Our beautiful box troll has turned six

How on earth did that happen? Where has time gone? My shining light, dependable caring compassionate granddaughter is a whole six years old. Wow! Alexandra is a crazy funny girl who makes me laugh and always has my back. Chattering away playing at ours, rattling the keys on the keyboard together with me as I write she is the most wonderful company. Since she turned 6 months old she has been coming to our place, for an afternoon, then an overnight, now its for whenever the need is there or she wants to come and stay. Our home is her home just as it should be for grandchildren. On her birthday she came to ours in the afternoon to blow out her candles on her birthday cake – let us celebrate because our beautiful box troll has turned six.

As a family we enjoy spending time together. At our home, it may involve cutting the grass on the lawn tractor. Going on holiday together, or to an event. Out for a walk with the dogs – my precious labradors. And most definitely celebrating a birthday like this one. It doesn’t have to be a big affair, just who matters sitting on the sofa singing happy birthday. It’s been a funny old time especially for a child of late with the pandemic, isolation and face masks, no birthday parties. However the most important thing has never left – love. Knowing that we are loved we can get through anything.

Our 6 year old sunshine girl Alexandra turned 6 – my I blinked my eye and she has grown……….

Today is rare disease day

It’s Monday morning like no other for most people. As I look out of my south facing cottage window I see grey clouds circling above the Lammermuir hills, on first glance its a bleak outlook. My telephone rings and anyone that knows me will guess that I am then preoccupied for at least an hour. Back to what I enjoy; I greedily set up my three apple devices with devoted labradors at my feet. As I lift my head to pick up a book I looked out of my ‘favourite view’ window. Was that a glimmer of sunshine trying to get through? As Bob Hope once said about Scotland it’s the only country he ever came to where he experienced 4 seasons not just in one day but in one hour. My yes, it was the clouds had lightened and the sun was beginning to show face. What looked like was going to be a rainy cold blustery day was turning out to be a fine day, perhaps not the best however one with promise and prospects, what more can you ask. Today is Monday 28th February 2022, today is Rare Disease Day.

I like to believe that the future for Rare Disease is parallel to today’s weather. One with good prospects and promise with a ray of sunshine to keep that frown upside down and remind us to smile each and everyday.

Living with a rare disease for most affects not only the person with the disease but those around them, whether they are family, friends or work colleagues. On getting a diagnosis, for many it is a life changing situation. Living with or getting diagnosed can be extremely hard to live with; physically, emotionally and financially. Some only get a very short life span. Others have many years of life and have to learn to manage. One big thing in common is many rare diseases are chronic. It isn’t always easy admitting you find life a struggle. However there are charities, hospital groups, clubs, various volunteer groups, etc and great deal of people affected benefit from support organisations; someone to talk to, somewhere that really understands, respite, etc, etc.

So what is a rare disease? 1 in 17 of us world wide will be affected by a rare disease at some time in our life. Carcinoid Syndrome is one of them. Huntington’s Disease,is a rare disease another is Cystic Fibrosis. The majority of rare diseases are chronic, progressive and genetic not curable. Only manageable to an extent. Living with a rare disease can feel very isolating and scary. Globally between 3.5% and 5.9% of the world population is affected with a rare disease. There are six thousand different diseases affecting 300 million people. In the UK, it is estimated that there are 3.5 million people affected by a rare disease.

Many patients with rare disease’s consult with more than one specialist. Often as many as five. Going to various outpatient clinics can take its toll not only on the patient but on the people around. The care at the hospital in the UK is free yes, however the patient has to get to the hospital for treatment, blood tests, scans, etc. Fuel in transport, or cost of public transport, the cost of eating out, etc etc. Then there is the physical cost to the patient. I was speaking with a consultant the other day and she spoke rather concerned that one of her young patients said she had 52 clinic appointments in the year. Equating to one per week. Yes she has an incurable rare disease, however she is also a student, desperate to pass her exams. The doctor sounded genuinely concerned for her patient; saying she thought this could affect the patient’s wellbeing on top of their condition.

What is Rare Disease Day? This is a world wide event for one day – always the last day in February. Celebrating Rare Disease’s. Promoting awareness. Sharing videos and experiences across the world. The aim of the day is to raise awareness, spread hope and solidarity and bring the worldwide community together. Hoping to improve access to treatment and medical representation for people and those affected with rare diseases.

