Saturday, 31 December 2005

Our Bird Watching Year.


As you all know the other love of my life is bird watching.  I have been bringing our years lists up to date this afternoon and printing it off as I do every year.  We have seen a total of 183 species not a bad year at all in fact one of your best that is if we are not out of the country.  So tomorrow we start all over again.  The real hot shot birders that fly up to the Shetlands and out to the Scilly islands at the drop of a hat can do a lot better than that but that is out of our league until we have a big win on the lottery.  I have posted a couple of pictures for you to see I must stress they are not of my taking but downloaded for a bird watching sight we use daily. The first bird is a Belted Kingfisher who dropped in on 1st April and nobody would believe the chap that saw him. He did stay in Yorkshire for a couple of days then disappeared then he reappeared just south of Aberdeen two days later that is when Stuart and I bombed up to see him he was a cracking bird. We got the most horrible weather to see him it was lashing rain and a cold wind but he was worth it I say he there is no difference between the sexes of this bird.  This was a "Life bird for us and the first time this bird has been seen in Great Britain.   The second picture is a Trumpeter Finch that we we were lucky enough to see when we were on holiday in Suffolk this summer it came to Felixstowe and we were only about 50 miles away so we could not resist this opportunity as this is a rare bird for this country and again it was a life bird for us. And with that I will wish Stuart and myself happy birding in 2006 and a bigger total. Hope you have found this of some interest as I know many of you feed and water the birds in your garden this is the other side when you get carried away. Love 


Happy New Year.




I have been promising you this week I would tell you about New Year up here in Scotland. When I was a wee girl New Year was much bigger occasion than Christmas, we had presents but there was not a Christmas Dinner probable because Christmas day was a working day, our holiday was two days at the New year.  I remember I used to lie in my bed and listen to all the people coming up the hill where I lived in Dundee , singing and wishing everybody they met A Happy New Year. When I was older Mum and Dad took me down the town to see the festivities for myself. There were many stall selling paper hats and the like but the thing that caught my eye was pairs of kippers all dressed up in paper dresses and hats I don't know where this custom came from, I wish I knew, it maybe had something to do with the fishing industry that was on the River Tay. My Gran'dad had his own fishing boat but that's another story. After we saw all the fancy stalls we would stand and wait for 12 o'clock in the city square where at midnight they would fire off a single rocket to let everyone know it was New year.  As I was still young that was it for me we walked home and so to bed.   When Stuart and I started courting I was allowed out late.  On Hogmanay we would either go to a party or go to a dance somewhere. Dances always finished early about 11.30 so you had time to get to where you wanted to be for Midnight.  Usually we went out in a small crowd about 6-8 people. After the rocket went off we would set off to go "First footing." Now this has many rituals to be a "First Foot" (first foot over the threshold) you have to be male dark haired and you cannot go into a house empty handed. You must take a small gift in with you. This could be Chocolates a packet of tea, salt, shortbread or the likes of  a piece of coal was said to be very lucky andit was put on the fire straight away.  After everybody wished everybody in the house  "Happy new Year" you would be given a drink and a piece of cake or shortbread.  We would stay for about half an hour then we would set off on foot for the next house on our list.  We tried to get to all the parents houses on Hogmanay depending where they stayed. We were lucky we all stayed in the west end of the city so we could get round quite a lot.  Everybody you met in the street would wish you a Happy new Year and everybody was in good spirits.  There were no cars on the road and no taxis, we all walked.  When we had all had enough of the festivities we would head back home.  Later that day after our New Years Day Meal we would meet up again and start over getting to all the places we had not been to the night before this could go on till the 3rd of January. When you have your own home it is a bit different the other traditions that are upheld are the cleaning of the house, changing of beds etc. then about 11 30pm you cut the cake, Black Bun Madeira lay out shortbread get out the Glasses and the bottle of Whisky ready for your first foot. One ritual was for the bins, a strange one this,all indoor bins had to be emptied before the stroke of midnight (out with the old year) you never empty your indoor bins on New Years Day and I still keep to that one to this day. New Years day saw the New Years Day meal which is to this day home made soup Steak Pie mashed potatoes etc. So really we have gained in holidays now, as we have all the Christmas Celebrations and then we have New Year as well. It is not nearly such a huge occasion as it was when we were younger but there is still a lot goes on.  There are big street parties in Edinburgh and Glasgow with big firework displays and music from live bands. I will now have to go and do a bit of housework but not the amount I used to do , so all of you We wish you a Very happy New Year.    Love. Stuart & 

Friday, 30 December 2005


   In the globe is a Great Northern Diver.

