Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Geseënde Kersfees & Nollaig Chridheil!

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Monday, 15 December 2008

What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?

We had so many things to do for fun when I was growing up.

As I have mentioned (possibly in my other blog,
Random Ramblings and Recipes) we often went to the Lake for a weekend, or more sometimes. That was fantastic – it was like a paradise. There were two or three cottages we used to stay in – one was the Namingomba Cottage, another the Cook’s Cottage, and the third was the Brown and Clapperton’s Cottage.

In the latter we had to make sure all the doors and windows were closed otherwise the monkeys would get in and steal our food! They also had three geese (or ducks, but if they were ducks they were bloody massive!) who always walked around as though they were one! At breakfast time the cook would go out to the back of the house and pick the grapefruit, and at drinks time he would go out and pick the lemons.

The beach at that particular cottage was entirely private, surrounded by rocky outcrops. We had it all to ourselves. It was magical, and it was truly a paradise.

Apart from going to the Lake, we would also go to game reserves, but that was more a passion of my dad’s at the time. Had I been the age I am now I would have appreciated it so much more – I could have waited for hours in hides just to get that perfect shot – photographic, not bullets!

We also went to the drive-in cinema quite often. We had a VW Combi, which was incredibly cool and…oh god, I just realised it probably wasn’t that retro then – I must be getting old! Anyway, it had an extended roof on it, so you could actually stand up inside to your full height. It didn’t fit through the barrier at the drive-in, so we had to go in the exit. It was great though, because all around us (well, in front of us, we had to go at the back being the biggest vehicle) there were people in cars, sitting in car seats being not very comfortable really! Whereas we had beds in our combi, plus a fridge, so we could have ice cold drinks. The adults could watch the film while drinking G&T’s with ice and lemon! It was all very civilised! And when it got too late for little me, I would just go to bed!

There was a great caterer at the drive-in too – we would have piri piri chicken, which was beautiful!

The only downside to the drive-in experience was that the sound quality was crap, but hey…I’ve experienced what most people only see in American teen movies! Only I was a child at the time, so there was no getting on at the drive-in!

We also went swimming a lot and had parties at different peoples’ houses.

All in all, it was a fun childhood really!

I will find some photos to post on here. I’m sure there must be some somewhere!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

What kind of games did you play growing up?

When I was growing up, skipping was still quite cool – well, in primary school anyway! It’s probably not allowed now in case a skipping little girl gets caught up in the rope and throttles herself!

Anyway, every break time we would get out the big, long skipping rope and skip. We could even skip with two ropes being swung in opposite directions – if that makes any sense!

There was also this toy that I begged for months to be able to get – they were so cool at the time! I can’t remember what they were called, or even what happened to mine, but they were big balls with a sort of disc thing around the middle. Basically, you stood on the disc bit and bounced up and down – sort of a pogo ball! It was so cool, and if you didn’t have one then you really weren’t worth knowing! Maybe it was just my school…!

How cool is that – I found one for you! Mine was a yellow ball with a black disc.
I just found
this site which reminded me of a lot of the toys that I had growing up in the 80’s – I even recognised some of the glow worms – I had totally forgotten about them! I also had My Little Ponies and She’Ra toys!

I played with Sindy’s a lot – in those days they were much better than Barbies. My cousins had Action Men – they were a bit the worse for wear though! One of them had his foot held on by some string wrapped around it! Obviously, my Sindys and their Action Men were married!

The games I played with my friends were pretty normal – judging by what isla says they still play the same sort of things now – mummies and daddies, playing teacher etc! Also, in France they still do hopscotch (called La Marelle here) – I have no idea if they still do that in UK or not. Probably not – hopping’s probably banned as a dangerous sport! I do know that in a lot of places in UK, playing conkers is banned – ridiculous!

NB. Photograph not my own work

Were there any special items in the house that you remember?

The only item I remember, that has made a lasting impression on me, was a lamp owned by my Grandma. She still has it in her flat now. It was bought in Singapore, when they lived there, and is an abacus, with a square red lampshade with a Chinese character on it. No idea what it says though!

I suppose the bed that is now mine is a memorable one. My mum and dad bought it in Malawi for themselves. It is made from cedarwood, and has a very intricately carved headboard. It’s very comfortable too!
We’ve never had antiques or anything like that – I don’t know why anyone would want to spend thousands on other peoples’ second hand tat!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

New Christmassy Templates

I love these templates! I found the link bar (which you will see in icky orange at the top of my page) on someone else's blog tonight, clicked on it and found Christmas templates! Which, given my Christmassy feeling, seemed like the perfect thing to do to my blogs!

Click here if you want your blog to look all Christmassy and groovy! It tells you how to change the template too - it's complicated html stuff, but not that hard.

Beware though, you will lose all your widgets. What I did was to save all the html detail on word, and then copy and paste it back into new gadgets.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

What was the house like that you grew up in?

The first house I lived in as a child was in Portsmouth – Cosham to be exact. It was a typical 1920’s/30’s style end of terrace house. There was a small, walled patch of garden in front, and quite a long garden at the back. I will post a photo when I can find one. Downstairs there was a hallway, a long kitchen, a dining room and quite a large sitting room. There was also a cupboard under the stairs. Upstairs there three bedrooms – one large one at the front of the house, and two smaller ones at the back. There was also a bathroom, and it had glass in the door – you know the sort of glass that is patterned so you can’t see through it. I only lived there until I was 3½ but Grandma and Grandad had bought it I suppose in the early 50’s. I don’t remember much about it apart from the fact that it always felt like a home, but I suppose that’s because my mum, aunt and uncle had all spent a large part of their growing up years there, and even though they were overseas a lot, it was always home to them when they came back.

