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Lasers, Fantastic Beasts and Gagging Over Dinner

November 24, 2016

 

 

casper

What is it about kids and animals that they never seem to sit or sleep on the expensive things you’ve bought them? Take, for instance, Casper (pictured) who will not lie in the lovely and not cheap dog basket I bought him, but lolls about the stairs as if it’s the comfiest place on Earth. And then there’s the kids who refuse to sleep under their (also not cheap) duvets and sleep on top of their beds. I need to turn the heating off in their rooms – that’ll soon make them shift under the covers! Hee hee hee (evil mum laugh!).

Anyway, how’s things? Hope you’re well. We’ve had a full on week again. Last Saturday, I got up early to take the boy to Laser Quest in the southside of Glasgow for his birthday. He’s just turned nine so he and six friends spent the morning shooting each other with lasers and coming out all red-faced and smiling. They then ate pizza and drank diluting juice til it was coming out of their ears. He said it was the best birthday he’d ever had. Myself and the girl waited for them all in a waiting area, shivering in the cold (they had not put the heating on) and listening to the racket of various parties of excited weans as they came in to do various activities. It was all over by 11.30am and I was relieved to get out of the cold and noisy atmosphere and into a warm car.

That afternoon my parents came over and we ate some cake. It was a Stormtrooper cake I purchased at M&S and was nice. I normally bake cakes, but my oven is playing up…it doesn’t cook things evenly which is a nuisance. Note to self: need new cooker.

Anyway, a few days before the Laser Quest visit, I went to a place I hadn’t been to in years and, do you know what? It looks exactly the same. The place: The Griffin Bar, Glasgow. The reason: lunch with my middle sister. The verdict: loved it and had a nice lunch there. Will definitely go back. I used to meet my sister there when she was at art school, it was a favourite haunt of her and her friends. It was good to be back.

I said I’d had a busy week and it was, but it was full of things that aren’t exactly riveting to talk about (mainly cleaning up after the dogs and kids). I have been continuing to write though and make myself write at least 500 words a day on work days and 1000 words a day on non work day. Seems a lot of words, but it’s not really. I’m about halfway through this book.

Talking of books, I finished the Miss Buncle Married book and am now on to Mr and Mrs Haddock Abroad. I can’t remember the author but the book is basically about a couple and their daughter travelling to Europe. It’s meant to be comedic, but I’m finding all the muddles and misunderstandings a bit tedious. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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With reference to films now and I took the kids to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I liked it, despite it being a bit predictable (if you’ve seen it you’ll know the bit I mean…at the end with the big reveal of the baddy). The kids didn’t. They moaned about it walking back to the car and I wondered why I had bothered taking them. In fact, the boy spent half the film whispering (sotto vocce) whether it was finishing or not. Very annoying! I liked it and I think I’ll like it even more when I watch it again when it comes out on DVD. The human characters were great, but the star of the show for me was the little mole like creature that loved shiny things (I think they may have based it on a honey badger). Anyway, I want one. If only it were real!

isRight, I am going to finish here. I have a lovely meal to prepare that no doubt my children will turn their noses up at, shout “Ew” and make gagging noises. You would think I was trying to poison them sometimes. The other day the boy made a huge fuss because I told him we were having Spaghetti Carbonara.

Him: “I hate that! I’m not eating that, it’s disgusting! You can’t force me to eat it.”

Me: “Fine. If you don’t eat it you are not getting anything else.”

So I made the dish. I plated the dish. I put it down in front of him and then he said…

“Oh yeah! I like this, mum!”

Sigh.

Tonight we’re having steak pie and vegetables. They both like it. That won’t stop them complaining about something though!

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Puppy pee, school reports and birthdays

November 17, 2016

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Last week was one of achievements for my two kids…they both had parents’ evenings and they both got glowing reports from their teachers. I was really pleased (and relieved) because I was worried that their dad’s passing would greatly affect their school work, but apart from the boy being upset every now and again, they are both doing really really well. Phew.