Good Afternoon, I have just been looking out of the window and what a mess we have. We had about an inch of snow during the night and early morning but now the rain has come on and we have just got one big mess. I hate slush it is absolutely horrible. I all looked so pretty this morning when we came down.  On our bird table there were three blackbirds huddled  up together trying to keep dry and warm. We have never seen that before it must have been a very cold night. I would like to take this opportunity to send a get well message to Jeannette who is feeling very poorly today and is having bother getting the help she requires. Prayers and good wishes Jeannette if you read this.  Don't think we will be going out today as it is looking pretty miserable out there. I hate when we are stuck in the house for a whole day but fortunately it is not often we have to do this. Had a short visit this morning from Richard and Ellen which was a nice surprise Lisa was having her hair done as they are all going away for the New Year Celebrations to a nice hotel hope they have a good time as they both work so hard .Richard will be very happy as he will get to give his highland rig an airing at the Hogmanay Do. Well that about it for just now but you never know what might crop up later that I can share with you. Love and  Hugs


Thursday, 29 December 2005

Waiting for the Snow


Good Evening, its been a very cold day here with freezing fog something we do not get much of thank goodness.  It has left the trees looking absolutely spectacular. I have taken some pictures of  what has happened as the frost has frozen on top of the small amount of snow we had yesterday.  The forecast for us for tomorrow is pretty bad with heavy snow coming in from the west overnight so the snow spade will be busy tomorrow morning.  While I was taking the pictures this morning children we sledging just along from me and I very nearly asked if I could have a go, but I thought Stu would do the toot if I did that he is more conservative than I am.  I'll have to go and see if Ellen will give me a go on her sledge. Richard took her out yesterday morning and was telling us that the snowman was build before 9-30am I wonder who was up first Ellen or Dad.  We went out and did the New Year shop today with the weather supposed to be so bad tomorrow so it can snow if it likes now and we can enjoy it.  I hade many years when Stuart worked in Edinburgh worrying about bad weather its nice to be more relaxed about it now.  I remember one winter's day Stu had to get away from work because of snow his journey usually took 40 minutes on a good day but that particular day it 7 hours a complete nightmare. He was one of the last cars to get of the motorway before it closed for two days it is the worst snow I have seen in the 15 years we have lived out here.  Hope you are keeping warm and staying safe will let you know if we get a lot of snow tomorrow. Love.


Wednesday, 28 December 2005

The weather outside is snowing.

Good Evening ,Have been out to a buffet lunch today at my daughter in laws parents home.  We had some snow overnight and we wondered about going this morning as the road outside our house was still covered in snow as the gritter does not know we live here.  The home we were visiting is in the country so we were a bit worried about the country lane up to their house but it was OK better than ours.  I have taken the above pictures today to let you see the garden as it was looking an absolute picture.  The pictures of Ellen were taken on Christmas Day.  We had a lovely lunch and I have been drinking Champagne so my head is a bit squiffy but I am fine don't know how this will come out though but I am doing my best.  Not very good when I have had wine as I don't drink usually.  I was planning to write to you if you would like about the way New Year was up here in Scotland when we were young but alas is no more let me know and I will do it on Hogmanay. Will go now and have some more coffee Love and take care on the roads if you are going out and about.



