(still) being European

Don’t misunderstand, I’ve nothing against the other continents, I’m just delighted that we’ve got a little reprieve and still belong to the EU and all the benefits that brings. We’re just back from a three week trip through France, Northern Spain and Portugal, taking advantage of DogStarke’s pet passport for what may be its last outing.

DogStarke on tour

(and a couple of friends she made along the way)


We all did lots of walking, and MrS and I did lots* of eating and drinking.


Discovered that we’d planned much of our journey along the ancient pilgrim routes

And visited lots of Cathedrals…..


I’d intended to blog as we travelled but we all know what happens to good intentions on holiday.


Now I’m trying to get back into blog mode.

So this is just a taster,

Until next time.



                    Marina x



*too much in my case.

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






Completing the circle

I did it.

31 days.

31 posts.

Down through the alphabet and then some.

Some I was pleased with, some not so much. Sometimes there was no inspiration.

But I got here.


Today is Hallowe’en, All Hallows Eve. A day signifying different things around the world.

Perhaps it’s dressing up and partying, children visiting neighbours to “Trick or Treat?”, in Scotland it’s called “Guising”.

It might mean church and prayer, visiting graves, remembering the dead.

It may be just another day.

Here in Scotland the trees still have their beautiful Autumn colours but soon they’ll be falling and we’ll slip into Winter.


The days are already shortening, we put our clocks back at the weekend.

There’s been a birth, a wedding and too many deaths.

The cycle continues the year goes around


I’ll be back next month.

Just not every day

Marina x





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.





Well, I have to admit it,  X has me beaten. I did have the idea of using “Xenophilia” as the  title of this post, thinking of it only as a positive thing. The opposite of xenophobia.

Then I did a little research….

While xenophobia is a wholly negative thing, its opposite can have pejorative connotations too. It can be liking the different just for difference sake, rather than the openness to new people and  things that  I’d imagined.

Rather more disturbingly, prefix it with a couple of more XXs and it becomes a porn site. Now I’m all for new things and connecting via this blog, but some things are a step too far. And while I love seeing likes and follows I was worried that xenophile might be misconstrued and I’d be hit with hate mail.

I don’t particularly like xylophones and didn’t want to be Xcited, or talk about Xcellence; I’m not  a fan of the X-Factor or X-Files, didn’t want  blog about Xmas.

Maybe I should have stuck with my first thought, Xylem.

Xylem and phloem, the vascular system of plants, their arteries and veins if you like. Phloem conducts nutrients, and xylem takes water from the roots to the tips of the shoots. It’s way keeps a tree both rooted and growing. No xylem, no trees.

And we all need trees.


So a good thing to like.

#Blogtober24   Xylem

Marina x*

*of course X = kisses too.



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