Category Archives: Life

Seòras Murdaidh Fionnlagh

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Staring into oblivion, originally uploaded by peigi_pest.

So, this is what has served as my creative outlet of late, and what has kept me busy, both in preparation and arrival, and away from this little space. We have a little baby boy. He is nearly two weeks old here in this photo. Born on the 9th April 2013, weighing a pan drop under 7lbs, he has now doubled in size! It has been so lovely seeing his development, both physically and character-wise, over the past 3 months and we can’t wait for what lies ahead. Seòras is a Gàidhlig name, equivalent to George in English. You may know that I have a brother named Seoras, who was named in memory of our maternal grandmother, Georgina. But baby Seòras (or wee Seòras as he is becoming known as!) is not named after uncle Seoras. Both Ruairidh and I both had special Grandpas called Seòras, who hold a special corner of our heart, and it is after these men that baby Seòras is named. I have to admit taking a while getting used to calling someone other than my brother, Seoras! Especially my son! Seoras is normally preceded by a shout of “MUM!…” and followed by “…is annoying me!” I have to admit, in the early days, I frequently called him Ruairidh accidentally! His middle names are also memorably significant: Murdaidh after my late father by blood and my maternal Grandfather John Murdo; and Fionnlagh was Ruairidh’s other Grandpa. So that’s all the Grandpas covered!

Seòras loves to laugh and smile, showing off his dimples. I think he’s going to be a singer and musical like his father, he loves songs and music, and joins in with his own noises. He is very much a movement loving boy, happy to be on the go and swung or carried about. We are thankful for this for the 1hr 15-30 min car journey north to the main island town of Stornoway and to family. He doesn’t mind the car at all. But on the other hand, he doesn’t mind sitting, settled and happy, in his bouncy chair or on your lap as long as he can see what is going on around him, has action or new surroundings to contemplate, knows you are near and pay him special attention once in a whiley. Not too much to ask?! We are so chuffed that he is a cuddle-loving baby, because I don’t think we could not cuddle and kiss and squish and squeeze, low raspberries and tickle those toes! He delights in life, we delight in him, and are delighted with such a blessing in our lives.

It’s strange how it seems that life could never have been without him. Even though there are so many new things, challenges, difficulties, joys and wonders we never knew before, it is as though he has always been. He has always been a part of our lives, just waiting to enter the act at the appropriate scene. What wonder to think that he, he is the little one over whom we held such great anticipation throughout those long months; who was tucked safely away until the appointed time, when he turned our world upside down and our hearts inside out with joy…and sleepless nights! To think that that wonder will continue throughout life – this boy, this teenager, this man, was that tiny baby?! What a journey! Deep down, we were always waiting for him, and now we get to enjoy him, knowing that our time is full, blessed, and challenging, but short.

Gardening days

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We are still enjoying our spell of lovely weather here, sunshine and no rain! But there has been a drop in temperature, it’s no longer scorching, we even had to give the heating a blast last night- the first time in weeks. But we’re making the most of it here on the hill, in the garden mostly. Ruairidh has been turning and planting in our little vegetable plot. The potatoes are now in the ground! My battle in the garden just now is with that sly villain crocosmia, not weeds as you might expect! Our garden (really quite a bit area, ranging from wilderness to cultivated beds) is overrun by crocosmia. I think it is a lovely plant, very lush looking, sturdy, and the orange flowers in the autumn are just stunning, especially when colours are fading from the garden. But for some reason, ours is spreading EVERYWHERE! It grows from a bulb, and of course, the bulbs multiply underground. But our kind also seem to have seeds that scatter EVERYWHERE as well. We are being overrun! My first focus was on a bed beside the house, that used to be in front of the old shed which was knocked down at the end of last year. I thought it was a promising place to begin, especially with the hydrangea bush in the centre (albeit a tired, scrawny bush!). Buuuuuut, the rest of the bed was chock-a-block full of crocosmia! It took ages to get all that crocosmia, and all the bulbs, out of the bed. They are now mournfully waiting being turned into a bonfire! “Get rid of the beastly things!!”

After adding some extra soil, I added some plants donated by my dad from his recent garden maintenance spree, and planted some seeds, also donated by seeds. The plants (primrose & big daisies- my name for them!) seem to be happy enough, but the sunflowers are the only little babies that have appeared so far. Sad! It might have something to do with the fact that they were ancient! Stored over decades (well, one at least!) in a dusty corner in Dad’s garage, they may be a bit past it. I will wait in hope a weee bit longer yet!I thought I’d share some pics to show the progress, more to come soon. I guess they’ll in understanding what it is I’m on about!

