Wednesday, 24 May 2006

When are you going to die?!

I am going to die at 82. When are you? Click here to find out!


I AM here on this planet but want to live in this world not just be here.
I WANT get to where I'm going and enjoy the view when I get there.
I WISH I would do what needs to be done to move on to the next stage.
I MISS my mind.
I HEAR but don't always listen!
I WONDER if anybody would notice if I wasn't here.
I REGRET not following through.
I AM NOT in the realm of reality.
I DANCE with all my heart.
I AM NOT ALWAYS a nice person. I wish I was but I'm not.
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS pretty things, practical things, a mess...
I WRITE what I wish someone would say to me but they've gone and they're unlikely to reply in the way that would make me happy.
I CONFUSE reality and fantasy.
I NEED a kick up the fucking arse!
I SHOULD stop and think before I do anything.
I FINISH nothing unless I really have to.
I TAG anyone.

Sunday, 16 April 2006

Having a little break...

...for a wee while. Not quite sure how long the break will be but I have a lot of stuff going on over the next while so I just need to take a step back and refocus. Hopefully I won't be away for too long.

Later babes

Saturday, 1 April 2006

Secret Pal 7 scores again!

I had a very pleasant surprise when I got back from offshore yesterday - yet another parcel from my Secret Pal. I think we can safely say that I scored as in the parcel was a pretty card, some marigold seeds (which grow really well in our garden), a chocolate pretzel (now eaten), a Brittany crochet hook no less (just in time for me to learn to do some more crochet), a little notebook, a Lantern Moon sheep tape measure (they are so cute) and a skein of gorgeous Jaggerspun in a rusty orange colour.

The yardage in the skein is fantastic so I can easily foresee a nice wrap or shawl, perhaps even the Ene shawl from Scarf style could be a possibility. We shall have to think about it. The colour fits in ace with the way my wardrobe colours are going. Being a wool/silk mix it is very soft. A delicate 40's style camisole could be another possibility. Pondering...

Thank you very much SP for a'thing. It's been really lovely to get little treats from across the pond. I look forward to the great reveal...

P.S. And my SP was Mary Ellen from Webster, New York. You can find her at . She's been great. Thanks Mary Ellen.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

When I go to work...

...I get to go in one of these.

I get to wear this on the chopper...

I land on this bit...

...and in June I'm off to here for a couple of trips.

The sort of thing that thousands of guys are doing every day in locations all over the world...but hardly any women. It's nice to stand out - most of the time!


Abby is one of Robert's (many) nicknames for me - it's short for abnormal...

You Are 48% Abnormal

You are at medium risk for being a psychopath. It is somewhat likely that you have no soul.

You are at high risk for having a borderline personality. It is very likely that you are a chaotic mess.

You are at medium risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is somewhat likely that you are in love with your own reflection.

You are at medium risk for having a social phobia. It is somewhat likely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement.

You are at low risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is unlikely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.

Sunday, 26 March 2006


I've just added a Flickr photo album to the side bar. Seems a fun way to add more of my photos but I really don't think it'll take long to get to my upload limit each month. We shall see how the experiment goes. I'm becoming quite snap happy with my new camera. It looks like the photography juices are going again...!

Saturday, 25 March 2006

Saturday, part two!

Think I've reached the end of my birthday blast for this year - I did a little stash enhancement. Approriately enough some of the purchasing happened to be from Stash. They had SWTC Karoke on offer at 40% off and since I've wanted to try it for a while it just seemed like kismet. I was able to use up the last of the credit in my Paypal account so it only cost me another £15 of real money. The other spending happened at one of the best online stores MacAree Brothers in Stirling. Postage is free once you spend a fiver - so in other words buy a ball of wool and you've got free postage, not hard! They had some Paton's Bella tape yarn (not worm!) in orange - I've got big into orange since I've discovered it's a colour that really seems to suit me - for a whole £1.15 a ball. How ace is that? I got some Regia sock yarn as well - not to knit socks but to make fingerless gloves. Sock yarn is brilliant for fingerless gloves since it's so hardwearing and the self-patterning stuff gives you some really funky gloves. It should probably give me enough for a wee hat as well. I like fingerless gloves for when I'm out taking photos. I did get some bamboo DPN's, a ball of Cracksilk Haze (for a pressie) and a ball of Biggy Print to make a hat. Do you think that's enough for now? All new stash has been added to existing stash - shush! dinna tell anybuddy...

