I’ll Get Round To It…One Day…

Where has the flippin’ weekend gone? Honestly, I need a weekend to do the things I ran out of time to do at the weekend. What’s that all about?

Actually, I got lots of things done: delivered driving lessons, bought new bedroom furniture, cheered long-suffering hubby on at his 10K race, helped my mum with jobs around her new bungalow. But sometimes it would be nice to just stay at home and work through that to-do list that never seems to get done. Do you have one of those? The stuff that always ends up getting put off? Here’s mine:

Hanging up washing
Getting it into the washing machine isn’t the problem. But when it comes to hanging it up, or transporting it to the dryer, it all goes wrong. Yes, I’m one of those minks (Scottish word alert) that leaves their washing (that’s laundry, to my American friends) in the machine overnight so it has to be washed again the next day. And sometimes, again the next day. Yup, the last lot got washed three times. I’m pleased to say it’s now on the clothes airer. Phew!

Sorting out ‘paperwork’
I need to change the payment date of some bills. And change others to online billing only (save the environment). And do my tax return…blah, blah, blah…when it comes to this stuff, I’m the world’s worst procrastinator. Or best, depending which way you look at it.

Tidying up photo albums/theatre programmes/collections of this, that and the other
Who gets round to this ? At best, they’re stuffed in a cupboard. At worst, they’re all over the spare room floor. At least I have a spare room…

Mowing the grass
Now, this is really hubby’s job. Mainly because I’m a wimp and can’t start our petrol strimmer and mower. But it always seems to get put off, until the cats are doing their best ‘Tyger! Tyger! burning bright’ impersonation through the jungle. Maybe we should just leave it a bit longer, and make hay? Or have a wild garden? Which leads me on to…

What is the point? The buggers just grow again. Or, while being handy with the weedkiller, I accidentally kill off a ‘proper’ plant instead. Yes, I’m looking at you, dead ground creeping conifer. How dare you be so pathetic? Now I’m going to have to pull you up. More work!

That’s my list. I’m sure there’s more. What are yours? (Note: if you don’t have any, don’t tell me. Clearly you are too perfect to actually exist. You must be a character from ‘The Good Housekeeping Book Of Handy Household Hints’ or some such). ;)

Of course, I could be getting some of these jobs done now. But that’s not as much fun as writing about not doing them. Or writing about anything, really. Or listening to music, or playing with my cats, or going for a walk with hubby, or any of a hundred things that are better for the soul than cleaning, tidying or arguing with a lawnmower. It’ll all get done! One day… In the meantime, where’s that new Slash CD? I want to see if I can teach Arwen to meow along to ‘Paradise City’… :)

Sing along, Arwen! And get off the printer...

Sing along, Arwen! And get off the printer…

Of Ravens

I love ravens.

I know, I know, I seem to love a lot of scary pointy things. Cats, dragons (yes they are real, shut up), birds of prey, and now ravens. Sue me. Cute and cuddly gets boring after a while. ;)

I first saw ravens at the Tower of London, when I was 14. I love the legend that the kingdom will fall if they ever leave. Of course, England cheats and keeps their wings clipped. There are signs everywhere advising tourists not to feed them. Some people try it. I think being pecked is a just reward for being stupid, myself.

Pic courtesy of hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon

Pic courtesy of hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon

Since then I’ve seen them in various locations in Scotland, where they are often a bit harder to find. One such place is Threave Castle. Its lonely island location and bloody history fit well with croaking of the ravens who nest there. Of course, the bloody history part is true of most Scottish castles – several of which house ravens.

Pic courtesy of flickr.com

Pic courtesy of flickr.com

Ravens feature strongly in Scottish myth and legend. The Brahan Seer of the Highlands was purported to have found his ‘divining stone’, which he held up to his eye to see the future, in a raven’s nest. This seer met a horrible end, burned to death in a barrel of tar for telling the Countess of Seaforth things that she did not wish to hear. He prophecied that a raven and a dove would circle above the place where he was executed. If the raven landed, he was bound for hell, but if the dove landed, he would go to heaven. According to watchers, the dove landed and the raven flew away. Ravens also feature in many of his other prophecies.

Who doesn’t love Edgar Allan Poe? If you’re a fan of the creepy and macabre, that is. His poem ‘The Raven‘ has long been a favourite of mine. (Not to mention that a line from it is used in one of my favourite movies ‘The Crow’. Yes, okay, mixing up crows and ravens – I don’t care, the movie’s great.)
Anyhoo…I wrote a little micro fiction for Friday Phrases a few weeks ago. Friday Phrases, for those who don’t know, is a micro fiction party on Twitter every Friday (strangely enough). It’s great fun and good practice in being concise. There is a theme each week, although you don’t have to follow it. That week’s theme was ‘Never mind’. This is what I wrote:


‘It’s “Nevermore”, you stupid raven.’

Thanks, Edgar Allan Poe, I thought, as my eyes were summarily pecked out.

Sorry, Edgar! My tweeps seemed to like it though. ;) I’ll finish with a great pic I found. Hope Mr Poe would approve.

Pic courtesy of Twisted Synapses

Pic courtesy of Twisted Synapses

The Best Of Both Worlds?

I was recently given the opportunity to write for Divine Magazine, by my Facebook friend and great writer of M/M romance, Susan Mac Nicol. Divine is an online magazine and social networking website, tailored for the LGBTQ community and anyone who supports the rights of its members. Check it out for info on books, music, lifestyle – you name it.