So anyway, as happens a lot in my life, things aren’t always straightforward. The first port of call for parents’ evenings was my son’s primary school where he has a very nice male teacher who is the darling of all the kids at the school. He has a way about him and a teaching style that makes all the kids love him. He’s a nice guy and told me he was pleased with the boy’s efforts and talked about his achievements (etc).

Of course, he had to mention the note I sent him a couple of weeks ago, the one that still makes me cringe with embarrassment.

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Let me explain: about two or three weeks ago the boy had happened to leave his completed spelling homework on the arm of a chair in our living room. The dogs love to jump on and off the suite (apparently it provides good sport for them as they chase each other around the room) and pretend to be cats by lying down on the arms of the chairs and sofa. Anyhoo, one of them had knocked the homework off the arm and it had fallen, open, on to the living room carpet.

Now to give you a bit of background to the rest of the story, as part of their toilet training (a saga for another time!), I put down puppy mats for the dogs to do the toilet on. These mats are large rectangles and white. His homework jotter when open, is smaller, but rectangular and white. Yes, one of the dogs – we think Casper – peed on his homework. The yellow stream saturated the paper and made the jotter unusable and pungent. I gave it a cursory rinse under the tap, but in my heart of hearts I knew we couldn’t save it.

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When the boy found out all hell broke loose. He made a big song and dance about it: “I can’t use THAT again! It’s all pee! That’s disgusting. Naughty dog!”

Casper (looking vacantly innocent): “What??? I am cute and little and did nothing wrong.”

Jump forward to the next day and the boy is fretting. “What will my teacher say? He won’t know I’ve done my homework. I’ll get into trouble.”

Me: “I’ll write you a note.”

Him: “But how will he know I did my homework?”

Me: “I’ll write it in the note.”

Him (very worried): “But he still won’t know.”

Me (lightbulb moment): “Don’t worry, I’ll tear the page out and put it in a plastic food bag so he can see you’ve done it.”

Him: Relieved and smiling.

So I did it (ensuring the bag was very tightly sealed) and the boy took it to school and gave it to his teacher. The rest of the jotter went in the bin.

Fast forward to last week’s parents’ evening and it was an amused teacher who brought up the incident again.

“That was class!” he said with a grin. “And to put the evidence in as well, that was brilliant!” I blushed – I had forgotten all about it.

I said: “Well at least you’ll have a good story to tell down the pub!”

Sigh.

The girl also got great reports from the teachers I saw, although unfortunately she seems to have taken after me…a few of them commented on how she loves to talk all the time. Yup, guilty, she gets that from me. All I can say is that we are very sociable people!

So well done to my two beloved offspring for great reports – me and your dad are very proud.

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On Friday, we joined my parents and one of my sisters at D’Arcy’s in Princes Square in Glasgow to celebrate my mum’s birthday. We had a lovely lunch and a great time. Unfortunately, my mum has been suffering from a stinker of a cold, but she was well enough to enjoy a glass of wine (medicinal) and to open her pressies. I really enjoy a glass of wine, but if I drink it at lunchtime I feel really tired all afternoon. After lunch, we went home. The kids, who had been off due to an in-service day, were immediately glued to their tablet/mobile despite the fact they were supposed to be cleaning their rooms. I lounged on the sofa for a while, petting the dogs and catching up on telly. The wine had made me feel really tired, so I took advantage of the unheard of peace in the house to doze.

Saturday I had down for doing nothing, but of course that doesn’t actually mean doing nothing. What I meant was I wasn’t planning to go out. Instead I caught up on housework and the ironing. Jeezo I lead such an exciting jet-setting life don’t I? Not! The rest of the weekend was quiet, which was just what we all needed to recharge our batteries.

This weekend, we have the boy’s birthday, he’s turning nine. I can’t believe my baby is that age already. It hardly seems that long ago since he was a babe in arms. His sister turns 12 in February. It really is no time at all from when they are babies until they are nearly teenagers. God it’s making me feel old! Still I will be 25-and-holding til I die!! Anyway, I’ll tell you all about it next week.