It is go good to see so many people pull together for such an event globally. When these people are at home feeling isolated or trying to go out and are anxious they need to get their “big person” pants on. Life can be so difficult and cruel. It’s heartening to see so many people affected by rare diseases with glass half full attitudes. Medical staff fully behind them and organisations supporting in what needs done. Let’s hope for the day that we can get some treatment and you never know maybe even a cure for some of the diseases. However, for now let us manage the best we can.

Think zebra not horse

Most people in life know someone with cancer. Or are knowledgable about signs or symptoms of some kind of cancer. However the rarer less known conditions need the help of Doctors, writers, patients, etc to promote awareness to get their name out there and help others know what to look for. “Doctors are taught ‘when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras,’ meaning a doctor should first think about what is a more common and potentially more likely—diagnosis. In oncology zebras have to be thought about. If a clinician isn’t as familiar with rare conditions, they may spend too much time looking for the proverbial horses. One such rare disease is Neuroendocrine Cancer and carcinoid syndrome. November 10th is Net Cancer Day. For the patient and the diagnosis it is all so important for the doctor in the big important Think zebra not horse.

Getting a diagnosis of Net Cancer can be difficult. It often goes misdiagnosed and the diagnosis is delayed and very often a person is told they have the cancer once it has spread to other organs and is incurable.

Living with Nets and carcinoid syndrome isn’t always easy. There are days it can really take over your life and just getting out of bed is a real struggle. However, there are great treatments and support networks out there to help you on your way. Looking after your body, eating the right things, meeting up with people and talking can all help in your cancer journey. I certainly know meeting up with likeminded people from The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust and sharing experiences has been a lifesaver. Making super friends along the way, the only down side is losing some dear ones to this damn condition.

On this eve of Net Cancer Day I think of the amazing buddies I have made since the day I was told I had carcinoid syndrome. I keep up with and chat to friends we share what’s going on in our medical life. I have lost and miss some lovely zebra, including Ann, Didi, Pam, Janny, Margaret, Becky, Norman, Linda. Celebrity zebra have included Audrey Hepburn, Steve Jobs, Aretha Franklin.

Audrey Hepburn’s son did a newspaper interview – you can view it HERE

Common symptoms of NETs include:

  • Flushing (redness, warmth) in the face or neck without sweating.
  • Diarrhea, including at nighttime.
  • Shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat/palpitations.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Fatigue, weakness.
  • Abdominal pain, cramping, feeling of fullness.
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss.
  • Wheezing, coughing

The symptoms of a neuroendocrine tumour depend on where in the body it is and what hormones it produces.

Diagnosing neuroendocrine tumours

Many tests can be used to diagnose neuroendocrine tumours, including blood tests, urine tests, scans and a biopsy  (where a small tissue sample is taken for closer examination).

Types of scans used include:

Treating Net Cancer and Carcinoid Syndrome

Every patient has their treatment plan tailor-made for them. No one person is exactly the same. They may have the same germ cell. Could have been diagnosed with almost literally the same diagnosis – it does not mean the treatment will be the same. All our bodies react differently, we give off different hormones, etc. And to be honest we may not have the same attitude to the consultants conversation in the room.

Treatments Include:

For some people surgery is an option.

Somatostatin Analogues may be used to help control the secretion of hormones if abnormal levels are being produced

Embolisation Treatment that blocks the blood supply using chemotherapy, radiotherapy or radiofrequency ablation

Treatments used for some Inoperable and metastatic cancer:

Everolimus is taken as a tablet, sunitinib is taken as a capsule and lutetium is given into a vein.

Let’s Talk About Nets

Element of Trust

From as long as I can remember my parents encouraged me to listen to others and always speak up to others and tell the truth no matter what has gone on. I have always taken this with me, passed this on to my children; said to them whatever has happened just tell me and we will deal with it. This has I believe gave us a trustworthy bond between parent and child no matter what their age. My lads are in their 30’s and we still talk, I trust them and they trust me. Growing up I knew I could go to my parents and talk to them about anything and everything, I always knew whatever I said to my Mum or Dad it would go no further. They were full of fabulous advice, helped me transform from teenager to adult. Who do I talk to now? I chat to a couple of friends about everything and anything, one in particular we know we can discuss ‘our laundry’ with each other. However, my ultimate bounce off and discussion partner is my hubby Steve, we are partners in life, super friends, chat about all and sundry and most importantly there is that Element of Trust

Steve and Me

So what is trust? I believe it is when someone can be relied on. Their honesty and integrity shines through. If I trust someone it means I believe they are who they say they are and they will always do what they say they will do. Most importantly what comes out of their mouth or from their written hand is the truth. They will not lie to me.

