Social media

Particularly Twitter, that’s my profile pic. up there.  I  came to Twitter a long time before Facebook, I liked the way I could connect with a diverse range of people, all over the world. Lately it’s been my go to place for breaking news* though twice recently my heart has sunk when, waking in the early hours,  I’ve checked my newsfeed.

It’s not all bad news though, there are a lot of good hearted people out there and some great tweetalongs. My favourite has to be #thearchers where we meet to discuss the goings on in our favourite rural village. Over the past few months we’ve been glued to our radios following the harrowing story of Helen and her controlling abusive husband. Proof of the good that can come from  social media,  a JustGiving account set up in her name has raised over £170,000 for Refuge.

One of my other favourites is #scotlandhour which takes place on the last Wednesday of every month, promoting different aspects of Scottish tourism.

And just at the weekend I made contact with someone who might be able to put me in touch with distant cousins and fill in some gaps in my family history story.

And never forgetting the lovely GlamourPuss and all her #sausagearmy friends. Even DogStarke has her own account, though she needs a bit of help with the typing.

I use other platforms and there is some crossover, but the little blue birdie was my first and favourite.


Until next time**,


*the real sort

** I have a little trip planned. X

Sunny Monday mornings

We have had the most gorgeous Autumn so far. I live in Argyll which is in the west of Scotland, it’s a beautiful area but often wet. Our prevailing wind is from the west so it scoops up moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and  releases it as rain over us. Well, that’s what usually happens.  This year we’ve been enjoying north winds, colder but dryer, giving us a fine show of Autumn colour from our trees.

It’s also meant really lovely walks, which is great because  walking is my favourite sort of exercise.

Funnily enough it’s something which can be easier in the city.  I could identify with Carrie Bradshaw* when she claimed  “…shopping is my cardio”. A day trawling around the shops soon ramps up the step count. Although when I lived in the city I had to commute to work, by car, so walks were too often relegated to the weekend. (MrS had retired and was at home, so he could do the honours with Dogstarke). But on a non work day pretty much anything I needed was within walking distance.

It’s not the same here. Our shop is a walkable distance but a round trip is five miles so any urgent visit is made by car. Mind you, the pub is  a lot closer….

Open space is a little different too. We have to respect that it’s not just there for our enjoyment. It’s a working landscape.


But on mornings like today there’s nothing quite like a walk along the hill.

It’s beautiful even when it rains,  but for now I’m enjoying the sun.

Marina x

*from HBO “Sex and the City”

Dancing* and dogs

But dancing dogs not so much.

Anyway, last night I did a lot of dancing. My feet are complaining today, always the sign of a good party I’d say. We whirled and shimmied and stamped the night away.

With the result that today, despite our “extra” hour in bed, I’m rather tired. And nearing the end of #Blogtober I’m flagging a bit.

So. Today I bring you:

Dog pictures*.


*don’t complain they could have been me dancing pictures

Most are of DogStarke, some of the dogs we’ve met.





If you want more of DogStarke you can find her on Twitter @southfieldchat.

An excellent resource for dog owners

Until tomorrow.

Marina x

*don’t complain they could have been pictures of me dancing



Zebra crossings

You know, the non automated crossings, heralded by Belisha beacons (as seen above but with a usually less watery setting). Often staffed by cheery men and women in Hi-Vis raincoats. Perhaps you don’t have them where you live?  I like them because they give back power to the pedestrian. If someone is waiting, the car is obliged to stop.

But…. This should have been a travel post. About Zambia, or Zanzibar, or maybe Zaragoza. The only problem is, I’ve not been there. I don’t even know very much about them. Perhaps they should be on my “wish” NOT “bucket” list (I absolutely hate that term).

And there’s another problem, where to next? The alphabet has 26 letters and this is the last but #Blogtober has another 6 days to run.

I had hoped that I could use the extra letters from the Welsh alphabet. And then I checked. There are eight of them: Ch, Dd, Ff, Ll, Ng, Ph, Rh and Th. And not being a Welsh speaker I was struggling to find things I liked*. It was all a bit too contrived.

I’m still working on it. There will be a post tomorrow. Perhaps not a theme though.

