Bye, Bye, Roof . . .

Typical roof extensions with dormer windows.

 I was quietly dozing over my laptop just after midday when some sixth sense made me look up – and – Lo ! – out of a side window I could see a neighbour’s dormer window roof shredding itself in the breeze. Planks were going everywhere, bendy stuff was curling up and then detaching and blowing away. Just as I was wondering what to do next, a figure appeared in their garden and it was obvious that some had also seen what was happening and was on site.

The worrying thing about this firstly, is that although technically we are being affected by Storm Babet at the moment, here it is having little effect and although we have had a breezy morning it has been no worse than any other breezy days around here.

Secondly, many houses on this estate have extensions in their roof spaces and it is almost universal for the projecting windows to have flat, felt covered roofs. So now, people will be wondering “is ours alright ?”

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A Damp Squib . . .

The River South Esk alongside River Street, Brechin, Angus, Scotland.

I think it rained here in SW Scotland overnight, but I wasn’t spending a lot of time looking out of the window in the dark – but certainly the window was well splashed with wet. But by morning the rain had stopped for some time and we had a dull but quiet time with some sessions of “Scotch Mist” – not the alcoholic sort – but the sort which doesn’t seem to be raining very much until you go out in in whereupon you are instantly wet all over. By midday the rain was finished and the Tesco delivery was accomplished in the dry. There after the clouds cleared and we had a very pleasant, sunny, afternoon.

Man in Brechin, Angus, sandbagging a doorway.

But, the forecast is still dreadful for eastern Scotland in the area of Angus and people in Brechin are being told to leave their homes – and if the TV News is to be believed some, quite understandably intend to stay put and keep an eye on their possessions even if they get very wet. One lady had built up a tower of furniture and got her enormous TV set on top of it. Get your priorities right ! So, we await events, and shall see what tonight and tomorrow bring to that unfortunate part of the world.

Here is an addendum to my last paragraph issued by Angus Council . . . it begins, “Angus is in the middle of a very serious emergency.”

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We Have Been Warned . . .

Judith Ralston

The weather forecasters have warned us and warned us and warned us about Storm Babet -and it certainly looks as though parts of the east coast of Scotland are going to get a good wetting.

And yet – and yet – so many times we have had these warnings, psyched ourselves up, and then had a bit of a blow, a few drops of rain and its all over. Then, a week or two later, we say, “Coo, that winds getting up !”, and then the rain starts and we can barely see out of the windows on one side of the house, and a small river runs down our wee road. No mention of any such thing on the forecasts. It blows away in time and we sort ourselves out, pick up the things that have got blown about, and carry on as normal.

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Plus ça Change . . .

On my way into town this afternoon, for my monthly blood letting – why take blood OUT when you have a low haemoglobin level I ask myself – I noticed that our garage of choice, which has had red cones in front of its pumps and and an apparently shut petrol office, now had its for sale cars lined up right across it frontage so that you can barely even see the pumps. I do not know why this is, nor have I asked, but my guess is that the margin on its petrol sales was so low that the cost of paying an office person outweighed the petrol profits. Fortunately we have another garage in the town which is still selling petrol so we are OK pro tem.

Crosby and Bateman, now showing “Gulf” petrol signs and evidently quite busy

On my way back I saw that the old Bank of Scotland branch building was sporting a Bank Hub sign. This tickled me as I had had some time back a conversation with the Bank of Scotland manager in Castle Douglas where I suggested that the banks should get together and take a less costly office and put all their reps in one place whilst sharing the cost. He laughed and said that they has been having discussions along the same lines. So, evidently the discussions have become fact.

Chippy and Restaurant was on the right, fish and vegetables via the left doorway, once upon a time.

The old fish and chip shop and restaurant and the fish shop next door are being torn to pieces without actually being demolished, so hope fully a new shop or shops will appear. It is amazing (to me) to see the butt end of an excavator like machine standing in the street while its business end is invisible within the depth of the building. I have a hunch that West Coast Sea Products had signs in the windows for a while beforehand, and if they opened a proper fish shop it would be excellent. We live in hope !

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An Early Start . . .

I opened my eyes. he clock said 5.45 am or thereabouts – I wasn’t too switched on at that point. The alarm was set for 6.00 am so I lay and watched the time count down and then switched it off before it leapt into action. Being deaf I have an alarm which operates a shaker under the mattress, but I felt I could do without that. I stumbled around the bathroom for a while then went into the kitchen to brew tea and to get two Belvita Chocolate Chip cookies for my breakfast. My OH also stumbled into life soon after and went through the same processes except that she forswore breakfast as we had an hour’s journey ahead of us.

By 8.10 am we were more or less ready for the taxi to call. The taxi driver put my three wheeler into the capacious boot of his Skoda Octavia and off we went. There had been a hard frost overnight so that, although the road was not icy, being dry, the fields all around were white. At the hospital we made our way through that great entrance hall – a modern NHS (Scotland) cathedral – a testing walk in itself, and then set off up the corridor to find ‘Bay 2’ There, fortunately we were able to have a few minutes peace and quiet as we waited which allowed our hearts and breathing to catch up.

Soon a voice called out my OH’s name and we set off again to the room where the Doctor was waiting for us. After a deal of chatting the Doctor carried out her examination, announced that she would take a biopsy, did so, and we were on our way out again. A brief pause in the Cafe for some pill taking and then back to the waiting taxi and so home.