 

In the corner beside the steps, the mound of bulb was as high as the top step! There were bulbs on top of bulbs, on top of bulbs, all pinky-brown and fresh looking because they had never actually been in any soil! Ugh, they look creepy!

{More photos in the next blog post}

My indoor-sowed seeds are coming along much better. The Morning Glory is out of the nursery, little seedlings getting taller! I have to think about where they’re all going to go outside now! (See flickr for a snapshot of them.)

 

Return to the Tropical Island

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I was away in Glasgow from Wednesday to Saturday. We (sister and sister-in-law-to-be) had arranged wedding beautify-ing trials for Friday as Mairianne was going to be passing through Glasgow that week anyway. And, we got to try on our dresses for the first time! Needless to say, mine is too long for my shorter legs, so there will have to be some tweaking. We had the wonderful privilege of getting to know the lovely lady who will be doing our hair and make-up. It’s getting more and more exciting! We had a lovely trip, very sibling-centred, with a movie night with Seoras and Stephanie, and we all went to Inverkip for a BBQ on the beach on Thursday. It was very yummy, and lovely with such beautiful sunshine. And of course, we kept each other amused! We are so rare! There’s nothing like a sibling (and sibling attachments 😉 although Ruairidh was missing, it was great to have Nma and Stephanie) gathering to cheer you up. And I never turn down an opportunity to annoy Seoras! Ruairidh will be glad I have a bit of annoying-ness out of my system, so thanks Seoras! Mairianne and I stayed over in Inverkip, not on Colin’s sofas, but in beds in their new house! Pleasure to get the tour of their new pad and keep Nma company for a night. Although m legs were tired after going up and down their three levels!

Scotland seems to be having all it’s yearly sunshine quota in one week just now! It has been scorching! And unexpected. I had packed on Monday as I went up to my parents before leaving the bonny Isle, and I had no inkling that the weather was going to be so amazing- I even packed my boots! It warmed up on Wednesday morning and I unpacked them before leaving, but my sandals etc were 1hr15min away at home! I’ll managed I thought. I landed in Glasgow airport, and I was in a puddle on the ground! Toasty warm, (more like oven hot!) and worse, city stuffy! Thank goodness for shops with sandals & t-shirts! I was SO glad to get home on Saturday night after a day of bus and ferry travelling. To get home to my own stash of summery clothes! And hang up that jacket I took with me, and had to carry back home, after never wearing it! This has been such a sudden change really. Usually, you have a more gradual introduction to warmth, i.e. you go from having jacket and scarf, to just jacket; to taking your jacket just in case; to leaving the jacket and taking a cardigan or little jacket. I felt quite vulnerable leaving behind my jacket and vest! No rain clouds on the horizon this week. And I’m told it looks good for the week ahead, yipppee! Lots of weeding and planting in the garden, not so yippee, but enjoyable all the same!

And beautiful days mean beautiful scenery, and beautiful sunsets, and beautiful gloaming. I was so distracted driving down from Stornoway on Saturday night. I left just after 10pm, loving the fact that there was still plenty of light, unlike the darkness of a couple of months ago. The sun took its time going down, and the light took even longer to head on over to the other side of the globe. The sky was stunning it is shades of purple, red. deep blue, set off by the sparkle and contrast of the sea. I stopped quite a lot for photos, but all I had was my phone. Such peaceful, awesome surroundings. We are so privileged to live here, even with the wind and the rain!