I pride myself in having a fabulous circle of friends, a beautiful family and most certainly a very close knit few that I value and trust with my life. Recently I have been disappointed with acquaintances. When I got told a lie from someone I actually never thought I would. That kick in the shins fairly knocked the stuffing out of me for several reasons………

There have been people in my life recently that have been irritable, non trustworthy, tit tattling to other people. These reprobates aren’t worth worrying about.

Building up trust: has not always made me popular but I’m a believer in say what you mean and mean what you say. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Remember the role of respect.

I have counted my blessings. Enjoyed being with friends and family. And relished that special time with my most loyal trustworthy labradors, Buddy and Bella; now they could teach a few humans a thing or two.

Buddy & Bella walk with steve
Bella & Buddy help steve

So for me, trust is important, especially in building up relationships. For those who know me, I’m a very happy honest human who enjoys life. Every day is precious and I am continuing to enjoy life with my beautiful family. On Saturday Steve took time from his busy business we spent a precious day together, Steve did a wonderful job gardening, Bella watching every step. Sunday we both took an amazing trip on Fattie our Harley-Davidson® to Moffat, St Mary’s Loch and Peebles with some friends. Sunday; beautiful scenery, lovely weather and great friends; a fabulous recipe for an amazing day out. Just the tonic to end the week.

Fabulous afternoon at the dog park

My Labradors are content at our holding. Buddy never really leaves my side, goes wherever I go, literally with me into the bathroom, etc. The clever clogs knows when my unusual body is playing up and despite having my peg feed on my blood sugars drop and he comes to my assistance. He knows when my heart is banging so hard I can feel it pounding. Buddy is a wonderful assistance dog to me, my right hand boy. He wanders around the house, pads up and down the long hall. If I was to put a pedometer on him I could imagine his step count each day just in the house, never mind the garden would be pretty high. Bella gets a free reign to. They love their runs in the back field, especially with granddaughter Alexandra. However, when my sister Hazel said she had booked www.unleasheddogparks.co.uk for Buddy, Bella and her young border collie Jed I never anticipated what was in store – a fabulous afternoon at the dog park

Unleashed dog park is only literally a three minute drive from our home in Boggs Holdings, Pencaitland. It provides a wonderful safe environment to let your dog run free and get plenty of exercise. There are great quality equipment for the dogs to play on, a sensory area, a sandpit.

The massive bonus for us is you drive your car into the field you will be using. With my health the way it is, I’m certainly not up to walking my babies a long walk. Places like the dog park in my area are just perfect for a treat. They enjoy running around as they do on our wide open fields but with the added extras of the sensory garden, the equipment to climb on. A fabulous and safe place to train or treat your pampered pouch.


Buddy on his favourite ramp


My only disappointment was photography is a huge passion of mine and I neglected to take my Nikon camera with me I took all my photos on my phone. Don’t get me wrong I was really pleased with the results on my Apple

Bella eager to get going, but will pause for a photo if you bribe her 😝

“Look at me go”, says Border Collie, Jed

Bella ready for an adventure

Since March 2020 life has been a funny old world for us all. The arrival of Coronavirus and the devastating effects it has had on us. Many of us have had life changing situations and learned to live with a new normal. We have lost people we love, heartbreakingly not been able to be with them in their hour of need. Staff have courageously battled on through conditions many have never seen before. For all the dedication of workers, volunteers, families, friends, loved ones, etc I thank you. Without the help and love of others it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now sitting writing this on this Thursday morning in April 2021 in my sitting room, I feel a whole lot more positive than I did this time last year. The vaccine is going well. Yes we are concerned about blood clots, but that’s a whole different story and I believe the benefits outweigh the risks. The restrictions are lessening here in Scotland.