Time for ‘currently reading’ and I’m back on to D E Stevenson and her second Miss Buncle book called Miss Buncle Married. I read the first one, loved it and bought the other one. They are so old fashioned and just lovely to read. Nearly finished this one…sigh. Really enjoying it and don’t want to finish it.

Right, I think that’s enough for this week. I am away to do a bit of writing – yes I am actually WRITING again. Wasn’t sure I’d ever go back to it, but I am loving writing the book. Feels almost like it’s writing itself (apart from all the hours I’m spending at the keyboard!!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

 

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Writing a Manifesto!

November 10, 2016

winter-1-1518871Hello! How’s things? Hope you are all well. How’s your week been? Keeping warm and snuggly in this cold weather I hope!

This week has been busy once again for the household, but let’s begin by a quick rundown for last weekend.

Apart from seeing  a range of family members and friends on Friday and Saturday, the weekend included lunch out in Dumbarton and watching Scottish Take That tribute band, Take This, at the Commodore Hotel in Helensburgh (on Saturday night). It was a good laugh. The boys were very good, but a couple of the audience members were not. There were two rather drunk women there being outrageously funny with their antics and comments. The band took it in good humour and gave as good as they got. Things started getting a little abusive with one of the women – she was very drunk and was getting a bit horrible with her comments – but she disappeared, we think to go home. Her friend wasn’t happy she had left her, but we were!

I went to the concert with two very good friends whilst the husband of one very kindly took my kids to see the Bonfire Night fireworks and shows at Helensburgh seafront. They both enjoyed it a lot, but the boy was most put out by the man who ran the waltzers. Apparently he was bare-chested, which my son thought was very wrong.  Personally I think the guy must have been mad cos it was freezing that night.

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Talking of freezing, why do teenagers insist on going out without jackets? My girl (and some of her friends, I’ve noticed) insist on going to school without a coat. This morning she was shivering so I told her she’d better wear one tomorrow or – dah dah daaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh (dramatic music) – I would take her beloved phone off of her, the one she refers to as ‘her baby’. Works every time. I don’t want her coming down with hypothermia or some other illness because she’s too stupid to dress for the weather. This morning was very cold. It was so cold I had to scrape the car. It’s October for chrissake!! For a girl that’s supposedly intelligent, she can act dumb sometimes!

Am trying hard to cut down the amount of waste we produce in the household. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Environment – I worry about the amount of plastic and crap we dump in landfills or burn. So toxic for the planet. I worry about our health and the future of the planet. Might sound a bit hippy-ish to you, but it’s a very real, very urgent problem.
  • Our council, in its great wisdom, has decided to go for three weekly bin uplifts for general waste, which would have been fine if they had given us a bigger lead in and not produce one o f the most confusing calendars of when uplifts are happening on the smallest bit of paper. They have a key code where different circles mean different things, but two of the colours are very similar and are difficult to differentiate, especially if, like me, you are colourblind. I just hope it was indeed the glass bin (mine is full, but in my defence I haven’t put it out for about six months) that was to be put out this morning and not something else.

I want to cut down on our environmental footprint anyway. I used to be really good at recycling and being environmentally savvie, but the past few months this has all fallen by the wayside. However, we’re getting back on track…

Firstly, I’ve been reading up on reducing waste and alternatives to plastic. Secondly, I’ve signed up for veg box scheme where organic veg is delivered to our door every week. This is so we don’t have to eat all the toxic weedkillers (etc) you get on shop bought food and to cut down on packaging. I did, however, have to buy some veg from Waitrose over the weekend, so I took it out of the packaging and placed it in their bins before I left the shop…well, I don’t want it.