When we lived in Malawi we lived in a rented house that my dad already had. It was a bungalow with a corrugated iron roof – bloody noisy in a rainstorm! As you want through the front door off the khonde (veranda) you stepped into a very large room which was, to the right a sitting room and to the left the dining room. Off the dining room end, to the right, was the kitchen and pantry. At the back of the kitchen there was a small area where the Rhodesian boiler was which was used to heat the water. More on this later. At the end of the dining room there was a door which led into quite a dark corridor – it seemed dark, but maybe that’s just because the doors were shut! The first door on the left was my bedroom which was a light, airy room. On the right there was another bedroom which always seemed quite dark to me. At the end of the corridor was my mum and dad’s room, which was another light airy one with lots of windows and a frangipane tree outside. Just before you got to their room in the corridor, on the right was the bathroom and a separate toilet.
The garden was massive. There was a vegetable garden, a large chicken run where we also had ducks, and a wooded area. I loved playing in that wooded area – it was “my” forest! The front part of the garden was terraced and there was a swing, which I loved. There was also a seesaw to start with. It was a cool seesaw, which not only went up and down, but round and round too! Unfortunately, after one little girl broke her arm at a birthday party the seesaw was put away, and never again saw the light of day.
When we moved back to Scotland in 1986 we lived in a typical Galloway cottage which was between 300 and 350 years old. It was beautiful, made from granite, and had originally been two cottages, presumably tied cottages for farm labourers. You can see quite clearly in the stonework on the front of the house that there were originally two front doors. On the right hand side of the house (from the front) was an extension which had been added in 1865 to accommodate the village post office. By the time we moved there it hadn’t been the post office ofr a very long time, but there were the odd clues as to it’s former occupation – the floor was concrete in that room, rather than the wood of the rest of the house, because it had housed the post office safe which needed a solid floor. It became our study.
Anyway, as you walked in the front door, you came into a hallway. To the left was the sitting room with a granite fireplace that we built ourselves, replacing the ghastly green faux marble one that was there when we moved in! In the hallway itself were the stairs and the bathroom which was partly under the stairs. To the right was the dining room (which became a sitting room in the winter as it had three inside walls and was much cosier). At the back of the dining room was a door into the kitchen, and on the right of the dining room was a door into the study.
Upstairs there was a landing with airing cupboards. On the left was my bedroom and on the right was a small box room, converted into a cute one person bedroom with a skylight window. Also on the right was my parents’ bedroom. Both of the bigger bedroom were a good size, with lovely dormer windows.

The garden was a large one, for a village house, and went all around the house, which was detached. The garden was surrounded at the front and one side by a hedge, along the other side by a dry stone dyke (dry stone wall), and along the back by a fence. Our view out of the kitchen at the back of the house was just fields full of sheep or cows, a small forest of pine trees, an old motte and far in the distance a large hill (not quite a mountain) called Carsphairn. It was beautiful, and we used to watch the lambs playing in the spring.
When I was a student, I lived in halls at Heriot Watt, Edinburgh for the first year. I had a room which had a single bed, a desk and a wash basin – and that was it!
After that, I moved into digs in town which was ok. It was a town house in a quiet street just off the Dalry Road near the Haymarket. Downstairs there were offices, and a kitchen which I could use, and upstairs there were three large bedroom rented out. It was comfortable, and eventually Colin moved in with me there. We only moved out because I got pregnant, and we couldn’t comfortably stay there.
We moved from there into a flat in Moredun. Not the most salubrious of places, and we were on the 10th floor! We had a fantastic view over the city – we had an almost 360° view from the Pentlands, across the city with Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat all the way across the Firth of Forth. The flat itself was quite nice, and we decorated it and made it homely. The kitchen was a bit crappy though! As you walked in the front door immediately in front was a large walk in cupboard, which quickly became a dumping ground for junk and boxes! Then there was a hallway – the first bedroom on the left was Isla’s, once she was born. The second room on the left was our bedroom. On the right was a small bathroom. There was also a cupboard on the left for linen etc. Then there was a very large sitting room, and the kitchen. It wasn’t the best area in town, but it was ok.
Then I came to France. Our house now is a lot different to what it was then . When I first arrived there were the four of us in the same bedroom, but quite quickly we renovated another room for me and Isla.
Now we have three bedrooms, and a hallway! From the front door you enter the sitting room with big old beams, and a massive fireplace with a woodburning stove. To the right is a door into the kitchen. To the left is a door which goes into a hallway. The first door on the right is my bedroom, which has a door into Isla’s room. The second door on the right goes into the bathroom, which also leads into Isla’s room. The door on the left goes into my mum and dad’s room, which is in the process of being plastered and decorated. There are another couple of big rooms downstairs to be renovated, and two large rooms and a massive balcony upstairs to be done.

The garden is massive, with a few straggly vines at the back, loads of fruit trees and the pièce de résistance – the pool!