Ladies Wot Lunch

January 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm (Life gets in the way...) (, , )

chatty-girls.jpg

It’s always nice to get together with friends, but sometimes it’s even nicer to catch up with someone with whom you lost touch. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing today.

About 2 1/2 years ago, I left a job I hated to go to my current job (where I am much happier), but before I left, I trained up my replacement, Kerry. Kerry and I got on like a house on fire (mass destruction and lots of people running around, screaming! Only kidding!) and for a little while after I left, we  stayed in touch.

Inevitably, though, life got in the way and things just fell by the wayside. However, just before Christmas, we got back in touch with each other quite by accident! I found an old message on my Friends Reunited page from Kerry (I don’t visit it any more, so I was surprised to get an email saying I had a message – as it was, the message was two years old). It was an odd message saying that she couldn’t remember why we had fallen out, but she would love to catch up. I was puzzled, I couldn’t remember falling out with her and got in touch to say so. It turned out, the message had been meant for someone else – we had never fallen out, we had just fallen out of touch!

Anyway, as a result of this, Kerry suggested meeting up for a coffee in the New Year. I very happily agreed, but, I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t actually expect anything to happen, as so many people say they’d like to get together, but then never bother. However, Kerry did get back in touch and suggested we meet up for lunch today, which we did.

So, at 12  noon today, I was waiting outside Soul on Union Street (sitting at one of the tables with my book, as I was, as usual, early), when Kerry arrived looking as wonderful as she ever did (she has the most gorgeous auburn hair!). We went inside, got some drinks, and then had to turn the waitress away three times as we’d been talking so much we hadn’t even looked at the menu!

Eventually, we ordered and carried on catching up with all that had happened in the more-than-two-years since we had last seen each other. Before we knew it, it was 4-o-clock, and we’d hardly paused to draw breath!

Now I’m home again and feeling very happy at having got back in touch with an old friend, and knowing that I now I have a new friend – we’ll certainly be getting together again in the future.

Perhaps we won’t leave it so long next time!

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Welcome to My Town: Aberdeen – The Silver City

January 17, 2008 at 6:29 pm (Life gets in the way...) (, , , )

Sunset over Aberdeen

Sunset over Aberdeen

Since I’ve been blogging a while now and seem to have built up quite a nice little list of friends from every corner of the globe, I thought it might be nice to introduce you all to the town I call home…

I currently reside in the beautiful city of Aberdeen, up in the North East of Scotland, right on the coast. Many (in fact, most) of the buildings here are built of granite and when the sun hits them, they literally sparkle (hence the nick-name The Silver City). Contrary to popular belief, Aberdeen usually gets more hours of sunshine every year than almost anywhere else in Britain (a place renowned for its constant rain!). We also have access to North Sea Oil and have vast wind farms off the coast as well as on land, so we’ve been awarded the title of Energy Capital of Europe – rather prestigious! There are many who have decided they don’t like those giant white turbines, but I think they’re rather peaceful and to see them all gracefully turning in time is quite a sight!

I feel pretty lucky to live here, as not only do I have all the convenience of city-living, as soon as you’re out of the centre of town, it changes completely and the ‘burbs are more small-town-ish. There are many beautiful parks and lush public gardens, including the famous Winter Gardens at Duthie Park, which are almost entirely indoors in a massive greenhouse-like structure which displays plants from all over the world and the Cruickshank Botanical Gardens at Aberdeen University (we have two Universities – there’s Robert Gordon’s too) which are so lavishly beautiful I had to have my wedding pictures taken there. There is the rose garden, rock and water garden, walled garden, sunken garden and a wild, untamed area perfect for getting away from it all.

As the third largest city in Scotland, it’s surprising to find that the people of Aberdeen are still very much folks with a sense of community and one of the prettiest areas is Old Aberdeen, right next to the University of Aberdeen, which is the oldest part of the city and still has many historic buildings, including the newly renovated Town House. Strolling through its quaint, quiet streets, you’d be forgiven if you forgot you were even in a city at all. With its cobbled roads and gorgeous gardens, you’d think the central hub was miles away…

If you’re a culture vulture, we have His Majesty’s Theatre (which first opened in 1903) that plays host to the very best in stage talent from not only the length and breadth of Britain, but anywhere in the world. There’s also the very grand Music Hall, the Art Centre and The Lemon Tree – smaller venues, but not without merit, as many comedians choose to take their tour into the Frozen North and entertain us from there. And if you enjoy perusing paintings, we have a stunning collection of classic and modern art in our Art Gallery right in the centre of town, where there are often displays of local talent alongside some of the most famous pieces by grand masters.

We have a wonderful beach with golden sands, but unfortunately, it’s marred by the fact that we also have Britain’s largest seagulls which aren’t at all afraid of people and will quite happily swoop down and pinch your fish and chips rather than hunt for food in the natural way. I wouldn’t advise taking a dip in the North Sea, as you’re more than likely to freeze your tail off, but if you’re an adventurous type, there are plenty who take their jet-skis out on a sunny day.