I have finished a few things as well. Ali gave me a copy of the Booga Bag pattern so I used some Jaeger dusky pink wool that I got ages ago on Ebay that was too scratchy to be worn next to the skin but has felted rather well instead. It has got me thinking of some other ideas for making other felted bags. Might do one as a present for a friend very shortly - ideas are fermenting in my heid!

Made myself a pair of cosy wristwarmers as well with the Biggy Print I got from my SP. As I had a few oddments left over from each ball I cast on for a hat to match then got another ball to finish it off properly. Looking promising.

George "helped" me with my knitting the other night by lying very cosily in the gap between me and the arm of the chair. When he's tired and sleepy he's very cute however when he's in a bouncy mood then he doesn't help with my knitting as there are far too many interesting things for him to attack.

Sometimes he's just a little chancer as we can see hear from the "is that pizza I see before me? Gimme, gimme, gimme!"

Last night we watched "Walk the Line". I did want to see this film in the pictures so I could appreciate the soundtrack on a big sound system but it's probably just as well we watched it at home as I cried...twice. Robert extracted the Micheal of course but he's not very good at being soppy. I thought Joaquin Phoenix was amazing and captured the true spirit of the crazyness of Cash. I love Johnny Cash, and have done for years. We had a good session of working our way through my Cash albums after the film, especially the Folsom and San Quentin prison albums. And of course Hurt is a fantastic cover with one of the saddest, most emotional videos ever. Brilliant. Might have to buy the DVD when it comes out here - Dennis bought his copy from the States.

Getting hungry now - time to put on pizza, watch some telly and go do some knitting. Robert's away out for the night to the Four Mile, a boy's night really. I should have gone in some ways as it's quite an historic night in Scotland - it's the last night folk can legally smoke in pubs and public places. After 5 years of working in smoking cessation and health promotion it's fantastic to think that I have been involved in bringing the legislation in, along with thousands of others. After years of working in bars and restaurants when I was a student I know just what it's like to work in that smokey environment and I think it's fantastic that Scotland is making an effort to change it's health record. So come 6am tomorrow morning, Sunday 26th March, Scotland becomes a nation of smoke-free public places. We might still have a crap diet, be in the top three for heart disease and be in the top five for pretty much any disease under the sun but we're trying and we've got to start somewhere. Ye dancer!

Saturday, part one!

Today was the day that we picked up my secondhand greenhouse to go in the garden and we really couldn't have picked a more miserable day to do it. It pished down, we got soaked and filthy, and I have to say it was worth it. First we had to dismantle the thing in the guy's back garden which wasn't the easiest job due to a lack of space around the thing - plus we didn't want to break any panes of glass (I managed to break a corner off one by the end of the day but it wasn't bad going). I got the the job of tripping out to the lorry with the glass while Robert unclipped them all. The guy also gave us the staging, a hose, and a stack of pots in with the price as well - £80 for the lot. I thought it was quite apt to use more of the moeny I got from Granny for it since she spent an awful lot of time in the garden.

It's an aluminium frame so should manage to withstand the sea spray down here. We ended up having to call on Dennis' assistance to actually get the frame out of the back garden. The guy had heaps of shite in the way of getting it through onto the main road and it really was a three person job by the time we got it into the lorry - plus we needed the bigger lorry as the original one was too narrow to get the greenhouse in, oops! We have put it into position just to see if it would fit into the proper spot but we haven't put the glass back in yet. Robert wants to spray paint it just to give it that extra bit of protection. We do reckon that once George spots how warm it gets with the sun on it then he might adopt it as another cosy sleeping spot over the summer - better hold out for what approximates for summer in the north-east!

