1 EAGLETON NOTES: Monday Meanderings

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Monday, 29 June 2020

Monday Meanderings

Sunday is the last day of the week. It's usually, in normal times, a day when I'm at home. So I've got into the habit of making it my bedding change day and the day when I do all my washing - usually 4 loads. Thank heaven for a heat-exchange tumble drier which uses virtually no electricity because it has no heating elements. Drying clothes on the Island without a tumble drier is very weather dependent and I like my routine rather than being dictated to by the weather.

Now that's about as boring a start to a post as I've ever made. And that's saying something.

I've been in a bit of a lacklustre mood for the last few days. The weather has been really crappy recently (to use a meteorological term) so I've not done much in the garden. However the varnishing of all the garden furniture is now making more progress in the workshop. 

However I got a message this morning:

My brother, CJ aka Scriptor Senex, who has been my inspiration for a lot of things decided in his mid 60s to grow his hair long and have a queue (or were they braided?) or pony tail. Whatever, that is definitely not my style and, despite having relatively little hair, what there is is now long and unruly and undesirable. So in 17 sleeps I shall, once, again return to a degree of hairtorial (Why is there no such word? There should be.) normality. [Added later. Of course the word is 'tonsorial'. It suddenly came to me.]

I'm glad that after a number of revisions in the Blogger interface it seems to be possible to position photos to one side and type around them now.
   
I found the shell of a  Blackbird's egg by my front door this morning. The Blackbirds nest about 100 yards away from my house so how does an egg shell find its way here? Yet another mystery. 

48 comments:

  1. Manetorial sounds good. My hair is long again I am fancying a perm.

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  2. It is not surprising you have been in a lacklustre mood with this recent horrible weather. Same here.
    Perhaps the empty egg shell was discarded from the nest and blown around your garden by the gales?

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    1. JayCee, the nest is in the trees of another house at least 100 yards away with a lot of stuff in between so it's not a direct 'blowing path' and the shell was just over half a shell as it would have been when the chick hatched. It would have usually have been destroyed by being blown such a distance I would have thought. But then I can think of no other explanation and when the Blackbird threw the shell out of the nest when tidying up it might just have been caught on an updraught and blown over my (very tall) garage and workshop.

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    2. Ah! No. The wind virtually never blows from the South East here. Another theory bites the dust. Perhaps the Blackbird bought it over as a gift because it was found just by where I leave their thrice daily gift of raisins.

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  3. That was kind of Louise to send you the hair appointment message Graham. After all, the burghers of Stornoway don't want any hippies in their Presbyterian paradise. To fit in more seamlessly with the locals, perhaps you should ask Louise to dye your hair and beard ginger. Tell her not to forget the eyebrows nor other more intimate hairy areas.

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    1. It was, indeed, YP. Louise has been cutting my hair for years but it shows what a small place Stornoway is. She knows my daughter-in-law's cousin so asked her to ask Carol. There's no such thing as a secret or anonymity here. I'm puzzled by the 'ginger' reference. I can't ever recall seeing a local with ginger hair. although I know of an incomer (came the same time as I did) who has a fabulous head of red hair as did her late husband. Red-haired people rarely have red eyebrows by the way. They tend to be blond.

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    2. Perhaps Yorkshire thinks you live in Ireland?

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    3. Scotland boasts the highest percentage of natural redheads, with 13% (40% might carry the gene there) while Ireland comes in second with 10%.

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    4. Yorkshire has just earned his rap name: Three Percent is in the houuuuuuuuuse!

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  4. Actually writing about the drier was interesting, something I may look into as currently I wash when the weather dictates - and always at night so that it is done by morning and uses electricity at the lower rate.

    Is this on the 'new' blogger interface that you can position the photos? I haven't tried it yet, I don't like changes much when it comes to computers etc...

    I think the weather has a huge impact on how we feel. Although haven't had the rain, the weather has been blustery and at times very overcast the last few days and I feel washed out and lethargic as a result. Mind you not sleeping probably hasn't helped!

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    1. Serenata, I only have single tariff electricity. I could use a dishwasher, washing machine (but not the drier as well because I wouldn't get up in the middle of the night to empty and load) but I have nothing else which would use off-peak electricity. Even my bathroom electric under-floor heating is on during the day because that's when I use the bathroom.

      I've used the 'new' blogger interface since it was introduced. I woke up one morning and there it was - installed. I've found it fine although various things have altered since it was introduced and the photos can be a bit awkward. The only irritation I had was word wrap on the photos. I think the alterations may have been made to make the blogs more easily usable on tablets and phones.

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  5. GB, I'm not sure if you are making a joke about your "heat exchange" dryer having no heating element... in other words it's not working properly, or if a "heat exchange" dryer means that it takes warm air from something else and uses it to dry the clothing?

    I imagine (in my romantic brain) that if I lived on the coast of an isle in Scotland, I'd hang my clothes in the outside air to dry, so that I could smell the salt air in them... but of course the weather and strength of said ocean winds would probably put the kibosh on that fancy, when put to the test.

    Do post photos of your new haircut, when you get it!

