Thursday, November 30, 2006

Last day.

Just a reminder that today is the last day you can email me your favouirite lace sock pattern and take part in my blogiversary competition!!!!

I have recieved a few so will be reviewing them either later tonight or tomorrow. Winner will be announced tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

St Andrew's day

Today is St Andrew's day here in Scotland. As yet it is not a special holiday but the Scottish Parlimant are working on it!

Who is St Andrew?
St Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, but who was he?
The story of St. Andrew is a complex one, with different versions and interpretations. It is now impossible to know what is the "true" story.

St Andrew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples and he lived and worked as a fisherman in Galilee. He was the brother of Peter, another of Christ's disciples.

After Christ's crucifixion, one version of the legend is that Andrew went to Greece to preach Christianity, where he was crucified for his beliefs at a place called Patras, on a cross in the form of an X. However, the X-shaped cross played little part in early legends of St. Andrew and indeed in early versions of the tale, Andrew was nailed to an olive tree, not a cross.

Another version of the story of St. Andrew has it that he preached in the area around the Black Sea.

It was very important in the early days of Christianity that the bones of saints, and other articles that had been closely associated with them, should be preserved. This helped people to understand that Saints were real people, no matter how extraordinary their lives had been. These objects were known as relics and often the relics of the saints would be split up and parts given to different churches.

One legend says that a man who later became St. Regulus (or Rule) carried the bones of St. Andrew to Scotland. His ship was wrecked on the Fife coast, and the spot at which the ship landed became the site of the town of St. Andrews. A cathedral was built there which was started in 1160 and took 158 years to build (the ruins can still be seen today) and the town became an important site of Christian pilgrimage.

Another legend has it that two monks from the North of England went to Rome and brought back the relics of St. Andrew. One of the monks passed the relics on to the reigning king in Scotland at the time - Angus McFergus who became king in 731.

The Saltire arriving at Murrayfield prior to the Scotland V Barbarians game earlier this year. (I just had to get a rugby connection in, didn't I, but it was the only picture of the Saltire that I had!!!!)Usually the Saltire doesn't have a yellow bit in the middle, but this one belonged to a Scottish Regiment in the army!!!

Again there are different legends surrounding the use of the Saltire as Scotland's flag. Some people say that Angus dreamt one night that St. Andrew appeared to him and promised him a great victory. Angus was about to fight a battle with another king from the North of England, and this dream made him believe that the Scots would win. On the day of the battle a white cross appeared in the sky and Angus did win - this is why the flag of Scotland is sky blue with a white cross. The battle was at a place called Athelstaneford in the year 831.

The other version says that Angus was walking with some friends when St. Andrew appeared to him and told him that when he marched against his enemies he would see the white cross. So Angus had banners made for his soldiers to carry to battle with the white cross on them.

One of the first times that Andrew is recognised officially as the patron saint of Scotland was at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. This was a declaration signed by many of the Scottish noblemen, as well as Robert the Bruce, asserting Scotland's independence from England.

St Andrew's relics disappeared during the Reformation of the Scottish churches, when the Protestant Church came into being and broke away from the Roman Catholic church. Now there are few relics of Andrew in Scotland. A fragment is in St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Not only Scotland have St Andrew as their Patron Saint - Romania, Greece and Russia have him too. But Scotland is one of the few countries to have one of Christ's disciples as their patron saint.

When is St. Andrew's Day
St Andrew's Day is celebrated on the 30th November. (Hence the post!!)

It tends to be more popular with Scots who live abroad and there are many St. Andrew's Societies in places where Scots emigrated to. The St. Andrew's Society in Boston, in the USA, was set up in 1657.

edited when I realised the computer was still dated 29th and not 30th!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Found this on glittyknittykitty's blog and thought I'd give it a go.......Interesting!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Boston

You definitely have a Boston accent, even if you think you don't. Of course, that doesn't mean you are from the Boston area, you may also be from New Hampshire or Maine.