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I was speaking to the boy about reducing plastic and we were at the checkout at Waitrose and he said to me: “Mum, I thought we were cutting down on plastic.” I said we were, but he quite rightly pointed out that nearly everything on the conveyor belt was wrapped in or housed in plastic. It’s really really difficult to get away from it…it’s everywhere. The thing is plastic packaging leaches into food, particularly if you cook your food in the container, which means we’re taking a lot of chemicals into our bodies. It’s a horrible thought.

So, I’m on a mission to cut down and cut out; to reduce our waste and have a smaller carbon footprint.

  • The veg box is great and included some vegetables I wouldn’t normally buy. There were lovely yellow beetroots so I steamed them to have with a meal last week and also put one in the lentil soup I made yesterday. The soup is now in glass jars in the freezer. The veg box is more expensive than what I’d normally pay for veg, but it’s making me make more veg filled meals and we’re trying different things.
  • I need to track down staples such as milk that is in glass jars and not plastic bottles or plastic lined cartons.
  • Tinned food is just as bad and manufacturers line their tins with plastic to stop rusting. I think I may have to swap to dried beans and making my own chopped tomatoes and baked beans.
  • For bread, I have a bread maker so there’s no reason why I can’t make my own.
  • For biscuits and treats, I could make these meaning I don’t have to buy shop bought.
  • Other foodstuffs – I can make a lot of stuff from scratch, I prefer to do that anyway, and quite fancy giving things like cheese making a go. Could be fun.
  • Meat is going to be a challenge as is toilet roll as both come wrapped in plastic. Hmmm need to think about that one.
  • Binbags – I think you can get biodegradable ones. I need to check that out.
  • Household cleaners – I am switching over to vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and borax. Very effective cleaners and non toxic for us and wildlife. I did this before, but, again, it fell by the wayside.
  • Shampoo and soap – I’ll need to look into this, likewise toothpaste and deodorant.

For now, I’m just going to use up what I already have and try and cut down gradually. The main thing I have to do is encourage the kids to scrape food waste into the food bin every time and not just when I’m around to remind them.

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Anyway, it’ll mean a wee bit extra work, but it’ll be worth it to have two kids that are as healthy as I can possibly get them without all the trappings of a toxic environment such as asthma, eczema and bowel problems. The aim is to get them eating more healthily (cos we haven’t been very good over the last few months…it was a case of just bung something in the oven for a while there), walking more (with the dogs) and living in a less toxic environment (ie no bleach which can affect breathing etc).

God, I feel like I’ve just written up a manifesto!!

Anyway, getting back to my original post…other news this week includes my mum’s birthday on Friday (happy birthday mum!) and chilling out over the weekend and recharging my batteries. That’s the plan. Of course, I will also be chopping up vegetables and making things for the week ahead, but I will do this with some good music on and doing a bop around the living room!!

The boy was sick at the beginning of the week…wee soul was puking rings around himself! Luckily he’s much better now and is back at school. There’s some sort of stomach bug going around. It definitely wasn’t the bean stew I made the other day which he said was disgusting and blamed that for being sick! Cheek!

Right, I think I’ve written enough for this week. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS remember that lentil soup I made last week? Well I had to throw three of the bottles out – I had overfilled them and not left enough expansion space (despite thinking I had!) and well the bottles cracked and my lovely delicious soup was lost. Sigh.

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Too cute for words!

November 5, 2016
Casper

Casper

 

Millie

Millie

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Trying to Get Back to Some Sort of Normality

November 3, 2016

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I know, I know…it’s been a while since my last blog (apart from the Halloween article which I set up months ago) where I promised I was back. However, I think I underestimated how exhausted I would be and how decimated my basic get-up-and-go would get. I just ran out of puff after Ian died.

