Thursday, 31 May 2012

Wedding Bells

No, silly, not for me. [Clears throat nervously.]

Not only do I have the excitement of DPB's visit this weekend (WHAT twice in a month?! INCONCEIVABLE. I love The Princess Bride, by the way) and you already know how much I'm looking forward to the Jubilee shenanigans (oooh, good word), but we're also going to be celebrating the wedding of two friends from our university days. 

DPB and I went to a university that is famous for the fact that so many of its alumni get married. 
You may or may not have seen pictures of this couple before:
We're kind of like these guys. Except not married.
Or royal. 
And DPB has more hair than Wills. 
And I'm blonde. And didn't do Art History. 
Erm, so not really like them at all
Although D I does have a very cool grandmother...
In fact, I distinctly remember that it was mentioned in our graduation address that a high proportion of students marries one another (oh DPB, I can almost feel you squirming in discomfort, even though you're 500 miles away... sorry, my love). Cue lots of awkward laughter.

Anyway, this weekend our lovely friends will become the latest couple in our alma mater's match-making history. Congrats, guys! We love you both!


They are probably a little bit excited too. 

It's going to be a mixture of this:
with a lot of this:
There will be morning suits (DPB). There will be high heels (also DPB. HA! Only joking.) 
There will be hats (actually, not true. I am going to be wearing what is known in the business as 'a substantial fascinator'. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.) 
There will be LOTS of awesome dance moves (East Lothian, are you ready?). 

There will also be lots of  champagne. Which will be tricky, because you know how much I hate the stuff...

There will also  hope be a ceilidh (you'll find it in the dictionary under 'the best fun you can have in Scotland').

I guarantee that I will be laughing my arse off pretty much all the time

Dear goodness, I can't wait. 
Only 2 job applications, 1 editing job, a review, 1 research proposal, and a conference to get through (in TWO days... eeps!) before I can kick back and enjoy the festivities.
Can't remember where I found this. 
 If it's your picture, let me know and I'll give you credit.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Haar Haar...

After a week of beautiful weather, for which I am so very grateful, we have reverted to a more standard British spring/summer climate i.e. soft rain and a wee bit chilly.
The scourge of late spring and summer here is the haar, a dense sea-fog that coats everything with its ghostly, clammy mist, and leaves you shivering and pulling on an extra layer.
If you're having problems visualising, it looks a bit like this:
Oh. That's not the haar, that's a dementor scene from Harry Potter. 
Silly me.
Hey ho, the effect is the same - you feel the happiness and life slowly being sucked out of you as the chill creeps into your bones...
It's lucky I'm not prone to being dramatic.
A picture of what the haar actually looks like.
The inclement weather did not put me off going for a run, however yes, a medal would be nice. I realised I haven't really spoken much about running, but it's going well. 
Thanks for asking nobody has asked, but just in case you were wondering. 
I reached a personal best the other day (I honestly can't remember what it was, but it was impressive to me and DPB). 
Guess what? You'll never guess. Lance Armstrong congratulated me personally.
I know. It was pretty spectacular. If you get/ have the Nike + thingy, he will also congratulate you personally. Sadly, I don't think it's because I'm that special.

In other news, we've been getting some new shoes...
Well, when I say 'we' I mean Princess Polly and little F Sharp.
An interesting way to spend £100. Every six to eight weeks. I should have got a goldfish instead.
Here's a nice picture of F Sharp modelling her new shoes:
Despite what it looks like in this picture, Miss F does have 4 legs
(unlike Princess P who's doing her best to destroy each one of her limbs in turn).
Just in case you were worried.
All of this excitement before 8.30am. 
Yes, 8.30am. 
'Round here, if you have a good farrier and he tells you that he's coming to shoe your horses at 7.30am, you dang well better have your horses ready for 7.30am. 
FYI: Do not try and fit in a run beforehand and then get surprised by the farrier turning up early in his van, crawling at a snail's pace behind you because you are too busy running and listening to your awesome running mix on iTunes. Ok? With a sight like that (as in: me drenched with rain, in running gear and glasses. Seriously, glasses? in the rain? I'm a crazy kid) in front of him at 7.15, it is amazing lovely Mr Farrier did not turn right round and get the heck away. Miracle.

Hope you have a lovely, non-haar-y, non-rainy day!
Oooh, just remembered that it's champagne Wednesday. YESSSSSSSSS!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Two Things

Today there are two things I would like to bring to your attention before I completely forget.

