Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Words of advice



while searching for inspiration regarding an Aloe Connections monthly newsletter, I came across this advice. Strange though, as I wasn't aware that I was needing advice, but then when do we ever!

 There is no name attached to the words of wisdom, but there is a sense of someone who has been there, done it and proudly wears the T-shirt.

It also helps that the background picture is calming...

So what about words of advice?

I have always been aware that unsolicited advice is never welcome and even when solicited, it can be challenging to swallow. 

As a physio, back in the dark ages, my advice was often sought and sometimes even taken. Nowadays, my advice is rarely sought, but when it is, a whole new relationship develops. The one with myself, as advice is always personal due to one's own experience!

Invariably, I have to quote Dame Maggie Smith who famously said " My dear, I never give advice, I only have opinions!"

Now maybe that would be a great quote for a T-shirt...

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Chaos reigns

... with soooo many changes in our personal world just now, it is hard to keep up. The result is that writing is taking a bit of a back seat due to other life's commitments.

However, here's my October offering of an inspirational quote that is a favourite of mine. It always helps me put everything into perspective...

Here's to appreciating more of the invisible, even in the midst of chaos.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Seas of Change

Do you notice how sometimes change can come insidiously, as in little by little, by almost imperceptible alterations? 

One example being the wrinkles that time etches on the face or perhaps the pounds that miraculously gather around the waist!

And then there is the other type of change. The tsunami! 

 The sea of change that alters not just one's face but alters the whole face of life as we know it... and brings what seems to be a hundredweight of challenges with it.

For some, this is when a health diagnosis hits home. For others, it is when war, famine, poverty and/or pestilence - the whole four horsemen "thingy" come riding into their own backyard.

Over the past week, changes in the UK's political scene preceded major changes in Britain's Monarchy.

We exchanged one male Prime Minister, Boris Johnstone for a female leader in the form of Liz Truss. A change that was perhaps considered inevitable... however when two days later another change that was also considered inevitable, happened, it still came as a surprise, a shock that resonated around the wolrd.

The tsunami of change that Our Queen, Elizabeth had died and naturally her successor Prince Charles, was now King Charles III.

There has been much said about Queen Elizabeth's life and works, and her remarkable reign. She was an amazing monarch, with inspirational qualities and her life is deserving of all the praise that is being showered on our memories of her. 

However I don't intend to dwell on the past or indeed what the future holds for any of us, in this blog. My only thought at this time is to recommend paying attention to the seas of change that are all around us. 

They carry us forward and require us to play our part in whatever way we can. When such a state of change happens, such as the rocking of the establishment, the changing of the guard, watch out for all the reflections of change in your own lives and like Elizabeth,  rule steadfastly and sail safely through... wherever the tide takes you.

Friday, 19 August 2022


It was wonderful last week, to be able to have visitors to stay... and not just any old visitors but family, in the form of Andy's cousin Maggie and her husband Mark. 

My in-laws, yeah, but they have always felt like family to me.

They came to Scotland from Canada for an extended stay, taking in the Western Isles and all that the Scottish weather and hospitality could offer. 

Over the years, we have spent many fun times with the Scurfield branch of the family. They opened their homes and hearts to us all, allowing us a glimpse of what their family and by association, Canada had to offer!  

There were road trips, boat trips, water parks, theme parks and  many, many interesting family meals!

... and who could forget our trip to Niagara Falls!

We can never thank you enough. The welcoming hospitality began with the matriarch, Aunt Maggie and her husband Uncle Jim and is continuing with their children... Jamie, Evelyn and Maggie... and including partners Giselle, Todd and Mark. 

"Grazie mille" to you all.

The previous photos were taken in 1991 and Aunt Maggie is still on matriarchal duties!

Here are some snapshots of the recent family reunion in Largs...

Extended family in extended room!

    Inside - table for two?

Maggie and Robin









Outside - where will we go? 

There are four choices in Largs... up the hill...

Kenny and Marks
or down the front...

Natalie and Maggie










 What about out to the pencil?

Are Mark and Maggie Vikings?











 Or there is always a welcome visit to the Anchor Bar...

Then... waiting for the sunset.

Clan gathering







Well worth the wait...

Thanks for including us Maggie and Mark, in your trip's itinerary.  We loved having you and even the sun smiled when you visited us in Largs...

Saturday, 16 July 2022


 Last week was a busy week for me...

