Saturday, 22 June 2019

Pride and Passion

Just a quickie this month reflecting on the Scottish Women's football team and their experiences at the World Cup in France ...

What I saw when watching their matches was pride in abundance for their achievement in reaching this event. Their passion for the game of football obvious in every run, tackle, header and impressive kicks.

Andy and I  were lucky to  have attended the match against Japan in Rennes as our niece, footballer extra-ordinaire, Fiona Brown was part of the squad.




Fiona is Andy's sister Alison's daughter ... seen here with her very own travelling Fan Group.

We, as in a large family group, had the privilege of watching Fiona playing for Scotland in the Women's Football World Cup in Rennes. Fiona's debut in this tournament was for the last 10 mins against Japan and boy did we cheer passionately when she ran onto the pitch. We were all so proud.

Proud to see Fiona get her chance to play and proud of Scotland's women's football team in this historic time of women's football.

Scotland had played England in Nice and had lost 2:1 but were optimistic about their chances against Japan. However it was not to be ... another marginal defeat with 2:1 score ... and as for the match against Argentina - enough has been said about this already.

For me, the Scotland's team's passion for playing football is the main memory (usually named best bit)  I will keep from watching those three games!

Pride and Passion - what we Scots are famous for! I am looking forward to continuing to be part of Fiona's touring fan club at many future events.



Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Border, boundary or barrier ...

I can't believe that nearly a whole month has passed since we were in Canada. It feels like only yesterday that we were enjoying family times with Gordon, Lianne, Murphy and Rosie.

Recently, I have been travelling across to the east coast of Scotland, catching up with chums who prefer the bracing east coast wind to the wet westerlies! Each to their own.

While walking in Edinburgh ... yep still keeping up the walking, I found inspiration in the most unlikely of places!




I was staying with a friend in her fab new pad and as I walked out towards the Firth of Forth I came across some Viking tenders, taking passengers to and from an ocean liner basking in the sunshine out in the estuary.

As I have been on a few cruises and enjoyed visiting various places of interest in several other countries, I appreciated all the palaver of getting on and off the ship. However I had never considered that other nationalities would come and visit Scotland. Tsk, tsk I thought to myself "How insular"! especially when I was told of all the delights that had been organised for the day. A visit to the castle ... a walk up and round Arthur's seat ...  a shopping trip on Princes Street ... and a viewing of the Royal Yacht Brittania! Although, maybe not all on the same day ...


So, as I walked in the glorious sunshine, I reminded myself of the many blessings that Scotland has to offer. The list is a very long one! Sunshine on Leith was definitely thrilling me and I don't necessarily mean the film.

I took a short cut back to the apartment and came across some building works and a sign that made me smile. A little whimsy on what I was contemplating on my walk. The sign reads "Danger keep out" and the poppies and weeds have done just that. They have kept their distance. I do realise that they can't read!  but perhaps they felt the barrier, the exclusion zone that made them unwelcome.

There are signs everywhere,   if we care to look,  that separate us from others.
A border that dictates who we are as a nation.
A boundary that keeps us at arms length from other people's worlds.
And barriers that we erect all by ourselves in order to prevent "contamination"!


Yep, I was in a very whimsical world that day, considering how best to share what we have and how to break down barriers, both the hidden agendas and the obvious "separatisms" that are all around us
... and just when I thought I couldn't get more inspired by the day's offering I passed some flats where one resident had decided to make a difference to their patio ... and what a difference it was!

Did they get fed up with people looking in?  Or maybe they just like rocks! As you can see, an open frontage is on the left and a barricaded one is on the right. I can see that the area is very exposed to passing pedestrians however it seems to me that there is a particular message that shouts "Keep well away. Intruders not welcome". A barrier of sorts, albeit attractively designed.

I am still pondering what I hold as a border, as in what is mine and what is yours. Or what boundaries I have that I expect you to respect! What barriers I have erected to keep myself separate from my neighbour and most importantly what barricades I hide behind to prevent anyone from seeing the real me...

Such is the power of whimsy that it may last into next month while I try to figure it out ...

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

New arrival

Andy and I have just returned from Canada where we were part of the welcoming committee for Rosie Evelyn Auld, born on the 10th April weighing in at 7lbs 2 ozs and every inch a joy...