I saw this amazing short video (what? I said video. OK. FILM) here first and I think it's just incredible. 
I work with children a lot (more on that anon) and I never fail to be bowled over by their sheer creativity and imagination. 
I know the video's been doing the rounds, so apologies if you've already seen it, but I had to share:

Secondly, I think this video (there I go again. Child of the '80's, what can I say?) below is pretty great and it appeals to the hopeless romantic in me. A lot.

I first saw it here.


Sunday, 27 May 2012

Misquotations and Anniversaries

This is a long post. 

It's also a bit serious, considering it's the weekend and all.

Here's a picture of my parents' garden to make up for being serious.
A year ago today I submitted my thesis.
The last few weeks before I submitted were a total blur. 
I didn't get much sleep and, strangely, didn't really need any (or so I thought).
My 'to-do' list seemed like it would never end and the stress of all the last-minute checking and re-checking, combined with the other jobs I did (I think I had three other jobs at this point?), meant that I was SUPER strung-out all the time (people who know me might ask what my excuse is now. But they don't dare).
The night before I submitted, DPB and I sat up until the wee small hours going through my last-minute lists (and cleaning up dog sick. It was romantic). 
He was pretty vital in project 'let's-get-this-darn-thing-finished'. Thank you, wonderful man.
It wasn't until 11am on the day of my submission that I actually got permission from one of the archives to use their material (yes, I had applied for it well in advance, but there were some delays and misunderstandings). 
This added a little bit to the tension.
After handing the thesis in I was whisked off for champagne by DPB and friends (champagne is becoming rather a theme on this blog, isn't it?), and then DPB and I came home to celebrate with more friends and my Scottish family. 
TWO cakes for Ph.D. submission.
Master's submission only gets one.
It was lovely.
We went to Glasgow for the weekend, stayed at One Devonshire Gardens, walked around the city, discovered the Kelvingrove Museum (I could have stayed there all weekend), and discussed our plans for the future, now that I'd finally finished.
It's like living inside the brain of an eccentric 19th-century collector.
Apart from the plane. That is obviously not 19th-century.
On the Monday I went back to my (main) job as a Duty Manager at a golf club (I know, the glamour is almost too much to bear). DPB went back to London.
It was like nothing had changed.

The thing is, none of those plans that we made that weekend has come to fruition (yet)
I'm still here in Scotland, DPB is still in London. 
I still don't have my 'proper' job, although I've been working a lot to try and get it. 

Do you know, it's really hard? 

I'd be the first person to (mis)quote Thoreau at you, if you were in my shoes: 'live the life you've imagined'. 
I'm all over the inspirational quotations, the snippets that motivate you never to give up, to chase your dreams, or to try, at least, because then you won't ever wonder 'what if?'.
But, of course, it's different when it's someone else.
(Can you hear the violins playing? I first heard them at the beginning of the third paragraph post).

So let's take a step back to Thoreau for a second.
What he actually wrote is far more inspirational and far more realistic; it allows for more mistakes and a longer passing of time than the imperative voice of the misquotation (in my humble opinion):

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: 
that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. 
He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary [...] 
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; 
that is where they should be.
 Now put the foundations under them.

Right, I'm off to go and build some more of those foundations...
Spot the thesis.
Yes, there it is.
On the right hand side, stuck between 101 Exercises from Top Riders and the first Twilight book (which I haven't actually read yet).
Happy anniversary, thesis. It's been a rocky road but I think (hope) it'll be worth it.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Last Weekend (featuring DPB)...

Two posts in a day.
How exhausting.
I thought I'd better get this one out before we head into this weekend.
So, last weekend was just soooo good.
Because DPB was here (and we got to go to the agricultural show after all).
I took A LOT of pictures.
We ate A LOT of nice food.
And I wished A LOT that the weekend would not end. (But it did. Bummer).

Want to see some pictures?
Go on, have a peek:
Arbroath Smokies, poached egg and spinach.
Breakfast at Urban Angel, Edinburgh
Meet DPB (on the left).
Yes, I got to go to the poultry tent. Sadly, Gesci, we missed the ferret racing.
I got too shy to take 'proper' pictures once in the poultry tent.
So here is a rubbish picture of a prize-winner.

Hands up who loves vintage tractors?
Oh, just me then.
DPB was most impressed that I recognised a vintage Massey Ferguson at 20 paces (not pictured here).
This girl's got skills.
Arbroath Smokies before being smoked.
Just 'Arbroaths' then?
Smokies being, er, smoked. 

