Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

We had a very nice one and hope you did too. This is our Christmas Branch, which me’n’Marmers did find a tad disappointing, as it takes a lot less undecorating than a whole tree: all our feline friends will know what I mean, purrticularly that rowdy lot, 4catgang, who not only do the undecorating, but also the total tree destruction scenario. Respec’ to 4catgang!

There must be something peculiarly bolshie about French cats, but that’s no surprise when you think about it.

Here’re me’n’Marmers enjoying our Chrissie dinner – Marmers had the honour of getting first dibs on Boris&Spock’s holographic placemat: I’m told that Mia also has one, so naturally, I’m all-of-a-flutter just thinking about us almost sharing the same purrlace at dinner!

Though I hope Marmers doesn’t get any ideas…

Fpu had a local peasant which did her two nights…



Read Full Post »

We’ll have none of yer ‘Gotcha’s’ here, thank you very much.

This is the village of Falkland in Fife and nothing to do with those faraway islands whose 2000 inhabitants cost so much, one way or another. (And won Maggie T her second term in office, whilst providing a nice distraction from being none-too-chuffed with their govt. for the Argentine people. Politicians eh…)

I do try not to get distracted from the matter in paw..honest.

It wasn’t easy getting photos of the village, which sits at the feet of the Lomond Hills which are nowhere near Loch Lomond which is West not East,  without including intrusive vehicles I can tell you: obviously very necessary to the inhabitants, but not what you’d call photogenic.

(Were it not for that colon, I’d be pure puffed:-)

The National Trust for Scotland owns the Palace, which was acquired by the Scottish Crown from a MacDuff in the 14th century and transformed by twa Jamies – 1v&v – between 1501 and 1541 just in time for afternoon tea and is ‘an impressive Renaissance building’ according to the blurb. In every nook and cranny you will find helpful volunteer guides, who tend be au certain age and tell you interesting stuff in a nice and not at all tedious way.

The Flemish tapestries are a wheen o’ wark and you wouldn’t believe how ill-treated they were by their owners – chopped up willy-nilly and pieced together again with the joining-up stitching all showing. Folks with more money than sense… There was no photo-taking inside because of possible light damage, so I can’t show you my favourite room, a snug wee library at the top of a curly stone stair which didn’t bother me at all, but which Ancient Oz Friend refused to ascend and fpu did ascend but with bated breath and rigid sphincter.

The outdoor draughts board looked like a weight-lifting exercise, a sort of Beauty Through Strength thing, until a small boy was seen to be shifting them about with the aid of a short window pole (anyone who has ever lived in a Victorian tenement will know what I mean) and the gardens are really lovely, but you know me and gardens, so I’ve tried to be restrained in the flower pic dept.

At the far end of the gardens (did I mention the gardens? Oh.) is a ‘real tennis’ court built in 1593 – the oldest still in use and home of Falkland Palace Royal Tennis Club. Bet that’s a bundle of laughs. Just as long as they don’t disturb the swallows who nest in the roofed spectator area…I like swallows…well all birdies to be honest.

The Violin Shop just behind the lion-encrusted fountain in the village is well worth a visit. Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny, keeps in touch with Mr Beveridge who owns it, and if you don’t believe me, you should have read today’s Herald newspaper! The shop doesn’t just buy and sell violins, it is a sort of Old Curiosity Shoppe too, with collectibles and books and unconsidered trifles. I was a bit confused by all the signs saying ‘Cash Paid for violins cellos etc.’ Purrhaps it’s another word for money…

I hope you’re impurressed by the pusscats on the fountain, the given name of Mr Bruce the statue, which is Onesiphorus (what’s in a name indeed!) and the sign on The Bruce pub which says ‘I.R.6 God saif ye king of Grit Britan France and Irland, our Soveran for of his liberality this hous did edify.’ A bit like ‘Lizzie Wan kipped here’ I think.

It’s been a bit showery today, not my kind of weather, but conducive to tippy-tapping on the keyboard and generally staying indoors.

Read Full Post »

…brought to us by the St Andrews Preservation Trust Limited – Hidden Gardens of St Andrews 2010. The pu’s, accompanied by Ancient Australian Friend, followed the Trust’s map around 11 of 12 gardens on Sunday, in purrfect weather.

No thanks to the Tourist Office, who, having run out of tickets, were unhelpful in the extreme, sending their hapless victims (without clear directions) to one of the gardens (in Guthrie Place) which was not selling tickets; but many thanks to the denizens of the year-round Christmas Shop, who had run out of street maps, but sent our dogged trio to MacGregor’s “Where we get sandwiches at lunchtime”, who had also run out of street maps, but whose very helpful waitress went out into South Street to point out the whereabouts of said Place. On arriving, and discovering lack of ticket availability, a very kind couple gave up one of their maps and Trio got well-ticketed at the Museum…at last!

