Friday, 21 September 2012

High Five for Friday

I'm definitely with Eeyore when it comes to glass-half-empty outlooks on life 
(I know, how boring to be that person), 
so every time I think of things for H54F I feel like it's a step towards being more Tigger-like. 
(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, who are you? How can you not have read Winnie the Pooh??)
What a strange way to start a post.
Moving swiftly on...


We had a great time at the wedding last weekend - 
what's not to love about seeing a blissfully happy couple tie the knot 
and getting the opportunity to sup on champagne all day long?
Plus, the wedding cake was actually just lots of teeny, tiny pavlovas set on a huge cake stand.

As I am now officially a cat lady, this made me laugh.
For the record, I really don't loathe males but my (male) students were always convinced that my questions about feminist theory automatically made me a man-hater.


Miss F. was sunbathing earlier today and refusing to get up despite my cajoling.
Eventually I resorted to trying to persuade her by gently pulling her up...
this little man stepped in to help me:
F was SUPER impressed with our efforts.

The nights may be drawing in but the sunrise is always spectacular.


I played my 94 (nearly 95) year-old grandfather at Scrabble and he absolutely beat me hollow.
I think that's pretty cool. 

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Daily Scoop

I've just returned (somewhat nervously) from dropping young Scoop and his sister, Dusty, off at the vets for their, er, 'procedures'.
Today is the day my cat becomes, hmm, how to put it? A little bit less of a man.
How sad for him. 
Something else I learned today was that there is special food for cats who are neutered.
Every day's a school day. 
I haven't posted any pictures of the kittens recently 
(which leaves me wondering: what do I post about? Oh yes, waterproof trousers. How embarrassing)
so I thought I'd put up a few photos to chart their rise into adulthood.
Fingers crossed, everything will go swimmingly and I can collect the little man this afternoon.
Sniff, sniff.
It is very easy to be brave when you're protected by a glass door. 

Scoop in a hoop.
Couldn't resist.
Pretending to be brave on his first ever excursion outside.

They really like sleeping in baskets.
Preferably baskets of clean, ironed clothes.
Bully for them, bit of a bummer for me.

Getting super-excited about the Olympic Show-Jumping.
(That's my boy...)


I've been travelling a lot recently and I think that Scoop might be trying to tell me something...

Dusty the beautiful.

Just in case you noticed a difference in the picture quality (whatdoyoumean you haven't?), I have miraculously managed to get my computer, my big girl camera and my external hard drive to co-operate simultaneously.
Wonders never cease.

Friday, 14 September 2012

You know you'll never be a style blogger when...

... you get emails about waterproof clothing, find them quite interesting...

... and then write about them.


p.s. I love my waterproof trousers (I have two pairs). 
Just so's you know.
And yes - because I know this is what you're dying to ask - it is hard being this glamorous.

DPB and I are off to a wedding this weekend, this time in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside. 
The substantial fascinator will be getting another outing and I have spent the entire day looking for a pair of shoes that: 
a/ I can afford
b/ I can dance in.
It's a suprisingly difficult challenge, because I can pull out some mean dance moves after a white wine spritzer or two.
(Don't worry, despite my love for them, the waterproof trousers will not be featured as part of the wedding get-up). 

Hope you have a good one!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Life's a beach

Yesterday I borrowed Mr C's ex-racehorse (Polly was - surprise, surprise - out of action)
and headed to the beach for a gallop.
It was spectacular. 
Despite the sun and blue skies, it was a chilly, autumnal morning and the beach was almost deserted. 
Perfect for a quick to blast to blow away the cobwebs, then.
Sadly I don't have any pictures or a video of the actual gallop because, well, it's a good idea to keep both hands on the reins when you're going at full speed (a life lesson if ever there was one).
Rest assured, the Chariots of Fire theme tune was running in my head with every single hoofbeat. 
Looking towards the golf course and the preparations for the Dunhill Cup.

Heaven is...

Clever Carly, who gave the 'let's go to the beach' rally cry.

As always when I take a horse to the beach, I come away thinking 'why don't I do this more often?'
It's a very good question.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Back to School.

A slightly misleading title, because Scottish schools go back in August and I haven't been to school since the early years of this millennium, but you get the idea.
The town has filled up with new and returning university students and the shelves of the local Tesco Metro will be permanently empty until May next year.
Summer's over.
In some ways, this is ok - I've spoken before about my love of Downton Abbey, a new series of which starts soon, and I am equally obsessed with re-runs of Agatha Christie classics, any sort of period drama (this one looks intriguing), and the prospect of digging my hot water bottle and cashmere socks out of their temporary summer retirement. 
Good old Brora cashmere.
Actually, despite the balmy(ish) days, it's so cold at night here that the hot water bottle has been back in use for at least a week, but that is totally by the bye...
The official end to the summer here is always signalled by two events:
First: Pony Club Cup Day
Second: Our yard hosts an invitational show for local children 
Cup Day was held yesterday and, unlike most previous years, it was beautifully sunny and didn't rain one drop
Little L and the other girls returned from this year's event with armfuls of cups and rosettes.
Whoever said that taking part is what counts has not met the younger (and, come to think about it, the older) contingent on the yard.
Competitive doesn't even begin to cover it.