If you look very, very closely, you'll see a bubble.
Trust me.
A VERY handsome chap.

The main reason I would like to have children is so that I can enter them and their ponies in fancy dress competitions.
True story.

'Twas still a bit muddy. 
Evening glass of champagne.
And it wasn't even Wednesday.
The kittens.
Scoop met DPB for the first time.
They liked each other.
DPB's a keeper.
That's me!
And a bin.

High Five For Friday!

Lauren over at From My Grey Desk hosts a weekly High Five For Friday! link-up series, so here're my 5 for this Friday:

1/ It's so hot and sunny here (hurrah, hurrah, do a little dance!!) that Polly has to wear a full face mask and sun cream. 
Yeah, my horse wears sun cream (factor 50 baby cream, to be precise. She's very sensitive).

Princess Whom?
2/ Continuing on the hot and sunny theme, we finally cracked out the outdoor washing line. 
I know, big deal.
But really, who doesn't love getting into  amazing, line-dried, fresh-smelling sheets at the end of a summer's  day? (I'm getting a little carried away with the whole double-figures-temperature, ok?).
Oh, and the Little Lobster's wee friend had a bath, too. 
Good to see he's still smiling.

3/ I got given a TON of rhubarb (almost a ton...) and this afternoon we made rhubarb and ginger compote AND rhubarb chutney. YUM. (Job applications will be done at the weekend... it's too sunny to do them today...)

4/ Latest piece of inspiration that I keep on my desk (is it bad that it REALLY bugs me that there isn't a question mark at the end of it, though? Might draw one on. Hmm).
Sorry for poor picture quality.
Blame Instagram.
5/ This little man is getting BIG! Although, interestingly (or not, depending on whether he's your cat or not), he is still much smaller than his siblings. 
He reminds me of an ewok.
... So, my week's excitement is pretty much summed up in pictures of my kitten, my horse, a badly-edited miniature sign, some rhubarb, and some washing.

Just keeping it real, y'know.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Champagne Wednesday

Yes, you read that right.
Today (and every Wednesday) is known as 'Champagne Wednesday' in our house. 
After the chores are done, the horses, dogs, chickens, cats, kittens (...) are tucked away, we crack open a bottle of fizz (ok, it's not always champagne - Prosecco or Cava will do).
Source unknown.
We toast the week, and each other, and discuss whatever has happened that day and over the previous week. (And yes, we do drink responsibly. Most of the time).
This evening will be a solemn occasion, as we very sadly lost one of our horses this afternoon.
He was much loved and had a tranquil and happy year. The sun's been shining on him over the last couple of days and his end was as peaceful as possible.


On a lighter note, I was wondering if anyone else reads Darling magazine?
It's a great e-publication that I discovered recently, and you can opt to receive a daily article straight into your inbox.

It's super - you really should sign up. 

Today's article really struck a chord with me and it's called, quite simply, 'Transition'
Here's a snippet of what the article's author, Kelsea Olivia, has to say about transitions:
Transitions are inevitable, whether we welcome them or not. Even if we are fearful of change, there is always beautiful possibility in the wild unknown. Thankfully, music has an amazing way of becoming the soundtrack to whatever may be occurring for us at pivotal points in our lives. This little group of songs is just that for me.

There's a free mini-mix that you can download, which goes with the article.
You can find it here.

Happy Champagne Wednesday, I hope the sun's shining on you.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

On Celebrations

Well hello there!
For some reason I can't blog on a Monday. I don't know what it is, I just can't seem to do it (actually, I have problems doing anything on a Monday... but don't tell my prospective employers, ok?)

I'm putting together a post about my lovely weekend with DPB - it ROCKED, just in case you were wondering - but, y'know, I thought I'd post about something else today.

Like, how excited I am about the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Oh yes. 

I have to admit, I was a little slow to catch on to this one, but as the commemorative mugs, pencils, badges, teapots, t-shirts, tea towels, tea... (do you see where I'm going with this?) keep being stacked high in the shops, my excitement levels have risen.
In fact, last weekend I read an article that was a potted history of the Queen's 60-year reign and I nearly cried (could have been slightly hormone-induced? Just saying).

I'll try not to get sentimental and soppy here (says the girl who's just admitted sobbing over the Sunday colour supplements) but it's not often that I feel really proud and patriotic. But right now, this year, I do. Go Team G.B. (ok, I'm getting my Olympic excitement a little muddled with my Jubilee excitement. But hey ho.)

