Exploring festivals abroad

Not the musical variety, in fact I don’t  think I’ve ever been to one of those home or away. There were Glasgow’s Big Day concerts in 1990, somehow I got into the then Copthorne hotel to watch the George Square gig and then went down to Glasgow Green in the evening (that was the time Sheena Easton got booed* for her Mid Atlantic twang); and I was at the Nelson Mandela Tribute concert at Wembley the same year,  but the full mud and music experience?  No.   The festivals I mean are the holiday ones, Christmas, New Year, Twelfth Night, Thanksgiving. The latter one first, but far from traditionally when two of MrS’s American colleagues invited us to celebrate it with them in Curacao, instead of turkey we ate curry.

curacao beach

the beach in Curacao

Then in 2016 while we were in the throes of building works we sought out some Christmas sunshine in Lanzarote

cactus tree

Festive cactus in Arrecife

And last year we welcomed the arrival of the Kings in Tenerife

three kings

waiting for The Kings

This year we spent New Year or Saint Sylvestre in France.

Of course there were still signs of Christmas

 

 

and portents of L’Epiphanie

But the main event was New Year.

Restaurants offered festival menus

st sylvestr menu

This is ours from Augusto Chez Laurent

Here are those puds

augusto pudding

and yes they all contained lobster butter!

But it seemed lots of people would be enjoying seafood platters at home

preparing seafood platters

hard at work at the fishmarket

Midnight and the arrival of 2019 was a low key affair. We headed to the Mairie

mairei

to watch the clock.

midnight

But missed the crowds you’d see in Scotland

It was a little livelier at the casino

where we could hear a party. But we just enjoyed the lights and headed back to our hotel.

Where we might* have had a kiss under the mistletoe**

mistletoe

of course we couldn’t fit under it here

Best wishes for 2019 and Happy New Year to anyone celebrating it tonight.

Marina xx

*and worse

**we did

***”gui” in French it appeared in the shops on New Year’s Eve

PS Almost back home I became “King” of the day when I found the bean in our pie

 

…walks with a little brown dog

I may have written this before but there are few things that can’t be brightened up by a little brown dog. Recently two much loved local dogs have died;  I’ll miss seeing them about, though nowhere near as much as their people will and it’s made me specially glad to have B around.

Part of the joy of walking with a dog is the pleasure they seem to get from their surroundings. B meanders from side to side, on “zombie pawtrol” as it’s known by her Twitter pals. I think she mostly “sees” through her nose but mine is a little further from the sniffs so I decided to look in the more conventional way.

18:9zomiepatrol

It was a grey, drizzly morning which may accentuate the smells,  it can bring sparkle to things you might overlook.

18:9spiderweb

raindrops on spiderwebs

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and on whiskers of kittens (well caterpillars)

There was an advertising campaign last year or so with the strapline “Be more dog”. I can’t remember what the product was but it’s not a bad way to be.

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from little burns mighty oak trees grow (hmm, maybe that’s not the saying)

18:9bigoak

and here’s one which grew earlier

Autumn leaves fall, all things pass;  sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I fret. But sometimes I can find my inner dog.

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And who could resist that smile?

 

Marina x

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.

cows

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”

Walking beside Loch Lomond

Today it’s wet and windy so I’m hunkered down at home,  wrapped up in warm woolies with DogS curled up on her bed nearby.

fullsizerender

Yesterday was completely different, it was one those gorgeous, crisp Autumn days.

We travelled south for a family visit and on the way stopped off to stretch our legs. A friend had recommended parking at Firkin Point beside Loch Lomond.

The path goes along the route of the old A82, in places we could see the cats eyes and white lines, in others, more alarmingly,  where the road had collapsed into the water.  The road now runs parallel at a slightly higher level above the loch.

It was a lovely walk, traffic free so DogS could search out the sniffs at her own pace, and the path is good so it didn’t matter that we were wearing our city shoes.

 

DogS sampled the water too.

We’d had our refreshments earlier at our favourite stop off in Inveraray*

looking-hopeful-at-brambles

looking hopeful at her namesake cafe

So everyone was happy.  Well almost! If you’re thinking of making a stop be warned, the lavatories are closed until March 2017; we couldn’t wait that long so made a quick visit to Luss, where thankfully the facilities were open**.

And then it was off into the city.

Until next time.

Marina x

*Brambles  of Inveraray, great breakfasts, lunches and baking. Dog friendly.

** 30p charge, there is a change machine.

 

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.

calendar

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

sunset-from-boat

 

#Blogtober31