I’ve had a rest now and am still frantically trying to get back to some sort of normality. I think it’s going to take a while, so I’m not kicking myself for not being back to the way I was quickly. Anyway, I’m back at work and back to feeling like I’m rushing along at a terrific pace on the days I am there. When I think about it deeply enough, I actually feel I’m being swept along by a massive wave with no chance of relief. Sounds a bit melodramatic, but when I look at the things I have to do on a work day, I can see why I felt that way:

  • I get up at 6am and let the dogs out
  • I have my breakfast and feed the dogs
  • I do the dishes from last night, the ones I left last night because I was way too tired to do them
  • I get the kids up by shouting (several times) and switching bedroom lights on and off until they emerge from their duvet cocoons
  • I got and get a shower and get dressed
  • Then I make sure the kids are up, dressed and have brushed their teeth
  • I have a quick tidy up and think if there’s anything else I need to do before leaving
  • I drop my boy off at Afterschool’s morning session and the girl at the train station (she takes a train to school) and wait for my train
  • The train arrives and I diligently ignore fellow passengers by reading my book (I can’t be bothered with small talk first thing in the morning…just saying!) – the actual journey time takes 45 minutes, but it can take me an hour-and-a-half to get to work by the time you factor in travelling to and from the station and waiting for the train
  • I then go to work and spend all day in front of a laptop or in meetings
  • I do the same train journey home
  • I collect the boy from Afterschool and we go home
  • I greet my daughter and dogs and then make dinner
  • Then I have to make sure the boy has done his homework
  • I put a washing on and check to see if there’s anything I need to dry
  • I check the boy’s homework
  • I feed the dogs and guinea pig
  • I hoover the downstairs because it’s all messy again
  • I think about doing the dishes but am too tired, most of it goes into the dishwasher anyway
  • I think about doing the ironing, but again am too tired
  • I make sure we all have uniforms and clothes for tomorrow
  • I go to bed at 9pm and read for an hour

In amongst all this, I have to remember who’s doing what when (the kids mainly), who needs money and how much and anything else that needs remembering. I often fail on this and only remember something when I’m at work and unable to do anything about it.

I’m not complaining about doing all this, don’t get me wrong, but it explains why I’m so tired and feel like I am being swept along.

Plus the clocks went back last weekend, so that all adds to it.

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Anyway, that’s my moan for today, so how are you? Hope you are all well and again, apologies for not being around that much recently.

So what’s been happening in your life? We had a busy weekend. My friends George and Raymond came up from London to stay overnight. I invited some other friends who also know the dynamic duo and we had a fab night of catching up over wine and Chinese carryout. Then I got the karaoke machine out and it was a bun fight for the microphones! Ah it was a great night.

I didn’t feel so great the next morning, mind you, but it was well worth it.

I decided that the evening would be Halloween themed and decorated the house with the help of the kids. Getting in the spirit of the occasion, my friends arrived with pumpkins and Halloween donuts (G+R) and a fabulously hand carved pumpkin (Annmarie and her family) as well as wine and chocs and flowers. It was a great laugh.

You know how there are some friends you don’t see very often, but when you do it feels like you’ve never been apart? Well that’s what it’s like with George and Raymond. I hadn’t seen them (with the exception of Ian’s funeral) for a couple of years but last weekend it was like I see them every week. I’m sure I’d feel the same way with other friends of mine if I didn’t see them for ages, but I’m lucky enough that I see most of them every week.

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Monday, of course, was Halloween and we had a few guisers at the door. My boy went out with his friend and his friend’s mum (thanks again for taking them C) and the girl went round our estate with her friend. They came back an hour later laden with sweets. I manned the door and handed out bags of sweets to the neighbours’ kids as well as my own (despite them having had their bags earlier that day! Chancers!).

The rest of the week has been pretty uneventful. The dogs are doing well except last week I had to buy the girl a replacement pair of shoes for school because Casper, our little Yorkie, decided her shoes (which were only weeks old) made a tasty snack. I discovered one shoe in his basket chewed to bits. Sigh. Luckily the local shoe shop was having a sale so I got replacements for £20.

Casper has been doing his level best to destroy everything he comes across. I know it’s him because he looks far too nonchalant when I demand to know who’s chewed things. Over the past few weeks, we have lost the school shoe, someone has chewed a door sill, numerous pens and pencils, part of an eiderdown duvet and the boy’s school jotter was peed on. I had to write his teacher a grovelling letter explaining what had happened and to ask for anther jotter. That’s on top of Casper (and I know it’s him) peeing and poohing on the carpet despite there being puppy mats down less than a foot away from him. Sigh.