My District Nurse, Jennifer was in yesterday she commented how peaceful and relaxing our home is. I told her yes with my carcinoid syndrome fatigue is a huge problem as well as nocturnal diarrhoea so quietly listening to music and writing is relaxing and helps a great deal. Buddy and Bella help too. Snuggling up on the sofa with my Labradors can be just what the Doctor ordered.

The stressful year has affected us all. For me the best way I cope is having my glass half full not empty. Taking the dogs to the dog park such as Unleashed helps blow away the cobwebs. It benefits both the human beans and the K9s.

If you haven’t been to a dog park before and you are swithering, give it a try, Buddy is ten years old, Bella eight and my sister’s border collie, Jed is only nine months. They all had an amazing time. Got home tired out and I’m sure they are looking forward to their next visit.

Drive through Edinburgh

After my appointment at The Western General Hospital in Edinburgh my hubby was patiently waiting for me. He picked me up in the convenient pick up drop off area outside the hospital. We usually go together, however do to Covid, I was restricted to going myself. We made our way out of the hospital grounds and got ready for our Drive through Edinburgh.

As we drove along Crew Road there were works getting done and the road was closed towards orchard brae forcing us to turn left. We made our way along the road and passed the police training college, saw a couple of dogs in the field and then passed Broughton High School, I had a memory of going to the old Broughton High for health promotion talks, and remember proudly going to the police college with Arthur, when he got a commendation award; what a lovely day that was.

Driving through Stockbridge. The sun was shining, there were hanging baskets flowering beautifully outside many of the elegant Victorian and Georgian houses. This bustling vibrant area on the water of Leith is filled with speciality and charity shops, and delightful cafes and pubs. I love Stockbridge; the new town is my favourite area of Edinburgh. If I lived in Auld Reekie this is the locality I would choose to live in.



Cruising along George Street I saw the changes that were happening over time. What establishments are still here, and what has ‘disappeared’ from the high street. The Standing Order was the first building that jumped out at me. All over the world there will be many well known financial institutions that are now coffee shops, or pubs or restaurants, somewhere for folk to sit and chat. Rest their weary bones and share a story or two along with a drink.


As I headed to Southside Edinburgh, I passed a block of flats that were on a corner site in Newington area. This site used to be a Ford Garage that my sister worked in the accounts department. My friend rented a bedsit on the main road when we were at university.

Gosh Helen finished up at the Garage over 40 years ago and Jennifer rented the bedsit in the mid 1980’s. Jennifer visited me yesterday I was telling her about my journey and reminiscing, we started chatting about her accommodation hunting when she came down from Calendar to study in Edinburgh…….

Jennifer and I met at uni, we became friends the first day of term and have been stuck with each other since. Jennifer came down from Calendar and needed accommodation, the uni gave her some recommendations. She came to my parents armed with this A4 piece of paper. We were going to the addresses. My brother Albert dropped us at the first place on the list, it was near the shopping centre, he would go shopping we would view the room. Oh my goodness; the room was ok, very basic, shared facilities which werent so nice, and the room mates were less desirable. So lets just say this place was a big fat no. We tried a few other places on the uni’s recommendation. Absolutely non suitable. My Mum brought out The Scotsman. https://www.scotsman.com We looked in it, there was an ad for a Letting company in Home Street, Edinburgh.

Off we went to Home Street. We walked in to this office with a white haired lady with 2 dogs surrounded with so much paperwork. I actually felt like I was going for a seance. I can tell you Jennifer and I felt frightened, why we didn’t know. The business was ‘real’, the staff were genuine, informative and very pleasant. And they had dogs, something I especially love. I think it was just the fact that the white haired lady was rather eccentric. The room had a creepy feel. However, the lady was very kind to us, she explained what properties she had on the books and what she thought was suitable. She explained locations and terms of payment etc. She thought the room at Newington would be suitable, told us there were already some young ladies in the building and the location is lovely. Big bonus, the landlord was a really nice man. We were sold. Sounded ideal for Jen.

We made our way from Tollcross to Newington. Met by a raven headed gentleman. True to her words. The whole property was in good condition. The bedsit on the ground floor had its own kitchen, it was ideal. No sharing, no messy dishes, etc. Jennifer decided to rent it. As friends it was ideal, not too far from uni and only about 3 miles from my parents house.

