Category Archives: family


Over the weekend HD’s parents were staying, so we were out and about a bit with them. On Friday we went to the Falkirk Wheel (his dad is a retired engineer and had read about it in his journals but never seen it), and then on Saturday while I was marking (boo!) they explored Stirling Castle with HD. Saturday evening though we took them to a brilliant gig, Spiers and Boden (from Bellowhead) at the Tolbooth in Stirling. It was a great concert, we all really enjoyed it. Here’s a taster of what they sound like here on YouTube.

Yesterday we had a trip out to Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life. For a non-engineer, it was still pretty interesting, and the engineers among us enjoyed it too.

The in-laws left this morning, but my folks arrive tomorrow, so there will hopefully be more adventures to be had (if I ever finish the marking, argh).

No weekly weigh-in this week. The weighing had got a bit out of synch so I only weighed myself last Thursday; I’m trying to get back to Monday weigh-ins so will miss out today and start again next week. Which will hopefully give me a bit of time to repair the damage from meals out, whoops!

Christmas photos

Here are a few photos from the last couple of days:

HD sorting out our niece’s flying fairy, a Christmas present from HD’s parents.

The two penguins we bought HD’s parents for Christmas (the hats are HD’s handiwork. They originally housed Ecclefechan tarts).

And here’s a selection of photos from Hereford Cathedral, which we visited this afternoon:

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Christmas 2010

Well, 2010 hasn’t been an annus horribilis, overall it’s been OK, but I think I’d rather rerun December and do most of it (apart from submitting the thesis) somewhat differently. After the drama of the burst pipe the other week, and my ominous noting that Dudley (the car) wasn’t sounding too good, we headed south to see family on Thursday only for Dudley to suddenly sound considerably worse. We were pulling into a service station at the time, luckily, so at least had toilets, tea and (relative) warmth, but it did mean that we were then not a priority for the recovery services, which meant we had to wait a very very very very very very long time before we could get a tow to our destination. We have had to say goodbye to Dudley, who will soon be heading for the great scrapyard in the sky, just as soon as we can get our paperwork down to our brother-in-law (in whose parking space Dudley is currently). In the meantime we have had to hire a car to get us back to Scotland, but dates and availability means that we have had to put off our plan to visit my family as well as HD’s, and we will have to rectify that later in the new year. We’ll keep the hire car just over a week, I will try and have as many admin days at work as I can manage (as I won’t be insured to drive the hire car for business purposes) and try to get a lease car from work. I have put off the lease car option up till now for a number of reasons: (1) you have to commit to 3 years and I never wanted to be that long in the job (2) I have never had a financed car before, I’ve just saved up and bought one outright, and I feel a bit funny about having to pay out monthly (3) up till now we had a perfectly good car. But having sat and worked out the finance options, it will actually work out no more expensive, and in fact will probably be cheaper, than what we had spent on Dudley, his repairs and insurance etc. And for that I will get a brand new car which is insured for both of us and will benefit from free repairs (well, free to me anyway). It’s a bit of a no-brainer really. The 3 years thing isn’t ideal, but could be worse.

Anyway, apart from all that drama Christmas has been fun. I was sad not to be seeing my folks, but as there wasn’t anything anyone could do about that I have just had to make the best of the situation, and have enjoyed being with HD’s family. We have been given so much chocolate I won’t be able to start dieting till the summer (!). The car we have hired is the smallest we could get, unfortunately I have eaten so much the last couple of days it may mean the car struggles to get much beyond 2nd gear as the load is too heavy. If you see a lawnmower chugging up the M6, that will probably be us.

New Year not-resolutions

Rather than do either a. a scary list of things I aim to do this year which then make me feel inadequate because I will fail to live up to them or b. a long rambling screed of streams of consciousness over why I want to achieve the unachievable anyway, I’m just going to put up here, for my reference as much as anything else (so it won’t be the great writing you’ve come to expect from this blog 😉 ), a kind of combination of the two which hopefully will be neither scary nor rambling, but more a kind of wish-list or stuff I’d like to see happen but not stuff I’ll get too obsessive about. We’ll see.

To get the elephant (or in my case perhaps more accurately hippo) in the room out of the way first, I’ll at least mention weight loss. I’m aiming for about 1lb a week, which will hopefully see me lose about a stone by Easter. There are a few reasons why I want to lose weight, none of which I particularly want to go into here, but I want to end the year feeling better physically, and feeling better about myself physically, than I have started it.

I want my PhD to be over and done with this year. And get back to writing for the fun of it (yes academic writing can be fun).

I’d love to have cleared my debts this year. I should have one card cleared in the next couple of months; the other one will take longer but I have just increased my payment so hopefully I’ll start making a dent in that soon and get onto the parental debts too. That would be good.

I don’t really want to end the year in health visiting if I can help it. Though at the moment that’s a bit out of my hands – while I’m paying off debts and HD is in temporary work I’m not going to give up permanent work. Whether or not I’m still in health visiting, by the time I finish the PhD (hopefully in the summer) I want to be starting a course which will get me qualified in the area of nursing I want to go into (more of which later if it actually happens). If I do manage to leave this current job, maybe I’ll try and do some more OU tutoring if I can.

I want to get back more into my faith, and what it means for my life. I was very challenged by conversations with HD’s sister and brother-in-law over the holidays, and although their vision is not mine particularly, their heart and commitment is something to which I aspire (and from which I’m still a long way away).

I want to be a better wife. HD says he’s happy with the one he’s got (he’s very lovely like that), and I don’t mean total personality transplant or anything, but I think I can aim to be less selfish and more loving without causing him too much consternation 🙂

Creatively, I’d like to get to know my shiny new camera better and maybe start another photo project as I think my Glasgow blog is running out of steam a bit and the Sibiu blog is running out of photos! And I’d like to draw a couple of pictures at some point as well, it’s been ages (over a year) since I last drew anything.