There really hasn't been a lot of sun today. It's rained since about 5 o'clock last night. There was a bit of hazy sun about 5ish tonight but...

There were some nice drops of water in aquelegia leaves...

My rhubarb is coming back to life - crumble, pie, stewed, ice cream - I love it all...

And a pic of my hebes just because I think they're real purty!

Thursday, 23 March 2006

One piece down...three to go!

And by 8 o'clock this morning I managed to complete the back of Dennis' jumper. The last few rows were done in bed while watching the BBC Breakfast News, with the odd flick across to Friends on Channel 4! Relieved to have one piece complete anyway. The pattern is much easier the more you do it. I haven't a clue how long it's going to take to do the rest of it yet. Dennis is actually popping round tomorrow morning to drop off the lorry (for picking up the new - to us - greenhouse on Saturday) so i can show him progress "in the flesh" as it were. Hope he's pleased with it.

It is a good challenge but I do have to give myself little achievable tasks for little breaks every so often - plus it's definitely not transportable for offshore. Offshore knitting has to be a lot smaller to fit into small amounts of luggage.

Sunday, 19 March 2006


Thursday night was Stitch'n'Bitch night at the Belmont and I've been wanting to take photos at it for ages but it didn't feel right to borrow Robert's camera. However now that one has her own camera that is not an issue. I must admit that I kind of gave up on knitting for the night as I couldn't concentrate and just sat and yapped instead. As always it was nice to have a good old catch-up, especially as I'll miss the next few because I'll be offshore. A jolly old time was had by all!

Gill, Claire and Isobel

Carol, Susan and Jacqui

Fast hands

Table mess



Birthday weekend

It's been a busy few days (just starting to calm down now) as I've gone through all the whole birthday business for another year. I was really good and managed to keep my Secret Pal parcel for a whole 10 days before I opened it up. It made for a lovely kniterly treat on Friday morning. I haven't even eaten the chocolate yet which is amazing for me. I have started to knit up the Biggy Print - one wristwarmer done, the next to complete to day. I do like the colours. Might have to get another couple to make a neckwarmer and hat. A great photography expedition set for keeping warm. I think my favourite thing in the whole parcel is actually the beaded row counter - I want to know how to make one of them. Send me instructions please (pretty please, grovel, grovel)! My SP sent me a birthday card as well which was really sweet. A lovely start to the day - thank you!

I got myself some birthday booty with the last of my Amazon vouchers from last year. The latest Yarn Harlot and the Debbie Stoller crochet book - lots of really nice patterns in the crochet book that I can actually see myself learning to make.

The birthday booty continued with a cute little ornament and some book tokens from my Granny. You can not go wrong with book tokens in my book. Free shopping for something that you love - ace!

Then there's a whole stack of stuff from Mum (Interweave Knits - annual subscription, bamboo DPN's and a nostepinne), jigsaw cookie cutters from Anna, memory cards and spare batteries for my digital camera from Robert, choker from Rhonda and Gus, and a photo frame from Louise and Rachel.

Pretty jewellry from Mandy - she is rather talented don't you think? She needs to get her own blog to show off all her jewellry she makes. Big it up for Mandy now - woo! woo! woo!

A cool print from Robert's folks - "Winter woolies" - his Mum though it was very apt with the knitting associations.

And a digital photography book on how to do black and white stuff from Pete. Might take a wee while before I get up to speed on that one but I'll get there.

