Saturday, 16 July 2016

and is reunited with old friends

Isn't it nice when something long lost turns up again?

It happened for me this week. Not human, nor animal friends,  but my sunglasses which had been lost,  and feared gone forever for several weeks.
They weren't new, nor even this year's style.  Disclaimer, I'm not entirely certain what even *is* this year's style. But I liked them. They were comfy and just the right degree of shadiness,  which meant they were wearable in our not completely sunny climes. And then at the end of last month following an afternoon of gardening they were gone.
I was pretty sure I had been wearing them. But where could I have put them? Not in my bag, nor on my desk. Not in the car. Nowhere to be seen in the garden.  I searched and remained hopeful for a few days, then gradually resigned myself to the fact they were gone.  Perhaps I hadn't been wearing them after all,  perhaps I'd left them in a shop or cafe in town?  I even went back and asked.
And then, two days ago I was in the garden. Standing beside the trug I'd been using,  I glanced  down on a pile of weedy debris. Hang on, what was that glinting?
My sunglasses! Yippee! But I'd checked that pile of weeds, and looked into the trug.  And now there they were. A little mossy but nothing a good clean couldn't fix.
Obviously the woodland creature who'd borrowed them knew what was this year's style.
But as far as I'm concerned.  Woodland creatures 0 Marina 1

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

but is no 24 hour party person

Manchester. Meeting up with the GlamourPuss and Profski (who was there for a conference). A couple of days catching up, chatting, exploring;  maybe a cocktail or two? I researched dog friendly places via my regular dugswelcome haunt and this blog and was really pleased to find out there were lots, and in the Northern Quarter, I remembered that district fondly from my last visit.  We'd really enjoyed walking around there. And so we returned....

I had a list of places in my head and thought we could wander and then just  choose the one we liked best. And so on a lovely sunny, late Spring evening that's what we did. We wandered about looking for somewhere for a drink and something to eat.

Perhaps at this point I should introduce the "Perfect Teashop"concept. Back in days of yore, before DogStarke was even a gleam in anyone's eye, indeed even before her mother was born, on Sunday afternoons MrS and I would drop MasterS off at his dad's and go for a drive. Sometimes to the seaside sometimes to the country. We would have a walk, maybe visit an historic site, admire dogs. And then come mid afternoon I'd get a hankering for tea, and perhaps cake. And so the search would begin..... This one would be too busy, these cakes too generic, those cups too clumsy. And so on. Until even the ever patient MrS would grow exasperated, and thirsty.  And lecture me on the futility of my search.
very nice, but this was lunch

nice, but not a teashop

maybe I should stick to coffee

or wine?

Cut to the Northern  Quarter, and that lovely sunny, late Spring evening. Four mature adults and one cute dog. I had my list.We wandered. Now, where shall I start on my list of "nots"? This one's too busy, that one too noisy, this one looks nice? Ah, nothing 'til 10pm. Eventually two very lovely young folk, with an equally lovely dog, suggested very tactfully that Bluu would maybe suit us; it was big so we should be able to get a table, dog friendly and "smarter". A very tactful way of saying, suitable for oldies.  I even liked the music*.

Anyway, I got my cocktail, we ordered some wine and dug into ribs and brisket. In our banquette we could hear each the speak. And DogS was a great hit. So the evening ended well.

Next day with Profski duly waved off to his lectures the rest of us set off for Didsbury, where after a short bus trip (no. 42, there's a choice of services, nb  the tram does not allow dogs)

a scritch from the long arm of the law

on the bus

DogStarke was able to have a lovely run around the park and we had a late, late breakfast at Lounge.

very GlamourPuss

what none for me?

But what of our evening? Friday evening to be precise.

afternoon cocktails

We didn't venture out. We cocooned in our big Novotel room with some drinks and snacks and watched the Chelsea flower show  and a gem of a documentary about the flower trade.

chill zone

I know how to party.

Marina x

*it has a 80s theme

Saturday, 7 May 2016

and enjoys some new ones

This week I had a quick trip back to  Edinburgh to meet up with friends and grab a bit of culture (and shopping).  I love my life here in Argyll, it's certainly not a cultural desert, we've a fab local cinema, there's music, and lots of creative people producing great arts and crafts, but one thing we don't have so much access to is "big name" exhibitions and last time I was  in Edinburgh I'd  spotted an ad. for Masters of the Everyday, Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer at the Queen's Gallery at Holyrood Palace. So I decided to combine a visit to it, with a catchup session with some girlfriends.

getting in the city mood, a century of Vogue on the  train 

I like the Queen's Gallery, it's just the right size and as you might imagine puts on some pretty good shows, after all H M has one of the world's largest art collections,  so there are loads  of great paintings to choose from.  And to use a much abused word,  the exhibitions are always well curated, with just the  right amount to see. I get sensory overload if I go to a really massive exhibition and much prefer smaller shows that leave me wanting more.

I'm sure the GlamourPuss has a pair like that

card players were a popular subject

Vermeer detail

The exhibition runs until the 24th July, catch it if you can.

the gallery itself is lovely

After my culture fix I had a quick trip to the shops and then had lunch at The Forth Floor Brasserie at the top of Harvey Nichols. It's an old favourite of mine from my Edinburgh days, I love the views and the buzz.

tea with a view

And where did I stay? Here!

respite from the heels

The Hub by Premier Inn, on East Market Street  between Waverley station and the Royal Mile. It's pretty new and a good addition to the budget hotel scene. Rooms certainly are compact but very well designed, with a good amount of storage, comfy beds and generous showers. I don't know how much I'd like to share the space but it was great as as solo traveller. One proviso, if you're short and have reduced mobility you could have a problem getting into bed;  the non hanging storage is underneath so  they are quite high. My feet couldn't touch the floor when I was sitting on it (I'm  quite short, 5'2). Still  that didn't put me off and I was all set to rebook for my next trip south but prices had risen so I'm trying out yet another budget option then.

homeward bound

But before that, I've an  island safari to look forward to,  and MrS and Dogstarke  get to come on that.

Until then

Marina x