Lianne and Rosie

















Sleeping Beauty

We were privileged to be around to see Murphy delight over his baby sister and to share in many of Murphy's activities such as gymnastics, swimming, climbing ... boy does Murphy love climbing.
 I guess it won't be long before he is sharing these activities with Rosie and then the fun will be doubled ...

Getting introduced

Brotherly Love














What a happy family.

Forgive me the mega photo indulgence. There are so many happy snaps to choose from and the blog is my way of remembering from month to month what amazing moments we have experienced ... as if I will ever forget!

One surreal memory is from our Whistler apartment. We enjoyed viewing people layered up for ski-ing/snowboarding down the mountain while others sunbathed in bikinis by the pool!
View from our lounge

Now back to some photos of our truly unforgettable moments, spending time with the grandchildren:

Grandpa duties involve reading with Murphy ...












 and gazing in awe at Rosie...


















Nonna's duties involved hands on:
They are mine! I am keeping them...
and gazing in awe at Rosie:
Looking forward to all the family adventures ahead ... I bet they will be awesome!








Monday, 18 March 2019

Choices

It is such a privilege to have choice in our lives ... as many people do not.

For instance, choosing from a restaurant menu is a privilege, often forgetting for a moment that many people don't even have access to basic nutrition.

It is also a privilege to make use of our opportunities when others are confined by borders and influences beyond their control.

Children are particularly vulnerable and are deserving of everything we can offer. The recent Comic Relief event (still time to donate) reminded me of the difficulties some children have to face.

Murphy has the open spaces of Canada and the loving support of his parents to guide him through life and we as grandparents are grateful every day, for his presence in our lives ... but that doesn't take away our responsibility towards any other children "on our watch".

Naila was one such child who overcame difficult circumstances and turned her life around to help others. Check out her website https://nailadarr.com/dance and pay particular attention to the origin of the HISS story. It moved me when she told me about it. So much so, that I feel it is a story that has to be shared.


Sometimes we get so caught up over what is beyond our control that we forget the areas where we can exert the gift of choice.

Such as the simple pleasure of spending time with a friend. Dolina and I go swimming together weekly. We could choose not to. We swim 20 lengths. Again we could choose not to. Then we go for a coffee and scone. Yep you got it. We could choose not to. However it is all part of enjoying each other's company ...


I recently enjoyed meeting up with "school" friends over a lunch. Mhairi, Veronica and myself had attended Oban High School many, many years ago and had reconnected over a lunch or two ...

This recent lunch was at Loch Fyne Oyster Restaurant where I could eat everything on the menu, but chose my usual, scallops. However Veronica's choice was curtailed by her allergy to shellfish and Mhairi's choice was expanded by her wanting to try something different.

Eileen's choice











Veronica's
Mhari's

As I said at the beginning, it is a privilege to have a restaurant menu to choose from. Just as life's menu can also be a privilege. Sometimes we go down the habitual route, or find we are curtailed by circumstances beyond our control or we decide to be adventurous and see what can happen when we take the road less travelled.

And on the subject of roads less travelled. Continuing to walk when the driving hail comes on is a choice. If I am alone, I ask myself "Do I return home or plod on?"

If walking with another, we decide together and it is usually "just a little bit farther" ... and then "enough is enough!" Enough is enough is often a deciding factor when making a choice.

Whatever we choose, mundane choices can make every day an extraordinary one. They can create a life where we will not ignore the circumstances of others but can enjoy what is on offer in one's own life ...  and share abundantly, whatever that may mean.

Could be your time, support, resources ...

Could be a smile, laughter, stories ...

Or spreading the infectious feeling of being loved, wanted, respected ...


Experiencing joy is another infectious feeling and is often open to choice. Below is a Murphy photo to experience second hand what his choice is...
Up in the air





Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Travelling


This last month has been one of travelling. Travelling by car, by plane, by train, by bus and of course walking miles. The only transport I didn't use was a boat. I will leave that for another time.