Follow the link below to read my piece. There’s plenty of humour, as well as some more serious stuff. The information in it may surprise – even shock – some of you. Some of my friends will know already – or have suspected. Ooh, piqued your interest now, haven’t I? ;)

The Best Of Both Worlds?

Loving Liverpool

Last week we took our first little holiday of the year, to the city of Liverpool. Neither hubby nor I had ever been before, but we’ll definitely be back. What a great place!

After arriving late on Sunday evening and only having time for a meal and then bed, we rose bright and early on Monday morning, ready to start exploring. The day was dull but dry, so we braved the open-top bus for a city tour. I find this is a great way to get your bearings in a place you’ve never visited. After doing one full round of the tour, we ended up at Pier Head, where the Ferry ‘cross the Mersey leaves from. Well – what to do next? ;) After a fortifying coffee and cake, we boarded the ferry, being very twee and singing the song as we went.

Both the bus tour and the ferry had commentary about the history of Liverpool and what we were seeing, so our heads were soon stuffed with facts. Did you know there has been a Ferry ‘cross the Mersey for over 800 years? Or that Liverpool gets its name from the lava seaweed that used to gather in a pool near the shore?

Liverpool skyline

Liverpool skyline

After this rather chilly day of sightseeing we decided to warm up and go for dinner. Unfortunately, by this time the weather had taken a turn for the worse, with rain and high winds buffeting the west coast, so we got a little bit soggy on the way to and from the restaurant. As this continued into the next day, we decided indoor activities were in order and off we went to The Beatles Story.

The Beatles were one of the main reasons hubby and I both wanted to visit Liverpool. I’ve been a fan ever since I could operate my mum’s record player (younger readers: look this up) and listen to her singles and albums. The Beatles Story takes you on a journey from the birth of all the band members to the present day. It’s a very comprehensive account of their story with great photographs and other memorabilia. It also has a shop (of course) in which we managed to spend far too much money.

The next day dawned much better weather-wise, so we wandered down to the Albert Dock, home of The Maritime Museum. This free museum is chock-full of exhibits on all types of maritime history, so there’s something for everyone. We learned about the Lusitania, the Titanic (naturally), the Merchant Navy, smuggling and customs, slavery, and there was a fantastic exhibit about gay life on board ship, called Hello, Sailor! Our heads were stuffed with facts once again.

To get our brains nice and empty, we rounded off our Liverpool visit with an afternoon in The Cavern Club – for real this time, not the replica in The Beatles Story. Although it is only 75% on the site of the original Cavern, it has a great atmosphere and still has live music all day long.

So after a great three days we left Liverpool, full of facts, food and booze – and there was lots we didn’t see. I heartily recommend this place for a city break. See you again, scousers!


(All photos by Karen and Gordon Soutar)

Real Virtuality

Karen Soutar:

A lovely post by Nicky about our fun weekend and the positive side of social media. Cheers!

Originally posted on Romance That Rocks Your World!:

Social media receive a lot of criticism for being a whole lot of hot air, for turning teenagers into virtual friendship addicts unable to converse coherently with (let alone relate to) the real human beings around them, and for making us all live life at one level of remove with our sharing fingers always poised to tell the world what we’re doing and thereby somehow validating what we’re doing.

I get that. I can see that there’s a lot of that going on. However, social media also has the power to bring together like-minded people from all over the world and forge real friendships.

Karen proved a willing subject for my younger son's 'Make a Cup of Tea' scouting challenge... and a nice one it was too, she says. Karen proved a willing subject for my younger son’s ‘Make a Cup of Tea’ scouting challenge… and a nice one it was too, she says.

Take my friend, the lovely Karen Soutar. Karen lives in Scotland. Like  me, Karen likes her rock music, has a bit of a…

View original 247 more words

What Goes On Tour (Part 3)

Hi sexy readers! Follow the link to Part 3 of my saucy tale of rock stars and the ladies who love them.

If you missed them, read Part 1 and Part 2.

WARNING: This is erotica. I haven’t included an excerpt here, as the – erm – climax of this story gets pretty steamy.

Here’s a pic of my muse, just asking for trouble by being half-naked with a guitar. ;)

Photo courtesy of Richard Booth

Photo courtesy of Richard Booth

Is that really..? Yes, it is. The Pineapple.

Talking to a fellow blogger about weird buildings reminded me of this craziness, just outside my village. Folks, I give you…The Pineapple!

Photo by Karen Soutar

Photo by Karen Soutar

I love follies. And this must be the folly of follies. It looks strange enough now – goodness knows what people thought when it was first appeared. Then again, it was built by a member of the aristocracy, and everyone knows they’re mad, always have been. ;)
The Pineapple is a summerhouse, built for the 4th Earl of Dunmore. In 1777, Lord Dunmore returned from serving as Governor of Virginia, where sailors would put a pineapple on the gatepost to announce that they were home. Lord Dunmore, who liked a joke, announced his return more prominently.

Photo courtesy of gentles.info

Photo courtesy of gentles.info

Here’s the official National Trust for Scotland page.

And…you can stay there! The Landmark Trust book it out for holidays. How cool is that?

The Pineapple overlooks a large walled garden, which is open to the general public. It’s a lovely place for a walk, and to take photographs, or draw or paint. I often go for a stroll there. The old curling pond on the estate is home to the rare Great Crested Newt. I’ve never been lucky enough to see one, but I’ll keep looking!

Photo courtesy of animalspot.net

Photo courtesy of animalspot.net

If you ever find yourself on the A905 between Airth and Dunmore, look out for the signs for The Pineapple. It’s not visible from the road, but wind your way down the track through field and wood and you’ll be rewarded with some secret Scottish strangeness!