Many properties have changed hands over the years and places we have got comfortable going to are no longer there. However, many of these alterations are good news and society is reaping the benefits both socially and economically. As the saying goes out with the old and in with the new.

A trip to Blackpool

The summer is fading fast and by now we have usually made many trips away. Including day jaunts on the Harley Davidson sightseeing, weekends with Dunedin Chapter http://www.dunedin.hog to Motorcycle Rallies, wonderful sun seeking holidays to our favourite island, Ibiza https://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/europe/spain/ibiza/holidays-ibiza.html

Since mid March this year we have been pretty much cooped up and adhering to all the covid rules and regulations. Steve has been fortunate and been able to work right through although life hasn’t always been easy, making sure maintaining a safe social and physical distance at all times. However getting materials is still difficult at times. Its the anniversary of my Mum’s death on 9th August and its my birthday on 6th August, and we got married on 22 August; it is lovely to do something nice. We usually go to Edinburgh Festival and go to Thunder in The Glen in Aviemore. Both cancelled this year due to covid.

What should we do? Steve took the bull by the horns. Once the hotels opened their doors to the paying public once more. He booked two family rooms at a town that we frequented with parents, children and grandparents. We were going for a trip to Blackpool. We were now going to introduce grandchildren to a place that had fond memories to us.

We decided to travel down with very mixed emotions. Our youngest granddaughter, only 4 months old was in ICU after open heart surgery. Also the worry of how safe life will be regarding COVID. The day before we left, my amazing nurse came in, serviced my gastrostomy tube, changed my dressing and administered my octreotide. Evelyn came bearing gifts, she had made face masks for the girls and me for our trip. Steve took Buddy and Bella to Sally at Sals Pals http://www.salspals.co.uk Knowing our babies will be well looked after when we are away.

Steve, Stuart, Alexandra, Grace and I clambered into the big red BMW – all set for our adventure before Grace starts back to primary 2 and Alexandra at nursery school. The journey down was grand, stopped once. As we approached Blackpool I could see The Tower in the distance. We played a game the first one to spot The Tower gets 10 points. The girls giggled, they were so excited. They both looked out of the window and called together, there it is and pointed in excitement. This made me extremely happy.


The Girls and me all set in the car for the journey 😘


we arrived at The Premiere Inn. https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/lancashire/blackpool/blackpool-east-m55-jct4.

Premier Inn have got it right. Staff wearing masks or visors. Comfortable rooms were immaculate. Service with a smile. There was a restaurant attached, we booked to get a meal. There was hand sanitizer at the door entrance and everyone used it upon entry. We ordered our food using our mobile telephones and within 15 minutes hot tasty food was served to our table.

We went into Blackpool for the evening after our meal, we parked on the sea front. Made our way to The South Pier. On the pier there are plenty of rides to keep us amused. The girls eyes were like saucers, their heads bobbed from side to side taking in all they could see. The bright flashing lights, beeping sounds and clunking of coins rattling was their first sight and sounds of the pier. Lots of 2 penny machines to play, big glass boxes with cuddly toys to try and grab to win. We played some games, had amazing fun came out the other side to a funfair on the pier. Stuart, Alexandra and Grace had great fun on the rides. This was a taster for the big rides next day.



We had a great sleep, rooms comfortable, had a buffet all you can eat breakfast. Again, Hand sanitizers were offered. Tables clean. Physical distance maintained.

After breakfast we made our way to https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/

What a day we had. We had already booked our tickets online. When we arrived at the park, all staff had masks on. They maintained a very professional approach. We all went on the rides, and enjoyed them very much. Steve missed out on my mum’s favourite ride, the log flume – oh boy is he glad he did. When I got off I looked like I had fallen in a river. I was drenched. Certainly didn’t stop me enjoying it. Pretty sure the ride we all liked the best was The Wallace and Gromit Ride. It was so good we all went on it twice.


Blackpool has a lot more to offer than most people think. It’s not all kiss me quick hats, candy floss and Blackpool rock. Yes these are readily available and suckers like me, love hats, cannot resist the feel of cotton candy on my lips and so enjoy seeing the rock being made into different colours, shapes and flavours; the most beautiful looking baskets of fruit of rock. Blackpool is UK’s Las Vegas; bright lights, casinos and lots of puggies. What fun we had at Coral Island, playing the machines, collecting the tickets, saving them up in return for prizes at the end of the day. At the end of the excitement we remembered we had parked the car quite some way away. There was no way my legs were going to carry me. Bus, tram, taxi? We were going in style. We were going in a horse in Carriage, it was a princess ball covered trap pulled by a single horse. I was as excited as the girls. What a wonderful ride it was.