The good news on the dog front is that while I’m at work, our local dog walker takes them out for me. He films them and puts the films on a social media site so that doggy parents like me can coo over our beloved four legged friends. I’ve watched a few videos starring Casper and Millie and I love seeing how happy they look.

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Other things I’ve been doing this week include:

  • Watching the latest episode of Poldark
  • Starting to write again
  • Reading No Impact Man: Saving the Planet One Family at a Time by Colin Beavan
  • Getting back to writing this blog

Right, that’s enough for just now. Until next time!

Dawn xxx

 

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Happy Halloween – Celebrating the 10 Most Haunted Places to Visit in Scotland

October 31, 2016

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Scotland is one of the most beautiful places on Earth…and one of the most haunted! Everywhere you turn, there’s castles and keeps and ancient dwellings just bursting with ghosts and ghouls.

 

Here’s the top ten most haunted places to visit in Scotland:

  1. CASTLE FRASER

Castle Fraser (http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Castle-Fraser-Garden-and-Estate/) at Inverurie is the ancestral home of the Fraser family dating back to the 15th century.

Currently under the care of the National Trust for Scotland, the castle is haunted by the ghost of a princess murdered while she slept in the castle’s Green Room. According to castle legend, her lifeless body was dragged through the castle and down the stone staircase leaving a sticky, bloody trail. Despite repeated scrubbing by the castle’s servants, the blood could not be removed and is the reason – it is said – why the steps were covered by wooden panelling. There have been many sightings of the princess throughout the castle as well as voices, whispers and piano music.

As well as the princess, a second female ghost haunts the ancient hallways. Lady Blanch Drummond died in the castle in 1874 and her ghost, dressed in a long black gown, has been seen in the grounds and on the staircase.

Other ghostly apparitions at the castle include reports by kitchen staff of children laughing and singing. When they went to investigate, they found there was no children anywhere in the castle.

 

  1. CULZEAN CASTLE

Another of the National Trust for Scotland’s properties, Culzean Castle (http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Culzean-Castle-and-Country-Park/) is home to around seven ghosts including a piper and a servant girl.

Built by Robert Adam between 1777 and 1792 for the 10th Earl of Cassilis, Culzean Castle is situated near Maybole in Ayrshire, an area once belonging to the Clan Kennedy.

It is believed some of the ghosts are former members of the Kennedy Clan, although none have been identified. Of the other ghosts, the piper is said to appear to celebrate the marriage of Clan family members and can be heard playing during stormy nights.

The servant girl ghost has also been seen in the castle along with that of a woman in a ballgown. Other apparitions include a misty shape moving up the oval staircase.

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  1. EDINBURGH CASTLE AND THE ROYAL MILE

Edinburgh Castle (http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/) and the area surrounding it can arguably be said to be Scotland’s most haunted place.

The castle itself if connected to the Royal Mile – the road running from the castle to Holyrood Palace below – by a network of underground tunnels. Legend has it that a piper was sent to explore the tunnels. He was told to play so that those above ground could track his progress. The music stopped halfway down the Royal Mile and the piper was never seen again. There was no sign of his body, but his music can still often be heard within the castle walls.

A second ghost is thought to be a drummer who only appears when the castle is about to be attacked.

Talking of the Royal Mile, there are a number of ghosts reputedly haunting the area including in Mary King’s Close, which was shut off after plague decimated its inhabitants. There’s also the famous Death Coach – a driverless carriage pulled by fiery headless horses – which foretells a disaster coming.

Underneath the surrounding streets is a warren of vaults where the city’s poor lived and died. You can take ghost walks and visit these vaults where there have been many sightings of restless spirits.