Tuesday, 27 December 2005

The Second day of Christmas



Good Afternoon, What a morning we had here Stuart and I we planning to go up to Perth to have a wander round the Sales. Just before we left I remembered it was bin day so I went out the back to get the bin. So far so good as I came down the side of the house I thought the pavement looked a bit shiny what I thought had been rain was actually black ice all the road and the pavement were just one big sheet of ice. As I proceeded towards the pavement off our drive I started to slide me and the wheelie bin.  I had on a pain of leather soled shoes which were flat thank goodness so I could not get a grip at all.  A neighbour across the road had to slid across to help me On how I wished I had my skates on then I would have been in my element. I thought Stuart would call off the trip but he thought it would be OK once we got on the motorway which is only about a quarter of a mile away.  Sure enough once we got out of the cul-de-sac we live in all was well.  The pavements up in Perth were not great but got better as the morning progressed.  The shops were busy at M&S were doing a roaring trade The queues in there were horrendous I put back what I wanted as it would have taken all morning to get to the top of the queue.   Did get a nice pair of leather shoes in a nice shoe shop reduced from £55 to £10 in a lovely Taupe colour so I think I got a good bargain there. Well I think that's about all for now as I will have to go and do some reading to get my answers off for the Journal Tournament that we are doing just now. They are due in tomorrow and I still have some answers to find. Loads of love,


Monday, 26 December 2005


Good Morning J-land, well I hope you all had a very happy day yesterday and Santa was very good to you.  Its all very quiet here today and we are relaxing just the two of us. Stuart is as usual downstairs reading his paper. We have been out for a walk but it is raining not heavy but it is milder than it was yesterday. We then came home and had Christmas pies and Mulled wine which was very nice.  Have now tidied up the kitchen and thought I would do this before I settle down.  We had a lovely day at Richard and Lisa's yesterday and Ellen was in good form. The star of the day was one of these squishy balls with the lights in the middle that I bought just for fun it just shows you its not the value of the item that catches their fancy.  She also was very proud of a pair of pink Barbie Wellies she got from Santa think she is dying for it to rain or snow so she can get them on.  Planned a special meal for Stuart and I today so that will keep me busy for a while its just Chicken and the trimmings and more Christmas Pudding as we are both fans.  Will go now and hope you all have a really nice Boxing Day  My spell check wanted to change my spelling of wellies to willies but I thought my spelling was better.  Love

Sunday, 25 December 2005

Merry Christmas



Wishing You All A Very Merry Christmas From Joan  and  Stuart.

Saturday, 24 December 2005





Good Morning J-Land, Christmas Eve my favourite day. An early entry just to wish all my new friends a Very Happy Christmas and hope you all have a lovely day no matter where you are.  I have so enjoyed reading your journals and receiving your comments these last few months you are all such good company.  So that is it for me for today unless that is I have to come on and have a rant about something and I certainly hope not as I am full of cheer at the moment. I will say bye for now and repeat myself from Stuart and myself have a very Happy Christmas. With Love


Friday, 23 December 2005




Oh dear have I been in big trouble. After me thinking I was well ahead with Christmas chores disaster struck.  Last night I went to ice my cake, something I have done many many times before but not like this.  I had bought Royal Icing sugar that's the one you just add water to. and Bobs your Uncle Ha, not last night.   It said on the packet to add 5 x15ml spoons of water now, I did not have that kind of measuring spoon mine said it was in cc's. I thought, silly me it would be about the same, oh no its not. So now I have the royal icing and the water in mixer and it won't thicken.  Idea I'll add more icing sugar, look in cupboard for packet none found.  Never mind Joan you can make some. Out comes the mill attachment for the mixer and in goes caster sugar (are you with me so far),  switch on and start grinding after a few seconds we have icing sugar, so I added it to the runny icing and low and behold the whole thing turned a pale shade of grey don't know what caused this but it looked awful.  So here I am a 8o'clock at night with this grey runny mess. Undeterred I got my coat on and headed off in the car to the local Supermarket they only had icing sugar so I headed off to another corner shop.  It was one of those evening that seemed to be extra dark and it was heavy drizzle as well but I kept going regardless.  Other shop did not have any either. Headed back home to assess the situation.  What am I going to do. By this time it was about a quarter to nine the kitchen which is never like a palace at any time looked as if a bomb had struck. So I set to with a helping hand from Stuart to get it back to normal.  We then sat down to Die Hard 1 which we have seen before but it was very relaxing after all the troubles of the evening.  Did not sleep well at all thinking what to do about my cake.  This morning I went to the only remaining shop in the village and they only had icing sugar as well.  I did not want to have to go up to Perth and face a very busy Asda or Tesco so I bought the icing sugar came home and started to make my royal icing the proper way with the egg whites etc even found I had enough a lemon juice to do the job.  Thank goodness it went like a dream. The cake is now iced and looking very nice and all the panic is over. I still have all my wrapping to do but at least the cake will have a bit of time to dry off, but it just would not be Christmas if I did not have a least one panic.  Better go now and do some of the wrapping. Bye and love      

