Sunday, 28 July 2019

Scottish Seabird Centre

I often start with a weather update, but this time I feel its truly worth commenting on. Thursday was the all time high temperature recorded in Edinburgh (31.6C) and then by Saturday the high was 18 complemented with torrential rain. Saturdays doggy play date with Maisie was downgraded to a pop round for lunch and a shuffle round the park so today I was determined to have a bit more of an adventure.

I always love to find a new dog-friendly day out and the Scottish Seabird Centre has been on my radar for a little while, but I've held off as the good weather meant that the place would probably be rammed. A slightly damp weekend seemed like a good time to try it and we pre-booked the morning boat with fingers crossed for better weather. I also rang them to double check just how dog friendly they were and was pleased to be informed that, apart from the kitchen, Missy was more than welcome anywhere.

The weather was kind - it was still overcast and a bit drizzly, but it was warm enough a light rain coat was all I needed and cool enough that Missy was comfortable to be exploring. We timed our arrival to get checked in for the boat and were surprised to learn it was a full boat. We'd been warned that the skipper had last say about the dog (basically if they were being boisterous they may be asked to leave) so it wasn't until we were on the boat that we breathed a sigh of relief. It was a nice catamaran type boat and we left those with kids to the sheltered bit and sat at the back so Missy could have some space and I could get some nice photos.

A very different perspective of Tantallon Castle
It was a bumpier ride than we are used to! Loch Katrine with tea and cake, easy. An audio tour on Loch Ness with tea and cake, no problem. Windermere with, yep, tea and cake, a breeze. Tea would have been a safety hazard on this boat as we lurched and bounced over the waves and laughed as we were asked continuously if we felt OK. I had a bag to hand just in case Missys travel sickness returned and we all watched as someone made a dash to the privy to lose their breakfast. Missy was a trooper and just cuddled up to us, taking it in her stride as always.
The worst was over as we arrived at Bass Rock and it was certainly worth the rough journey:

So. Many. Ganets. The noise and smell was astounding. I remember fondly doing the same boat ride as a young child and I was surprised at myself that those two things had not left an impact. We made a leisurely sail around the rock and were given its history and had the behaviours of the birds explained to us. It was fun watching them dive into the water by us and see them flying back and forth to the (now very large) chicks. Missy clearly found the smell exciting as she stood up and wagged her tail at all the activity, but she's not daft and showed no inclination to move to the edge of the boat or water.

We then sailed over to another island and watched puffins and shanks in the water. I was pleased to spot a seal before anyone else as we watched the tiny puffins. In a moving boat, it was very hard to get photos of them, so I sat back and just enjoyed watching the little birds. After that it was almost a trundle back to dry land and we decided to grab some lunch before going into the seabird centre proper.

We decided to upgrade to the annual pass as I can definitely see us at the centre again with other family members. The staff were great and seemed genuinely pleased to see Missy and we happily played with all the cameras and read all the information about the conservation projects that were ongoing for the birds.
There was a very nice looking cafe and soft play and we scoped out the play room ad well which had plenty of appropriately themed kids books sat out for parents to read.

We finished with a walk other beach and I was surprised to see the old tide pools in existence. Perhaps next time I'll come prepared with a swimming cosie and go for a paddle - or at the very least a bucket and spade to build some sand castles! A lovely day all round, I'm already planning a repeat trip with the neices and nephews and their fur cousins!

Sunday, 21 July 2019

A Wee Wander aboot Toon

The weeks continued to be busy - there's good news in that the BIL is out the hospital and settled in back home. We're on alert just in case of emergency, but everyone's breathing a little easier and looking forward to getting their summers organised again.

I managed to slip away for a few hours to see friends. We went for a nice stroll along the canal with Missy in tow and then we enjoyed a lovely burger at the Red Squirrel. After a bit we then decided to move onto Affogato for ice cream sundaes before strolling back along the canal.

We spotted a few of the Oor Wullie statues that are currently to be found across Scotland and got a some photos of them. They certainly divide opinion and I agree with the MIL in that there's simply too many of them - I really enjoyed the Edinburgh cow parade and the checklist you could download and mark off and this one doesn't really have that option. Still, they brighten up the street and make you smile.

I haven't managed much on the sewing front, but expect to have a few pieces for next week.

Just a short one today, hopefully back to regular programming next week!

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Dalkeith Show

Well, life's been a bit funny the last few weeks - without getting into far too much detail my brother-in-law (hubbys brother) has had to have a large operation, my mother in law is coming to stay with us for an unknown period of time from tomorrow and basically everything is being held together with spit, polish and smiles.

Its not all that bad, its just that by nature I am verging on pedantic about time and whats happening. Not knowing when something is happening, or for how long a thing is happening or even if its going to happen at all puts my heart into unhealthy palpitations. So, being the third wheel getting second hand information on a situation that's very uncertain to begin with really stresses me out but I need to be the calm one and support my hubby and those around me. In short, I had to call time on my family and tell them I had to take a step back and focus on my husband and his, which was hard to do, but as I said to my mother today, the worlds still turning and no ones irreversibly fallen out with anyone, so its all ok. The BILs op went well, it was less invasive than originally planned and he's not had to be tube fed so they're already looking at cutting out the time he's to be in hospital.