Usually the highlight of my week is swimming, but last week saw me driving to Loch Fyne, with a school pal from Oban High School to meet up with another. Then a few days later Andy and I were on the Arran ferry for a day trip to the famous island to meet up with family ... and then a couple of days later we were travelling to Edinburgh to attend a Garden Party. 

No, not the official Queen's do! But it was still a right "royal" affair.

This week has been back to the usual programme of events - swimming, shopping and staying close to home, however it has given me more time to ponder. Something I can highly recommend.

So what is there to ponder about when all around seems to be chaos, with foolish decisions being made on the right, left and centre stage! 

Well first of all, let me show you our garden. 

It is one of a pair of window boxes, although it is "hanging out" on the balcony, so window box is not quite right... pedantic, moi!

... and when I hang out on the balcony with my morning coffee and drink in the view as well as the caffeine, I can appreciate (ponder) the meaning of the word flourishing. 

My take on it is, "growth without expectation of the outcome". It seems that some things, like plants and people, circumstances and environments just can't help themselves. They grow vigorously, in ignorance of external pressures, just happy to express their nature in all its glory.

Now to another flourishing pair. 

 I thought you would like to see a few photos of a wonderful example of flourishing. 

Two children delighting in having fun!












 and enjoying the awesome beauty of a rainbow...

I challenge you not to smile with them. We all need to find something, anything, to smile about...

Wednesday, 15 June 2022


People have different views on what self-care means.

For some it means the annual holiday away and that's when entitlement creeps in.

For others it means time to yourself; a leisurely bath, quiet meditation, an engrossing book or even a solitary walk.  

Then there is the opposite side of the coin, having time to connect with others ...

Having just experienced a few days away with pals in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, I was struck by all of the above ways to invest in the application of self-care... and when I say invest, I don't mean spending money, I mean spending time. A much more important commodity!

We had such a lovely time with our friends that there is no photograhpic evidence, so no selfies! as we were enjoying ourselves so much that we never even thought to photograph ourselves or load a memory on facebook or instagram. We were just grateful for the opportunity to spend time in like-minded, convivial company. 

Well I was, I can't speak for Andy, Billy and Catherine! although believe me I do try...

So back to self-care and entitlement. It is a paradoxical subject. If caring for self, means harming, annoying  or costing others their happiness, it has a tendency to rebound. 

Removing entitlement from our requirements immediately takes us down the road to experiencing happiness. It's one of those fabulous conundrums, helping others is the ultimate in self-help (self-care).

Grazie Billy and Catherine for your friendship and your company at Duchally, and the many, many happy "roads" we have travelled.

The ultimate in self-care -  invest in real friendship. That Charlie Brown and Snoopy knew a thing or two!

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Friday the 13th May 2022

What an auspicious day! My favourite date... Friday the 13th. Lucky for some.


    At last... 

 old, rotten window out and new window on its way in.

 The window saga started last year with a proposed date for August then it was delayed to September, then cancelled and a date in October promised and indeed the builders and the window eventually did arrive!

 However, it was not to be! Our lovely view of the Clyde coast via a picture window couldn't happen as part of the wall was holding the whole building up!

 It could have been a disaster. 

What can I say...

Everything went on hold as we headed to Canada and on our return in January 2022, we started the ball rolling again. Only to be delayed over and over due to a raft of reasons. 

Window not ready, glass not arrived, builders not available etc... 

... so imagine our delight when eventually the window and the tradesmen arrived. They even arrived early on the day -

        Friday the 13th!

Now the saga continues with the proverbial straw. 

We have coped with delays ... and in this uncertain world, our replacement window is really not important.
However when I found out that the handle I requested was different from the one in situ, "Eileen" lost her rag. 

Over a handle! yep... Such a small, insignificant item that just pushed me to my limit. So much for calm under pressure. To crown it all, I had even recently told a friend that my "youthful/immature" tendency to emotionally erupt had disappeared. Yeah. I hear you... pride and falls and all that...


I forgot that it isn't what you see, it is how you see it that matters!  So moving on, with a changed perspective, I am now focusing on the view, not the handle.

        Monday the 16th May

The plasterer cometh... and "goeth" on the one day! Work done, we are nearly there...

Now it's just up to us to finish it off with some painting... and I am finishing off the blog with a quote from one of my favourite philosophers, Marcus Aurelius.

Next time a handle ( trivia) comes into view, I will remember to dwell on the stars!