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    1. Marcheline, the heat exchange drier works in the way that any heat source pump does as far as I know and draws heat from the surrounding air ie it's a fridge in reverse. The only significant electricity used is to drive the drum. I'm sure that, like many, you could dry your clothes in the great outdoors on some days ie not when there's a gale and not when there are the doldrums in the summer with myriads of midges. Many people have done so for centuries and still do. But for centuries that was what the women did whilst the men went and earned a crust, went out to the boat to fish or tended the croft. Everyone worked very hard. People now have a different view of life on the whole.

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    2. Och, aye - I know all about crusts and them that earns 'em. It's just that to the wistful mind, a Scottish oceanside breeze would be just the thing for making clothing smell fresh. As for life on the whole, I do my best to stay away from the whole in the middle. Stick to the crusts, I say. They're hard earned.

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  6. Like Serenata, I didn't find the start of your post boring. My bed sheets get changed on Saturdays or Fridays, depending on whether I am at home (Saturdays) or travel to O.K.'s for the weekend on a Friday evening after work. I have never owned a dryer in my life, and living in a moderate climate, all my washing usually dries on the clothes horse within a day or over night.
    I wonder how I am going to cope with the new blogger interface. So far, I am still on the old one, waiting for the switch happening automatically.

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    1. PS: Here is my theory about the blackbird's eggshell. Do you have squirrels? Do you have crows/rooks/magpies? All of them like the eggs of smaller birds for a tasty snack and could have nicked one from the nest, carried it nearer your place to eat it in peace, and left bits of the shell behind.

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    2. Meike, I have central heating and even in winter my house is around a steady 22ºC. I have a largish house for one person but I'd be hard pressed to dry all my washing without doing it several times a week and having washing scattered everywhere. That's just not me.

      If I'm fine with the new Blogger interface you surely will be. To be honest I've found hardly any difference in user terms apart from the word wrap on photos. I'm pretty happy with it on the whole. I just woke the day after it was introduced and discovered I was on it. It didn't even occur to me that I could revert to the old one.

      Your theory about the Blackbird eggshell is by far the most likely so far. There are no squirrels on the Island and no Magpies but we do have Hooded Crows. They are, as you know, very intelligent (and horrible) creatures. I managed to find a way to prevent that getting at my bird food and after a concerted effort a few years ago I've hardly ever seen one in my garden this year. But they do visit occasionally. One could have raided the nest and brought the egg over here and the wind could have then blown it nearer the house (a Crow would never come up to my front door). I think I'll have to go with that theory for the moment. Thanks.

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  7. I am now almost able to sit on my hair. I might just take some scissors to it later :)

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    1. You've taken me back a long time, Jules, to happy memories.

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  8. My hairdresser sent me a text message too the week before she reopened (1 June). (Actually also when she closed back in the spring.) She must have saved my phone number from a previous appointment. Anyway I managed to get a drop-in haircut on her first day back. She was then wearing a face visor like those used in the intensive care wards...

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    1. Monica, I think it will be face visors and mask for hairdressers and a mask for customers here in Scotland. Generally speaking men's hairdressers in the UK don't operate appointments.

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  9. I went to get my haircut. I was nervous but I made sure I was the first one there and I wore a mask and my hairdresser wore a mask. My hair had been a mess but the day that I went to the hairdresser for a haircut...it somehow magically looked good! "Did you see her hair when she came in", she said to the hairdresser next to her.
    She asked me was I going somewhere, did I want her to cut it dry, so as not to mess up my hair. SAY WHAT? So, that meant she hardly cut any of my hair, and now it is mess again. WHY did it look good that day? Well, I've learned if you don't fix your hair the way you normally have it, the hairdresser will do what she likes with it.
    SO...see how exciting MY life is?
    I really like to get my haircut when I visit England, there is a great lady who comes to my inlaws house and she does that for us too. Wish I could ship her over here!

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    1. Kay, ladies' hairdressing has always been a complete mystery to me. I also learned over 50 years ago never to say anything when a lady had just got her hair cut. Wait until the next day if you are going to pay a compliment and if you are not then say nothing.

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  10. Happy Hair Cut!
    Why bird egg shells fly is another mystery of the universe.

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  11. The eggshell was a lovely gift, however it was sent to you! I'm having trouble imagining you scruffy and in need of a tidy up. Or with laundry scattered around the house. The best part of a small community is that personal touch such as you received from Louise.

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    1. Pauline, the eggshell was a lovely gift and it sitting next to me as I type. You are right about the laundry - that's one good reason for getting it all done and dried and away in one day. The only place that sees it is the utility room although I do my ironing in the kitchen looking out over my sea view. And, yes, small communities have wonderful advantages.

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  12. I, too, have been in a bit of a lacklustre mood of late. The past week here has been a bit chilly, making it difficult to get out of bed...or making me not have the desire to get out. My two furry mates are very happy having me as their personal hot water bottle...so they're not complaining; complaining when I do dare to move and get out of bed!

    I've not been to a hairdresser in well over 20 years....I cut my own hair, so the present "lock-down" restrictions, etc., haven't upset my normal routines. In that, I guess, I am fortunate.