Our last day in Blackpool was my birthday. It was as if I had stepped back in time. The sun was shining, it was beautiful and warm and we were going to Stanley Park. This is somewhere that has the most amazing childhood memories. Feeding the birds with my parents and grandparents, walking in the stunning well kept gardens. Chasing my sister around on the large grassy areas. This day was no disappointment, we walked into the park, firstly we played with the girls at the play park then we walked along the path, it took us passed the fabulous cycle play area and then onto The Model Village. We all went in. What a wonderful set up, it looks amazing. The chap that booked us in was lovely, explaining to the girls if they found all the gnomes they would get a prize.

we arrived at The Premiere Inn. https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/lancashire/blackpool/blackpool-east-m55-jct4.

Premier Inn have got it right.  Staff wearing masks or visors.  Comfortable rooms were immaculate.  Service with a smile.  There was a restaurant attached, we booked to get a meal.  There was hand sanitizer at the door entrance and everyone used it upon entry.   We ordered our food using our mobile telephones and within 15 minutes hot tasty food was served to our table.  

We went into Blackpool for the evening after our meal, we parked on the sea front.  Made our way to The South Pier.  On the pier there are plenty of rides to keep us amused.  The girls eyes were like saucers, their heads bobbed from side to side taking in all they could see.  The bright flashing lights, beeping sounds and clunking of coins rattling was their first sight and sounds of the pier.  Lots of 2 penny machines to play, big glass boxes with cuddly toys to try and grab to win.  We played some games, had amazing fun came out the other side to a funfair on the pier.  Stuart, Alexandra and Grace had great fun on the rides.  This was a taster for the big rides next day.  

We had a great sleep, rooms comfortable, had a buffet all you can eat breakfast.  Again, Hand sanitizers were offered.  Tables clean.  Physical distance maintained.  

After breakfast we made our way to https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/

What a day we had.  We had already booked our tickets online.  When we arrived at the park, all staff had masks on.  They maintained a very professional approach.  We all went on the rides, and enjoyed them very much.  Steve missed out on my mum’s favourite ride, the log flume – oh boy is he glad he did.  When I got off I looked like I had fallen in a river.  I was drenched.  Certainly didn’t stop me enjoying it.  Pretty sure the ride we all liked the best was The Wallace and Gromit Ride.  It was so good we all went on it twice.  

Blackpool has a lot more to offer than most people think.  It’s not all kiss me quick hats, candy floss and Blackpool rock.  Yes these are readily available and suckers like me, love hats, cannot resist the feel of cotton candy on my lips and so enjoy seeing the rock being made into different colours, shapes and flavours; the most beautiful looking baskets of fruit of rock.    Blackpool is UK’s Las Vegas; bright lights, casinos and lots of puggies.  What fun we had at Coral Island, playing the machines, collecting the tickets, saving them up in return for prizes at the end of the day.   At the end of the excitement we remembered we had parked the car quite some way away.  There was no way my legs were going to carry me.  Bus, tram, taxi?  We were going in style.  We were going in a horse in Carriage,  it was a princess ball covered trap pulled by a single horse.  I was as excited as the girls.  What a wonderful ride it was.  

Our last day in Blackpool was my birthday.  It was as if I had stepped back in time.  The sun was shining, it was beautiful and warm and we were going to Stanley Park.  This is somewhere that has the most amazing childhood memories.  Feeding the birds with my parents and grandparents, walking in the stunning well kept gardens.  Chasing my sister around on the large grassy areas.  This day was no disappointment, we walked into the park, firstly we played with the girls at the play park then we walked along the path, it took us passed the fabulous cycle play area and then onto The Model Village.  We all went in.  What a wonderful set up, it looks amazing.  The chap that booked us in was lovely, explaining to the girls if they found all the gnomes they would get a prize.  