And I’ve just remembered a Z  place I’ve visited and liked.


Only problem is, my trip wasn’t even this century. I did find some photos though, old style non digital ones in albums, so I’ve taken photos of them.

And like so many of my photos, there is cake.**


Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Marina x


*Lyfrau – books

**and a very young MasterS.





I’m new to this. I started not long after I moved here permanently. A new class was starting up and I decided to  give it a try.

I went to a couple of classes years ago but didn’t really like it, the class was too big, I couldn’t remember the poses and it seemed as if everyone else had been going forever.

My class here  is totally different. It’s not tiny but it’s small enough that our teacher can watch and adjust our poses (if we are happy with that). And most of all it’s not just exercising my body, it’s stretching my mind too.

I know I’ve become calmer.

I’m late writing this post tonight, I’ve been out at another activity. I came away slightly buzzing and also a little unhappy, disappointed; and then along came an email, probably well intentioned,  which just compounded things and made me angry too.

I couldn’t focus on this post.

Then I started to breathe. And to notice my breathing. And work with my breathing. And I calmed down. Became a little more balanced.

Balance. Not just the standing on one leg sort, though we do that too, but balancing movements and breath, and self.

Learning  to let my breath take me where I can go and accept that,  instead of forcing my lax joints.

Hearing the midnight bells chime and realising I’ve missed my  deadline.

But somewhere it’s still


Marina x



My first ever blog was a travel one. It was private, a way to share my trip to Australia with my sister. I’d got an iPad as an early birthday present and MasterS researched the options and helped me set it up. Then I got the bug….

Track back two years.

It’s 2010. I’d started reviewing on TripAdvisor, I’ve never been an early adopter, I only joined Facebook in 2013. Anyway, Trip Advisor,  we’d stayed at a B&B which encouraged reviews   It was very good, and newly established so I didn’t mind going ahead.

And so Mrs Starke made her find appearance.


Return to 2012.  I decided to continue with my blog, but this time to make it public.

I intended it to be a travel blog.


And there we hit a snag………



To write a travel blog, you really should travel. But a lot of my travelling had been accompanying MisterS on his trips abroad. And in 2012, he retired.




But then we got…..




And she became the subject of many posts.


And travel took on a whole new emphasis. We began to search out dog friendly places.

We discovered  Le Shuttle was the most dog friendly way to travel to Continental Europe.

And made some trips to France.

Though we had to leave her at home with MasterS for this one


And then we moved. And started a whole new life. Welcoming travellers .

So our own travels tended to be curtailed and restricted to “staycations”


But I’ve still got itchy feet, so we plan to use our off season to travel.



And I’ll tell you about it.

Marina x





I love hats and have a big collection. I probably wear a hat 75% of the time, the only thing is it’s most likely to be one like this


rather than like this



or this



and I’ve actually never found the right occasion for this.



I get to wear my trusty sunhat more often than you might think, but then I’m the world’s biggest optimist when it comes to a “sunglass opportunity” and sunhat version of that  isn’t far behind. In fact I’m getting worried that I’ll have to retire that hat soon, which would make me very sad. It has a tear between the crown and brim which is only getting bigger. Soon after I bought it I realised it was an excellent titfer and looked around for another one to set aside against its inevitable demise. I thought I’d found it too, in black,  but though it was from the same shop (Marks&Spencer),  was the same material (straw),  and had the same feature (completely foldable), it just was not the same. I gave it away long ago.


I think it’s a real shame that hat wearing when it’s not for sun or rain protection is so rare.  And as I get older I’m afraid of looking a if I’m in costume if I wear some of the more outre ones. All a far cry from the days when you weren’t dressed without one. Look at this label found inside a hat made specifically for travel. Like my trusty white straw it folds and packs away unscathed.


Some of my hats looks frivolous but are functional, like this gorgeous faux fur by the wonderful  Alison Tod which is toasty warm and looks good.


Well I think it does. And I regularly wear this vintage number which used to belong to MrS’s father. It’s a Hamburg steamer hat, is  excellent at keeping off sun and rain, and I sometimes even wear it on a boat.


And lastly, maybe this is the sort of headgear I’m needing at the  moment ?

Version 2

Marina x