Thursday, 22 December 2005

Thursday Musings



Good Afternoon, That's all the food shopping done now braved the Tesco crowds this morning so that that done thank goodness. They seemed to have everything with the exception of loose Brussel Sprouts which I thought was strange but never mind I just bought the ready to go ones so my hands won't freeze on boxing day. We are going out on Christmas day to be with the family so I will do a small Christmas dinner for Stu and I on Boxing day.  Bought a new game for the computer on Tuesday when we were up in Perth call Myst 1V and struggled to get it to play all day yesterday but to no avail there is something wrong with the amount of memory on our graphics card so I will have to see about it after the Festive season.  I have posted a few pictures for you today to let you see our new tree not convinced about it but it will have to be OK this year as it was not cheep.  the tiny one in the Vestibule is really pretty as it is fibre optic as well and is battery operated. I thought is would be hard on batteries but I am getting about 4 nights out of the 3 batteries. (I am using rechargeable ones)  I left a link for you this morning in a short entry to a Christmas card I received from the States this morning have a look it well worth it. Going to say bye for now things to do. Love,


A Christmas Card to Share

Wednesday, 21 December 2005








Good Morning J-land, as this is the first day of winter according to my diary I thought the above graphic would be appropriate. Feeling more like myself again and I thought I would do a quick entry while waiting for my medication to take, that gives me 15 minutes. Stuart has gone off to the doctors to give some blood for some test they want to do so all is quiet here.  We were up in Perth yesterday and we had a lovely walk round and I picked up one two gifts for Stuart as I had not done very well in that department.  Put the marzipan on the cake last night so that is something else out of the way, must try to get some wrapping done today. Watched the Abba program last night and was really disappointed there were too much talk and not enough Abba. What a great group they were. Must go now and get something to eat. Love and hope to be back later.

Monday, 19 December 2005


Good Morning J-land, not all that good up here for me and I am going to have a rant sorry about this so near to Christmas.  First off on this cold morning we had a power cut which lasted about an hour which I suppose was not too bad.  I then had an appointment with the Denplan Specialist at the dentist what a waste of time that was. If there is something I cannot abide is someone who does not know what she is doing. My dentist has decided to go over to this plan where we pay monthly payments for our treatment wither we need it or not I suppose you have this sort of thing as well.  I don't have a lot of teeth left and have a full top plate and my usual bill for the year would work out at £5 per month I was told today under Denplan   it would now cost me £15 50 per month with double payment for registration for the first month  am I being unreasonable or is that an awful lot of money for a pensioner. When I asked her a question about an entry about upper something or rather she said she did not know and would ask as she was not a dentist. When she came back I still did not get an answer and was told that was what my dentist had assessed me for.  Have now got a splitting headache and am not in the best of tempers oh dear this is not me at all but up here in Scotland we are having a lot of trouble with our dentists about going private but I don't have this choice its either this plan or nothing I cannot even pay as I go so to speak. Now to complete my morning I have a window up on my computer saying I have an unreadable fire and that it is corrupt and I don't know what to do it says to run Chkdsk utility has anybody any ideas on that one have run Spybot but its still there. Will close now and if I feel better later and full of Christmas cheer I will speak to you again .  Love


Sunday, 18 December 2005

Musings for Sunday.


