Saturday, 7 July 2018

Duvet Decisions

When I was a child we had sheets and blankets on our beds. The top cover was either a rug or an eiderdown which was easily discarded in hot weather. What is an eiderdown? It's a quilt originally filled with down from of the eider duck and used on top of the blankets.

In 1964, just 6 years before I married, Conran introduced duvets (otherwise known as 'downies' or 'continental quilts' in the UK , 'comforters' in the US and 'doonas' in Australia). We bought our first duvet in Edinburgh before we married. I have never slept under anything other than a duvet since.

The only slight disadvantage to duvets over blankets is that one has to keep a variety of different warmths (ie tog ratings) for different weather. I'm fortunate to live in a well-insulated and generally warm house but I like a cool bedroom.  I use a 13.5 tog duvet in the winter and a 4.5 in the warmest weather (ie at the moment). 

Okay, so this is looking like a really boring post. Indeed it is a really boring post. The excitement comes when guests are arriving. Which duvet should I put on their bed? I can choose from togs 4.5, 7.5, 10 or 13.5.  Now there's a First World decision for me.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Calm Sea

The Minch at its calmest.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Crossed Legs

I was brought up in a family where good manners and consideration for others were paramount. I never, well hardly ever, put my elbows on the table, I never started eating before everyone was served at table, and so on. I always raised my school cap, and later my hat, to ladies (I usually still do to some extent). On a pavement/sidewalk I walked on the outside of a lady. I certainly never ate my peas off the front of the fork (ie with the tines upwards like a spoon) - not even when no one was looking.

I was encouraged not to cross my legs because it was bad for blood flow.

It was my duty to help infirm people across the road or run errands for elderly neighbours and offer one's seat on the tram or bus to a lady or an elderly person.

In other words I had a 'good upbringing' from that point of view. And, just for the record, in most other ways too I'm fortunate to be able to say.

Early in my working life I did a lot of protocol work so had to be aware of a lot of diplomatic and royal protocol. In those days it seemed really to matter.

At my maternal grandfather's dinner table as a child I never spoke until I was spoken to. In my Mum and Dad's house, however, we were encouraged at mealtimes to say what we had to say. Protocol/ manners were changing and I think that at the tender age of about six I realised that that things were changing and that things would always be changing.

It was when I first went to France that I realised how quaint people thought the way Brits ate their peas was. Now, except where I'm on my best behaviour I eat my peas using the American way and turn my fork over. Sorry. Standards are slipping.

What prompted this post was seeing a headline a few days ago which said that The Duchess of  Sussex had 'disrespected the Queen' by crossing her legs in the Queen's company I realised just how much these things no longer matter to me and, I suspect, to most of the rest of the world. And just how bad some news reporting is. I think my Mum and Dad would agree with me.

By the way there was no disrespect at all by the Duchess. The reason legs are not crossed by Royalty is simply so that photographers don't get photos of their underwear.

Saturday, 23 June 2018


I had often wondered why odd trees are left standing when a forest is harvested. It's only recently that I discovered the answer.