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Friday, January 23, 2015

Whitelee Wind Farm

We decided to resume our windmill walking yesterday. We try to do that every week for an hour but things had slipped over Christmas with all the flu going round. The snow is still deep up there on the moor and the early morning sun was just stunning. Even the wee loch was frozen. I was absolutely thrilled I took my camera with me.



   



After such a beautiful hour up there, we decided to bring the kids back up after school so they could get an experience of real snow, in case we don't get a significant amount down here in civilization.

The first photos were taken around 11:30am and the second set at 3:30pm on the same day. The crisp, beautiful morning had turned into the beginning of an afternoon snow storm, but the kids still had a whale of a time, even if the views were less spectacular four hours on.

  

  



  

Farewell big blue bus


And off it has gone. For the first time in 25 years I am no longer a car owner. And to rub salt in the wound, I was even charged £50 to cancel my insurance, as I'd paid for an annual policy! I now have a limited window to hold on to my 25 years of no claims bonus too - stress!

It seems a bit odd that it can't be fixed at a reasonable price, given how good it looks externally. Maybe I should have studied to be a mechanic instead of a translator/lexicographer. I could have fixed my own cars and even done homers! No one ever wants a lexicography homer, for some reason!

Anyway, it does make me a bit sad. Even if I do manage to save up enough to buy a new car some time, I will never have a big, powerful seven seater again. That would only make sense for the next couple of years, and it would take me longer than that to get one of those so I'm saying goodbye to the most expensive, biggest and most powerful car I'll ever own. Mind you, I never could scrape the ice off the front windscreen. At 161cm, it was always a bit big compared to me! So maybe it just wasn't meant to be.




Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tact - kiddie-style


My little niece, Catriona (left) has a dimple on one of her cheeks. Anna is quite fascinated by it, given none of my kids have dimples. So up she comes the other night and sits on my knee, looking soulfully into my eyes. She takes her right hand and puts it on my face. And then she comes out with it... 'Mum, you know how Catriona has that little hole on her cheek?'
Me: 'Yes Anna'
Anna: 'It's very pretty', then stroking my cheek, she muses 'Your face is quite like that too, only it isn't a little hole on yours, it's more like stripes. You have all these little stripes at the edges of your eyes and more stripes running down your cheek. They are kind of beautiful on you!'

I suspect that last sentence may just have saved her skin, well almost, at least!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Nonsense bag!


Why didn't I see it in her eyes?! (Camera survived - phew!)

Coping with the death of the blue car


It's funny. It looks ok, doesn't it? But it's dead and it's home while I find an undertaker willing to take it.

The kids' reactions have been varied though.

Marcel has many fond memories of me driving him and a combination of any five of Matt, Duckett, Andy, Scott, Ewan, Deeno, & Truesy places all their youth. He can't believe the beer bus has died for good and had admitted all his mates' great love of me and my car (the only seven seater amongst all the parents.) They had even been hoping to insure themselves for it and take it on trips now they are all starting to turn 17 and getting driving licenses. Sadly, that is not to be.

Charlotte is a real family girl so is probably most affected, on paper. Marcel works so rarely comes on outings to town, the beach or relatives' houses, so he will see little change. Charlotte and one of Thomas or I are the only ones other than Marcel who can legally be left behind. So, for example, this Sunday, given Marcel is working in the shop, one of Charlotte, Thomas or I is going to have to stay home and miss an invite for my nephew's birthday.

Léon has taken a while to catch up. Despite us talking about nothing else all week, other than the shock of the car being irreparable, he asked just last night when it was coming back! Pay attention, Léon!

Anna's reaction has been the strangest. She is very tearful about the whole thing, as if a pet has died, rather than a car. It took Thomas to point out to me that this has been Anna's car all her life, so she isn't really aware, like the others, that cars come and go. She thinks of it more like a family member so keeps bursting into tears and now it has been returned to us, she wants to go out and look at it, with big sad eyes. To cheer her up I have had to promise to start saving up for a Fiat 500 (I just omitted to point out that it may be five years before we reach the target figure!) Mind you, she has expressed a desire for it to be 'Buchanan tartan' in colour, so I can just stall her by saying I have not managed to source that model yet!

Amaia seems neither up nor down, but it'll hit her the first time she wants us all to go to the park or the windmills as a family, I guess. She won't want to go anywhere if Charlotte can't come.

As for me... It feels strange not to own a car for the first time since I was 22, or it will next week when they take it away, making me officially carless. It's altogether a bit too stressful trying to work out the logistics of moving us all about and sad to give up on the little social life we had. I suppose there'll be no more summer trips to Stirling or Culzean castle etc. But a new car is out of the question and public transport too expensive. We can't pick up visiting relatives at airports any more, nor can we get ourselves to the airport to visit them. But so far the most stressful thing is that turn of the key in the other car every morning as I know it won't always start, it is seven years old already, so wondering how I'm going get everywhere on time, the morning it lets me down is keeping me awake at night. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Reginald Perrin?


I love it when little kids use a slightly wrong word or turn of phrase when recounting a tale...

Tonight Amaia came out with the very sweet: I think Charlotte must love me quite a lot.
Me: Why's that?
Amaia: Well, sometimes I fake my own death to see her reaction and it always makes her cry!

I suspect she simply plays dead, but the idea of her going to the trouble of actually faking her own death is certainly quite dramatic!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Officially dead



Well I said it had to go and it appears it is going, sadly.

The camshaft belt has snapped, whatever that is and has sent debris through the engine destroying all the valves. My mechanic can take the engine out for me (if I authorize a day's labour) to confirm his figure of £1500 to £2000 to fix, but given I had it valued six weeks ago at £1500 to £2000, I guess that's a pointless exercise as it'd cost more to fix than I could sell it for. So off the the scrapyard it will have to go. It's funny - I loved it for the first six or seven years but the last eighteen months, it's been more trouble than it is worth.

But hey - according to the garage I might be able to get £80 for it... anyone selling a reliable seven seater car for £80 please feel free to contact me asap. In the meantime, we'll need to draw straws this Sunday to see which members of the family are getting to go to my nephew's birthday party. Wowser.

2015 sucks so far...