Around the reservoirs and beneath the hills


My brand new electronic pedometer requires me to go for a walk every day – what a hardship! It was gorgeously cold and sunny today, with cat ice on the reservoirs and a definite difference in temperature when you stepped into the shadows. There was a kestrel hunting in the sunshine just outside Harlaw Visitor Centre, I watched him hover for a good five minutes before he moved further afield.


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Friday evening is for climbing

Tonight I climbed my way out of a chimney crevassey thing on a 6b pink (bacon) climb. I am immeasurably pleased with myself (probably because measuring how pleased I am would involve numbers). I imagedidn’t actually complete the climb, because I was so completely knackered after hauling myself out and over the lip of the chimney thing by features and little crabby holds, and then going right when everyone beneath me was shouting ‘left’ (this was a spectator event – there were people there who needed a laugh), that I sort of fell off. Falling off involved going for a wee swing, so I declined doing the whole thing over again, and retired with the knowledge that I had done the hard bit successfully.

With criticism advice.

Handsome got no further than I did, although he played the colour blindness card.


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Functionally innumerate

As the daughter of a statistician and an engineer, I have always felt slightly queasily guilty about my inability to cope with numbers. I sometimes claim to be slightly discalculic, but it’s not really true –  neither is it, as Handsome says (rather dismissively) laziness. Anyway, what this boils down to is that last week was my audit – a quantitative survey, which has no relationship to what I actually do during my working day, but which does require me to count everything. How many people use the area, how many chairs I have, how many books go out, how much money I have, how many classes are booked in…. And so on. It took me hours to do all the numbers, largely because even if I use a calculator or a computer, I always end up with at least four different totals and have to start again. My real grump about all of this is that there is nowhere in this inflexible system to record the qualitative aspect – the time I spent with individual students – helping with homework, or research skills, or just talking about books and encouraging them to read.

Rant over.

On Sunday Handsome and I went for a walk at New Lanark – I have a new camera to experiment with – new to me that is – so I kept stopping to take pictures, but it was still good to walk up the falls and back. I was quite pleased with some of the pictures too. Although I definitely have to experiment more with the settings, it coped much better with the fog than my small point-and-click camera would.

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Living in a variable climate

imageSaturday’s children needed sunglasses, waterproofs, wooly scarfs and finally, because there were three groups and the days are short now – torches. The kids in the third group thought it was a great adventure having to navigate the last couple of kilometres by torchlight – and those of us checkpointing could at least see where they were by the twinkling lights through the trees!

imageThe Pentlands are still beautiful no matter what the weather, or the time of day.

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Time to stop being cosy…

I’ve been remarkably domesticated recently, but as we head towards darker, colder and wetter days (dark at 4:30pm today and a current amber warning for heavy rain overnight), we start our walking with other people’s children season…

It aways seems quite mad and more than a bit masochistic that we do all our DofE training walks in winter, but there are some very good reasons for it, mostly the sheer number of walks we need to fit in. We are not allowed to camp with the kids between October and March because of night-time temperatures (although we’ve been out below freezing in April before now). The older students have exams in May and June, and we have to do a Practice Expedition and a Qualifying Expedition with at least a month between them, and we have three groups, Bronze, Silver and Gold. That’s six weekends between April and July, avoiding all exam dates – so everything else has to be dealt with before that.

Which means that on Saturday, by which time I really hope it has stopped raining, I will be checkpointing three groups of Silver kids at the bottom of a hill (they go over, I go around), and making sure they turn right… and right again. And hopefully not having to run after anyone to make them check their map

I love it really.

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Substitution cookies

What do you get if you are trying to make chocolate chip cookies and you don’t have hazelnuts so you have to use almonds; you don’t have enough soft brown sugar, so you have to use half and half with molasses sugar; you don’t have any chocolate chips so you himageave to use cacao nibs (we were given them for Christmas last year and I’ve never known what to do with them)? You get these!

Substitution cookies.

I’m glad I decided to use the almonds – I considered pistachios (purely on the grounds of what I could find in the kitchen cupboards) but I don’t think they would have worked as well. And on a second look, the cacao nibs must have been from a previous year, because their expiry date was November 2013. It’s OK, the  cookies taste just fine!

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Blossom would be proud of me

I haven’t knitted since the last time I needed a World Book Day costume and I went as the knitting sheep from Alice Through The Looking Glass – and that particular piece of craft was intentionally all dropped stitches and loops. Today, however, one of our students was selling (for poppyscotland) a choice of a hand knitted poppy, or the pattern she had made them from.

imageI bought the pattern, because she said it was easy. We may have a slightly different definition of easy… or perhaps I am more rusty than I thought. I’m finding this quite challenging! Also, I think the abbreviations have changed since I last did this – I had to look up psso and 2tw. It’s like code-breaking.

Two petals done, three and some sewing to go. I will attempt to finish this one poppy – there is absolutely no way I will be making more, and I am full of admiration for the student who had a whole box full, all prettily wrapped in tissue paper.

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We didn’t get any walking in this weekend…

…because Mouse came home, so we did different things. It’s good to see him, and hug him, but he’s home for far too short a time – he’s going back to Stirling tomorrow.Wholemeal bread and enriched doughwhite rollsAnd this weekend my kitchen smells of warm bread – there are only eleven rolls not because I am numerically challenged, but because Handsome ate one before they made the cooling rack!

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SupernovaThey still haven’t got the after-the-clocks change lighting in EICA quite right, but at least we now know that it takes six climbing instructors to change a lightbulb…

Despite the gloom, I climbed well tonight, and I’m rather smugly pleased with myself.

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Decision making

Went in to buy flats for work. Came out with a dress and heels…

Just one of those days.

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