The West
The Midland
North Central
The Northeast
The Inland North
The South
What'>">What American accent do you have?
Take'>">Take More Quizzes

Considering I have never been to the USA and don't have a clue what a Boston accent sounds like I can't say if this is accurate or not. I assume it is all based on how you say your vowel sounds, so maybe people from Boston pronounce their vowels like the Scots and vice-versa? Anyway it is just a bit of trivial fun so why not try it out!

Monday, November 27, 2006

All better now!

After spending 36 hours or so without heat, we are now back up and running. After a call to one of Ronan's ex-rugby coaches, who has his own Plumbing and Heating business, we are all fixed and fine and toasty! Seemingly the thermo something or other had burned out and that was why the pilot light wouldn't ignite.

Gave me a good excuse to tidy up the cupboard! 4 bags of stuff have now gone to the local DEBRA charity shop and at least 2 went in the garbage!!!! Think I might just have freed up some space for some of the "stash"!!!!! , and got rid of a hole pile of clothes that I had kept on the off chance I might fit back into them.......... Ah well one can dream!

I would like to thank everyone who sent "warm" thoughts our way and a special thank you goes to Spinningfishwife who took pitty on the boys yesterday after the rugby and allowed them to mess up her bathroom with lots of muddy hand prints prior to them going into the bath. Boy were they needing it, they were both covered from head to toe with dried mud and quite honestly looked as if they had been in a wallow hole!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


The weather up here has just taken a turn on the chilly side and guess what?

The central heating has just packed up! I came home this morning from work to discover the pilot light had gone out on the boiler and after about an hour of trying to get it to ignite we had to give up. The house is freezing and its a Sunday.......................................... Since the boiler is also responsible for heating our water there is no possibility of baths or showers till it is fixed. We will just have to boil kettles to get hot water till then.

I guess till we can get someone out to look at it we will just have to put on plenty of clothing, good job I can knit and that we all have plenty of warm wooly scarves, hats and gloves!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

No blogging, No chat!

Sorry guys, I have been way too busy working this week to be around the computer much, hence the lack of blog material and no visits into Knittyboard chat. Hopefully next week won't be as busy so I will be able to post some stuff and have a long overdue visit into chat.

I'd like to wish all my blogging friends over the pond a belated Happy Thanksgiving and hope you all had a fun time.

I'd also like to say, Spinningfishwife and her family are in my thoughts at this time as yesterday was the 5th anniversary of their sad loss.
Robbie was one very brave guy, with a wisdom way beyond his years. He is sadly missed by all who knew him.

Tomorrow sees Ronan off playing a rugby match at Haddington, which is just about 12 miles further south and Robert will be training as usual as the opposition could not raise a team for their age group.
(For those who don't understand the meaning of P6 and P4 when I talk about the boys rugby. P6 means ages 10-11 and P4 means ages 8-9. The P stands for Primary as in the class they are in at Primary school. Not a very good explanation, but hope this has made it clearer...........maybe not!)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Happy Bunnies!

Today we decided to go and watch Musselburgh 1st XV play against Cambuslang in a Premiership League Division 3 game. When we got there the boys were asked if they would be ball boys coz this week there was only 1 and they need at least 4. Robert was totally made up coz this honour usually goes to the P7 team, so being asked to do it as a P4 was just brilliant for him. Ronan on the other hand wasn't so keen, but did it grudgingly. However at the end of the game they say they really enjoyed it and would be up for it again. Might have had something to do with the free food and juice they got as a reward!!!!! BTW Musselburgh won 32:14. This win takes them 4 point clear at the top of the League.

Ronan was a Happy Bunny last Sunday too, coz he won the "Player of the week" for all his hard work tackling during the training session. He must have been doing it right coz he was still complaining of sore shoulders on Wednesday!

