Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shiver me timbers....

Here's an update on my last blog. My mum emailed me more information about Captain Thompson.....You could have emphasised that Thompson turned pirate, rather than he turned bad!!. He was well respected in Peru, and some our family was based there. The treasure had to be gotten out because of the slave uprising, think 1832? or thereabouts. There was one child who was sent back to Dundee at this time and he was an old man when Matt (my great-aunt) was wee. He used to tell tales about what he remembered to his relatives and that is how Matt made the connection!

The Americans thought the treasure was buried on the shoreline, I think and were organising equipment to dig down- would need to have built sides as the sand would have just fallen back in. Never heard anything from them so I suppose that they failed too. By the way one was a dentist! - put his money into finding the treasure!- rich dentists in America!

Thanks Mum for the extra details. I hope the dentist never lost too much money. Chasing treasure is rather like chasing a rainbow. Fun but impossible.

Scissors, feet and pirates.

I've been tagged by Marceline to blog some things you don't know about me. Strange, because just the other night I was trying to think of three things people didn't know about me. I managed to come up with two. Mainly because I am a chatterbox and divulge everything about my life to my friends. So apologies for those who already know these facts.

1. I am an exceptionally good whistler. I used to whistle all the time as a child. It took one morning of sitting on the stairs, determined to whistle - to crack it. After that, I whistled like an old man - in the car, in the post office, at William Lows - wherever we went.

My friend round the corner had an irritating little sister. She entered a competition on the Big Breakfast to play an instrument live on air. She entered herself as a whistler and got on! I was so jealous because I knew I was a better whistler! Bitter? Moi?......I'm also surprisingly good on the harmonica. How? I have no idea.

2. I still have my favourite pair of scissors from childhood. Why? Well, being left handed it was always hard to cut out shapes. At school arts and crafts lessons my work was always wonky and ragged because the right handed scissors hurt my hands. In primary three, my kind art teacher gave me a pair of red scissors that could be used by left or right handed people. It was a revelation. I was soon cutting away like there was no tomorrow and my confidence in doing craft work rocketed. I keep them to remind me of an obstacle I overcame. And to be honest; they do cut rather well.

3. I am a qualified reflexologist. I love doing reflexology, it's so satisfying to see someone relaxed and enjoying their treatment. If I've not practiced for a while my arms ache, but that soon disappears. I used to hate feet but now find them quite fascinating. They can tell you so much about a person. Most people baulk at the thought of touching someone else's feet, but if you follow certain hygiene practices, then it's fine. Believe me, I've seen a lot of feet and they are never as bad as you'd imagine.

4. I have one pupil bigger than the other.

5. I love to dance in my kitchen. I have no idea why, but after a couple of glasses of wine, my kitchen floor calls me to lay my feet down for a boogie.....

6. My late great-aunt claimed to have written Moonriver. She said she wrote it and sent it to a publishing company and they stole it. My sister insists that the song was Fly me to the Moon, but my mum and I remember it was Moonriver. If only, I certainly wouldn't writing this blog now. I'd be in the South of France. Sipping pink champagne.

7. I love old photographs. I love nothing more than searching through very old photos, whether I know the people in them or not. It doesn't bother me. I need to make the effort and share some of my family photos. I am lucky to have ones from the 1930s onwards.

8. I swear everyone I know has heard this. So sorry. But anyhoo......One of the best days of my life happened at the age of 17. At the time I was doing an HNC in Radio Broadcasting. My mates Yasmin and Lisa arranged for us to meet the Super Furry Animals for an interview. They were playing at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes. We met them for an interview and they were rather lovely. We took them a haggis as a gift. I think that impressed them. Out of all the people who interviewed them, only the three of us got given backstage passes for that evening. We all enjoyed the gig and had a great laugh at the aftershow party. It certainly was not showbiz glamour, but a good giggle. They remain my favourite band in the world. A couple of years ago Lee and I went all the way to Ullapool to see them. A fantastic weekend and another wonderful gig.

9. I love birdwatching. I think it started in childhood when my dad would tell me the names of different birds. I find them relaxing to watch. I suppose I don't class myself as a birdwatcher - I've never been on specialist trips or gone to a club. I just like sitting in my living room watching them hop from the tree onto the bird feeder. I don't have a favourite bird, but my top three have got to be.....Robins, Sparrowhawks and Blackbirds. In no particular order.

And finally, here's a tale to read with a hot cup of cocoa......
10. This is my proudest family story. My great, great, great, great (not sure how many great) grandfather was Captain Thompson. My great-aunt found the connection during her family tree research. He was a respected Dundonian who turned bad....According to some, Robert Louis Stevenson based aspects of Treasure Island on the story of Thompson.

If the treasure was found today, a 10% fee would be given to the finders. If you read on, you'll find that there is a lot of treasure. Six foot solid gold Virgin Mary statue is the key phrase. Bling! In the 1980s we had some Americans visit to ask for more information about Thompson. I don't think my parents could tell them much. I believe the Americans were going to do an expedition, but I cannot remember the details. To give you an accurate account of Thompson, I've taken the story from this online site http://www.e-adventure.net/land/treasure/treasureisland.html. Read on and enjoy.......