 

  1. JEDBURGH CASTLE

Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum (http://www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/member/jedburgh-castle-jail-and-museum) was built in 1823 and is the sight of a number of ghostly goings on including a piper on the battlements and strong presences felt by visitors. Some have also seen strange lights and it was the scene of an investigation by a television crew looking into poltergeist activity.

 

  1. STIRLING CASTLE

Dating back to at least 1110, Stirling Castle (http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/) is said to house the ghost of one of Mary Queen of Scots servants who is known as the green lady. The story goes that one night a candle set fire to the Queen’s bed curtains trapping the Queen inside. The girl rushed in and pulled Mary to safety, but lost her own life as a result.

A second ghost, a pink lady, has also been sighted at the castle and is thought to be either Mary herself or a woman searching for her dead husband. The lady, wearing a long pink gown, walks from the castle to the nearby Church of the Holyrood.

A Highlander, wearing a traditional outfit, has also been seen on many occasions by staff and visitors. Some have mistaken him for a tour guide and get a shock when he disappears before his eyes.

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  1. LEITH HALL

Built in 1650 by James Leith, Leith Hall (http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Leith-Hall-Garden-and-Estate/) is supposed to be haunted by Laird John Leith III who was killed on Christmas Day, 1763.

He was shot in the head during a fight in Archie Campbell’s Tavern, a brawl that was started when a man accused him of adulterating grain sold at the hall.

The ghost, which walks the hall, appears with a bloody bandage covering his head, dark green trousers and a shirt. He is heard moaning and appears to be in a lot of pain.

Other ghosts at Leith Hall include a laughing lady, children playing and a young soldier and there’s been sudden drops in temperature and a strong unpleasant smell.

 

  1. DALZELL HOUSE

Dalzell House (http://www.dalzellandbaronshaugh.co.uk/story_of_dalzell.html) in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire started out as a hunting estate for royalty.

The house was built by the Dalzell (pronounce Dee-ell) family and consists of a 15th century tower house surrounded by 17th and 19th century additions.

This historic building has the distinction of being haunted by three ghosts: the green lady, the white lady and a grey lady. The first, the green lady, haunts the south wing. The white lady walks the estate and is thought to have been a maid who jumped off the battlements or was walled up.

The grey lady is thought to have been a World War 1 nurse who died in the house when it was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers returning from the Front.

 

 

  1. CULLODEN MOOR

Culloden Moor (http://www.nts.org.uk/Culloden/Home/) near Inverness is perhaps one of the eeriest places in Scotland.

The scene of the Battle of Culloden in 1746 where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army took on Government troops, the moor is the last resting place for anywhere between 1500 and 2000 men.

Lasting less than an hour, the battle was one of the bloodiest on UK soil and ended the Stuart claim to the British throne.

So what makes it so creepy? A deep sense of melancholy hangs over the moor itself and adds to the haunting feeling you get when you walk around the pathways that take you from one grave marker to another.

It is a bleak place and made more so by the various legends that have grown up around it. For instance, the water of a burn (a stream) that runs through the moor flows red and said to be that colour because the blood of the fallen that seeps into it.

No birds are heard singing near the graves of the fallen and every April 16, the ghosts of the dead are said to rise to re-enact the fighting, the sounds of broadswords clashing ringing across the battlefield.

And then there’s the Great Scree of Culloden, a spectral bird which appears on the moor to give bad luck to anyone who comes across it. A black bird was apparently seen by a Jacobite commander the day before the battle and is seen as a bad omen.

 

  1. GLAMIS CASTLE

Childhood home of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the late mother of the current British queen), Glamis Castle (http://www.glamis-castle.co.uk) in Angus dates back centuries.

In 1034, King Malcolm II was brought there to die following a skirmish with Macbeth’s troops. At that point it was a Royal hunting lodge, but by the early 1300s a castle had been built and was granted to Sir John Lyon, Thane of Glamis.