On the other hand, Robert wasn't a Happy Bunny here, he was in "a mood" and trying to hide from me!!!! The light was out in their bedroom when I took this so he didn't realise I had caught him!

Tomorrow the kids have an away training game at Lasswade RFC in Mid Lothian. Its a 11.30 kick-off so we will have to organised and on the road early as we meet at the Rugby Club at 10.30!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Today is.......................

......The 14th November 2006!

I know, if you are reading this you will be thinking that gourdongirl has finally "lost the plot" or that night shift has taken its toll! That might well be the case, but that's not why I have singled out today for special treatment.

There are a couple of reasons why today means a lot to me.

The first one being that a great man, in my eyes, was born on this day in 1912. He meant and still means a great deal to me, even if he is no longer with us. Well not in body anyway!

Who was this man? He was my maternal Grandfather, William Dorward, and today, had he been spared, he would have been celebrating his 94th birthday. From what I remember of him, he was a very hard working family man who loved his family dearly and always had a kind word to say about others, even when he had been hurt by those others, he always saw a good side to everyone.

He was one of 6 children, 4 boys and 2 girls. His father worked on the railway, and had served with the Royal Scots in South Africa from 1899-1902, then again in WWI.

However my grandfather didn't follow in his fathers footsteps. After he left school he went to work as an agricultural labourer on a nearby farm, but money was scarce, so he followed one of his brothers down to London where he worked in the Fords car factory at Dagenham. He moved back up to Scotland sometime between 1937-38, when he begun working as a greatline fisherman out of Gourdon, on the East coast of Scotland. When the call came in 1939, he was one of the first in the village to volunteer for the Navy. During his time on Active Service one of the ships he served on was HMS Witch. After his time in the Navy he returned to fishing out of Gourdon, which he did for many years.

He just loved children and he would spend as much time as he could with his grand-daughter and grand-son. When I was very small he would come and spend time with me every night and he would hide a sweet under his flat cap so that I could knock it off to get it! He also taught me to swim in the local swimming pool at Montrose. He bought me my first "Sindy" type doll, her name was Tracey! He would take us off in his car for runs in the country and every Easter he would take us off to "roll our eggs". My brother played football and I just know that he would have been there cheering him on from the sidelines at every match, but unfortunately his health begun to fail when he was still in his 50's and he never actually saw my brother play. He battled for many years with ill health and sadly he died on 3rd April 1977, aged just 64 years. He maybe gone but he still lives on in our hearts, thoughts and memories.

I feel that I should end this post here as it doesn't really seem right to say what my second reason was. But, hey, I know he wouldn't mind me carrying on, so I will.

The second reason was that today is the first anniversary of my blog! It does not seem like a year since I tentatively begun posting, how time flies when you are having fun!!!! OK I think I did mention several posts back that I would try and do something to celebrate my blogiversary. Over the last few weeks I have been "racking my brains" trying to come up with something original!!!! I had thought about a questionnaire type thing, but Robin got in there first, well her blogiversary is before mine!!!!! So, I'm sorry this is the best I can come up with.

I am looking for you to email me a copy of your favourite lace sock pattern.


Well I bought the most gorgeous Regia silk sock yarn in burgundy at Woolfest, but I can't seem to find a pattern that I like.

The person that sends me the pattern that I decide to knit will receive a prize. My email addy is ggdesigns_edinburgh AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk (replace the AT and DOT with the appropriate symbols!!!!)

OK, time frame.....Well I suppose I could set the deadline for the 1st December 2006, that should give you time to send it and me time to send a package to the winner before the Christmas rush starts!!!!

Happy hunting!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Today, at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month we remember our Fallen Heroes, who gave up their lives in the field of battle so that we could be free.

,I would also like to remember those brave men and women who lost their lives in other "theatres of war" past and present.

In Flanders Fields is a poem written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)Canadian Army to commemorate the many fallen in World War I.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915.

