Yet Another Award

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I am thrilled to have received another award – the Versatile Blogger Award!

 

This time it came from Sandra Bell Kirchman of FansasyFic.  Thank you Sandra!

Sandra has won many awards for her writing, and is a published author. She especially loves to write fantasy fiction, and writes in a way that is entertaining and fun. She certainly has a vivid imagination!

You can read some of her short fantasy fiction in the forum at her website FantasyFic. You wont be disappointed!

 

According to the rules, I have to choose five deserving recipients for the award and publish seven unknown facts about myself.

Here are the new Versatile Blogger winners I have chosen:
1.  Piglet in Portugal 

2. Redneck Princess

3. Words With Purpose

4. Smile Kidd0

5. Touch to Touch

If you haven’t visited any of these blogs before, check them out and be pleasantly surprised!

Now for seven things you don’t know about me!

1. Besides being passionate about animals, I am an enthusiastic photographer and I love pottering in my garden.

2. I was born in Scotland, and moved to England at the age of 10 when my mother re-married.

3. My mother married a soldier in the Army, so we moved around a lot. I was schooled in Germany for 2 years and also Singapore for a further 2 years. I hated changing schools, but loved living in different countries with such different cultures; it was an education in itself! I completed my education in England.

4. I emigrated to Australia at the age of 19 with my boyfriend (who later became my husband). I got homesick for my family and the UK, so after three years, we left Australia to return to the UK – a decision I came to regret.  Life happened ;)  but I finally re-emigrated to Australia (yes, with the same man!), some twenty-odd years later!

5. Tell me a secret and I’ll take it to the grave.

6. If I was a lot younger, my wish would be to live on a large property where I could provide a sanctuary for unwanted domestic animals and also injured wildlife. Here in Australia we have a very high incidence of kangaroos, koalas, possums etc., being injured on our roads every single day. I would like to provide the medical attention they required and nurse them back to health, to be released back into the wild when and if they were ready. If they couldn’t be released for whatever reason, then they would always have a home with me – a Sanctuary.

7.  I would like to write a book one day about my life. Whether it happens is another story!

My UK Trip – The Scottish Side

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On my recent trip to the UK I re-visited my birthplace in Scotland, catching up with family, going down memory lane and it was very special part of my whole trip.

Our first week was spent in the small picturesque town where I was born, Peebles, in the Scottish Borders, about 20 miles south of Edinburgh. Peebles has a population of about 8,000.
My heart skipped a beat as we got nearer, passing through stunning countryside – and then I remembered why I loved it so much – rolling green hills covered in purple heather, nosey sheep grazing in paddocks, (sometimes wandering onto the road), narrow lanes wide enough for only one car, dry stone walls covered in lichen – everything exactly as I remembered from my childhood.

I was going home!

About Peebles
The town of Peebles lies where the River Tweed and Eddleston Water meet (known locally as “The Cuddy”). The River Tweed is world famous for salmon fishing, and interestingly, Peebles Coat of Arms comprises of three salmon – with one going against the flow!
Initially a market town, it played a big part in the woollen industry of the Scottish Borders up until the 1960’s, and my father worked at the local mill for many, many years.

The town has been a Royal Burgh since 1152 and the rule of King David I, and is steeped in history.

13th Century Cross Kirk. I walked past these church ruins every day on my to and from school, and never gave it a second thought!

 

 

15th Century Tweed Bridge - magnificent!

 

 

Catching Up With Family
We stayed with my brother and his family and it was wonderful catching up. Their daughters, my nieces, are now grown women but they haven’t forgotten me, and it felt good getting to know them again.  This photo was taken in 1986 – the last time I saw them.

My son sandwiched between my two nieces - Happy Days!

My brother hasn’t changed – he still doesn’t talk much, is very easy going and doesn’t get stressed by anything; he just takes things as they come – and I wouldn’t change him for the world. Love you bro!
His wife, my sister-in-law, makes up for my brother in the talking department, (I mean that in the nicest possible way M!), so she brought me up to date on what’s been happening in their lives over the last 20-odd years since I last saw them!
My sister-in-law made Haggis and Stovie Tatties, (haggis, turnip and potatoes)

Haggis, Neeps & Potatoes

for dinner on our first night – all because I said I couldn’t wait to taste some haggis again! Unfortunately, it wasn’t the hub’s cup of tea – I think it must be an acquired taste!

Down Memory Lane
It was very emotional to be back in my birthplace; it holds so many happy memories for me, and my heart was brimming with emotion as I strolled along the same streets I had walked as a child. Nothing much has changed in all these years except for the appearance of two supermarkets!  The same butcher’s shop is still there and it is still the best butcher in town – they sell the best tasting haggis for miles around!
I re-visited some childhood places with my brother – he took me to the school we both went to, we strolled down the street where I was born (now a Listed street), and I saw the very house where I came into the world. As I stood there gazing up at it, Iwas glued to the spot, and all sorts of memories came flooding back from my childhood. We lived there with my grandparents and pictures kept flashing through my mind of my grandfather sitting me on his knee and singing to me – our special song, and I still remember the words to this day.
I remember the day my mother cut my hair short and got told off by her mother, my gran. Apparently the reason she cut it was because I always used to cry when she tried to get a brush through it (it was thick and curly) – and she wasn’t exactly gentle – ouch.