10/10 to people of St Andrews, 0/10 to paid peeps at Tourism. I hope I have made that very very clear…

So. To start at the St Andrew’s Preservation Trust (I feel a Kate Rusby song coming on) Museum, here we are in the D’Arcy Wentworth Thomson garden, which had tea and biscuits, a plant stall and a book stall, and where AAF found a copy of Rebecca, which she rather wanted to read, in order to refresh her memory after having just finished Susan Hill’s sequel .

There was a Storyteller too, but she was on a break, and there was only a pile of colourful cushions to show where she had been. To be honest, Going Around Gardens isn’t really a Small Person’s Thing…

Onwards to a smallish-but-purrfectly-formed garden, where AAF posed for the camera…

…closely followed by mpu

Now, it has to be said that, for as long as 46 South Street continues to open its deeply secret self to the public once a year, there will never be any dispute as to the winner of The Most Marvelous Secret Garden Ever In The History of Secret Gardens Contest. Entering through the front door of the house, in a busy town street, going through the hall and finding yourself in a really nice garden…

…and thinking that was it, you then walk into another bit…

…which is wild, with mown paths and old fruit trees…

…followed by more cultivation (by which time you think purrhaps you have entered a horticultural Tardis)

…followed by a glorious sitootery with rose-festooned arches and stone paths overflowing with floriferousness

Eventually it was time to leave ‘this long garden dating from the original Mediaeval Town Plan of St Andrews’ to go and admire other smaller delights.

Just look at the utterly purrfect pinkness of these peonies, in a garden recently revitalised under the guidance of Colin MacBeath of Quercus Nursery, a magical plantsman’s paradise luring in the depths of the Rankeillor Estate – where not one single smelly candle, garden gnome, nor any other piece of faffery gets in the way of plants plants plants.

Sorry, got a bit carried away…

Thence to a terraced garden with ponds, fountain and rill…and cascading roses

And, finally, The Burgher Kirk, 136 South Street – another gem of the Preservation Trust and the teeniest garden of them all.

mpu exits onto South Street, almost back where they had begun, footsore and hot, but with a remembered riot of colour to recall when winter’s icy grasp gets us by the short-and-curlies once again…but not yet…

Read Full Post »

Lookit that there. Oh I was such a happy kitty. Could’ve swung there all day in my Human Hammock, but even the bestest Fans of KC can only do so much, so I just made the most of it while it lasted. KC’s Motto for Liff…

The small-but-purrfectly-formed EK Branch of the KC&M Fanclub© arrived bearing gifts which were all much appreciated. I have to report that the lemon polenta cake is halfway gone; the Magnificent Jumper tried on and found excellent, and me’n’Marmers have been munching our way through various treats and tidbits. So much classier than our usual plebeian fare. (*Heavy Hints Dept*)

We have been back from our Country House Retreat for 4 days now, but, what with one thing and another, I just haven’t had time to blog. I mean, two Wallander episodes in one week and my Staff is a Lost Cause. Not to mention the quilting and cleaning and gardening (though not up to neighbour’s standards) and suchlike.

I have to report the parental units had a whale of a time in Orkney at the Folk Festival – the new-ish committee are doing a sterling job and all the acts were superb. Only one (major) disappointment – they went to the Fiddlers’ Rally on Sunday, fully expecting to see Stromness Dragon in all her pomp, performing as Leader of the Strathspey and Reel and…Dear Reader she WAS NOT THERE! Luckily, a brief meeting in ‘the street’ on Monday slightly made up for such a crushing blow (fpu is convinced Tigger is a friend-and-relation of the Dragon, as she bounces around very energetically and enthusiastically. The world needs more Tigger-Dragons).

Many cups of coffee were drunk in many households in Stromness and Dounby (but nary a sighting of Moo and her magnificent buggy, which was a pity), including a kind invitation to the Old Homestead, in which many new and exciting innovations have taken place. The pu’s were both impressed and, in the case of Rolling Acres, relieved.

Back home, the stiff-legged gorse is still sporting acid-yellow peaflowers; the shooting-star sprays of broom are in their glory and every twiglet of hawthorn droops under several scones’ worth of clotted cream: as I paddy-pawed between two fields of rape, my wee nostrils drowned in honey…

There was a bit of a Weather Event while we were at Kingask, but fortunately, the accommodation is so good, it didn’t impinge too much on our delicate sensibilities. However, fpu was a tad puzzled to find her Hostas in shreds and the first water lily leaves with big chunks removed – was there, she mused, some massive-jawed breed of amphibious insect which munches its way through both land and water-based plantliff? No, it was giant hailstones (not to be confused with Giant Haystacks) and I was able to Put Her Right. Always a purrleasant state of affairs. I made the most of it – as you may imagine…

Apart from the battered lily leaves – and a new unsullied one has just broached the surface – the Pond is fine and looks like this:-

(as of a short while ago)

Battered water lily leaves on the left… Gazillions of larvae swarm in its depths, all eating one another with gay abandon and the tadpoles are waxing plump, as they hoover up any algae that has the temerity to exist. Free slates from Anster via FreeMesa hide the liner: this is a great site – within a week, we found a new home for the too-big-compost- bin (fpu didn’t quite grasp the enormity of 330 litres) and got as many slates as could be fitted into two fish boxes in the back of a small car.