The beautiful graphic of Santa I will admit I snagged from one of our American friends I just could not resist it as I just love Santa's like this. I am doing an early entry today as I have a busy afternoon planned doing nothing but I do have to watch Part 2 of the Snow Queen from yesterday it was a real good fairy tail and we really enjoyed it.  At four o'clock I have an appointment over the pond for part two of the Journal tournament don't know what is going to happen today.  I will have to put the marzipan on the cake very soon not sure if that will be today or not depends but will have to get on with it so that the icing will have time to set. Oh do love Christmas cake.  Have not read any ones choice of favourite Christmas carols yet that Jan of Serendipity asked us to do come on its not that hard. Have been out for coffee this morning to our favourite coffee shop and bought a cookery book for Stuart's stocking called Cooking for Blokes just for a laugh it looks good. Stuart is no cook but he likes to dabble so this will maybe give home some ideas I can but hope then I will get an evening off now and again. Well lunch is waiting to be prepared so I had better go hoping you all have a peaceful day and enjoy whatever you are doing or there again not doing. Before I go a wee story for Christmas via today's Sunday Post  Little boys said to his Mum that he did not want the bicycle he asked for Christmas any more. Mum asked why not and he said he had found one in the garage and did not want to bother Santa any more.  Love

Saturday, 17 December 2005

Cold Saturday



Just a quick entry today as there is not a lot happening here today.  I was up in the night as usual and we had had snow and I thought that we were going to have a lovely snowy day today but when i got up it was all gone.  It is a very cold day and the outside temperature is only 1.8 that at 1-30 and there is a wind as well.  We have decided to not go for our walk today as it is a bit cold for Stuart even with the lovely winter sunshine. Stuart has been busy sorting the holder for the carpet at the door of the study I have been on about it for week so at last it is done. Noticed in the TV mag that The Snow Queen is on this afternoon on Sky 1 so we are going to give that a watch it will make a nice change from the usual. Hope you all have a good day and will be rooting for your favourites tonight whither on Strictly Come Dancing or The X Factor its the dancing for us. Bye . Sorry forgot to leave my favourite Christmas Carol.    Oh Come Oh come Emmanuel.


Friday, 16 December 2005

Friday Again.




Good Afternoon, Stuart and I have been out and about today to St Andrews well you do know its one of our favourites for a wee run in the car.  It was absolutely perishing cold. As we walked out of the car park a young girl passed us and all she had on was a pair of jeans and a cotton top and it was one of those short things that don't even cover your tum or your back.  The temperature was about 3 degrees and there was a north wind blowing so that must have brought it down even more.  Young people never cease to amaze me in the winter when the weather is at its coldest they go out without coats or even a jacket and in  summer passed which was very good up here they had on jackets oh I don't understand it anymore.

We had a lovely walk round, sorry forgot the camera again and got in trouble for that. I have not managed to see Christmas light on in Perth or St Andrews as we always head home about 3 o'clock or so and the lights have not come on.  There is a couple of houses near to us and they have a great display. Will try to get round one evening to take a picture or two for you. Did not buy anything other than bread and a book and a couple of coffees which did warm us up.

I  have been thinking of old dear friends this week as the Christmas cards arrive one from an neighbour of 30years ago and one from a girl I worked with in Timex 46 years ago. I have not seen Margaret for over 35 years and think of her as being the way I last saw her when in fact she will be a year older than me.....strange to think that. Well its time for me to go and feed the man of my dreams so I will say Bye and take care Love,


Thursday, 15 December 2005






Good Morning, Hope you are all well this morning I can't say I am bright eyed and bushy tailed but I am very pleased with myself as at last I have finished my Christmas Shopping, its not that I have a big family to go round its the idea thing I can never think of what to get.  My daughter in law is a nightmare I love here to bits but she is so fussy you would not believe it. I have given up giving her anything to wear long ago. Even my son can't choose anything for her so he can't help me. I usually end up with something from the Clarins range as I know I'm safe and it will get used I hate the thought of a gift not being used and just lying there I have always had to work hard for every penny and cannot stand waste.

