Friday, 12 January 2018

The NHS comes up trumps again . . .

Off to the erstwhile Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, now renamed the Mountainhall Treatment Centre, for a visit to the Audiology Department brought about by our move to Scotland.  The first thing we noticed was that there were plenty of empty spaces in the car park. And as we followed the signs to "Bay 1" there were very few people about and no one at all in the waiting area so we pitched up at the Audiology Reception window.  We had a short wait and were then ushered into a treatment room where a very nice person extracted the whole story of my hearing loss and ear troubles since childhood, gave me a hearing test, and said I would be issued with a new hearing aid, and that I might hear from them again in about 6 weeks !  A quite unexpected happenstance.

The hearing test was done by inserting wee tubes into my ear passages, not by using earphones as in the past.

This done, we reverted to daily living and braving the Dumfries end of the working day traffic, made our way to the big ALDI store, and partook of its wonders. Once home and unloaded we dined on House Special Chow Mein from the Canton House takeaway.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud . . .

After a somewhat unproductive trip to Dalbeattie to check up on the arrival or non-arrival of a dining set we took ourselves off to Kippford and checked on the pubs there. The Anchor appeared to be closed, but the Mariner was open. We went in, were hospitably received and examined the "specials" board. He had one portion of haddock left which was bagged by me, and my wife went for the pork and mushrooms which she said was smashing. My haddock wasn't bad either. We sat opposite a window and looked out at a sea of mud - it being low water.  We lamented not bringing our binoculars (as yet unpacked) and the Landlord appeared as if by magic and lent us a pair. There were flocks of widgeon at the water's edge, and lapwings flying about - the most we have seen for a long time.  As we watched and ate, the tide began to make and the birds followed it upstream.

The small numbers of lapwings about now is a great contrast to 60 years ago.  At that time the airfield at which I was training was mowed regularly by contractors and great flocks of lapwings shunted themselves about as the mowers went circulated.  In those days I did not take much notice, but in retrospect I suppose they were after earthworms which perhaps came to the surface disturbed by the noise of the mowers and tractors.

(OS Map reproduced without permission !)

Monday, 8 January 2018

A Cold Night . . .

A very cold night. At 8.15 am it was 0°C in our porch (double glazed, but no heating) and -5°C on the car thermometer when I cranked the engine into life. Later on, c.10.30 am, in the garage attached to the house, the thermometers read about 28°F and -2.5°C.

While I was out I called in at our local garage to get a new light bulb fitted and felt so sorry for the mechanic as he strruggled with the plastic clips with cold fingers. It always hurts so much when you bang cold fingers against something in the winter doesn't it ?

People of my parents and grandparents age used to say that the cold winters were good because they killed all the bugs. Whether the bugs knew about this I don't know as they appeared again each year when spring arrived.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A Grand Day Out . . .

The weather forecast said fine and sunny but cold - and it was correct. After defrosting the car we set off for Port William where we had booked at table at "The Clansman" restaurant. The roads were frosty but dry except on the minor routes where standing water at the sides was completely solid. We arrived at The Clansman a bit early but they were not in the least put out and we were soon seated and being told what was on the menu. The potato and leek soup was exactly that because the evidence was there in the form of potato chunks and leek flesh. Very tasty. The roast of the day was chicken breast and I haven't seen such chunky pieces of chicken for a long time. It was all I could do to finish mine, and my wife gave up on hers. They came with roast potatoes, baby sausages and stuffing, and nice vegetables served separately  - broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and turnips or swedes (I couldn't decide which). We then stuffed our selves on a meringue nest filled with cream, ice cream, and peaches and tottered out into the sunshine.

A stroll around the harbour area helped the digestion . . .

. . . but the cold soon forced us back into the car, in which we set off for the Isle of Whithorn. Passing Monreith golf course we stopped to look at the memorial to Gavin Maxwell - an otter perched on some rocks.

At the Isle of Whithorn the village hall has been refurbished and in addition to its hallish duties has a cafe, a shop and post - office so is a real village centre. By the time we arrived the cafe ladies were beginning to clear up, but they made us tea and coffee which we drank gratefully as they worked.

Palm trees on a freezing January day.

By this time the short winter day was ending so we set off for home and arrived before it got really dark, stopping only to buy milk on the way.

Monday, 1 January 2018

A New Year Outing . . .


Not having been for an "outing" in recent weeks, the weather being not actually inclement, we took to the road. North westwards along the A75 to Newton Stewart where Sainsbury's was open and we got a few essentials and made use of their toilets. (Essential for Oldies). Then on to Wigtown which was obviously well shut up and recovering from Hogmanay - or just enjoying a lie in ?

So, on again a mile or so to Bladnoch and into the Inn there 'cos it had a sign outside saying "Lunch". But, alas, this was an error and there was no lunch. But they were very keen to tell us on what days we would find lunch there, and furthermore rang the Harbour Inn at Garlieston to see what they were up to. "Open, Lunch served till 2.30pm, very busy" was the reply.  So, off again to Garlieston where we were hospitably received and found a table. We had an exceedingly good steak pie with peas and a choice of "sides" - I went for the chips, my wife for the spicy wedges. A good apple crumble followed with coffee and we tottered out in the fading afternoon and made our way home through the rain showers.

In the photo above, the Harbour Inn is indicated  by the orange coloured arrow.


Sunday, 31 December 2017

Windy Hogmanay . . .

Last night we had an amber warning for wind in these parts, damage to houses, debris on roads and so forth. By the time we got up it was a bit breezy but we seem to be intact. However, it must have been a bit stormy at some point as the windows are once again covered in salt and look a real mess. Downgraded now to a mere yellow.

Friday, 29 December 2017

A Snowy Trip . . .

Had a snowy trip to the new Infirmary today. We got behind a tanker and he bowled along at 45mph splashing the slush out of the way and we were most grateful to him.