May, 11pm in Harris

Basil Green and Sky Blue

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I love days in which the weather completely turns, from horrible to lovely that is. I don’t appreciate it turning the other way around as much! Yesterday began a lot like today, wet and drich and grey and cloudy. But then the wind blew, the clouds parted and the sun shone through. For the afternoon at least. It cheers you up to see the sun here in the islands, especially when we so want to shake winter away. Come on summer, you can make it through! I was just starting to put together dinner when I was distracted by the lovliness of the basil in the kitchen window, I just had to go for the camera. Dinner would wait! The light was glowing through the veins on the leaves, leaves so green and fragrant. I kept snapping trying various angles and settings. I’m trying to get better with Ruairidh’s camera (a big fancy one with knobs and settings to keep me happy with developing photo-taking!), and as I’m still pretty awful most of the time, I take lots to practice and to get a nice photo. But then all of a sudden, it wouldn’t take a photo. It wouldn’t click. I looked at the screen, to see ‘No more memory’. Eeek, I had filled up the memory card. Not just with the basil! I hadn’t uploaded photos since February. Last week I realised I had to set some time aside to take photos of my laptop because I was running out of space on there too. There were photos from nearly two years still there. Most had been put onto flickr, up to this summer. But I hadn’t been able to put them onto disk, and delete them from the laptop, what with senior honours, a wedding, moving, and all that jazz! But I can now stoke it off my list. I love being able to do that. And now I have a whole new lot of photos to edit and put onto flickr. Yippee! Yes, I am looking forward to it, strangley enough. I have a new toy to play with you see. I got Photoshop Elements for my Birthday, and I’m just starting to get the hang of it. And I want to see if I managed to get any decent photos of the horses we met on the beach a couple of weeks ago. So, keep an eye out to see some of our recent adventures. And our not so recent- I have only processed the first half of our honeymoon holiday so far.

So, I was forced to get back to making the dinner. Just as well it was yummy! We had a pizza night. We get ‘Glutamel’ gluten free ready-made pizza bases from the Co-op for Ruairidh. And when, like yesterday, we don’t have any wheat-full bases for myself, I have to say I am happy to eat them too. They are really yummy actually, and they don’t break like some others. I haven’t got around to trying some home-made bases yet, maybe sometime.

I had thought when I started to write this, that today was going to continue its misery of drizzle and cloud. But *hoooray!* the cloud is lifting with the wind. I might get that load of washing outside after all. Oh, how housewifey that sounds! It’s not the highlight of my day, honest. It juts makes laundry a lot easier!  Have you had any highlights so far this weekend?

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cold toes

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Our boiler is on the blink again. well, it hasn’t really been fixed properly since the last time it wouldn’t switch on. I don’t like red glowing ‘lock-out’ lights! And Ruairidh is away for a couple of days, so there is just me trying to warm up the house! And I don’t even have the option of a fire to warm my toes as  the fireplace still isn’t in full working order. The rim has yet to be put in place, a messy, dusty job, as Ruairidh will have to cut out a slight groove for it to rest in because, unfortunately, it’s a bit deeper than the previous one. And I think a little bit has to be sanded off the back of the wooden mantel to get it flush with the wall, and then it will be finished! Maybe next week. Ruairidh is away at translation meetings until Wednesday, so nothing will happen this week anyway.

The past three weeks have been so busy, I feel like I’m emerging from a cloud that has enveloped us entirely, cutting us off from the realities of the lives of friends and family living in the free air of another world. More time seems to have passed than the date on the calender reveals. Intense times. Wonderful time with our friends in church and visitors over the weekend of communion and fellowship. A hectic day of a visiting committees and meetings with the congregation. Sad days with the death of an elderly lady, she was the oldest member in the congregation. And still more death touching the local community at the end of last week. This particular cloud continues into this week as they investigate and seek closure. Death, the intruder. And yet it is reality, it is the most certain thing about life. How it shocks us. We get so comfortable, so preoccupied with things that don’t matter. Are we living a life that is worth living? Do we make the most of our days? Do we allow the risk of being honest, of opening our heart in truth, in the knowledge that there is no time to be afraid, to hide behind our walls? I don’t like living on my own. Whats more, I’ve learned I’m rubbish at being on my own. I don’t look after myself, I have no discipline without the accountability of other people, the needs of other people, the motivation and comfort that comes from the companionship of other people. That is, people in the same building or close daily interaction. So, I need to challenge myself over the next couple of days, not to waste them, or to waste myself, or the time that has been given to me. What a gift we have been given! Even with cold toes.