The castle has a number of ghosts with some interesting names and stories. Earl Beardie – either the 2nd Lord Glamis or the Earl of Crawford – is said to have become so incensed about being unable to play cards on the Sabbath he swore he would play until Doomsday or with the Devil (depending on what version of the story you hear). A man appeared at the door and the two sat down to play. The man was the Devil and left with Earl Beardie’s soul.

There’s also the Grey Lady, a woman without a tongue and the Monster of Glamis – supposedly the deformed child of the family who was kept in the castle all his life. His rooms – now lost – were bricked up after his death.

 

  1. DALMARNOCK BRIDGE

Glasgow’s Dalmarnock Bridge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalmarnock) is one of eight bridges spanning the River Clyde.

Designed by Glasgow consulting engineers, Crouch & Hogg, the current bridge was built in 1891and is the scene of a ghostly suicide.

Many witnesses have reported the sight of a solid young man, thought to be in his 30s and wearing black clothes, jumping into the water. As the horrified onlookers watch, the apparition disappears before he hits the water.

To this day, no-one knows who the man is and why he jumped.

Happy Halloween!!! wooohooo hahahahahah!! (that’s meant to be my spooky laugh)

Dawn xxx

h1

Hoping to get back to writing…

September 21, 2016

13255956_10207384595586864_1730845943824072265_nHello. I’m kinda back. I’m dipping my toe into the blog writing world again with the intention of getting back into it properly. I feel now is the time to start getting back to some sort of new reality…without Ian.

Anyway, since last I wrote, we’ve welcomed a new puppy into our home, Casper. I’ll put a picture up of him soon. He’s a Yorkshire Terrier and incredibly cute. He was bought as a companion to Millie (pictured) and is already a very much loved member of the family. He’s full of life and a great wee personality. Millie’s nose was out of joint at first, but she and him get on very well now…except when he launches himself off the sofa at her. She looks incredibly indignant when he does this. Both of them are currently snoozing together on a large dog cushion.

I’ve been doing up my study and hope to properly move back into it by the start of next week. Basically, I’m waiting for a new bookcase to arrive. Until it does, the room is full of books in boxes. Once I get the case, the books will be transferred and I can get the room the way I want it. My desk and piano are in there along with my books and a reclining chair…perfect for a spot of writing, reading and relaxing! I put a new carpet down and it was literally only just down when the pup decided to Christian it with pee. I was NOT happy.

The girl has had quite a week already (and it’s only Wednesday). On Monday night, she fell down the stairs twisting her foot. She was in a lot of pain and couldn’t put her weight on it, so I rushed her up to our local hospital (it’s the first time I’ve been back there since Ian’s passing) to have her checked out. Luckily, she hadn’t broken anything, although she’s damaged the soft tissue. She’s been hobbling around loving all the attention she’s been getting.

Casper has a habit of lunging at you with his mouth opened. It’s a puppy thing, but he did it to the boy on Tuesday morning, caught his ear and drew blood. Well you would have thought all hell had broken loose as the boy wailed in pain. It was worse when the boy realised he was bleeding. The yelling and screaming continued as I attempted to clean the wound with an antiseptic wipe. I had to hold him whilst I wiped the wound. He’s such a wuss. Honestly, you’d have thought his arm had been cut off! He’s fine now. I tell you, the cup of tea I had after dropping him at school was the best one I had had in a long time…I totally needed the caffeine boost and relaxation!!

Nothing much else has been happening. I’ve been doing a lot of reading…I love reading, you can get totally immersed in another world and forget any worries. I’ve also been catching up on TV including the excellent The Man in the High Castle and Cold Feet (I love Cold Feet). Am about to get into Poldark…watched the original series in the 70s when I was a very young girl and am looking forward to seeing the more modern version. The books are excellent. Not back into making stuff or baking (except for the cake I baked to mark Ian’s 53rd birthday last week) yet, but am planning to get back into sewing and knitting soon. It’s relaxing.

Right, I’m going to finish this here. Casper has left a couple of wee ‘presents’ under the table that need cleaning up…sigh. The joys of puppies! Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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