A Captain Thompson who was well known by the Peruvians as a fair man, was approached as his ship the Mary Dier lay at anchor in the bay. They asked if he would take on the treasure, some priests and some guards and sail out into the open sea and wait until the coast was clear. He agreed to do the job for a handsome price. Once out to sea the crew and the Captain having loaded this immense treasure could not resist the temptation to own it for themselves. They proceeded to club the Peruvian guards and slashed the throats of the priests then tossed them all overboard. The Mary Deir then headed for Cocos Island where it took eleven trips in the ship's longboat to get the treasure from the ship to shore. They buried the treasure with all intentions of returning in a year or so after all the fuss had quieted down. The treasure was valued at roughly 12 million in an1820's market. Today it would be worth over $100,000,000. Another prize buried at that time was a solid gold, gem encrusted, life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary. They say it weighed a ton. After unloading the ship this group turned pirate, headed round the Horn towards England but before they reached the Horn a Spanish warship captured them and sent them all to Panama to be put on trial for murder and piracy. They were all convicted and sentenced to be hung, which they all promptly were with the exception of the Capt. and his mate, who they hoped would bargain their lives for the where abouts of the treasure. Once the two men and their guards reached the shore of Cocos Island, the Captain and his mate took off and hid in the dense foliage of the island. The Spaniards finally gave up looking for them after searching fruitlessly for days and returned to Panama. Captain Thompson and the mate stayed marooned on the island for many long months surviving on bird’s eggs, fruit, coconuts, and small game. Eventually they were rescued by whalers and ended up in Newfoundland. Thompson died and the mate a man named Keating produced a map of the treasure and from that point on people tried to finance expeditions to the island.
Since then real and fake maps have fallen from out of the pages of books, from between the linings of steamer trunks and virtually every nook and cranny to lead adventurers to the island. Distant relatives of pirates and seamen claim to have the exclusive charts to the islands treasure.
The sources of treasure on the island are as numerous as the expeditions to find them and many are constantly being rebutted by scholars, historians, and treasure hunters alike. Like Americas Lost Dutchman’s mine, and Nova Scotia’s Oak Island, people believe that there must be some truth to the stories, enough truth to spend millions trying to find lost treasure.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Play it again

I had a good old jaunt to Byres Road yesterday. I paid my deposit for the wedding florist who is going to create a cracking display - I can just tell. (I'm getting very excited!) Right next door to the flower shop is the fantastic Oxfam record shop. Full of bargain vinyl; I cannot resist. I found Glen Campbell's greatest hits and the fabulous Frankie by Sister Sledge. For some reason Frankie reminds me of listening to Radio 2 on a grey winters morning, eating Ready Brek before going to school. Having grown up listening to Radio 2, mainly whilst eating breakfast or baking with my mother; I am rather fond of the station's older shows. I was listening to Desmond Carrington on Radio 2 the other night (he has an amazing voice!) and found him playing some rather wonderful French music. Tout Le Jour, Toute LA Nuit by Patrick Bruel (great album cover) and the easy listening classic - Chanson D'Amour by Manhattan Transfer (sing along - 'ratatata') Perfect as I drove to my friend's house. I was singing away quite happily.

But to get back to my vinyl. I am obsessed with Glen Campbell's song Wichita Lineman. I am now playing that song over and over again. Something about the tone of his voice and the longing in the lyrics makes me race over and replace the needle onto the same song again and again. I thought it would have made the perfect love song for Brokeback Mountain. But anyway, for the moment, I am going to run back to the living room and replay it one more time.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Exposing my weak spot.

I'm rather lucky to have supportive family and friends who treat me very well. Me, having ME can be hard for them because they only see me ill if they spend a lot of time with me. I avoid contact if I'm too ill. So I appreciate that they accept me for who I am. But so they should - ME does not define my personality, even though it's a big part of my life. I found this article exploring psychosomatic symptoms/illnesses and it reminded me of the complex mind issues that surround any illness. I have recently found counselling a really helpful tool in my quest for better health, but I am well aware that it will not cure me. Instead, it's helped me accept who I am and learn not to be ashamed of my illness.

Last week a group of my friends were talking about our weak spots. To give you an example, one friend hates it when people slag off Buffy, it gets her riled up. Mine, on a similarly shallow level, is probably litter (I don't know why?). But realistically, my weak spot is when strangers or new acquaintances try and suggest cures for ME. It gets me down when people say that I should try cognitive behavioural therapy or some other talking therapy, just because it cured their friend. I understand that they are trying to be helpful, but deep down I feel like screaming - "I've been ill for a long time, have I not tried so many 'cures' already? Would you suggest counselling as a cure for a person with MS or cancer? No, you'd be punched, because that is plain insensitive". But I smile and nod and thank them for their wisdom. Ultimately, they are trying to be helpful, trying to connect with a stranger by sharing knowledge, but they don't know that I have a large chip on my shoulder, weighing me down. I'd rather they got my ME confused with MS, that is always far more amusing.......