For my birthday celebrations we went out to see Jerry Springer the Opera. It was ace - Christian Voice protestors and all! Yes, there is a lot of swearing in it but it's not nearly as bad as the protestors make out. Plus I'm not of the religious persuasion anyway - definitely an agnostic who tries to make sure that I treat people the way I wish to be treated - nothing like a basic bit of respect of people as individuals. Not into thought control. I digress - the show was ace, loved the songs and the singing was excellent. Then we met up with a few other folk as it was our pal Lindsey's birthday as well on Friday. She's 3 years younger than me so it does mean I get priority for the 40th birthday year!

Mum and Andy came up with the dogs yesterday so there was a big long walk along the beach (major photo opportunity with the new camera) and then we had dim sum for tea. Mum took up lots of homebakes of course so that keeps me and Robert happy.

Just taking it easy today - blogging, sorting out photos, deciding what to spend my birthday pennies on that I got from my brother, eating - what a life, eh!

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Nothing better...

...than sitting in front of the fire with your knitting. It was such a miserable day on Sunday, howling gales and sleet all day, that the pair of thought "sod it!" and we just holed up in the living room for the day watching films - and me doing my knitting of course.

And I have actually reached a more distinct stage in the jumper - I reached the armpits last night. Another small mistake (should have cast off 4 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows) but I misread the pattern so I have adapted another couple of slow decreases into the raglan shaping instead. It makes sense to me anyway - plus there is no chance that I am taking back rows at this stage. Far too much hassle.

S'n'B tomorrow night - think I might have to take my camera to get pics. Looking forward to it since I haven't been since January - a combination of being offshore and being snowed in!

Friday, 10 March 2006

Progress...but not much!

I'm plugging my way through the Aran jumper and have reached about a third of the way up the back. At least now I've reached the stage where the only cable pattern I have to refer to the paper pattern is the middle section and that's purely because it's a 24 row repeat pattern. Slow but steady.

Wednesday, 8 March 2006


Went up to my postbox yesterday to collect the mail and got all excited as the postie had left a card saying that I had a parcel from the USA that was too big for my postbox. I won't be able to collect it until Saturday - due to a combination of the sorting office being open rubbish hours and going offshore later on today (until Friday afternoon). To torment myself even further I'm going to keep the parcel unopened until my birthday next Friday so that I can have lots of knitterly goodness to play with. I'm very excited.

I'll be posting my last parcel to my SP this weekend as well - just need to get a couple of sweet things to add to it to finish it off. If I could put Tunnock's teacakes in that would be cool but I don't think they would survive the trip. I'm sure some Tunnock's caramel wafers and some Irn Bru sweeties should do the trick though. If she has any teeth left she'd be doing well.

Wish I could take the Aran jumper with me to do offshore but they're a bit funny about straight knitting needles so I it'll have to wait for the weekend. Sorry Dennis. I have done almost 2 complete repeats of the longest cable section and I have the rest of the pattern pretty much of pat now so it is speeding up. Robert seems to be quite impressed by the amount of effort that is going into this but I also know that Dennis is really going to appreciate it as well. It is looking pretty smart even though I do say so myself.

Time for one last practice of the stress presentation before heading to the joy that is Bristow's Heliport...

Sunday, 5 March 2006

Some knitting porn...and a peedie grain more snow!

I have finished a few things this year - just never got round to posting pictures of them. First off was the Teva Durham asymetric jumper in some Rowan Cork. Very cosy and cute but not quite warm enough for the dumps of snow we've got at the moment.

Next up was another Teva pattern from the Interweave Knits Winter magazine. I altered slightly to 3/4 length sleeves as I wanted it to be slightly more dressy. It only used 2 and a bit balls of the Paton's Cotton I got for around 70p a ball out of the Littlewood's closing down sale. It goes rather well with my Monsoon wrap dress I got in the sale for a bargain price too. The cardi was much admired at a party I went to so that was a score for me!