Today I plan to be busy I say plan as I was so tired when we got in yesterday I have never felt to bad from my feet to the middle of my back ached I don't know what was wrong. The shopping we did (Not the food) is still sitting where I laid it down when I came in so hopefully I will have enough energy to tidy up today.  I did not even manage to do an entry last night and I don't like to miss a day if I can help it but I just did not have the inclination last night.  Did manage to do part of Jeannette's quiz but found that hard as I could not concentrate.  During the night one of the answers came to me that I had been suck with and had just put in something I thought fitted but now I know no 13. Would love to try another one like that as I really enjoyed doing it. Right I am going now to get on hope to be back later. Love Joan.


















Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Tusday second attempt.



Good Afternoon, a very quiet day here we were out and about this morning for a while I needed some shopping from the supermarket and Stuart was having a haircut.  It was very cold and windy so we did not stay out long. Made yet another pot of soup for lunchtime and then prepared the tea.  Have spent most of the afternoon up here in the study on the computer playing games and reading alerts as they came in. 

Stuart is downstairs watching Return of the King the third in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I am not very keen as I did not really enjoy the first one and gave up half way through the second one.  I had great difficulty hearing what they were saying and did not want to keep saying to Stuart what was that he said so I just gave up in the end.

J-Land seems to be thinking back today I was doing the same last night. Stuart was up here on the computer and called me up to see the outdoor skating rink they have made outside the Forum in Norwich by the way this was on the BBC website they have web cams all over the country. This got me thinking how much I enjoyed skating when I was younger and how I am determined to go to Perth ice rink just one more time as I am totally convinced that I will still be able to do it. I think I will wait till after the school holidays when it will be a bit more quiet. All of my skating was done at Dundee ice rink which has been knocked done to make way for a retail park its so sad as it was such a popular place and had great ice. Going to watch the second part of the drama that started last night Secret Smile it was really good and we enjoyed it very much, and of course Holby as well. Look forward to that. Catch you later Much Love and best wishes.

Monday, 12 December 2005

Monday MOnday.




Good Afternoon, Have been out and about today. I had a hospital appointment this morning in Perth. I go every 6 months to be checked out as I am on HRT and synthetic one which is supposed to he less harmful that the other one.  Have tried to come off it but am not having any success as yet. When I cut down within days the flashings  get so bad I get no sleep at all at least this way it is under control a bit and I can put up with what I have at the moment.

Later we had a run round in the car and went in to the garden centre that I showed you pictures of during the summer what a difference the winter makes still the Christmas things were nice and I picked up one or two stocking fillers. We have had the most glorious day here lovely sunshine and not too cold. For this time of year the countryside is still looking very green and quite spectacular. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area of the country. Christmas cards have started to arrive from you my friends and from friend that we have had for a long time.  We also had a letter today which I thought I would share with you from Stuart Pension Company we have to get a witness to sign this form that came in the post today to say we are still alive so I will have to go to a neighbours later to get a signature think that is really funny but I do remember my Dad getting one every year and how he laughed about it. Well that's about it for today. Hope you enjoy the rest of Monday. Love

Sunday, 11 December 2005

Quiet Sunday.



Good Afternoon, Have been watching the new this morning and am just wondering if all my friends down in the South of England are alright with this terrible fire that is raging down there near London.  It looks very serious indeed.  Seemingly the black smoke can be seen for miles and miles. Stuart said there was a photo on from a satellite and it can be seen from space. Again I hope everybody down there is OK.

I was wondering if any of you computer whizzes can help me. Yesterday when I booted up my computer there was a window came up saying System 32. "These windows have been hidden"  if I close the window that's it, it stays away will the next time I have to restart the computer. Have tried System restore and that has not worked has anybody got any ideas.

Not going out today as I will have to get the Christmas cards written ,and still have some to make.  Stuart has just put the new tree up and it looks lovely as the say on the Watercolour painting programs I'm happy with that, meaning leave it now while it still looks good and don't fiddle any more. Better go now and get on while I'm in the mood. Have a nice day Lots of love,     

Saturday, 10 December 2005

Pictures for you.


Just a quick entry tonight of some of Stuart's paintings that are in the exibition. Its very difficult with all the light and the flash to get them to look as good as they really are.Hope you enjoy looking  at them.  Love,