Now, I have spent quite long enough, on a sunny summer’s day, tippy-tapping away up here, what with down/up/overloading photos from camera to iPhoto, from iPhoto to Desktop, from Desktop to here and Flickr, and now from Flickr to Here There are a few repetitive ones, but I was loosing the will to purr!

My favourite is the Orkney Cat’s Protection notice in Tam’s Bookshop window – ‘Out of work mousers looking for rural employment opportunities.’


Read Full Post »

That’s us back from our hols then. And jolly nice they were too. The pu’s swanned off in Cattle Class on a 757 200 series to soak up the sun in Gran Canaria, but Marmers and me, for about a tenth of the price, lolled around in Mrs Pugh’s Secret Garden bein’ purrshipped, as is only right and purroper. Only the best behaved felines get to stay at Kingask you know. The badly behaved get their marchin’ orders and have to slink off down the drive with all their worldlies in a spotty bandana on the end of a stick…honest…

Anyway, before we left on our various purrambulations, the pondhole was lined with old carpet underlay…

…ready for the butyl liner, which we discovered is not just any old butyl, but Swedish butyl. We’d like to know if the Swedes are purrticularly into rubber, but someone forgot to ask Cap’n P if this was so…Tcha!

water goin’ in…

…and a bit more in…

…and even more in…

me testin’ the water quality (ever since landlady mentioned Just William, I’ve had a bit of a purroblem with my g’s)

makin’ a full and exhaustive inspection of the pond site

time to switch off the tap…

…and trim the edges


All fine and dandy. But then, just when I thought, what with all that inspectin’ and testin’ and whatnot, I had deserved a wee rest, I was set to sewing mailbags in the Sewing Room upstairs. Fourteen so far and no end in sight. I tell you, I was beginning to feel like a limp dishrag and a wet weekend in Largs all in one – the iniquity of it! Slavery was banned long ago I felt like saying but didn’t becuz I know where my Whiskas tins come from, oh yuss.


not the sort of Toyota a cat purrfers to be associated with

one of those Orkney car boot sale ‘treasures’ which eventually has a use – best Irish Linen Suture Thread…

sewing mailbags

that’s it stack ’em high, don’t mind me and my poor wee paws *sigh*

At last, after much hard labour, I was allowed to put my poor paws up and relax in the sunshine to a bit of Classic FM.

How quickly a dream holiday can become but a distant memory…Gran Canaria

Read Full Post »

Some are born to follow written instructions; some achieve the ability to follow written instructions and some have written instructions thrust upon them to no avail.

There is another cat-egory – the some who can only operate on the monkey-see-monkey-do purrinciple. C’est moi, KC qui purrrrle! Je suis one of those!

For many a long year I have longed to be able to get my paws around the arcane craft of crochet…

arcane – adjective; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric.

All the above, as far as this kitty was concerned: could I get the hang of making woolly cobwebs with an ‘ook? Could I fiddlesticks!

Then – TA-DA! a Red Letter Day (or five) arrived and with it/them came The Cub, may its shadow never grow less nor its fur moult, and Yee-Haw be praised, a little wee light bulb (low energy of course) popped up and lit the tiny space in my brain wherein lie craft&comprehension.

*For photographic purroof, see below.

Meanwhile and to catch up with developments, a tantalisingly mysterious (I know, more mystery, me’n’Marmers live in interestin’ times, do we not!) parcel appeared with the Dropper-of-Red-Rubber-bands: What could it be? (ret Q) Treats, that’s what it was…or were…from a far-off land in the West, where Frankie&Louie rool ko and tasty morsels abound. *

Pure chuffed we were, but not, in my case, greedy…unlike some I could mention.

Now all I need is a Yarn Stash. It’s what all Serious Crochety peeps have, or at least so some would have you believe. All my messy efforts so far come courtesy of Ferryport Charity Shop and 70p’s worth of assorted wool. However I now have a bit of a yearning for nice bright colours to match the stripes on the CCC loose covers, a state of affairs I mostly blame  on Attic24, as anyone who has visited her delightful, bright, happy and creative blog will understand.

Anyway, me’n’Marmers are off to Kingask House, our new gracious living home from home just outside Cupar tomorrow, where we will be relapsin’ in the lap of luxury, with heated cabins, outdoor runs and a feline meeter&greeter whose name I forget, but with whom I’m sure we will rub noses through the chicken wire. Nothing but the sound of birdsong and the sight of little mabbits gamblin’ on the rollin’ lawns to distract us; three squares a day and the attentions of a strolling female, what more could two chaps desire?

Oh purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

Read Full Post »