No, I wasn't travelling incognito, although it does look like that from the photo below. I was in Canada for an impromptu visit, finding out about Murphy's weekly schedule before Andy and I visit Whistler for the month of April. The temperature was -17 that day, so thermals and total cover were required.
There was much to enjoy with the activities of swimming and gymnastics and the quieter options of reading books and completing jigsaws, not forgetting playing with Thomas, the tank engine and his friends, to keep Murphy and his Nonna amused.

We also took advantage of the snowy conditions. Sledging was a high priority and of course after sledging getting a treat ... like a hot chocolate to warm us up. 

Blatant advertising
Watching Murphy at play reminded me that children on the whole love to learn new things and are excited when a new skill is accomplished. They don't give up at a first attempt. They even enjoy what we would consider failure. They laugh when they fall in the snow or delight when they roll over on the trampoline  
     and as for swinging on a rope... no word of complaint that their arms ache!
 Murphy particularly enjoyed the activity below ... again and again.
Cheeky monkey








The driving conditions in British Columbia could be challenging. It could be snow and blizzards one day and then the next day - blue skies. A daily reminder of the passing clouds of life, as no-one knows what each day will bring. No matter how much we think we know the road ahead, it is still uncharted territory.

And like the Canadians, I am all for winter tyres to keep me safe on the road. Metaphorically speaking, those would be the guidelines and adages of people who have travelled the road before... 

However it is also worth remembering to get out and about to enjoy life's conditions when the sun comes out ... whatever your preference turns out to be.

Blue skies
I was told that the weather was just perfect for snow-boarding. Murphy, Lianne and myself preferred sledging. Although I am sure that the ski slopes will be welcoming Murphy soon.

On my return from Canada, I had a Caroline Myss workshop on "Spell Casting" in London to attend. This was after a 17 hour 4 mins sleep in my own bed - my fit bit told me so!

No, I  am not a witch, contrary to some people's opinion, but I am "enthralled" by the many spells that I am/was under. 

These spells are the unwritten rules that I live ... sorry lived by, believe me, they make the driving conditions in Canada a delight compared to navigating life with the blinkers on. 

Thank you Caroline for an insightful day. It was a pivotal moment for my travelling onwards ... and upwards as I didn't know what rules I was enforcing for myself ... and on others!  Spell casting 101!

Phew ... just like the children, I am enjoying learning new things. Good job I invested in some more insight/winter tyres!

I met many a delightful travelling companion on my various flights. A physio from Vancouver, a grandmother from Manchester, a bar manager from Whistler, a student from Quebec, a family from Toronto and a lovely lady from Calgary who was returning home after a four month tour of Africa!  I was honoured to travel with them and learn about their adventures.

One travelling companion who I was honoured to share the Spell Casting journey with, was Naila, an inspirational woman whose commitment to helping others is truly awesome. This lady's story was as pivotal a moment as Caroline's teachings were. Thank you Naila, I look forward to keeping in touch and hearing all about your projects.

Now isn't that what travelling is all about ... the people you meet, the lessons you learn and the inspiration that moves you forward in a direction that you hadn't previously considered.
Buon viaggio i miei amici...

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Crash, bang, wallop!

Helloooo again...

I have had some more enforced leisure, but not of the physical kind. In fact I have now joined a gym and have committed to swimming twice a week. So all good on the exercise front and yes still walking my daily miles and plugging into my trusty groundology.

This time it was the lack of a functioning computer that interrupted my normal schedule. My laptop just decided to stop working and we still don't know why. It has now been overhauled but still in need of TLC. Something we all need.

The laptop and I parted company for a month and for the first 2 weeks I was busy with the Christmas festivities, New Year celebrations and even some general January spring cleaning. I really didn't miss the constant/daily need to go online and connect through the ether. I phoned and whatsapped friends and caught up in real time over a coffee or two and filled my days with the joy of physical movement.

Now ... I need to return to my daily writing as over the past week or so there has been a constant niggle. I have had a mind full of stories just waiting to be told.

So  the update is: Yesterday the laptop returned home. Woohoo!
                             Today I am writing. 'tis heaven...
                             Tomorrow. who knows?
And I have no doubt, that next week/month/year will surprise us all.

Have a superb 2019 everyone. Leaving you with an image of Murphy on his Christmas pressies! He takes everything in his stride ... including skis!

What do you mean  "snows a problem"?