Monday, 30 June 2008

Making something from nothing...

I have a bit of a "thing" for craft work. I love making things, and being practical, so when BMan and myself were discussing jackets on the bus this morning I was prompted to get crafty again...I went on a charity shop ramble during my lunch hour (Thankfully where I work is completely surrounded by tons of charity shops) and came home with two men's suit jackets - which set me back a whopping £1 each - and I intend to deconstruct them and end up with at least one cool jacket for myself. (One of them fits me perfectly and the other is a tad big)

I've already made a bit of a start on the one that fits, by taking apart a PVC dress I was given (that never fitted me and I wasn't keen on the style, but was free) and covering the collar and lapels (OK I haven't got any further than taking apart the dress and cutting pieces to fit the collar and lapels but you get my drift) I had a dog through the huge craft box hidden under my bed and have all manner of bits in there to tart the coat up with so I'll have to see what comes out. I might hate it, but meh if I do, I'm sure I'll have fun playing anyway and I could always sell it on eBay as a one off....

Mounted Police?

Its something I associate far more with places like California, but last Thursday I was more than amused by two police cycling past my work on mountain bikes...shorts and all...Probably not the best option for Edinburgh's "summer" (i.e. constant drizzle interjected with the odd patch of cold sunshine ;) )

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Thrill of the camp...Part 3...

Day 3
I slept far better the second night and actually felt awake. We had spotted the Landmark Forest Adventure Park on our initial trek to find a campsite so decided to go and check it out. The place is primarily designed for kid but hey were not THAT old...Gurn made use of his student status to get a discount and I think the older lady manning the reception desk took a shine to BMan as we didn't seem to pay the full price either.

Some of the areas really didn't interest us (mainly the shows about cutting down trees and turning them into logs...) but there was a big water slide at one end which kept us amused for a while and there was plenty else to do too..

A big walk round feature about Microthings, mainly it involved looking at things through microscopes...including Gurn and BMan..

The Flumes...
Tractors!(They haunt me!!)...

A cool tree walk assault course thing which made me face my fear of heights
There was Lex, who pulled logs about all day, but seemed quite contented when I scratched his nose. BMan pointed out that only a bumpkin like me would wander straight up to a horse and rub its nose without hesitation..
I liked his sign though.

There was an odd area of some woodcutter huts..
Including the most important outhouse, complete with crapping man...

There was a Fire watch tower, which provided a better workout to climb it than a gym visit...

The boys declared themselves World Class Loggers...
BMan didn't want to go home...
We left in the afternoon when it decided to rain. Heavy. It was so bad that we knew there was no chance of getting a fire going so drove into Aviemore and had dinner in what seemed to be one of only two pubs there. The food was good and I ate too much but after the drenching it was nice to stop somewhere warm to dry out. We headed back to camp once the rain stopped and played cards for the rest of the night.

I realised that I am crap at remembering the rules to card games!

The Thrill of the Camp...Part 2..

Day 2
After an extremely fitful night of sleep, our little campsite all got up at a pretty early time, and were well frankly, Knackered. We decided not to do a huge amount but had breakfast,
and went for a walk around the woods that we were camping in. Lots of areas had cool looking gnarly trees, although further up there were areas being harvested with huge tracks running through the woods of cut down trees.
We didn't walk too far before spotted two deers just up the hill from the path. They were just as interested in watching us as we were of it though I think. It stood for what seemed like ages staring back before running off. Further up Gurn found some kind of seemingly man made shelter where logs had been lent up against a tree which had an animal jawbone in it...No odd axe-murdering forest people though thankfully! although there was Gurn of course....(In his Brokeback Gurn outfit)

The walk became a little more odd as we walked further and spotted masses of orange fencing round large areas of the wood. Its not all that odd, but out there are heads quickly filled with scenes from Jurassic Park and half expected a goat to rise from the ground at any moment...

The road petered out at a cottage overlooking some cow fields and several run down outbuildings. Me and BMan wandered over to see the cows leaving Gurn standing back insisting that cows are funny animals that he didn't want to go that close to.

Back at camp we relaxed for the rest of the day, had a very tasty chicken madras for dinner (although it was at that point we realised that maybe bringing two pots would have been an idea...) and went to bed pretty early to catch up on some sleep.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The thrill of the camp part 1...

A few weeks back Gurn decided that to celebrate the end of his Uni course he wanted to go camping. Myself and BMan agreed that it would be fun and booked appropriate time off work and got ourselves organised. (This mainly involved realising exactly what camping equipment we didn't own and going out to buy it) After a whole day of shopping we became fully kitted campers... On Monday we met up with Gurn and got food shopping for the week, I planned meals out for the days we were going to be away and made sure we took everything, well nearly everything, that we needed (We did have to improvise on a colander on day 1 & 2 for both pasta and rice but I think we did well)

Tuesday morning came and we piled everything into the car - eventually - The boys packed the car and told me it was finished and full, only for me to wander into BMans room and realise that my sleeping bag and our tent were still lying on his bed...I spotted a problem at that point and suggested that we really should take the tent...otherwise we were all going to be very cosy in Gurns 3 man :s

We arrived 2 and a bit hours later in Aviemore, and decided to grab a couple of things in the town before finding a site (especially as I realised we had forgotten to bring cutlery). We grabbed lunch and plastic forks in Tesco, Gurn bought a local map in the Tourist Information shop and BMan and I headed to Blackwells to grab a couple of books. We eventually bought some books and found a games section in the shop which also lead to us buying Boggle and a deck of playing cards.

