Friday, 29 June 2012

High Five for Friday!

Another link up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk...

What a great week it's been - it's almost too hard to choose a top 5, but I dug deep and came up with these:

1/ My baby brother's graduation was fab and was followed by a delicious meal at Restaurant Mark Greenaway.
I'll share more next week...
Ben's main course looked almost too good to eat...

2/ I got to see my parents for the first time in aaaaaaaaaaages. Hurrah!
My father visited a local auction house and got me this:
Can you guess what's inside?
That's another treat that awaits you for next week...

3/ Good news: I'm cat-sitting Scoop's brother, Billy
Makes me feel dizzy just typing that. Gulp.
Wee Billy looks a lot like his mother:
Ohmygoodness, it is HARD taking a picture of a black cat.
4/ You may or may not know that I have a thing for champagne, so I couldn't resist taking a picture of this sign I spotted on Broughton Street in Edinburgh:

5/ TWO out of my three babies pets had birthdays this week. 
F Sharp was 24 and Princess Poll was 11.  They got apples. They weren't that fussed.
Also, these photos prove that we have had ONE DAY'S SUNSHINE this week.
Princess P showing off her Roman nose.
In human years she would be in her late 70's, I think.
An oldie but a fatty goodie.
So, that's about it: good food with my family, some sun (and horses), a cat, champagne, and a mysterious box. 
Standard week, really.

This weekend promises to be full of excitement, with Little L's pony day/ sleep-out-in-a-teepee birthday party, a trip to the Ceres Highland Games, and a screening of Ben's latest film project at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Makes me exhausted just thinking about it...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Small Fry

My youngest brother graduates on Thursday. 
Holy Moley, I remember the day he was born. 
I wanted a sister (I already had two brothers) and was conVINCED that the next one would be a girl. 
Turns out, he wasn't (much).
I threw a tantrum (but then, I was only just seven at the time and also very prone to throwing tantrums).
Kind of what B looked like as a baby.
Sometimes when our mother went out in the village without him, he would wait for her on our front doorstep, completely naked except for his red welly boots, holding a mini shopping bag that said 'Here Comes Trouble' across the front, with his beloved toy cat and rabbit in my doll's pushchair.
We were all relieved when he grew out of that phase.
Aged 17.

Ben the archaeologist.
Despite the reasonable age-gap, Ben and I spent a lot of time together. To begin with he was pretty much like my living doll awesome and when he started talking only I could understand what he said (my parents were a little freaked out by this). As he grew older I shouted at him a lot - a well-known sign of affection between siblings, no? - and was extremely somewhat mean to him (builds character). My eldest brother and I may or may not have told B that he was wanted the least by my parents because he was the last child (I told you it was character building. As in, building an emotionally and psychologically scarred human being...).
I'm still getting over the fact that he's old enough to drive...
My other two brothers went off to boarding school when B was pretty small, which meant that for a lot of the time it was just him and me. It was kind of cool.
By the time that B was 12, I went off to university and the age-gap seemed to widen. Imagine my delight, then, when he chose to come to Scotland for his degree (Scotland's second best university) I was pretty excited; we were back on a level playing field. 
Ben and a cake.
I can't believe the four years have gone so quickly, and I can't believe that my baby brother will be a graduate in two days' time (I say baby brother, but he's actually 21 and 6'4"). He's been through a lot while at university but has stuck to his guns with a maturity and determination that I can only ever aspire to. 
He never fails to amaze me.
Although, sometimes he is still a TOTAL arse.
Ben admiring his moobs/ sticking to his guns.
Ha ha, he'll KILL me if he ever sees this!
As a graduation present, I bought him this:
Have you read it? 
Here's the last bit:
You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up 
with many strange birds* as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed? 
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 per cent guaranteed.)
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So... get on your way!

*I hope that he does not get mixed up with too many strange birds... we might need to have words about this.

So, what I really wanted to say was: Well done, Small Fry, the world is your oyster. 
Oh, and even if you're not as good at table-tennis as DPB, I still love you.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Summer Lovin'

I've mentioned The World Needs More Love Letters before here, but I thought I'd let you know about their Summer of Love (Letters) campaign, too. 
Go on, give it a shot!

Friday, 22 June 2012

High Five for Friday!

Erm, it's Friday AGAIN.
How the devil did that come about so quickly? 
High Five for Friday!
1/ Yesterday's Highland show was rather soggy, but Buzzy Bee looked superbly handsome and behaved beautifully.

2/ Who can resist a sleepy kitten?

3/ My enthusiasm to run my own smallholding knows no bounds. 
DPB thought my latest bedtime reading was very interesting. At least, that's what I think he said.
4/ The beautiful (Olympic-themed) bracelet given to me by some of the children I look after:
Please ignore the various scars.
Outdoors-ish life = end of career as a hand model.
5/ Another recent present from one of the kids I've looked after. 
It's one of my most treasured possessions EVER:
"To lexi, I am going to give you this picture because you really like it. love Fergus xxxx"

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

An ever fixed mark.