There’s other stuff as well, like wanting to know where we’ll be living and for HD to have a permanent job and for us to be together all the time and all that sort of thing, but at the moment that’s all a bit out of our hands. I can start to do some of the stuff above though.

I feel pretty good about 2010, all told 🙂

Good day

Our newest, shiniest nephew was born at 11.45 this morning (8lbs 8oz, what a chubster!).

And this afternoon HD heard that he has got a temp job, just for a couple of months, and not in Scotland so there will be a bit of commuting and separation going on, but it’s a couple of months of not dealing with the Jobseekers’ Allowance people and takes a bit of the financial pressure off us both (particularly as I still don’t know when my own job is going to start – Disclosure Scotland (the criminal record checking people) are taking as long as they’re taking).

We are now on our 3rd glass of champagne of the evening 🙂

In other news, we managed to get out to a concert last night with a couple of friends from church, marking the opening of this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival at the Fruitmarket. The concert was called “Music Like a Vitamin” (there isn’t a direct link, but you can probably find it from the festival link). HD was only able to come for the final hour so missed all but the final act and a bit (he was driving back from his job interview). The line-up was James Yorkston and Adrian Crowley singing the songs of Daniel Johnstone (whoever he is) first (they were a bit shambolic but not in a bad way), then Emma Pollock and her band (a bit rocky and bangy-crashy for my liking, oh I sound like my dad – she had a great voice though, I’d like to hear her doing folk music as I think it would suit her voice better), then Karine Polwart (the act we’d gone to see), and then Alasdair Roberts (who I didn’t know but really liked – kind of folky, kind of surreal, and bizarrely he reminded me a bit of Kenny Everett), and then finally they all came back on stage to do a couple of songs. Actually the final two songs were my favourite bit, they were just extraordinary. We all felt that we’d have preferred it if perhaps there were fewer acts and they could have done longer sets (they all did 35 min sets with 15 min breaks between) as it felt a bit bitty. But it was a good night, and good for us to get out and have a life 🙂

Of supervision and family

Supervision went OK. Lots of comments about the chapter of doom, but largely cosmetic and bits which need more fleshing out, and basically considerably less work than the previous chapter needs. So that’s good. I want to spend the next week or so planning the changes, plus writing a conference paper (the bulk of which is already done, phew) and planning a journal article which can be relevant to nursing as well as the thesis, as I need in the next couple of months to get myself back on the nursing register in order that I am able to apply for jobs (I want to apply for some distance-tutoring work, but the closing date for that is in May even for the course which doesn’t start until February next year!).

And in family news, we are going to be an aunt again 🙂 (another one on HD’s side – my sister assures me that the niecelet is the one-and-only time she’s ever going through that!).


Today is our first wedding anniversary. I can’t believe the year has gone so quickly! It hasn’t been at all what we expected (which was, that HD would be working in Scotland, we would probably at some point move somewhere bigger and I would carry on the PhD in a state of contented bliss). Instead, Scotland hasn’t been good to us on the jobs front, and as regular readers know the year has involved some periods of separation as HD works down south and I’ve had to commute between Scotland and doon sooth on a regular basis which has made the PhD seem even more arduous.

I guess the fact that it always a long-distance relationship (when we got together I was in Scotland, he was in Wales) and we spent a large chunk of our engagement with me in Romania and Moldova so only seeing each other for a couple of weeks at that time was good preparation. It has been stressful, but we’re still here, still happy, and thankful for this first year.

While I was away, HD bought me a book of Leonard Cohen poetry, and one of those poems particularly struck a chord. It’s ever so simple, just two lines, and says “You go your way. I’ll go your way too.” I think over the course of this relationship, and now marriage, we can safely say that that’s what we’ve both been doing. We’ve both given up a lot for each other, but gained so much more. Here’s to many many more years!


Shipmeets and shopping

Last night we had a good shipmeet up in Glasgow, meeting up with MrSponge and his friends from across the Pond, and catching up with fisher, derf and scz. We went to Waxy O’Connors, and had a good old time discussing English/Scottish/American pronunciation (!). At one point we did divide up into boys talking politics and religion and girls talking weddings and babies – no gender stereotypes there obviously (we didn’t talk about knitting though).

Later today I’m heading down to London, as tomorrow I am going shopping with my bridesmaid. I can’t wait, I haven’t seen her for ages so it will be great to catch up with her. On Sunday HD and I are then going to have lunch with his parents AND my parents – this will be the first time the two sets of parents have met. I hope they behave themselves!

out and about

Yesterday I had a day off marking (well, I had today off as well) and went into Cardiff to meet up with wiblogger Chalky. It was great to see her and catch up (as she was so busy at Greenbelt last year so it had been even longer than usual since last seeing her) and share PhD stories (she’s a year ahead of me) and general what’s-happening-in-life sort of thing. We started off in the coffee shop at the Museum in Cardiff (Museum of Wales?), had a quick potter round a bit of the museum, then had lunch at a cute coffee/salad place and then went to another coffee shop for more drink and chat. It was really lovely. PhDs should be like this more often 🙂

Yesterday evening HD and I went off to Englandshire to stay with his sister, bro-in-law and nieces for the night. And their very very very very big dog. Lovely to see them again. Spent this morning watching Angelina Ballerina with I (youngest niece, 3), I have to say I didn’t like Angelina Ballerina very much, she seemed very spoilt and selfish and it was always all about her. But I didn’t say that very loudly. Now we’re back in Walesland, so back to normal now. And I’ll have to do more marking tomorrow.