Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Up North - November 2011

9 members of the same family in the same house for 3 days and it wasn’t even Christmas?! There was another big birthday last year but this time it was on O’s side of the family. A long weekend away in a beautiful part of the country? Count us in.

We collected O’s brother and his girlfriend from the train station and then I swiftly dropped them at the shops so they could actually purchase the birthday girl’s gift. We were soon on our way and had a relatively easy drive up the road stopping at Fort William for a sandwich and a toilet break. Then we turned off and headed towards Mallaig. We soon pulled up at the beautiful wooden lodge type esk building with a field of ponies and a stream outside.

We had an explore, went and petted the very friendly ponies and helped O’s mum prepare the dinner for that night. The house was really, really lovely but we soon realised that it was impossible to take a single step without the floor boards creaking. There were wooden floorboards throughout, which meant you couldn’t get anywhere without someone hearing you. We even had a competition later that night and no one managed it without a squeak. We ate a lovely meal and once baby nephew had been bathed and put to bed we settled in for a tense game of trivial pursuit (O’s family is hugely competitive). O was teamed with his brother in law and they were very smug over their victory.

The next morning breakfast was eaten and the shops were popped to. Once everyone was back it was time for the birthday girl to open her presents and us to have a slice of cake (of which there were several). Then in order to work off the morning cake we headed to beach leaving O’s dad who was making another cake. We were very lucky with the weather the whole weekend and it was quite mild. The others played frisbee and football as we walked along the beach. Back to the house for a bite to eat and a lazy afternoon playing with our nephew while preparations began for dinner.

That evening we had:
Cream of mushroom soup – made by O’s brother and his girlfriend
Beef stew and dumplings with roasted veg on the side – made by O’s brother in law
Vanilla cheesecake and baked key lime pie – made by O and I
Birthday cake for those that weren’t bursting

The rule was that O’s mum didn’t have to lift a finger. Once the dishwasher was stacked and the pans were cleaned we put on plenty of layers and wrapped up as warm as possible. We made a torch lit procession down to the beach and stood well back as the boys arranged the fireworks. We didn’t have many and had purposefully chosen the ones which we thought would be quietest (yup we were after quiet fireworks). Baby nephew did very well to start with but soon got a bit upset and started saying “all gone” “no more” to which we responded “just one more” “oooh isn’t it pretty” “yay, you like fireworks” he remained unconvinced. Once the last one had gone off the boys with their torches scoured the beach to pick up the debris. Back in the warmth we played a couple of rounds of a game similar to call my bluff, O was very smug to be on the winning side again.

Unfortunately during the night I started to feel unwell and the next night O and his brother followed suit. After a day in bed the following day when we were due to leave I was still feeling pretty ropey but I was the best out of a bad lot and we needed to get home somehow. Throughout a very slow packing process which included one sock on, sit rest, other sock on, sit rest, bend pick up jumper, sit up, rest, place jumper over head and arms through sleeve, realise you’ve moved too fast and your brain is hitting off the sides of your skull, sit and rest etc. etc. We eventually got all of our belongings and O’s brothers belongings into the car. I drove very slowly down the road, which was thankfully the road was very clear. There were a few stops for fresh air but we finally made it home in one piece. We collapsed onto the sofa with the duvet and switched between sleeping and watching TV.

A lovely, lovely weekend which was unfortunately spoilt by a stomach virus, we had a great time up until then.

(photos mostly by O apart from the rubbish ones which are by me)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Pantone vs panettone

I always get the pronunciation of these words mixed up. It makes me look like a moron.

If I'd got my act together I might have posted this before Christmas

Thursday, 19 January 2012


I thought about doing a round up of the year like I did for 2010. Then I realised that I hadn't actually done enough or blogged enough for the same sort of round up. But I need something to kick start my blogging in 2012 so I'm making a half hearted attempt. I was reassured that Gaynor did her round up this week so I'm not too late.

Highlights of 2011
Zoe and Neil created a sunshiney wedding on a rainy day.
Adizzygirl married IB with a bouncy castle and a hog roast. It was also an opportunity for most of the long suffering other halves of blogging six to meet.
2011 was a year of travelling including trips to Italy, Iceland, the Lake District and Spain. I also increased the number of Scottish Islands I've visited.

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary.
I turned 30, nephew turned 2, neice turned 13! 
I attended Blookclub

Maybe 2011 wasn't completely uneventful after all.