Curtain day

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What a beautiful day we had today, for a change it seems! We have had so much rain and wind these past months, its so refreshing to have some blue skies and sunshine! It was if a curtain had lifted between the seasons of winter and spring. A fresh breeze, birds chirping, new shoots emerging from ground and twig. Sunshine is good for the heart, and motivation! I had a curtain motivated day today, to suit the weather changes! It was a perfect drying day for the washing, and I had been waiting for a day that wasn’t too windy, or windy at all  (even plain windy here can be too windy!), so that I could wash our new curtains and get them out without causing any damage or having to fish them out of the loch if they blew away. Ruairidh has had a few packs of Ikea’s hem yourself curtains around for a long while, and I had hemmed a pair a few months ago for the guest rooms. Yup, you read correctly, I hemmed one pair, for two bedrooms! They are quite generous curtains, so one per window was fine as a make-do for a while until I managed to get around to doing any more. They took me a wee while to do. I didn’t want to use the iron-on stuff they come with, because, frankly, I think they’re rubbish! What’s the point in going to all the effort of putting them on, when they just fall off, or come off in the wash? I’d much rather just sew them, even if I’m no expert seamstress. I took a while with that first pair, figuring out lengths and how to go about it with my measuring tape, scissors, pins and magic removable pen. It didn’t help that the pair of curtains (note, from the same pack) were both different lengths !?? Ikea! Anyway, I got there in the end, even remembering to add an extra 8cm for shrinkage as per instructions. I think this was before our last communion weekend, and I knew I wouldn’t get to maching sew them in time before guest arrived to stay with us, so I decided to just run a tack, neatly and with plenty of stitches to make sure they stayed-put! I still haven’t got the sewing machine out. But today, I measured and cut and tacked another pair, in a fraction of the time it took previously- I knew the formula. So, one pair up and waiting a wash and shrink;, one pair washed, ready for a quick iron and hanging (unless I risk the machine, but our next communion weekend is coming up next weekend, so I doubt that!). Who will notice the white, clumsy thread on the hem anyway?!

Ruairidh had a busy day today too. Paperwork in the morning, followed up the the continuation of Operation Fireplace for the rest of the day! Operation Fireplace is an epic. Last year (or was it last year and a few months ago?) Ruairidh began the re-vamp of the fireplace in the manse living room. The old one had been cracked and, lets face it ancient, ugly, decrepit, and so on. Instead of getting somebody else do to the work and with the goal of saving some money from the manse funds, Ruairidh decided he could, and would, handle it. It still hasn’t been finished. Some of you may be noticing a pattern here! Not just with Ruairidh and I, but the manse too! Unfinished fireplace, undecorated kitchen, unvarnished doors, unfinished…. On Tuesday I tackled the hand-rail on the wall going up the stairs. Made of standard pine, unvarnished, and… dirty, manky. Unnoticeable in the passing, but when I went to give it a wee clean a while back, ugh I realised that those dark bits were stains, not just the wood! They came off! With lots of Cif cream and elbow grease. Whoop! I love clean things. WHY it hadn’t been varnished in the first place, I don’t know. Anyway, Peigi has now moved in, watch out house. I was having a sanding-and-varnishing couple of days, between finishing the last coat on the living room door and a couple of coats on the wooden surround and mantel for the fireplace, and the handrail was going to get some too! I arms are a bit sore after scrubbing with Cif, sanding and varnishing, but I smile every time I’m on those stairs, and lovingly caress what I know is clean, will be easy to clean, and is so soft and shiny. (Yup, welcome to my world. I have to substitute the studying with something these days!) Remember to appreciate the hand rail the next time you visit, it needs a little love after its previously neglected life.

Yes, this may all seem mundane to some, but all these bits and bobs are keeping me pretty occupied these days. But obviously, I’m not doing enough because there are still things to complete! The fireplace is getting there though! Until last week, it had been in the exact same state, half-way to completion (presentable but unusable), since last February. Yup, one whole year. Anyway, its good that I can give Ruairidh a hand now. Its looking lovelier each day, and I can’t wait to warm my toes by a real fire again. I’ve been getting my fire-fix when I pop *home* to  Newmarket- *I suppose I should technically change to ‘my parent’s house’ now, but that sounds so COLD! It is home, its just that I have another home now too!* We are aiming ot have it in finished by the communions next weekend, it will have to be presentable then anyway! There may be a slight hiccoup if Ruairidh needs to find a specifi tool to do something, but we hope not. It will be such a pleasure to tick this one off the list! Guess what though?! The curtain came back down. The rain curtain that is. The clouds came, the rain splattered, and the wind rose. Just as well I’d taken the curatins off the line! Oh well, the sunshine was nice while it lasted!

+Photo notes:Some shots from outside in the garden today, and Epic Operation Fireplace.

Yes, one of our washing line posts is that squint! It started keeling over (very quickly- I had to run out to grab hold of the sheets to keep them out of the muddy lawn!) when I had some linen on the line mid-winter. Too much rain in the ground and gales!

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