Shock

I arrived home after my walk today to a missed call on my mobile and the message light blinking from the landline. Looking up the number I recognised it belonged to MrS’s cousin. Oh that’s nice I thought, she must be coming to visit her friend and wants to  drop in on her way.

And so we listened to the message.

She’s dead.

I can’t really take it in. Whilst she was (so hard to write) in her seventies, retired,  a grandmother she was by no means old. And not ill. She was always full of life, walking travelling, keeping up with family and friends.  Both her parents lived into their nineties.

Now she’s gone.

It’ll be worse for MrS;  the cousins are the senior generation of his family. A chain of births stretching from the ’40s to the ’60s.  And now a link is gone.

We’ll talk about it later no doubt.  Remember.

But for now there is just shock.

And sadness.

 

Good Service

I’ve sent more time than I’ve liked these past weeks complaining to a Major Retailer about their bad service. It’s left me feeling generally discontented and anxious. I don’t want anyone to come to any harm following my complaints, I just wanted those at the top to know how they were failing their customers.  Anyway to offset that I thought I should in my own small way recognise good and great service.  So here for what it’s worth are “The Marinas”

My local deli * , we visit every week for cheese and other speciality items. But they really excelled themselves recently when I was outside and spotted a particularly seasonal item which only they stock. Problem? I had Bramble with me so couldn’t go in.  But my gesticulations, pointing first to the items and then to Bramble,  and MrS’s supplies were guaranteed. My items were brought outside and swapped for payment and we shall not be marmalade-less this year.

A small retailer with an online presence Lowie . I was introduced to them by a friend when I admired her frock.  I’ve since ordered items which suited, and others which didn’t.  Returns were handled efficiently and by an actual person. Great service. Thanks.

Online (mostly) retailer and designer Masato Jones I’ve never ordered a bespoke item but I’ve bought from them a number of times, packages arrive promptly, beautifully packed and with a lovely little drawing from Masato.  Oh, and they regularly support homeless charities with their sales.

Big Beasts Space NK and FitFlop which deliver on time and in the case of the latter deal with returns very efficiently.  I once had to call Space NK customer services and they were very and immediately helpful.

You may deduce from all this that I do a lot of online shopping. This is true of certain things but we buy all of our meat and eggs** from local suppliers, use our local store*** for sundries (and posting back those returns!)

And finally a call out to the many unsung heroines/heroes of the NHS like my big sister the GlamourPuss aka @KayMoggie , Medical Laboratory Scientists, who work the same long hours as all those ward staff you’ve heard of,  but rarely get mentioned.  Whenever you have a test done at your GP, clinic or hospital one of these will receive it, process it and get the result back asap. Thank you all.

And finally because this is all a bit too wordy, some pretty pictures.

 

(and a couple of me)

Until next time

Marina x

* Kitchen Garden, Oban

** Balvicar Farm Eggs

*** Balvicar Stores

We have lots more great local food producers. More on them another time.

OOPS! Update! Forgot to mention The Furniture Workshop, Oban. Did a wonderful job re-upholstering and generally rejuvenating some of our furniture and came to our rescue lending us a sofa when we were let down.

Las Islas Canarias

Well the ones I’ve been to anyway.

Last Christmas (2016) we flew off to Lanzarote to escape our renovation works at home. There we discovered the delights of mojo, wrinkly potatoes and its unique volcanic landscape.

 

This year (2017) we spent Christmas and New Year at home, having fun with lots of family and friends.

So after all the festivities we were ready for some sunshine, sightseeing, relaxation  and perhaps the odd night out…….

 

We were based in Garachico, in the gorgeous Hotel San Roque  

 

There was plenty of good food and drink

 

 

But we managed a few little strolls.

Walk sign

Some traditions are familiar

But presents come with The Kings on January 5th.

 

It was strange seeing these seasonal favourites growing outside

Poinsettia

 

And it wasn’t all sunshine

But it always came back

lily pond

 

We saw lots but there’s still more to explore.

map

And other islands too

graciosa form mirador

Until next time

Marina x

 

Tote bag in wine glass photo by Cara Morris at  CaraPrintsThings

We ate at :  Ardeola

Tasca del Vino

Canada de Garachico Espacio Gastronomico

Aristides

all in Garachico, and the

Cofradia de Pescadores

in Puerto de la Cruz. We also enjoyed meals at our hotel, high up in Teno mountains and indulged in cake and ice cream in La Laguna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little things…..

Today I took my dog to the beach.  Now that is not an unusual thing, but today I tried to do  just that. No ‘phone, no photos, no posting. Just me’n’B, walking, watching , listening. Enjoying her pleasure at simply being there.

My dog smiles. Disclaimer, this is blatant anthropomorphism on my part. She’s a terrier, her mouth is just made like that and anyway she expresses delight from her other end. But her smiley face lifts my spirits.

So back to the beach and maybe at first little MissB is looking for something else too, but I’ve brought no balls so it’s just running and sniffing and maybe digging up some treasure. The tide is low today giving us a lot more beach than last time.   More sand, more seaweed,  more stones;  so many different types of stone;  slate, granite, quartz, smooth, crusted, hairy.   The smooth ones are great for bowling along the sand,  B in hot pursuit.

The splash and sift of the sea on the sand, children’s voices, the thunder of paws – for a small dog she can make quite a din.  It’s a week day, a work day, the children are here on a trip from school, learning to climb the cliffs.   Last time the sun shone, it was a holiday, I filled a big shopper full of rubbish as I walked.  I’d  found the shopper tucked into the rocks.  A couple of tourists joined in, horrified by the mess. There’s a different couple today, taking pictures, enjoying the almost pristine beach, but all that plastic didn’t just end up in my bag.  It’ll visit some other shore.

Just for a moment, banish that thought. Just for a moment, be in the moment.

Having fun, with my dog, on the beach.

 

P1050379

 

PS. Towards the end, I cracked. I took some photos.

PPS. And here’s  B smiling

 

Until next time….

P1050379

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Catching Up

Yikes! It’s been two months since I posted here, and that was a repost of a blog I follow. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything,  I’ve had a couple of trips to Edinburgh, one to Glasgow, an overnight stay Clydeside and a visit to friends in Angus.

st cyrus

St Cyrus beach

 

I’ve  had brunches and lunches*,  and supper at MasterStarke’s.

Cat sat and dog walked.

 

Slept in hotel beds and on couches.

bramble at the novotel

DogStarke, hotel inspector**

Enjoyed sun, snow and the bits in between.

 

Read two and two thirds of the Neapolitan Novels, one Anne Enright and an Inspector Montalbano. Watched back to back Gilmore Girls.

Chose Trainspotting2, enjoyed  a musical, directed a play.

Packed boxes, unpacked boxes. Packed them back up again. Picked bathroom fittings.

Put daffs in a vase, looked up through the blossom.

 

Spent evenings surfing not  blogging. Spent tonight blogging not working.

Well, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Marina x

 

 

* Brunch at Montpelier’s, Edinburgh, lunch The Honours, Edinburgh

** DogStarke inspecting duties at Novotel, Edinburgh Centre