For the first time since its inauguration, I won't be at this year's yard show because I'm off to another wedding. 

The weekend also brought us the most delightful house guest and unfortunately I was forced to spend a lot of time in the garden with him yesterday. 
Luckily I had my camera with me:

Love, thy form is an Hungarian Vizsla puppy.

Back to those applications...

Saturday, 8 September 2012

An ability to procrastinate is a wonderful thing. Discuss.

It's a beautiful sunny day here, yet thanks to my exceptional ability to procrastinate, I am forced to sit inside and work on job applications and funding proposals with only the cat for company.
And the cat has got so bored that he's fallen asleep on me.
At least it means I can't move from my desk.
I'm not sure if you know anything about the academic job market, but it's pretty much like the normal job market but worse.
So true...
Candidates for one of the fellowships that I am applying for have a less than 5% chance of success and for the other fellowship, candidates have a 1% chance.
To say that it sucks would probably be the biggest understatement of the year.
If another person tells me 'oh well, someone's got to get it' or 'you won't have any chance if you don't apply!' I will not be responsible for my actions.

But enough of focusing on the downsides because, quite frankly, the reality of it is that I've found a job that I love and a project I want to work on for which I will sacrifice pretty much everything.
And how many people have the dubious honour of saying something like that?
In some ways I think it's quite cool.
In other news, my horse has a problem.
Actually, Polly is a problem, as well as having multiple problems (and, occasionally, multiple personality disorders).
But this particular problem is an addiction to accidents and hurting herself.
Some might call it self-harming, but I think it's more likely a somewhat admirable but exceptionally foolish disregard for personal safety.
This is not only frustrating but rather costly, as you can imagine.
Why is it that when you put 'horse' in front of any product name - for example 'horse shampoo' as opposed to 'shampoo' - the price increases by approximately 12338679084448003928%? 
Something to think about.
Butter wouldn't melt.
It is very good that my horse is hyper-aware of dragons that lurk in ditches, lions that are concealed behind innocuous-seeming logs, and horse-eating sheep (bred only in Fife, as far as I'm aware).
I'm grateful that she is concerned for my safety when I ride her and is keen to ensure that we stay well away from these potentially life-threatening hazards.
It is not very good, however, that when she is in the field, these alarming predators (also known as the wind, leaves, and, sometimes, a lurking cat) cause her to spin, gallop flat out, rear, buck, pace up and down, crack out some extended trot that would have scored well in an Olympic Dressage test, snort loudly and, most of the time, lose a shoe (normally when she's just had a set put on), or cut herself in a way that perplexes the vet, causes me near-fatal heart attacks and necessitates a lengthy period of box-rest and pampering.
Who knew that dragons still exist in Scotland?
(Answer: Polly)
Perhaps the clue is in that final word.
My horse is an attention seeker and feels that the only way that she can divert my attention from St Fanta the Elderly, or baby Scoop, is to hurt herself.
I am a bad mother.

I think the content of this post proves that I probably should not spend extended periods alone with no-one else to talk to apart from a sleeping cat.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

In which we return from Paris and I prove that I'm still alive.

You might be forgiven for thinking that DPB and I decided to stay in Paris forever and that I might never blog again, but luckily you'd be wrong (about the blogging bit. The Paris bit would be awesome).
I probably don't need to tell you that we had a good time.
We Had A GREAT Time.
Boy did we wear out some shoe leather and our greediness and need to pack in as much as is humanly possible knew no bounds.
Jardin du Luxembourg,  Jardin des Tuileries, Versailles, Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay...
the list goes on. 
And yes, we pretty much walked everywhere.
To counteract all of this exercise it was absolutely vital that we consumed at least 14000 calories a day, which is lucky, because that is pretty much what we did. 
I tried very hard not to take a picture of every single item I ate, but some did sneak under the radar.
Without further ado:

Champagne breakfast at St Pancras?
Don't mind if I do.
Beware of men with guidebooks...
I was forced to share these.
Bad idea.
Tea as it should be.
The Louvre.
Lauren has some great tips for visiting France and we followed her advice for our trip to the Louvre.
Hot chocolate and pastries at Angelina's.
I nearly died after drinking said hot chocolate.
Not for the diabetics amongst us.

The clock at the Musee d'Orsay
Notre Dame.
If you want to go up the tower, make sure you get there SUPER early.
The queues defeated us.
That would be the Mona Lisa.
Not exciting
(forgive me).
Shakespeare and Co.
The best restaurant we ate in, bar none.
Chez Paul.
We stayed at La Maison Favart, a beautiful boutique hotel with the most helpful and pleasant staff ever.

The hotel was in walking distance of so many must-see places and I can't recommend it more highly.
La Maison Favart
5, rue de Marivaux

The best place we ate was restaurant Chez Paul in the 11th arrondissement.
Fancy and swanky it is not, but the food is divine (lots of red meat, not really one for the vegetarians) and the wine was great.

The only bad thing about the holiday was that it had to end.
(Cheesy but true).
Things have been rather trying since our Parisian escapade, but I think I'm getting back on track, so bear with me.

A bientôt.
(I really must figure out how to use accents on this computer...)