With that in mind, I needed to find something for Missy and I to do that was near the hospital as the hubby had promised he was going to visit on Saturday. Little France is an hours drive from me and we agreed it was unfair on Missy to be left on her own for such a long time and that, with it being highly possible that the BIL wouldn't really want company, that it was a long way to go to possibly turn around again. I spotted that the Dalkeith Show was on and, being 15 minutes from the hospital, was ideal. We went for the show starting and then at lunchtime, the hubby headed off to visit his brother whilst Missy and I got to enjoy the rest of the day. We had also organised to see a friend afterwards who lives ten minutes from Dalkeith so it was an absolutely perfect situation.

It was a really good day. I was in a bit of a panic when it was raining in the morning, but by the time we parked up it had stopped and the sun was out. We mooched about the stalls and were very pleased fur-parents when we were told Missy had an ideal body weight at the vet stand. She got a goody bag of treats and various things and then we were off to watch the first event which was the Clydesdale horses judging.
I have a soft spot for the heavy horses. I love their sheer size, their shape and just the way they gracefully and yet stoically get on with things. The foal was a real treat as he followed his mother on his stilt like legs, already stout and stocky but still a little wobbly.

Following on from the foal, the dairy calves and young handlers was a real treat. Dressed in shirts and too long ties, the kids wrangled their unruly calves with the ease of those born in the trade. The hubby and I were much impressed at the shortest lad, a stout wee ginger thing, who simply put up with no nonsense and dragged the calf where it was needed and were genuinely pleased to see him placed first.

As the pipe band played we had an early lunch of jacket potatoes and eagerly awaited the mysteriously billed "Ore Terrier Racing". A barking truck rolled out and a lure was set up and we were treated to watching genuine ratting dogs race after it. I will confess that o was surprised that ratting with dogs is a legitimate thing still - not because I'm squeamish, Missy bringing me back rabbits the size of small cats got that out my system, but because I thought poisons and traps had made it unnecessary. I suppose there are lots of situations where poisons would also be dangerous to human, or protected wildlife, health and can understand the lack of appeal of traps.
It was tremendous fun to watch and, as they offered the watching canines a go, decided to see what Missy would think of it. She was excited at the sight of the lure as it wriggled about but, upon release, hesitated as the other dogs decided to have a barmy and play and then clearly realised it was fake and showed no interest again. A pity as I would have much rather she took an inclination to chasing a lure than a real animal!
Very few dogs chased the lure, in the first or second display, but they all provided some great entertainment. I, and the whole audience, laughed as a little husky puppy would bumble with great purpose after it but then decided he didn't like the tables turned when the lure changed direction towards him and so the puppy ran away from it.

The hubby took that as his time to leave so I walked Missy for half an hour in the woods of the country park after saying goodbye. She had a comfort break and I got some nice photos of her on an old wall with an iron gate that led to nowhere. We managed to catch the end of the vintage tractors before getting to watch the ridden Clydesdale event. Missy enjoyed watching them walk, canter and run around the ring as much as I did before we registered for the dog show and she dozed through the champion of champions. A show horse won that I hadn't seen compete, so I can only assume it was judged before the event started or somewhere Missy was not allowed to go.

Then it was the cattle parade which I was really pleased to see - the livestock area was the only place dogs weren't allowed and so apart from the dairy calves, I hadn't seen any. The commentator stated that there was a Highland cow calf in a different colour to normal (apparently they come in seven colours, I'd only ever seen black and orange before) and I just had to laugh. My initial expectation had been something small and fuzzy. What actually happened was someone, who had to have been an older brother to the wee lad who had won the dairy calf at a stout six foot and ginger, hauling this cow that was nearly the height of him literally over his shoulder. To be fair, it was almost brindle in colour, but the comedy of the moment won over the fact.

We did the dog show (Missy didn't place in loveliest lady so I have decided that we need to learn an obscure trick to see if we could do better in that category next time) and then went for another walk. I messaged the hubby to check all was well (his company was being much appreciated, so all good) and then caught the second round of Terrier racing before the vintage tractors did a victory lap. Missy was getting tired by this point. She has a tendency to get very cuddly when she's tired and, any stranger who smiled at her and made eye contact with her got a cuddle whether they wanted it or not. She simply shuffles in close, sits on the persons foot so they can't escape and leans on them. I make some small talk, apologise about the cuddling dog, get told off for apologising, Missy gets fawned over and petted and clearly wins the arrangement! 

Thankfully the hubby arrived as they were clearing up and we went to see our friend. After chatting and food we played some retro video games on the N64 and laughed as Missy lay in her bed and snored through it all. She was unimpressed to be awoken when it was time to go home - and who says dogs aren't like small children?!

With the MIL due tomorrow, we've been cleaning the house today. She doesn't expect a spotless house, but is renowned for stress cleaning, so we didn't want to provide any targets. Missy still got a nice walk this morning and my friend popped round last minute to join me on the afternoon walk and save me from cleaning.

I have managed, at last, to finish my big project. It should not have taken as long as it did, but I'm happy with it despite everything that's going on:

A lovely three piece suit for the son of my sisters friend who apparently loves tractors but needs to look smart for a christening. Expect some dungarees for my nephew in the same fabric to turn up in the future!

Going to be a bit patchy over the next few weeks, so hopefully will be back soon with more adventures.