After a long hard stare at the map, I pointed out an area that I thought looked good to camp in, Gurn had other ideas so we agreed finally to drive up the road and if we spotted any of the turn offs marked on the map as tracks we would take them. About 20 miles later we realised that we had driven off the edge of the map and turned round, heading for the area that Gurn fancied. We stopped and got out the car for a bit of a wander but after 20 mins of walking realised that the path we were on really wasn't offering many good places to camp.
Somehow after driving around a bit more we found ourselves driving up a road that stopped and crossed the A9 and led to another opening on the other side so after a very quick nip across we found ourselves on a dodgy track leading into the woods. BMan spotted a good camp site pretty quickly and after a little more of an explore in the car (much to Gurns dismay) we went back to the spot and finally camped...

Dinner ensued and we settled...I tried to hold off taking too many photos and I wanted to save them for the sunrise

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Camping for solstice

We are trying to get organised for a camping trip next week. We are heading north to Aviemore(ish) area for 4 days of wild camping. Gurn originally only wanted to go away for 3 days and stay on a campsite but I managed to be a bit selfish and convince him to opt for wild camping instead so we could elongate the trip. I have a yearly ritual of camping out (often without a tent...) overnight on the eve of the summer solstice so I can get up stupidly early and watch the sunrise. It really is a fantastic sight and I tend to feel very connected for a good while afterwards, kinda like filling the faith glass every year :)

Last year I went to Castle Hill Fort, It's not far from Edinburgh but was high enough to ensure some great views...I never got to post my photos so here are some...
My Little tent...Predawn, you can see the mist stretching halfway up the hill, I was so glad to be up so high, else I would have missed everything...
The beginning, just a sliver of the sun peeking over the horizon...A few minutes later and the suns nearly up, the beams shooting out over the mist
A few minutes more and shes finally up, I took about 20 photos in total over the whole sunrise but I wholly understand that lots of them look very similar.
I'm hoping that this year will be just as spectacular, I'll be leaving the campsite at about 3:45am and walking up a hill to get a good viewpoint armed as always with strawberries and mead :) I'm happy not to be driving this year, last year I had to take apple juice instead of mead as I needed to get home afterwards!

I'm far more organised this year, mainly due to B-Man and the fact that we are going to be away for more than just a single night. We've been shopping today to get all our supplies ready, including a new utility knife thingy, a cool box, a rubber mallet, and snap lights, torches, compass, the list goes on...tons of stuff but all pretty necessary (ish - we probably could so without the snap lights but they re fun and B really wanted a couple) all we really have to get now is food and charcoal for the fire and we're good to go!

Viva La'Spania

I admit I am officially overexcited about it far too early but I have a damn good reason!

This week I finally booked a holiday. I am taking B-Man to Barcelona for his birthday in October. I know it seems like a lot, but I am getting (or trying to get) the flights and accommodation as cheaply as possible and I figure that I would normally spend £150-£200 on his birthday presents anyway (I'm no good at buying one gift and stopping there, I tend to buy everything that I see that he would like) so, spending the same money on his half of a holiday for the two of us is equivalent. I've only booked flights so far, but I got a bargain of two return flights for £96.97 seven nights in Barcelona to find accommodation for now. I'm sure I can manage to sort that over the next 5 months!

Why am I so excited about it? well, I have only been on one overseas holiday that I can remember and I was 11. No holidays abroad for 18 years. In fact, I've only been on about 4 holidays in the UK in those 18 years so I really think I've waited long enough! better get a passport now eh?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Attack of the parents

My Parents escaped to Turkey three years ago now and they love it, they never want to come back, and seem to have really taken to the people and culture there.

They sent me some photos from a national newspaper today, heres one..It made me laugh, not only because of my Mums awful taste in headscarf, but the fact that my Dad resembles some odd, retired, mob boss, he just needs a hat and a tommy gun!

Cheap as chips

I have been invited to a party. Sounds good eh? well, it would be better if it wasn't 400 miles away and being held to celebrate my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. I have to go whether I like it or not simply because my parents are travelling over from Turkey for it and if they can, I get no choice. On the plus side though I have found the bargain of the century to get down there the train ticket is costing me a whopping £30.30!

Of course I'm dragging poor B-Man down with me again, He's not complained about it yet so I think I'm safe :) I have yet to work out where we're staying, but at a push I'll just turn up on one of my friends doorsteps and demand refuge!

Monday, 2 June 2008

New training room and a protest

My martial arts class has moved and I'm gutted. The new place (Commonwealth Pool) is far better and bigger than Meadowbank, but ITS ON A SUNDAY! evil evil people making me get up and do stuff on a Sunday. That's a day for not getting dressed and suffering hangovers isn't it???

Oh well, Up I got on Sunday and trundled off to training, I always enjoy it once I'm there even though I bitched and moaned about getting out of bed and wasting my day. It was a good session, especially as I was referred to as "Truly Terrifying" (That's a massive compliment and I have told everyone since!) The only downside of the new location was the heat - We were under a swimming pool so it was almost unbearably humid, I even took my T shirt off from under my Gi to stop myself turning into a puddle of sweat (ewww...I know!)

2 hours and 10 pints of water later I found myself on my way home, On the way down south bridge I noticed some guys handing out leaflets (Not that unusual as its coming up on the festival and theres lots of weirdos!) then I spotted some more just a bit further on, with placards and I realised that they were protesting opposite the Scientology building (Hubbards Academy) The Placard amusingly read "BEWARE Scientology wants your mind (and your money)"

It struck me as funny simply because all of the protesters were wearing masks and dancing about. I wasn't fast enough to take a photo though as the bus moved on! If they re there again next Sunday I might have to get off the bus and get them to pose for one though! this space...