On the other three sides of the city we have some of the most beautiful countryside you will ever have the pleasure of seeing – all rolling hills, majestic mountains and green fields, with two major rivers running through it (and through the city itself), the Dee and the Don (our football team, Aberdeen FC is nicknamed The Dons after the river closest to their grounds at Pittodrie).

Aberdeenshire has literally hundreds of standing stone circles, single standing stones and recumbent stones – if you go hiking, you can’t help coming across several all within a small area. There’s a rich Celtic history here and some of the folks in the highland areas still speak Gaelic as their first language with English as their second (our local TV station, Grampian TV, stills runs Gaelic programmes to cater for this). There are many castles, ruined and maintained – all wonderful to explore, as well as the Whisky Trail, the Coastal Trail and Royal Deeside (where the Queen stays – Balmoral!) to see.

This barely touches on the beauty of a city that literally lights up in a blaze of colour at sunset; where you can watch seals playing in the harbour and dolphins splashing off the shore. If you can’t find any beauty in this city, then you must be blind and deaf, because this is a place that has everything you could possibly want – the serenity of a country village with the convenience of big city living.

All in all, you couldn’t ask for a nicer place to live.

And before anyone asks; no, I don’t work for the local tourist board – I just really love it here, after all, what’s not to like?

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What an honour!

January 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm (Memes) (, , , )

Blogger Award

Well, my first blog post of the year (I’ve been a bit busy and, thus, neglectful of my little place on the web), and I find I’ve been honoured with an award by the lovely Sarah (thanks, chuck!). Apparently, I’m an amazing blogger – who’d have thunk it?

So, I’d better start by nominating another four wonderful bloggers for this great honour, and they will be (oh, it’s so difficult to choose from all the wonderful bloggers out there!) *drumroll please*

So, now I’m supposed to reveal seven random or weird facts about myself (why do we feel such a need to expose ourselves in this way on the internet?), so here goes:

  1. Feet – My second toes are the same length as my big toes on both feet (and on the left foot, my third toe is just as long). My baby toes are turned on their sides, so they look like they’re curled up asleep. And my feet are very small – I only take a UK size 4 1/2, so I have difficulty getting shoes to fit me properly. As a result of this, I usually have at least one blister.
  2. Books – I am literally never without a book. Even on my wedding day, I popped one of those tiny gift-books into my handbag, despite knowing full well I’d have no time or inclination to read, because I couldn’t bear the thought of being without one for a whole day and night! My tastes are very eclectic and I’ll read pretty much anything, right down to the labels on shampoo bottles in the bathroom. I take part in many reading challenges and average at about 120 books finished per year. It’s my preferred form of entertainment. You’re never bored or lonely with a book!
  3. Flexibility – Despite the fact that I’m not a skinny person (not by a long shot!), I’m very bendy. I won’t go into details, but you’d be surprised!
  4. QI – My brain is a repository for random bits of information. This makes me very handy in a pub quiz and I often know the right answers on the TV show QI. Strangely, I often have no idea how I know things – I must just absorb information like a sponge and squirrel it all away till it’s needed, or until there’s a quiet moment that needs to be filled.
  5. Paganism – I became a Pagan by accident. It’s true! A chance discovery in the encyclopedia whilst looking up Dracula once rainy lunch time and my life was changed forever! You can read about that HERE.
  6. Cooking – I’m a regular Kitchen Goddess and can whip up a tasty meal at the drop of a hat. It’s often joked that I don’t have food in my house – only ingredients – and it’s true! I aways have the makings of a meal, whether simple or complicated. I’m excellent at soups and meat dishes; make a superb lasagna, bolognese, chili or curry; and also make authentic Turkish kofte. However, I’m useless at baking. The most I’ve ever managed was a mediocre cake from a packet mix and a pie that tasted like the pastry was made of cardboard. I shall keep trying, though! I am determined to succeed!
  7. Deceptive Appearance – Although most people think I’m outgoing and confident, I’m actually painfully shy and insecure. Like many who have had a theatre upbringing (yes, I used to be an actor!), I learned to hide the “real me” as a defence mechanism. I come across as friendly and easy-going, but it’s something I have to work at – it takes real effort to actually speak to people,let alone actually approach them! I get around it by seeing life as a performance. I play a character who is self-confident and out-going, so the shy person that I actually am doesn’t have to deal with it all. I’m actually happiest with very few, very close friends, rather than larger gatherings (really, any more than about four or five people and inside I’m all of a panic!).

So, yes, seven things about me. I hope it gives people an idea of the person behind the blog (and the books!). Thank you, again, to Sarah for giving me this award. I hope you all have as much fun reading this post as I had composing it!

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