However, this was not the end of our jobs for the day. Yesterday my OH provided a sample to go to our local Health Centre where it would be sent off for examination. We took it down there only to find that the Health Centre was closed – which, on a Monday, is unusual. There was a notice on the door about public holidays, but when we got back home and consulted our calendars and diaries no such public holiday could be found. It therefore fell to the writer of this blog do do some web searching. It turns out that NHS employees are entitled to a certain number of holidays during the year, the dates of which are to be decided locally. And – you’ve guessed it – Monday, 16th October was one of them. So, once we had returned fro the DGRI and turned our selves around we were off to the Health Centre to deliver this specimen and to find out whether it might be too late and that another one would need to be taken.

We comforted ourselves by going to Scran-tastic and getting something for lunch.

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Back on the air . . .

We have, alas, been off the air for a few days due to a technical hitch now solved with the assistance of Heart Internet support – to whom, many thanks.

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Mollie Panter Downes

Pleasant and amusing reading by a very observant lady. Short stories – really quite short, but very effective – by a lady writing during World War 2. One of Persephone Books imprints.

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An October Weekend. . .

Sunday Lunch

Asparagus from the fertile fields of the Tesco Plain, served on a heated, specially selected china plate with a butter dressing. (Asparagus from Tesco with a blob of Country Life Spread.)

Lightly dusted pan fried Haddock served as above with Gherkins and Capers in a white sauce. (Tesco lightly dusted Haddock with Ocean Spray Tartare Sauce.)

Ice Cream a la Vanille. (Tesco Vanilla Ice Cream, melted in the freezer when the contact breaker tripped and re-frozen.)

Dear Diary,

Its been a funny few days. On Friday evening last, the lights by our chairs went out. My initial reaction was to prepare to change the bulb in mine, but on realising that the other light which has an LED arrangement had gone out too, I began to see that there might be more to this. It then became apparent that everything plugged into the extension socket by my chair was off power too. So I trogged all the way out to the garage in the spotting rain and examined the breaker box. The breaker labelled “Sockets” had tripped – I pushed it up, and it bounced back down. So then began a long series of trips into the house where various items were progressively unplugged and then back to the garage to try to reset the breaker. In this I failed every time, so eventually we gave up because we were tired out – it was knocking on for 10.00 pm by this time – our bedtime drinks consisted of hot water from the tap (fortunately the gas boiler did not get affected) and so to bed. FYI, hot water ain’t so bad.

On Saturday we telephoned Stuart Ross our local electrician who really doesn’t work at weekends. However,on hearing what had happened and that the fridge and freezer were off line, he came round, went straight to the garage, reset the breaker and all was well !!! It turns out that to reset the thing you push it down hard, and then put it up again. Simple when you know how. He advised us to plug things back in one by one and wait and see each time. This we did, and all was well, until my wife plugged in the micro wave and tried that – whereat “phut” – everything off again. This time I was able to reset the breaker myself, and we now assume that our microwave oven – a mere 40 years old, is defunct.

And then . . . . my wife announced that her little kettle that she uses (because it is light in weight and easy for her to lift) was leaking. So, that is two things which have gone wrong – what will the third one be ?

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October . . .

October is the treasurer of the year,
And all the months pay bounty to her store;
The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
But she, with youthful lavishness,
Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
And decks herself in garments bold
Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.
She heedeth not how swift the hours fly,
But smiles and sings her happy life along;
She only sees above a shining sky;
She only hears the breezes’ voice in song.
Her garments trail the woodlands through,
And gather pearls of early dew
That sparkle, till the roguish Sun
Creeps up and steals them every one.
But what cares she that jewels should be lost,
When all of Nature’s bounteous wealth is hers?
Though princely fortunes may have been their cost,
Not one regret her calm demeanor stirs.
Whole-hearted, happy, careless, free,
She lives her life out joyously,
Nor cares when Frost stalks o’er her way
And turns her auburn locks to gray.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

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The Campbells are coming – have been . . .

The Campbells are comin, Oho! Oho!
The Campbells are comin, Oho! Oho!
The Campbells are comin to bonie Lochleven,
The Campbells are comin Oho! Oho!

Well, the Campbells have been this week, but not to fight any battles on this soil.

When we moved in here thee was a summerhouse in a corner of the garden. Us, being who we are, and Scottish weather being what it is, we never used it as a summerhouse (afternoon teas, strawberries and cream) but as a general store for things we could not find homes for elsewhere. It has dome well in this role, although it was showing signs of age when we arrived. Six years later it had become positively decrepit and bits of it began to fall off or out. So, in came (at our request) Andrew Campbell of Kirkcudbright, plus assistants and between them they demolished the whole thing and carted it away in short order. This left an octagonal concrete base on which one of the men placed our garden bench – which was my father’s retirement gift after 40 years with the Employers Limited Liability Assurance Company Ltd.

Then, it was the turn of the potting shed – seldom used for potting, let it be said – and in reality more of another junk room. One side has sloping glazing to let the light in and this, facing south gets sun and rain in quantity throughout the year and simple began to fall apart. In came a joiner and in little more than a morning’s work replaced the whole glazed area. And then two of them gave the whole shed a coat of preservative, so hopefully it will last a bit longer yet.

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