McCrae had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.
As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.
It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:
"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."
One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.
The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.
In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.
A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."
When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:
"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."
In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.


First game

Last night Robert played his first game of basketball for the East Lothian Peregrines Under 12's team at the local sports centre. He was really excited when he had to put on the team vest and shorts, unfortunately they were all for large boys and it absolutely drowned him, they were way too big. I had to fold over the waist several times coz the shorts came down to his ankles and as the vest came down to his knees, so I had to tuck it into the shorts!!!!!! He was really self conscious of this, but once the game started he forgot all about them being too big. He was well up for it and as one of the other parents said "he played a blinder"! Infact they all played well and actually managed to win their first game of the season. Duncan, Spinningfishwives son was also playing in the same team. Robert was well pleased at getting a game as he is only 7 and playing with and against older kids. He has only been playing for a few weeks and seems to have a good grasp of the game. (More than I can say for myself....I guess I'll need to start reading up on the rules!)

Ronan was also due to play his first game too, but unfortunately he was complaining of a sore head and didn't manage to play. He must have been feeling really poorly coz he refused to eat and had fallen asleep on the sofa by 7.30pm........this is NOT like him at all. He had invited Spinningfishwives son for a sleepover and was unable to take part in the things Robert and Duncan were doing. However they have an other game in a couple of weeks so he will get his debut game then!

No pix of the game or Robert in his kit coz East Lothian Council say you need to have special permission to take pix of kids in their buildings. Hopefully I will get permission and take pix in the future. I only really want pix of my own kids anyway, but when they are playing sport it is impossible not to get other kids in the pix.

On the rugby front, the boys were playing away at a very cold and windy Stirling County Rugby Club last Sunday. Ronan's team lost 1 and won 2. Ronan managed to scored 4 tries in the games he played. Unfortunately Robert's team lost all 3 games, but they all played really well. Robert also managed to score 4 tries. This week we have a training session at home before an other away game next week.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Winter Warmers

Yes, it has begun to get a bit chilly here in dear old Scotland!!!!! Well we can't exactly complain, it is November and we did have a brilliant summer. It is getting dark earlier and earlier and yesterday morning I actually had to scrape the frost from the car before I could get home from work!!!!

This brings me nicely on to some "Wooly Winter Warmers" which have materialised over the past few weeks!

Here is a scarf I knitted for a friend who has just started university. She feels the cold something cronic, so I thought a nice fluffy cozy scarf would just be what she needed to keep her warm up in the "frozen north". She is in her first year at Aberdeen University.

I'm not too sure what its knitted from, but it is wool. It was some of the stuff I bought in a skein when I was at SKIPnorth earlier this year. Because the yarn is bouchel type yarn, I just knitted it in garter stitch.

Here is an other scarf. It is knitted in Twilleys of Stamford's Freedom Spirit yarn, in colourway, Fire. It is 100% wool and there is approx 120m per 50g ball. I used 2 balls to knit this short row scarf and 5mm needles. The pattern came from "Scarves - A knitter's dozen", which seems to really bring out the suttle changes in the yarns colour. I really like this scarf, but it is a Christmas pressie, so I'll just have to knit myself an other one, once all the Christmas knitting is done!

I am also busy knitting some "secret" holiday things, so you will have to wait to see/hear about them!!!!!

More "winter warmers", but not of the knitty kind!

Yup, its a huge pot of homemade lentil soup. The boys were at me last weekend to make soup, so I couldn't let them down!!!!!

The pot was full when I made it, this is what was left after the boys had eaten their fill at one sitting. I think they both had 3 bowls each! I'm not complaining, coz its good wholesome healthy food and its the only way I can get Robert to eat vegetables! The soup lasted for a few days and I think an other pot is on the "to do" list for this weekend! I can't make small pots of soup, only large ones!

