Friday, 24 May 2013

This moment...

Inspired by Soulemama's {this moment} - a Friday ritual. A single photo no some words -  capturing a favourite image from the week. A treasured and beautiful moment which I would like to pause and, in doing so, remember and pray for all those affected by the devastating tornado in Oklahoma.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A Quiet Inspiration

Edinburgh Castle 
Although sometimes I tire of the commute, Edinburgh is a wonderful city to work in.  From my classroom window I have a terrific view of the castle; Princes Street Gardens and the fabulous National Gallery are just a short walk downhill and during the Summer, the festival means free entertainment on every street corner.

In the week I am often to be found working through lunch but, sometimes, I get to leave the classroom... just for a little while.

On these occasions one of my favourite haunts (excuse the pun) is Greyfriars Graveyard.  People have been buried in Greyfriars for over 400 years and as you would expect there are a number of notable 'residents' though perhaps the most well-known is neither man nor woman but a small Skye terrier - Greyfriars Bobby.

The story, that I'm sure you know already, is that Bobby belonged to John Gray who worked as a night watchman for the Edinburgh city police.  When he died his loyal canine companion could not bear to be parted and sat by his graveyard every night for 14 years until his own death in 1872.  The story has inspired many films and books, and Bobby's grave, just inside the cemetery gates, receives more visitors than his owner's just a short distance away.  I'm amazed at how many people, not just the young, feel drawn to leave a memento at his graveside or have their picture taken next to his commemorative statue.  Each week flowers, small cuddly toys, and an abundance of sticks are left by his headstone and have to be regularly removed to make room for more.

Greyfriars other claim to fame is not so sentimental - it is said to be haunted by the restless ghost of the infamous 'Bloody' George Mackenzie who was responsible for the imprisonment and deaths of hundreds of Presbyterian Covenanters. Much is made of this supernatural activity and regular 'ghost tours' brave a visit through the graveyard at night.  I tend to stay away from his vault and have only ever experienced Greyfriars as a peaceful and surprisingly sunny place in which to take a moment to pause in a busy day (and enjoy a cappuccino and delicious brownie from nearby Bobby's sandwich bar).  I guess you see and feel what you look for!
The scary looking Mackenzie vault

Greyfriars has been a source of other literary inspiration as well. J K Rowling spent some time in a nearby cafe 'The Elephant House', writing the first of the Harry Potter books. She must surely have wandered through the graveyard herself, perhaps with cappuccino in hand too, as in Greyfriars you will find the graves of a Potter, McGonagall, Moodie and most interestingly - a Thomas Riddle.


Linking up with The Monday Club again today over at Hello Wall Do visit and read some of the other brilliant posts.

Friday, 17 May 2013

This moment...

Inspired by Soulemama's {this moment} - a Friday ritual. A single photo -  capturing a favourite image from the week. A treasured and special moment that I would like to pause and remember.

The swallows are back

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Hair Brained

Like Luna I am in desperate need of a haircut. Her soft white curls are turning into brown tangles with Rastafarian dreadlocks whereas my hair is turning white in a deeply unattractive witch-like way. Something needs to be both of us.

I'm of the opinion that once you are past a certain age (ahem...) that you need really good hair to get away with having it long. I envy women with lovely locks who seem to be able to just run a comb through it in the morning then look like they've spent half an hour styling it. When I wake up in the morning a glance in the mirror confirms my worst fears - I am a fat-faced version of  Kierston Wareing from Eastenders; her claim to fame must surely be the worst hair on television!  At least though she has other eerr... 'assets' to distract from her less than crowning glory.
Kierston Wareing

Both my sisters are blessed with thick wavy hair while my hair hangs in a lank curtain of lacklustre mousieness.  As I've got older it has developed peculiar clumps of grey, like patches of mildew. Hair dye generally sorts that out but I can't do anything about its texture.  The hair at my temples has thinned to wispy white strands that stick out in all directions; I have seven natural partings including one from ear to ear and my triple crown has joined forces with my cows licks to make styling a mission impossible.

Back in the 70s when I was very little it was at least very blond but also very fly-away and prone to knit itself into terrific knots.  My mother had a pretty eccentric method of hair-washing and up until I was about five I was laid on the draining board and my hair washed in the kitchen sink! Her excuse was it saved her back leaning over the bath; I really hope she didn't use Fairy Liquid! She certainly never used conditioner and trying to get through it when it was wet was fine tooth comb torture.

Perhaps this is the reason for my aversion to going to the hairdressers.  Most of my friends look forward to a bit of pampering but I make an appointment reluctantly and then sit there staring at my disappointing reflection in the many mirrors and trying unsuccessfully to get enthusiastic about fancy hair products. When asked what sort of style I'm after I usually just say, "Do what you can" and "Good Luck".

(Image credit:
I have tried an extensive array of salons and as we've moved so many times my experience is countrywide.  When we lived in one small Scottish town there were no less than 10 hairdressers lining either side of the High Street.  Thinking about them now I am reminded of a game my father and I used to play.  On car journeys we would try and come up with as many creative shop names as possible. Hairdressers were easily our favourite.  You know the sort of thing -  Talking Heads, The Cutting Edge, Fringe Benefits, The Mane Attraction, The Hair Port... I've got you thinking now haven't I?!

Whatever the salon's name, I would normally at least enjoy flicking through Hello, enjoying a complimentary coffee, but I have a terrifically weak bladder and after less than three sips I invariably have to go to the loo; the ease of which depends on how far along in the washing, cutting, blow-drying process you are. The hairdresser loo is like no other.  You see, even in the more expensive upmarket establishments, hairdressers are rather neglected when it comes to their own facilities; the gloss paint and the high spec fittings are for clients only.  If you're just there for a half-hour appointment no-one expects you to need to visit that grubby broom cupboard sized toilet down the back stairs.

Once when I decided to treat myself to a full head of highlights (£130! I kid you not) I was stuck in the twirly chair for nigh on three hours and had to set off for the lav a second time.  I felt confident that I remembered where it was and pushed open what I thought was the right door only to find myself outside by the bins in an alleyway behind the salon. What was worse was that the door had closed firmly behind me and I couldn't get back inside. I was forced, much to the surprise of the Saturday shoppers, to walk right round to the front entrance in my Darth Vader inspired black cape and tin foil helmet!

I think I may have found a solution to my hairdressing drama. H has become really quite proficient at colouring my hair; there is the added incentive of not wanting to be embarrassed by the state of her mother. And this week a lovely sympathetic mobile hairdresser is coming to my house instead.  I'm hoping to lose at least two inches of split-ends and achieve a more coiffed appearance. Well, that's the hope; I'll keep you posted on the reality.

I'm linking up with The Monday Club and the very talented Sarah over at Hello Wall with this post. 


Friday, 10 May 2013

This moment...

Inspired by Soulemama's {this moment} - a Friday ritual. A single photo -  capturing a favourite image from the week. A treasured and special moment that I would like to pause and remember.

Home Shopping

Friday, 3 May 2013

This moment...

Inspired by Soulemama's {this moment} - a Friday ritual. A single photo -  capturing a favourite image from the week. A treasured and funny moment that I would like to pause and remember.

Traffic Jam