    Take good care, Graham...and, take note...you are never boring! :)

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    1. Lee, I think the weather affects us more than we are prepared to admit as a rule. I think, too, that your idea of chilly and mine (when I'm here in Scotland) are different. To me 16ºC is warm when I'm here. When I'm on the croquet lawns in New Zealand 30ºC is warm. I can't imagine what you think of as warm and cold.

      I trim my own beard but that's at the front of my face and I can both reach it and see what I'm doing.

      My psyche was scarred 40+ years ago when a friend called me a boring old fart and the words have lived with me ever since.

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    2. If I am the one feeling cold, then I am the one who is feeling it, Graham; no one is feeling it on my behalf, or vice versa. This little abode in which I dwell is a hot box, a heated oven during summer, and an ice box in winter.

      It's all relative, of course. I prefer our winters here than the heat and humidity of our summers. At least in winter one can rug up to be warm. Last week our temperatures up here on the hill/plateau/mountain ranged between 2C in the mornings up to 18C. The past couple of days they've not been as low...still chilly, but not as much. My two furry mates class me as their own personal hot water bottle! :)

      Summer will arrive soon enough...too soon for my liking! :)

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  13. It's nice to start Monday off with a meander.

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  14. Not remotely borely Graham, in fact it is strangely comforting to find we share certain rituals 😊. I cannot abide laundry draped around the house for days . . .

    Most birds will take the egg shell from their offspring and drop it quite some distance from the nest - avian housekeeping. It is a way of keeping their location hidden from predators, and given the recent weather I would not be surprised if your Blackie has had a second brood, which would explain the shell.

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    1. Thank you Jayne. Blackie has had a second brood. His partner and their first brood all come to my garden for their treats and I can tell when Blackie or Mrs B are going to feed offspring because they load up and then shoot off in the direction of the nest. Otherwise they look around and fly or hop off in any random direction. The shell was exactly where the Blackbirds come to feed so what you said makes perfect sense. I've seen the Sparrows shove the old eggs out of the nesting box I have for them but it never occurred to me that they took the eggs away afterwards. The Magpies in a friend's garden on the mainland just keep watch to see where the birds are going and then follow them. A Robin had made a nest in the rockery and it was obviously doomed from the start because the Magpie could reach down to it with its long beak.

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  15. Cheers Graham, I have had success in the past with ground feeding protection cages (such as www.arkwildlife.co.uk/product/ground-feeder-cage) if placed around a nest early enough in the process that the birds accept the disturbance (ie when they are still building, and before the eggs are laid). Have not used the company I’ve linked to, but theirs was the best example I could find.

    PS: just re-read my comment. What the heck is “borely”? My brain said boring, clearly my fingers had other ideas.

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    1. Thanks, Jayne for your suggestion about the protection cages. I shall pass that on to my friend. I've never found any nests in my garden. The sparrows nest in the box and have a whole colony in my roof. Scottish roofs are very different to traditional English construction so the birds have no entry to my rood space.
      I knew exactly what "borely" meant! 😂

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  16. PPS: if you do try the cage thing, you may have to get quite creative with cable ties and other fixings! But it is definitely worth it to know yo’ve protected a nest 🐣

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    1. Jayne, I've noted your PPS. I use cable ties to foil the Hooded Crows who can otherwise open my fat ball holder. I don't know what I did before cable ties.

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  17. We often used to find parts of an eggshell (even a whole egg sometimes) out in the middle of a paddock. I could never understand how they could possibly get there, and put it down to being one of natures great mysteries :)

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    1. Margaret, the whole egg is a mystery although it was obviously placed there or it would have broken if dropped. As you say, one of nature's mysteries.

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  18. Your brother's haircut kinda sounds like a mullet??? But as for the bird's egg, she probably couldn't hold on and thought your doorstep would be nice and safe and that would you would respect her baby.

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    1. Amy, my brother just doesn't have his hair cut into anything. He ties is back into a sort of pony-tail. A mullet needs a decent amount of body in the hair. I despair.

      I love your idea for the bird's egg. I might love and respect it but I'm not sure that bringing up a baby bird (or a baby of any kind) would be my forté now.

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  19. What may have sounded like a boring post start, Graham, was just describing what most of us need to do on a weekly basis. Living in an apt now, we have shared laundry facilities on each floor. My best time is early morning and then I have the rest of the day to do other things, although admittedly most days seem quite the same lately.

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    1. Beatrice, so much of our lives are, of necessity, repetitive and boring. The secret is to make the most of the rest of life, I guess. Or, of course, one might even enjoy the boring routine as a change and rest from the hectic part of life.

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  20. I prefer to do a load of laundry every two or three days than do it all at once. When my kids were all in school I would wash all the uniforms on Saturday and even with a good washing machine it took ages, plus more line space than I actually had available.
    Laundry is boring but we all have to do it so it makes a reliable talking point!

    I'm sure some of your doldrums will pass when your hair is the way you like it

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    1. Kylie, the doldrums have long gone despite the weather being very unseasonal. Laundry is boring but it doesn't take long to load washing machines and tumble driers. It's just the ironing and that's usually over by lunchtime. The beauty is that I can listen to music when I'm ironing.

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