Posts Categorized: Uncategorized


Advent of Spring

The older I become, the more I appreciate the advent of Spring. Perhaps it is some form of “one foot in the grave” syndrome, but where as in the past I merely noticed (or not) that new life was stirring in the grounds, I now actively look for it.


Afternoon Tea

Mums the word

Having spent a minute or two researching the history of Mothers Day I find it fascinating (especially being one myself!) that this tradition is still going strong. (more…)

Wood chip boiler system

Chips (wooden)

Georgian Houses are beautiful to look at, and a pleasure to live in. They are however a complete nightmare to heat. Despite 3 foot thick walls and knee deep roof insulation there seems to be little one can do with large sash windows. It is clear how much heat is lost through the windows when opening shutters which have been closed overnight, its just like opening a fridge door as a wall of cold air enters the room. (more…)

leaves at Boath

Bloody Leaves!

Bloody Leaves!

November (or Movember if you are growing a moustache for charity) is the month when we start our maintenance on the outside of the house. The roof, windows, drain pipes, parapets and drains all inspected and repaired where necessary. It is always necessary!

We are surrounded by beautiful mature deciduous trees which shed a gazillion leaves over a four to five week period, November winds pick them up and deposit them in drifts everywhere, but mainly in the roof gullies and the drainage system, thus rendering them useless unless they are cleaned out every other day. Gullies are the worst as reaching into an eighteen inch deep round hole only slightly bigger than ones arm which is full of icy water, mud and leaves is bad enough – the discovery of a very large toad (we have lots breeding in the lake) who is quietly hibernating and starts squirming madly in ones hand just adds to the general disenchantment.

Our Groundsman, General Handyman and all round good egg Ian blows the leaves into vast piles on the lawns (gone are the awful days of raking endlessly). We then spend several days pushing them onto a tarpaulin and dragging them into piles in a corner somewhere . They are then ignored for a few years – this is apparently known as mulching, but Ian and I have another name for it.

Leaf mulch is much prized by our gardeners, and I really do love our trees, but just occasionally I do wish for just the odd Spruce!!


Performing Rights

Performing Rights…. what about my rights?

It would seem that we have become a nation of involuntary renters. By this I mean that it would appear that on an increasing number of occasions when we think we have bought an article or service it turns out we have in fact only rented it.

Bruce Willis recently made headlines attempting to affirm his family to retain the rights after his death, to the thousands of iTunes music tracks he has purchased – Read the small print!

Artists are entitled to part of any profit you make from selling on one of their paintings (does it work the other way round if you sell at a loss?)

Many photographers now routinely keep the rights to photographs (particularly wedding pictures) for which they have already charged fairly large amounts of money.

My least favourite are the Performing Rights Society. I have no gripe against artists being paid for performance of their music (being a complete luddite I still buy CD’s and DVD’s and do not do free downloads) but these people are in a different league.

Anyone who purchases a TV and puts it in a room where a non resident of that property watches it appears to require a licence from PRS. Despite the fact that makers of TV programmes pay vast amounts of money to use composers tunes, and the fact that we all pay an annual licence fee the act of listening to programme theme music on the TV apparently entitles them to monies.

Do you have a phone which plays music whilst it is on hold – beware the PRS. Do you play your radio at work -beware the PRS. Does your car horn play the first four notes of “ Money, Money, Money” by Abba? Well you know the rest!

private library meetings

An essential tool

… but I hate it!

Personally I have no time for computers, and computers have no time for me. I know this as a fact because every time I go near a keyboard something  absolutely crucial gets lost from the memory and an apoplectic wife, or member of our team  has a rant at me. Adjectives such as Luddite, incompetent, thick and the S word get used a lot (I mean stupid, stupid)!

Most people think that computers are programmed machines that do our bidding IF you do things in a rational and computer literate manner. I, on the other hand, seem to be one of only a handful of people on the planet who are aware that these are malevolent constructs intended to make our lives miserable.  The full extent of this misery only becomes apparent when a business loses its internet connection. At a stroke we are blind, deaf and dumb, unable to talk to our clientele or suppliers and also unable to check flight times, cinema information or the quickest route between Auchtermuchty and Achnasheen. How did we manage in the “good old days”? To be honest I can’t remember and so will have to continue with my hate/hate relationship with Mr Microsoft.

Given that the rest of the world is coming to this beautiful country in increasing numbers due to the immediacy of the World Wide Web perhaps I am being slightly churlish – on the other hand I know that “they “ are out to get me!!!!