After the model village we headed to the pond. Everything was just as I remembered. We fed the swans, ducks and pigeons. The birds were delightful; so calm. Could have stayed there at the pond all day. It was so inviting and relaxing. We went for a walk in the beautiful large park. Into The gardens, where there were so many pretty flower beds and array of colours. Seating provided to enjoy the water feature. Alexandra couldn’t resist putting her hand in the water flow. This made me grin from ear to ear. Stanley Park is a happy place, somewhere that makes me feel at peace with myself. Great for running around with the kids, or dogs and kicking a ball. Or taking a slow leisurely walk and soaking in the rays whilst gathering thoughts.


On the walk back to the car we encountered a doorway. We made up a story who may live there. Stuart, Alexandra and Grace knocked on the door – no answer, I shouted out the giant is coming…….. they about jumped out their skins.

we got back to the car very safely and drove back to Scotland. Until our next visit.

A fabulous time had been had by us in Blackpool. I didn’t buy rock, or kiss me quick hats. No cotton candy was eaten. However laughter was top on the agenda. Many childhood memories were rekindled. Walking along the paths of Stanley Park I had my Mum, Granny and uncle Allan alongside. I could feel their spirits watch over. Feel the warmth love. The girls enjoyed their time in Blackpool I’m sure as much as I did when I was a child.

If you think you know Blackpool think again. It’s worth a visit.

Turn that frown upside down

I would like to introduce a young lady who lives in Midlothian, Scotland. At present she works in an office however dreams of one day working full time in the writing world. Whilst chatting to Beth Merry I can feel her frustration and want to break out and get those fingers tapping the keys and tell the world all she has to say. Although Beth writes her own blog https://bethanybloggswriter.wordpress.com I suggested she write a guest blog for my site. Since my site is smile each and every day. I gave her the topic “smile everyday”. This was the heartfelt article I got back from Beth. Its about one of the hardest times in her life when she found it difficult to smile, whilst she was surrounded by sunshine, all that energy and heat failed to warm her heart and make her happy. Despite the rays from the big yellow sun and the beautiful blue sky Beth felt cold and alone and at many times incapable of smiling and having that warm butterfly feeling of comfort inside you when you know you are safe, loved and belong. Would she ever feel like this again, and be able to turn that frown upside down. I hope you enjoy it.

Why 2020 is Better than 2016 to Me

Before 2020, there was another year that as a society collectively decided was – to put frankly – absolutely awful. 2016 saw many beloved celebrity deaths, worldwide panic over the election in America, terror attacks seemingly around every corner, and plenty of other horrors that left the world pausing to catch its breath on the 31 December that year and crossing every finger and toe that 2017 would be kinder.

For me, 2016 was particularly awful because both my mum and my grandad sadly passed away, and I had to pull on my grown-up pants at 19 years old and pretend I was strong. It was one of the hardest years of my life; and now with 2020 being deemed an even worse year due to the pandemic, I’ve had time to do some reflecting on how much has changed.

Moana Beach, Adelaide, Australia

In 2016, I was living in Australia. My family had emigrated when I was 10, and while the first couple of years I had enjoyed, the shine eventually wore off and I found myself desperate to make my way back to the UK, back to my home. I felt increasingly out of place at all times, and desperate to tell people that I didn’t belong – the fact that I had absorbed the accent almost immediately did little to persuade folk. As the next of kin for my mum who passed away in June, I was left in charge of putting her affairs in order for myself and my younger sister which meant a lot of phone calls I didn’t know how to make and, more importantly, arranging a funeral. I grew up a lot that year – and fast. I was still studying, still working two jobs and getting over a lot of heartbreak. It felt like things would never improve.

Seafood Rise, Adelaide, Australia

Fast forward to 2020. As I write this, I’m sat in my house in the Scottish countryside that my partner and I bought together nearly 9 months ago. He’s putting together some units to complete the massive desk he’s constructed for our home office, and I’ve got a stew bubbling away on the stove. I’ve had an uneventful day at work – Sat at my dining room table lockdown style of course – stretching my writing muscles now. Saturday was my birthday, and I had a quiet barbecue in our newly landscaped back garden with some family, and on Sunday my partner and I ventured out to Gore Glen to finally see the beautiful waterfall and connect with nature. I can breathe fairly easy these days and my worries are far less significant than those of 2016

Gore Glen, Midlothian, Scotland

I never could have predicted that in 4 years time I’d be in the space to feel this content. In a time where my world was crumbling around me, I pushed through to venture by myself to the other side of the world where the love of my life and I have made a life together for ourselves. Coronavirus be damned – the opportunity to look back at the last 4 years and see how far I’ve come make all the lockdown restrictions worth it.