We walked down to the river (known locally as The Cuddy), which runs through the heart of Peebles;

The Cuddy

 The Cuddy is where my brothers and I used to go fishing for minnows and take them home in a jam jar – much to mum’s annoyance!

I even met a real-life Author!
My brother’s wife took me to the Parish Church to meet a local lady called Anne Derrick who has written a book about what it was like growing up in Peebles in the 50’s and 60’s, my era! I got a copy of her book and it was a very nostalgic read for me, re-kindling many memories from my own happy childhood. Thanks Anne, I love the book and the photographs you dug up are awesome!

We had a big family reunion one night, and it was wonderful to catch up with everyone, some I’ve never even met before. That deserves a post of its own, because I want to tell you about a very emotional and long anticipated meeting with a family member.

Big surprise in store, so watch this space!

Have you ever re-visited your birthplace? How did it make you feel?

My UK Trip

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On 6th September the hub and I flew to the UK from Australia via Singapore. Not a bad flight, just so long.

We sat opposite a family with three children who were all coughing and sneezing – danger signals for us, as the hub suffers with COPD (emphysema). Sure enough, he picked up a germ and on our second day in the UK, he was admitted to hospital as he was having trouble breathing. The doctor thought he might have a blood clot in one of his lungs because of the long flight, but after x-rays, etc., they said it was a virus, complicated by his COPD. He was in hospital for two days then discharged, with medication.
The doctor said he would be fine to travel, so we drove up to Scotland to visit family and friends.

We stayed with my brother and his wife who live in a little town called Peebles (my birthplace).

Tweed River, Peebles

I haven’t seen my brother and his family in 25 years, and it was wonderful to catch up with them all again.
The highlight of the visit was a pre-arranged meeting with my sister whom I have never met before (long story), and we got on like a house on fire!  We are alike in a lot of ways – she is a very matter of fact, down to earth kind of person who loves and works with animals and loves the land. Her hubby is a Gamekeeper and my sister is very much hands-on helping him. She is bubbly and bright and fun to be with, and I think if I lived in Scotland, we would be great pals. As it is, we have to make do with the internet, but that’s ok – at long last we have met each other!

sister-in-law, me and my "new" my sister

My brother had arranged a big family reunion, so I met nephews and nieces for the first time, and great nephews and nieces too! It was wonderful and very emotional.

However, the hub started to get really sick again with a hacking cough, temperature, etc. Long story short, we drove back down to England and I took him straight to the hospital where he had been admitted when we first arrived in the UK. It had gone from a virus to a chest infection  – and he now has pneumonia. So our traveling has been curtailed for the time being until he feels better, and able to get back on the road. He has started to improve today, so things are looking up.

My mother is 91 and has been in a Nursing Home for the last seven years following a stroke. I was worried that she might not recognize me when I visited her, but she did! She was smiling from ear to ear and couldn’t take her eyes off me. She held my hand for the whole two hours we spent with her and both staff and some of the other patients kept coming to have a look at me! Now they know that I’m not a figment of her imagination!
I felt a bit like a celebrity, with all the fuss!
Mum looked really well and was able to talk to me a little, and she never lost the smile from her face. We took some pics but haven’t uploaded them from the camera yet so please bear with me!

So that’s my trip so far, more to follow as time and internet connections permit!

Leaving on a Jet Plane

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I can’t believe it’s almost here!

In only ten days I will be flying to the UK for a whole month, catching up with family and friends.

 Australia to England is about 23 hours actual flying time, so I’m not looking forward that part, but it will be worth it when I get to hug my family and friends whom I haven’t seen for seven years.

 I’m really looking forward to seeing my mother again; she is 91 and had a stroke seven years ago. I flew over to Lancashire, in the North of England at the time, and spent three weeks with her before returning home.  She lost the use of her right side as well as her speech and never fully regained either, so she has been in a Nursing Home ever since.

The hub has family in the same town and we both have old-time friends there,  so we have a lot of visiting lined up for us!

We also both have family in Scotland where I have another brother and sister. I haven’t met my sister (long story) but my brother and his wife have arranged for us to meet on this visit. I feel quite nervous and a bit apprehensive about meeting her – I suppose she feels the same about meeting me, her big sister! It will be some meeting, that’s for sure; hope it goes ok.

We will spend a week in Scotland and then on the drive back to England, I have arranged to meet an internet friend at Gretna Green! We have been friends for years so we thought we’d grab this chance to meet each other whilst we had the opportunity – how exciting! Will tell you all about that when I get back!
Then we drive back down into Lancashire, England to spend the rest of our time there, visiting my mother and catching up with friends and other family members.

My friend is looking after our dog Poppy whilst we are away but I’m already paranoid about leaving her. Yes I know, she will be fine, I know she will, I keep telling myself that.  I’m just a worry-wort and will really miss her.

Poppy

 I’ll probably miss her and home so much that I’ll want to come back after two weeks – especially if the English weather is still as I remember it! I’m not used to dull, dismal rainy days! My brother told me to bring some woolly jumpers as it’s freezing in Scotland. Thanks bro!

Depending on internet connections where ever we are on our travels, I will try to write one or two posts just so you don’t forget about me!
And don’t worry, I will take lots of photos to share with you guys when I get back – and I’m sure I will have some stories to tell.

Hope you will still be here when I get back!