In time for wearing for Robert's birthday I finished Lelah, a free pattern from Knitting for Boozehags. Her original pattern doesn't have straps but being rather on the flat side in the chest department I thought it best to add some to be on the safe side. Me and boobtubes don't had a history of working together. I'm going to unpick and remove one pattern repeat out of the straps as they have lengthened slightly with blocking. Again I got heaps of compliments on this one.

Finally I finished another One Skein Wonder, although I extended the amount of rib I did so it gives more of a shawl collar effect and I added a lace repeat round the sleeves to make them slightly longer and so that it matches up with Lelah as more of a funky twinset. It think they look really cute together.

As far as Aran adventures go - I'm back up to where I ripped it back. There is a wee mistake right near the bottom but it's not nearly so noticeable. It doesn't put the panel out of sync the way the other mistake did. Time to get back to it and try and get another few repeats in before my offshore trip for this week. Might have to make some custard to go with the cherry pie Robert took him for pudding first. Choices, choices...!

P.S. Here's a couple more snow pictures. For those of you who actually have a winter every year you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about but I've only seen snow like this about two or three times in the 15 years I've been in Aberdeen. We've reached the stage where our track is nearly impassable which is not normal when you consider that we are only a few hundred metres from the sea.

Saturday, 4 March 2006

Memorial Number One

On the second of January this year my Granny finally passed away. When looking through a small suitcase she kept in a hall cupboard I found a stack of "memories" that meant something to her. Included in this collection was a speech made by one of my Dad's cousins at their Golden Wedding back in 1991. I've supplemented it with a few photos that I found in the drawers back home.

The "Family" - 1969 (Back row: (Uncle)Ian Ritch, Edwin Heddle (Grandad), Lena Heddle (Granny), Johanna & Bill Rosie, Ian Heddle (my 'paw'); Front row: (Auntie)Marion Ritch (with Phyllis on her knee), Keith & Willie Ritch, Kathleen Heddle (my 'maw') and Me - she was pregnant with Derek at the time)

The Golden Wedding of Mr & Mrs Edwin Heddle
Speech by
Fraser Murray

"Earlier tonight you might have noticed Marian speaking to me at the table first, and then Ian. Marian was ordering me not to include one of my jokes – Ian wanted to know what it was.

First of all I would like to say a special welcome to the guests who have travelled to Orkney especially for tonight.
Jackie & Mary – from Shetland;
Alan, Gwen & Sheena – from Aberdeen;
Alan & Audrey – from Canada;
Billy & Isobel, Graham & Johanna, Norman & Irene – from Thurso.
(When you are mingling later on and you find yourselves speaking to someone that you don’t understand – they’ll be the Thurso ones!)
Finally a very special welcome to Gladys – Lena’s bridesmaid of 50 years ago.

Ladies and Gentlemen. This function must be one of the best kept secrets since the Council fixed the date of the official opening of the new Burwick pier. About a month ago I got advance notice of our celebration when Ian phoned me. Our conversation followed the lines of the “Good news/Bad news” type jokes. You know the sort of thing – the good news is that you’re getting an invitation, the bad news is that we want you to make a speech. Time will tell whether it’s bad news for me or you. I did say to Ian could I not just pay for my tickets like everyone else!

Having accepted the task (I’m easily led) it started me thinking about the influence that Edwin and Lena, and indeed Voy, had on me over the years.

As a youngster, being dildered about in the back of the hatchery van at 30mph on a Sunday afternoon (it was a Bedford GT!) kids don’t normally like visiting but going to Voy was different. I could watch TV – and Lena always had good things for tea.

When I was older I stayed out for holidays and it was an amazing contrast from living in cramped conditions in the town, to having space of the countryside. I always thought Voy was posh as well. At home our living room-come-kitchen was so small you could hardly move. Voy was that big and posh that they had a sitting-room that nobody was allowed into!