Three years ago today my eldest brother and my sister-in-law got married. 

It was one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever been to, in a meadow on Midsummer's eve (the wedding was in California - where my sister-in-law is from - far more dependable weather yep, had to mention the weather at some point...).
Our bridesmaids' flowers.
The wedding breakfast was held in an orchard and as the evening progressed, the trees were lit with fairy lights; the dancing took place in an old boathouse. 

I read Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 and cried halfway through it and the teeny, tiny, identical twin flower girls  nearly stole the show by being utterly adorable.
The bride's cake.
We drank champagne that my brother had helped to make (he's a viticulturist) and the wedding favours were tiny pots of jam made by my sister-in-law, and bottles of cider made by my brother and his father-in-law. 

The bridesmaids wore orange shoes. Best shoes EVER. There were fire pits outside and we took breaks from dancing to toast s'mores and drink in the atmosphere.

It was magical. 
Yes, my brother is freakishly tall.
At just under 5'10, I'm the runt of the family...
What was even better was that we were all soon to meet up again in the UK, this time in my family's village, to celebrate English-style.
The cake from the English wedding.
The camper van is very significant, but I'll tell you more about that another time...
Yes, my bro and his bride had two weddings.

Our gorgeous dog, Wags (who sadly died last year), having a brilliant time at the English wedding.
Please note her special wedding bow.
Congratulations, Moles and Nellie!! Miss you both TONS!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A dog named Lexi and other things.

As I sit here looking out on a sort of  sunny day, it's hard to think that the weekend was such a washout. 

The much-anticipated Balcarres International Horse Trials was still pretty exciting, but several days of torrential rain meant that the one-day event on the Sunday (the BE90 and BE100 classes, if anyone's interested) was cancelled. 

Needless to say, the lack of spectators rather dampened our sales for the weekend, but at least we had a lot to look at; most dangerous of all was the nasty combination of lack-of-customers and lots-of-tradestands-to-browse... I am a complete sucker for anyone with a sales pitch (I swear, they see me coming) and often end up buying things I really don't need out of politeness.
It's a problem.

Anyway, to give you a flavour of the weekend, here are some pictures:
The Little Lobster's best friend came along to keep us company.

We turned up on Saturday morning to find that our gazebo had blown away in the high winds.
As you can see, we found it by the Portaloos.
Pure class.
I got to hold an Olympic Torch!
Please note, in order to stay warm I am wearing every single item of clothing that I possess. In the middle of June.
A pipe band. Hurrah!
A little Blue Peter moment in a desperate attempt to attract more customers.
It didn't work.
There is a reason that I have included a ridiculously blurred picture of a puppy on this post: it is because she is SUPER cute and her name is Lexi.
We were meant to be together.
Although, actually, it would be a bit weird if I had a dog called Lexi.
And yes, we met in the loos.
This is as close as I got to the fun of the cross country phase.
It was still quite exciting, I just didn't get to see any of the horses jumping the fence.
If I'm honest, that took the magic away a wee bit.
To finish off this rather random post, I thought I'd treat you to a picture of the exhausted kittens:

Finally, this is a good reason why you should not let a 4-year old play with your phone:
I found this saved in my photo album, along with many other similar pictures.
I swear that there was neither a Victor nor a Kevin in Thomas the Tank Engine when I was little...
We're off to the Highland Show tomorrow with an absolutely amazing, beautiful ex-racehorse who's qualified for the RoR Class.
Hurrah! I do work sometimes, honest...

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Morning Coffee

I'm spending the weekend helping a friend out on her trade stand at Balcarres International Horse Trials  (such a shame that it's pouring with rain and freeeeeeezing, especially because today's the cross-country phase of the event). 
I came across these illustrations by Sophie Griotto and I thought I'd share. 
Oh to be sipping coffee on a balcony overlooking the Eiffel Tower, instead of wearing thermals, waterproofs and wellies that are still full of holes... and getting soaked! 

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Holding a torch...

A slight misnomer, because I didn't get to hold the Olympic torch but the Little Lobster stood next to the torchbearer, so that pretty much counts.

Yesterday at crack of dawn we headed into town to witness what I can only assume will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience (in my own country): witnessing the Olympic torch parade.
It was pretty exciting, even if it did mean leaving the house at 6.20am. Gah.

All quiet on the Western Front
(east, actually, but let's not spoil things).
The start of the excitement...
It's lucky I'm tall...
Cue the Chariots of Fire music
(although, on second thoughts, that would have been far more appropriate when they had the torch on the beach...)
The handover.
Please note the enthusiastic flag (streamer?) waving by the smaller members of our party (the blurry purple and blue bit at the bottom of the photo).
And she's off (almost).
We did.
Only 43 days to go!