Jul 28, 2015

Leaf it Out

A winter's day up on the one that goes past a pond, up a hill, around it, then down and back along the valley.

Jul 19, 2015

Jings! Crivens! Help Ma Boab!

In a move sure to delight the Scottish among you we elected to attend a Festival of the Hibernian, ironically in the Southern marches of the city, where we were promised a cornucopia of Highland Dancing, Marching Bands, and more Haggis than we could shake a caber at.

With dubious hopes we arrived to be greeted firstly by a car park attendant demanding money, then by a ticket attendant demanding money, then by the braw tones of the Proclaimers wafting over the gloaming as we made our way onto a sports field flanked by what passes for entertainment here - to whit market stalls, demanding money - and a stage upon which a group of no doubt Scottish performers performed Scottish songs, by the Proclaimers.

We toured the stalls, and Jings! Crivens! Help ma boab! there was a tea towel with 'Jings! Crivens! Help Ma Boab!' written on it, which I felt compelled to purchase.

The Disclaimers ceased operations to make way for recorded highland tunes to which some local girls performed Highland Dancing, as advertise, while we refreshed ourselves with Irn Bru and Haggis, basking in the malevolent airs of deeply fried food and dubiously cooked meats before perusing more stalls as some dodgy old bird, probably called Flora or Morag or something, began to lilt a Highland Anthem of some kind or other, dressed in all her plaid finery, selling by the side CDs with pictures of herself when she was in the flower of her youth.

Many a Mickle does a Muckle make, apparently, so I dawdled admiring dog-shaped doorstops and those hats that have ginger hair attached to them, and we did in a sort of linked way notice the lack of gingerness around the place, but soon the marching bands came out, hundreds of them (though I suspect they were actually Irish) playing rousing tunes upon their baggy pipes and barking orders to one another and twirling their drumsticks rousingly around.

So rousingly in fact that we decided that enough was enough and buggered off.

Jul 15, 2015

Fierce Australian Creatures

With Claire and Georgia we visited Roma St Parklands for some toddler musicality, a train trip and some playground fun, before venturing out into the suburbs before the parking fees became unserviceable.

Out in Ashgrove we pitched up at a playground of previous experience and messed about a bit on the equipment, as I believe it's called by professional adult types these days, and were considering our options for further entertainment with an apoplexy of obnoxious bird-noise occuring in the huge trees overhead created by a corps of cacophanous cockatoos.

Next thing we knew there were a couple of thumps on the floor, and looking closely we espied a couple of little brown lumps lying, inert, where they had fallen. We surmised that these possumettes must have fallen from the tree; or we they in fact pushed by those evil cockies?

Suddenly one of them popped up its head and made a run for it, directly for me! I looked on in some amusement, thinking it would run in between my legs and into the wide blue yonder, to what fate nobody would know, but instead it saw me clearly as some sort of tree-like object and scurried up my leg, past my delicate underparts and up my jumper (thankfully the outside) before coming to rest on my bough-like outstretched arm, its claws sharp against my skin as it clung on grimly.

This of course was a hugely entertaining and dare I say momentous development but with steely Samaritanism I attempted to re-home the little, um, darling into its tree of origin whilst the others switched their attention to little lump number two, still inert on the ground.

This one we thought was a goner, but no! It hopped up as well and made straight for Lyra, and crawled up her sapling-like body. She took it in altogether worse humour than I had, and tried to bat the thing away, whereupon it sank it tiny but sharp teeth into her finger, before we managed to extricate the possum from the child and get it running up the tree again.

Much pratting around later, we ended up at the doctors as you do in such cases where the fear of something dreadful happening, no matter how unlikely, outsmarts common sense, where Doctor Tom dripped a drop of Betadine onto the finger and gave Lyra a jellybean - an experience she may never forget.

Jul 12, 2015

Don't Climb In Trees

Wise words indeed, for a tree at a winery where people clearly require extra guidance in their risk-taking behaviour.

Jul 11, 2015

Back Into Time

Eloise was if not agog or even quite breathless with anticipation she was at least quite excited about going to the MediƦval Festival up at the Abbey Museum this year.

It's a huge slugfest of historical re-enactment with interesting people of questionable vintage dressing up as questionable people of an interesting vintage.

The car park was brimming with cars but we soon left those behind, walking across a field to a fenced-off corridor which opened out into an area which appropriately enough contained the archetypal time-travel machine, next to which we posed after establishing that the doors were indeed locked.

The festival itself was still a way off so we wended our merry way there, laying out the usual ground rules: 1) be kind to your sort and 2) don't hassle us to buy everything you see.

When we negotiated our way past the ticketing staff and entered the Field of Glory we were of course greeted by a vista of caparisoned tents and marquees and a tree-pocked plain with a castle off to one side and a jousting arena in the distance.

Historical types walked amongst the 'tourists,' modern-day begarbed individuals who, like us, obviously weren't taking things nearly seriously enough.

Rule number 2 was broken almost instantly as flowered headgear was demanded, and as Nicole and Lyra went off to the bogs Eloise and I perused the wares on offer from the Flowered Headgear Cart before settling upon a piece of flowered headgear available for a price than certainly left a fragrance in my wake.

We spent the day meandering around swordplayers, jugglers, gypsies, knights, harlots, merchants, players, archers, damsels, dukes, princesses and pages with Rule 2 flagrantly disregarded and Rule 1 paid only lipservice.

We availed ourselves of coffee and food before queueing for literally an hour to ride on a camel, blissfully unaware that the first queue was just to pay and that there was then another queue to wait for the actual camel ride.

Still it was all taken in reasonably good humour, and as the dromadery was mounted Lyra and Eloise was reasonably delighted as we rode around a circuit for what seemed like literally minutes before returning to our starting point feeling slightly seasick.

Before long catapults, by which of course I mean mangonels were being let off in the castle area. The castle it seemed was actually made of plywood and was merely a facade - for shame - but the siege machinery was still mysteriously unable to breach the walls, necessitating a by-force storming by some shouting and yelling testosterone-pumped historical re-enactors who obviously had the educational value of their frenetic enterprise at the front of their minds.

However this mysteriously failed to hold our attention for long when there was serious wood-turning and textile work to be done, to which Eloise lent her full attention as the afternoon faded to evening. She chatted away as she fiddled around with a man's woody machinery and then fiddled about with a his wife's equipment turning wool into thread and doing some weaving.

Jul 3, 2015

Louvre it Out

A trip to see some Dinosaur shaped Chicken Nuggets,