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Vintage inspiration

I've been given some lovely vintage gifts this week. My friend Rae gave me the Be-Ro Home Recipes book - a book still available in 'new' format from Be-Ro today. She was given it by one of her clients who sadly passed away. She thought I'd make good use of it and enjoy baking the recipes. I'm delighted as I've not got a basic recipe book with traditional staple baking in it.

I also received this fab hat from Lee - it's so cute. Rae pointed out that it resembles something Miss Marple would wear (never a bad thing) but sadly it doesn't fit my big heid. I am disappointed and wonder who on earth ever squeezed their noggin into it!

My final find of the week is an apron belonging to my mother. She must have left it here sometime ago, it was hiding in my towel drawer. It is a cute vintage shape and I must copy to the pattern to make my own. Recently my Mum was complaining that these types of aprons are so hard to find and she like half-aprons like this. I saw ones in a vintage shop but at £8 a go I gave it a miss.

I'm rather pleased with the way these photos have turned out, it's the first time I've used my new mobile phone to take pictures. Fiona and I had a rare time on Sunday night playing with Bluetooth - first time either of us had tried it (technophobes!). We sat in a restaurant in Xscape eating away and trying to send each other old photos. Fiona narrowly escaped sending a photo of me dressed as Velma from Scooby-Doo to some random person. We never realised that Bluetooth allows you to connect to complete strangers. We were rather spooked to find that someone in the crowded restaurant had named their phone Negro Hunter. It was so creepy and at this point we decided to switch our phones off and order dessert. After that we needed a sweet taste in our mouths.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pass me my cape, for I am the Ratcatcher!

Don't worry, this is not a personal photo - I got it from Google images. I returned from physio today to a rather scared Fiona. She stayed over last night and was about to have her morning cup of cherry tea when she spied a tiny field mouse attempting to chew the sewing machine lead. She claims he eyeballed her in a rather cheeky fashion, so she began to chase him around with the wastepaper bin. Sadly he was far too fast.

We went to B&Q and bought two humane mouse traps and set them up. This afternoon, I was chatting away on MSN when I felt something tickle my foot - I looked down to see Jeemy (we named him after the mouse in Oor Wullie) sitting looking rather gallous. So, I chased him around for ten minutes, at the same time on the phone to Fiona (who had gone home) to give me some courage until I trapped him under a plastic bin. I slid him towards the door and used the door mat as a cover. Thankfully, I managed to get him out the house and into the garden. He promptly ran for cover, but hung around near the front door. I looked outside a few minutes later to find him chewing on a dead worm and decided - you are on my patch son, time to move on. So, out I went, scooped him up into the bin -bear in mind these are fast fast creatures, I don't know how I did it - and walked round the corner a few hundred yards to the church garden and let him off. I pray he finds peace and does not come back!

After my hassle with the weevils (all gone now!) I am really not happy with my vermin problems. The neighbours must have thought I'd lost it when I was shaking bits of paper out - to get rid of weevils - so now they see me wandering around with a bucket at arms length.....

I need to go for a lie down now. Far too much excitement for one day. What superhero suits me better - Ratcatcher or Dangermouse?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Catherine's Concierge Service

After a hectic week, I am slowing right down today. Yesterday was the legendary Misofunky market where my other half Lee has a stall. This time it was held in The Venue at Oranmor (or Oranmoor as I call it in my Fife accent!) and as usual, the Misofunky girls organised a great day. I hijacked part of Lee's stall for some knitted mittens and tiny handmade gift bags (see above). It was very busy and Lee was delighted to sell three of his paintings. We are sad to see them go as they looked fantastic in our living room, but they went to good homes. I like having space for more of Lee's creations.

I am glad to have a day off today to relax. All week I've been running around organising things for Lee. I usually live a 'part-time' lifestyle so when I do a 'full-time' of week of activities, I really feel it. My body cries out for rest when I overdo things. I plod along, keeping reasonably well, but weeks like this remind me - 'oh I'm ill!'. I slept until lunchtime today, so I already feel refreshed. It has been wonderful doing nothing of consequence this afternoon!
Lee's currently very busy with work so his personal time is virtually non-existent. Therefore, it falls on me to help! I always joke that I'm Lee's personal secretary, but Claire has suggested that this week I've been more of a specialised concierge service. True. But I want to know - in the word concierge, why does the rule 'i before e, except after c' not come into play? It is typical of the English language to have exceptions just when you least expect it. I will leave you to ponder that one, and feel free to enlighten/correct me about the finer details of this language rule....

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 05, 2007

Labour of gloves

I'd like to say I've been knitting like mad for Lee's stall at the next Misofunky market.....but I've not. I've managed three pairs of pretty mittens and stopped short of finishing a forth pair. Sometimes I like to wait until the week of the market and go craft crazy. Stressful, but I am a procrastinator by nature. In fact, I'm blogging instead of getting on with the crafting process. I am rather proud of these mitts because I designed them myself. I am no knitting genius though, the largest item I've attempted is a scarf. Do you like the confrontational pose here? Don't mess with me in my mittens!
Miso Funky Market