These days, I smile everyday because while there are still a few things beyond my reach. I’m a damn sight further ahead than where I was in 2016.and there’s so much to be grateful for! I’m home in the UK where I belong, I wake up everyday to my amazing partner and the views over the Pentland, and I have room to grow at my own pace. What’s not to love?

Me, happy, home

Sunday Afternoon

Our usual Sunday Afternoon consists of a ride on our Harley Davidson.  Meeting up with chums from the The Dunedin Chapter Scotland and visiting my Dad.

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This particular Sunday we are still in lockdown and restrictions still apply.  We are very that we are surrounded in the most beautiful countryside, our garden is larger than most.  And we can certainly exercise and get fresh air without bumping into anyone if we want.

For some time there has been an area near the front of the house that we would love to put some hard standing to cover the dirty area that gets mushy when folk park on it, despite all the chipped area around the house.  Steve brings round to work with some beautiful natural stone.  And begins to lay it.  Our Harley Davidson Fat Boy sits in front of the house looking lonely.  Our labs, Buddy and Bella stand together at the front of the door, waiting eagerly until I finally say they can come and join me while I put plants in the pots at the front of the house.

 

 

 

They are so happy once they join us out the front. Watching Steve cut the stone and lay it.  And me put some petunias, lobelia, pansies and a few other plants in pots.
The one thing that certainly hasn’t changed about the Sunday Afternoon is we spend time together.  Have a lovely day no matter what we do.  Just make the best of it.  Life is for living.  Live, laugh and love everyday.

And always make sure we make time for ourselves.  My time is writing.  Which I love love love.

Have a great day folks.

 

Hold your hand everday

As the pandemic continues.  We are still in lockdown.  Life continues to be on a different path.  Real life physical human beings I see; my husband of coarse, I live with him and so very grateful we have not only been lovers since 1982 but best friends.  My nurses; to tend to my gastrostomy tube, change dressings, etc, etc.  And see anyone from a distance at the door when they deliver parcels and mail.

Modern technology has saved my sanity.  Steve and I having a long lie on Sunday morning, it’s 9am and my mobile telephone has that distinctive ring.  I know it’s a FaceTime call.  Simultaneously Steve and I say know who that will be.  I click the phone and can hear the joyous tones.  ‘Morning, what are you doing in your Bed Granny’?  ‘Having a got chocolate’ is my reply.  We are having a three way conversation between our house (Steve & I) , Stuart & Alexandra, and Teeny & Grace.  It’s fab, we all blather loudly, the girls can’t believe we are still in bed. It’s Sunday, I say in my defence.  They have us laughing.  Along the hall we can hear the dogs.  They can obviously hear the girls talking and they are excited.  Can we see Buddy and Bella please.  I toddle Along the hall.  Bella is actually smiling.  They are pleased to hear the kids.  Morning Bella Boo, Morning, Buddy Boy, says Alexandra, miss you,  the labradors tails start to wag frantically.  Grace calls on Frieda the cat.  Alexandra asks ‘Granny can you go out the back and say morning to Birdie please’.  I go see the beautiful black lionhead rabbit.  The girls are ever so happy.  Right that’s enough I say, granny is wiped out now.  I sit on the seat at the table very happy and blether away .  I maybe can’t see them all in the flesh, however a video call like this makes the world worth living.   We all chat say what’s been happening and what the plans for the day are.

Both girls had plans to play in gardens.  Alexandra said she was going to be drawing and colouring in later.  Grace was going to be playing games.

 

Hold my hand and Smile Each And Everyday

Alexandra drew round her hand in her notebook,  she tore out the page.  Left the page for me with the drawing.  She said I can hold her hand anytime.  She said on a FaceTime call to me Granny I would just love to hold your hand everday

 

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I was so chocked up, it’s difficult to believe Alexandra has just turned 4 years of age.

At this difficult time in this crazy world we need to be grateful for what we have.  Make the most folks.

Alexandra and Grace: