead of being 11 hours ahead of Scotland, New Zealand is now 13 hours ahead. This morning should have been much lighter but I was rather upset to realise that it was still dark enough to had to put the lights on when I got up.

So it's alter the clocks morning. I used to have a list of them. Then I realised that many of the devices in the house alter their time automatically these days. The computers, cellphones, televisions, radios, phones, central heating, weather station, radio controlled clocks and probably other things I've forgotten about or take for granted all change automatically. That just leaves me with about six 'ordinary' clocks and my watches to alter manually. 

It's a far cry from my youth when there was the living room and dining room clocks and individual watches to be wound and altered and that was it. Well apart from my early childhood when there was a weights driven clock in my bedroom (which wasn't as ornate as the one on the left).

Thinking about it our timepieces then were not only fewer in number but they were a lot greener: no batteries and they were repairable (and, I have to admit, far less reliable).

Friday, 23 October 2015

Safari Day 7: The Last Day

Who could ever have dreamt that a simple comment by Pauline on a blog back in heaven knows when could have led to the safaris that Pauline and I have undertaken and the friendship that has ensued. However all good things come to an end and in this case the seven day safari (but not, I hasten to add, the friendship) was over almost as suddenly as it begun when I met Pauline off the plane in Inverness. It was a glorious Sunday. Pauline was to leave on the Monday for her brother's 'down South'  (of England not Down Under) and then for more exotic parts of the globe. I had to leave on the Sunday afternoon for a hospital appointment in Ayr first thing the following morning.

So I thought I would show Pauline Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The sky was a bit hazy when we arrived (along with hundreds of other people) but after a while the sun broke through and cleared the mist away and it was actually very warm: a perfect end to the safari.