To make the soup I filled the pot 3/4 way up with water and make stock from either ham stock cubes or ham joint, chopped carrots, chopped onion, red lentils, chopped potatoes, chopped turnip. (If I use stock cubes, I cut up some bacon to cook in the soup, if I use a ham joint I don't need to bother!). I only use pepper as the stock can be quite salty. I don't have a clue about quantities, I just throw it all in the pot! Cook till veg and lentils are soft. Some people like it left chunky, but I prefer to zap it in the blender to make it smooth. I have more hope of Robert eating it if it is zapped! Serve hot with crusty bread..........And enjoy!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Bonfire Night!

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder and treason
Should ever be forgot..............

(This is a child's nursery rhyme from the 17th Century)

On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of co-conspirators attempted to blow up King James VI and I (6th of Scotland, 1st of England), along with the Houses of Parliament, in what has become known as the "Gunpowder Plot".

They stock piled lots of barrels of gunpowder in the cellars beneath the Houses of Parliament, but before they were able to carry out their plan they were captured and subsequently tortured and executed. The following year, 1606, King James and Parliamnent commissioned a sermon to commemorate the event, which has been an annual event ever since! It serves as a reminder to each generation that treason will NOT be forgotten!!!!

We continue to celebrate Guy Fawkes night in the UK with bonfires, where we traditionally burn a Guy, an effigy of a man, and let of fireworks as a symbol of the gunpowder! Tonight we went a long to the mouth of the River Esk in Musselburgh to watch the East Lothian Council fireworks display. The kids (big and small!!!) enjoyed it.

We normally have "sparklers" but this year we decided on a safer option and bought the kids "glowstix" instead.

They made a "happy face" on the grass with them so I just had to take a picture!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Believe in yourself-in the power you have
to control your own life, day by day.

Believe in the strength that you have deep inside,
and your faith will help show you the way.

Believe in tomorrow and what it will bring
let a hopeful heart carry you through.

For things will work out if you trust and believe
there's no limit to what you can do!

I found this poem when I was clearing out stuff from my purse, its a bit tattered but still readable and when times get tough I take it out and read it. I have posted it, coz there might be someone out the who needs a little "Belief in themselves"!
I know I do at times!!!

I had received it from someone close to me about ten years ago when I was going through a bad spell of
Post Natal Depression
after I had Ronan. It was a really tough time and if it hadn't been for my family, David and Ronan, himself I don't really want to think what might have happened.

We had just moved into our current house a few months before Ronan was born and I worked right up till I went into hospital with Pre-eclampsia, so hadn't made any friends in the area. This made it difficult when I became ill, coz my parents were 100+ miles away and David was back at work. I felt like I was all on my own, but deep down I knew that I wasn't. David and my parents were great, all pitching in to help.

Just because I am a psychiatric nurse doesn't mean that I could see the tell-tale signs of depression in myself. I didn't. It was about a month after Ronan was born when I did eventually acknowledge that I had a problem, and then everything seemed to become clear. I think what made me realise I needed help, was after hearing about the childern at Dunblane being killed in school, I cried for about 2 days solid after that (when no-one was around). I got myself some anti-depressant tablets and a Community Psychiatric Nurse who gave me lots of support and introduced me to other mothers with PND after about 6 months I came of my tablets and said goodbye to my CPN!!!!!!

On a brighter note, all went well 3 years later when I had Robert.

Here they are.............................................................
my two little "cheeky" monkeys, at Spinningfishwives
daughters birthday party! Her party theme was princesses and fairies, so the boys went as "Knights in shining armour", so they could rescue the princesses!!!!! LOL, terrorize them more like!

Here is Ronan doing his usual and not listening to a word I say and goodness knows what Robert is up too!!!!!!!! He looks like he has a very fancy "nosebag" on, or is he trying to be an exotic bird....Who knows? But look at the twinkle of mischief in his eyes!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cashmere comes from............

I found this on Knitty and thought it was brilliant, but then I have a weird sense of humour!

According to this cashmere does not come from a goat!