When my own wedding plans were under way Edwin thought he would pass on some of his worldly experience to help me along. His own honeymoon was grand he said – because he got shortbread for breakfast – that disna last long though and it’s no long before you’re back to just bannocks. His second piece of advice was to watch out because women change – I often think, he said, o’ all the pleasant bits o’ lasses I kent when I was younger and wonder where all the awkward old buggers o’ women come fae. Then he gave me our wedding present and I looked at the label to see that it said “from Edwin & Lena” – I expected it to say from “Edwin & Wife”. He said we wouldn’t need to right away but it would come in handy after a year or so – it was an electric blanket!

Silver Wedding (Back row: Ian, Grandad, Dad; Seated: Marion, Willie, Granny, Mum)

For farmers, working and family life is very close-knit and to be successful needs co-operation and good organisation as well as delegation. Lena was left to look after the men, the sheep, the hens, the house, etc. Edwin concentrated on the larger issues like, should Britain join the Common Market. The fact that Edwin relied on Lena to do so much is illustrated by a true story. When Lena was in the advanced stages of labour at Voy (with Ian) she picked the most inconvenient time – Co-op day. Edwin was getting frustrated because the van was outside and he couldn’t find a shopping list and didn’t know himself what to buy. Resourceful as ever he just went to the foot of the stairs and shouted “wife, are ye needan anything fae the van?”

Silver Wedding - cutting the cake

It might surprise you to know that there is a bit of one-upmanship with farmers. The first time Allan came home from Canada he was trying to impress Edwin by the size of things over there. “I have one client with a farm that would take me 3 days to drive round” he boasted. “Aye” said Edwin, “I used to have a car like that as well. That’s why I started buying Fords fae Bill Rosie.” Things are changing though and he is getting more adventurous. He is now driving round in a Renault van of all things – he has an ulterior motive though as he thinks it will be easier to slip through the French farmers’ picket lines when he expands into Europe in 1992. The latest inside information is that he is thinking about buying a Honda. Lena rebelled though, saying she is far too old to wear leathers and a crash helmet. She’s since calmed down a bit now that someone told her they make cars now and not just motorbikes. Of course they always get on best when they go out for a run in the car with Lena driving. Now that they are looking at a new car the salesman asked if they would prefer a manual or an automatic. “A manual one will do fine” says Lena, “because Edwin automatically shouts at me to change gear.” Driving skills are second nature to the Heddle’s of course. I remember my Mum telling Dapa that she would be far too nervous to drive to which he replied “nonsense, if you meet anything on the road all you have to do is slow down to give them time to get out of your way.”

This has been quite a year for family get-togethers with Bobby and Thelma’s Silver Wedding, my (21st!) birthday party, and now the crowning glory of a Golden Wedding. Indeed we’ve been together on so many occasions this year that we are almost on first name terms again.

Tonight we celebrate 50 years of commitment and success in the slightly plusher surroundings of the new Standing Stones Hotel, compared to the barn dance in Deerness in 1941. For Edwin it has been a period of constant change in farming as he has had to move from one grant scheme to the next. Lena has been the rock of stability throughout – behind every successful man there is a good woman (making sure he behaves himself)! The qualities that come to mind are hard-working on the farm, in the community and on bringing up the family, caring, kind and considerate – and Edwin’s no a bad soul either.

Ruby Wedding - December 19th, 1991 (Back row: Marion, Ian, Phyllis, Willie, Keith, Derek, Mum, Dad; Seated: Allan, Gladys, Granny, Grandad)

Seriously Edwin and Lena have a lot to be proud of having brought up their own family they can now enjoy their grandchildren. I’m sure that they have been good to us all and of course that is why we are here tonight – despite the weather from all aerts – to recognise their kindness.

So Lena, lang me you continue to grow your flowers, and Edwin your tatties and keep singing Edelweiss.

I would therefore ask you all the be outstanding and drink a toast to Edwin and Lena."

Diamond Wedding - December 19th 2001 (Marion, Grandad, Dad, Granny)

Thursday, 2 March 2006

Not what I was expecting...!

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"