SO. We're planning a party. 
It's going to be SO COOL. 
I cannot WAIT to get on Pinterest and start pinning super-awesome, Jubilee-inspired ideas to the Jubilee board I haven't quite got round to creating.
It's going to be FUN. 

So, here's a mock-up for the invitation:
I'd like to lie to you and say that this was done by the Little Lobster (who's 7).
But it was actually drawn by me.
I'm sorry that you can't really see my rubbish attempt at drawing a trestle table.
It's pretty cool.
And here are a few ideas for the party:
I've also dug out my sewing machine, sew (HA! see what I did there? Yup, it's a laugh a minute 'round here...) my next project is to attempt something like this:
I may have to put the job hunt to one side for, what? the next bazillion years while I attempt to nail that one.

Right, off to Pinterest I go!

Friday, 18 May 2012

On Rain

At the last count, it has been raining for 30,000,001 days. Approximately. 

This is extremely annoying and makes me want to stay here all day:
Pretty much what my bedroom looks like.
Except for the palm tree.
Why did they put a palm tree in the bedroom?

Sadly, this would be impractical. 

Yet I am still tempted.

It would also have been nice to stay in bed yesterday. I would probably have had a more productive day than I did, yesterday's low point coming somewhere between dealing with a 4-year old's tantrum because SQUARE crisps do not taste as nice as ROUND crisps - ok? - and realising that neurotic horse - who has just come back into work after 7 months' break - had injured both back legs. I suppose that makes a difference to re-injuring the front legs that have taken 7 months to heal.

Ho hum. 

On a much happier note, DPB is coming to visit this weekend. 
I was going to take him to the local agricultural show (er, yes, this girl knows how to show her fella a good time. Ahem). Sadly, because of the rain, this will not happen. DPB is very sad to be missing out on seeing the poultry tent and the ferret racing (2 of my favourites). He loves things like that. COUGH.
Instead, we will probably be doing something like this:

Which doesn't look too bad, does it? Just need to find my red ball gown. And elbow-length gloves. (We've got the butler and the maid already. It's pretty much like being in Downton Abbey 'round here).

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

On The Weekend

Well really, it's been rather an exciting few days here. 
Firstly (drum rolls please) I GOT TICKETS FOR THE OLYMPICS!!! Hurrah! My mother and I will be off to watch the Finals of the Individual Showjumping competition. VERY excited (whatdoyoumean you don't like showjumping... or that you don't know what it is? Tut.). Anyway, it makes me feel very patriotic (Come On Britain!) and I will probably cry when they give out the medals.
The pony on the right is mine (yes, she's running away from me because she loves me soooo much).
She will not be going to the Olympics any time soon.
Just in case you were wondering.

Secondly, I had a date with Zac Efron, which is why I couldn't post anything yesterday. You know, I was getting ready and stuff.

Clearly I'm joking. 

Ha ha.

What actually happened is that 4 of us went to the cinema (in Dundee, no less - bright lights, big city and all that jazz... ahem). We went to see 'The Lucky One'. Hmm. 
Yup. Pretty intense stuff.
Weeeeeell, not really an Oscar winner - not hugely keen on the (un)sparky dialogue, or the (un)originality of the plot, or the (quite frankly) not that great acting on the part of Mr Efron (sorry, sir, if you're reading this (HA) did I just address Zac Efron as 'sir'??). But, you know, he's got beautiful arms and has lovely eyes, so, quite frankly, there are worse ways to spend an evening and £7.20 (damn not being a student any more)
Oh, and there's a funny Dr Seuss reference. Watch out for it. 

So, that's got the hot gossip out of the way.

The weather was so beautiful at the weekend on Saturday (the weather on Sunday was disgusting and has been scratched from my memory. Almost.) that I dusted off the trusty camera and headed to the beach with my lovely (adopted) Scottish family. They're my family but not-by-blood. It's complicated, so to cut a long story short, about 3 years ago I moved in for one night a week (ha ha) so that I didn't have to commute too often between here and Edinburgh and... well, they're too polite to ask me to move out (and I now live here full-time). I sneakily moved in all my stuff while they weren't looking. 
Doesn't sound odd at all, does it? 
Anyway, they're the best. 

Here we are at Elie, having fun (or, at least, here are lots of pictures of the dogs having fun):

Little Lobster
(It's a shame that it looks like she has a rock growing out of her head. David Bailey, your job is safe for now).

Where'd it go?


While waiting for these photos to upload (the BT man recently told a neighbour that our internet cable here 'is like a piece of soggy string'), it started snowing. 
In May.