Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Our Christmas, 2016

I did my friend and family visiting earlier in the month, and Sue is travelling to Kent to see her sister, Mum and friends in a day or two's time. So for Christmas Day here at Roskhill, it was planned to be just us. As it happened, a nearby friend became widowed a short time ago, so we invited this friend, Anne, to join us for dinner and part of the day.

We had a great time. Sue was working in the morning (doing her usual home care job - which of course goes on 365 days of the year). This left me to cook the dinner, and although I say it myself - it all came out pretty fine! As to our visitor -  If I ever reach Anne's age (she is 93) should I then be only half as interesting, witty and jovial, I will still be having a good life. Anne was a life-long teacher, and became head teacher of a tough Glasgow secondary school in the late 1960s. She has many tales to tell, and remembers everything in perfect detail. She is a lovely, gracious and respectful lady - endearing qualities which I fear are going out of fashion in so many younger people of today.

Cupar was on his best behaviour. He only opened his own presents, and this year unwrapped one to find it contained a replacement for his much-loved but rather tattered rubber chicken toy. I didn't think to video the unwrapping until it was too late, but there are a couple of photos below.

So, although Christmas Day for this year is now in the past, we are still very much in the Christmas season, so I wish all readers of this blog Season's Greetings, and may we all have good health and happiness throughout the coming New Year.

Sue with Anne and Cupar
Cupar's 'deceased' rubber chicken (headless, feet-less, tail-less...)
'I've got a new chicken!! I've got a new chicken!!'
...but you're not having it !!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Skye at Christmas

I'm sure I have mentioned before in this blog that the age demographic of Skye's resident population is somewhat different to that of the UK as a whole. We are all getting older anyway, and Skye is a popular place to retire to, so attracts plenty of ageing incomers (much like ourselves...)! Young families are few and far between, and as the children grow up, they often want to leave the island to seek a more exciting life elsewhere.

All this means that the autumnal family events such as Bonfire Night and Halloween tend not to happen here at all. Pensioners generally do not go trick-or-treating (or 'giuising', as it is known in Scotland), though there were a few 'spooky' masks for sale in the local shop.

You could be forgiven for not realising that Christmas is almost upon us too. Probably the most obvious sign is the stacks of beer, wine and spirits which now partially block most of the aisles in the Co-op, and some of the check-out staff are wearing Santa hats. Then there is the annual wonky Christmas tree outside Dunvegan Community Hall. But you don't see twinkly lit-up houses here, and we won't be expecting any carol singers to trudge through the black night to knock at our door.

I did manage to sing some carols the other evening though. The enthusiastic Skye Light Orchestra performs an annual Christmas Concert, and this year the orchestra was augmented by the recently formed 'Skye Chorus' choir. Sue sings with the choir, so I happily went along to one performance where audience participation in the carol singing was encouraged. I was also particularly impressed by the vigorous rendition given of the Hallelujah Chorus.

Clearly, we're not all huddled round our log-burners every evening!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Best Place To Live In Britain?

Apparently, a recent survey by the Rightmove estate agency group has revealed the Isle of Skye to be the most desirable place in Britain to live. Hmm... I think there are a lot of these surveys. Is there anywhere in Britain that has NOT been included in a list of 'healthiest', 'happiest', 'cheapest' or 'most dog-friendly'? I don't imagine the Skye vote will result in a flood of new incomers rushing to move here.

Having said that - as regular readers of this blog will know - Sue and I love it here. Skye life suits us well. The winter weather so far this year is being very kind. We've had a bit of frost and a bit of snow and even a bit of fog, but it's not been especially wet or windy yet, and the sun has been making quite frequent appearances.

At this time of year, the sun never gets very high in the sky, so the low angle of sunshine enhances the rich browns and oranges of the winter vegetation and long, deep shadows all combine to give us the most glorious of light shows. The landscape seems to vibrate with beauty. There's no explaining it in words, and photographs don't do it justice - you have to be here and experience it for yourself!

But if you have read the survey, and are rushing to get your house on the market in preparation for moving here - remember - it's a long way to the shops...!


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Let’s Hear It For NHS Scotland!

I received a letter the other day, inviting me to attend Portree hospital for a screening scan for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurism. All men aged 65 in Scotland get this letter. The accompanying information leaflet told me that about 1 in 20 men aged 65 have an aortic aneurysm. Small and medium aneurisms may never need treatment, though they will continue to be monitored. Large aneurisms can rupture, which often leads to death, but if spotted soon enough, may be treated to prevent rupture.

But enough of the health-scare stuff…

My appointment was for 2.40pm. I arrived at the little Portree hospital at about 2.25pm, and was greeted by a helpful receptionist who showed me towards the upstairs reception, where the patients for scans were registered. ‘Do you need the lift to get upstairs? I was asked…OMG – I must be beginning to look old…!!!

A further friendly and smiling receptionist at upstairs reception took my details and pointed me to a seated waiting area. Just one other person was sitting there, among about a dozen empty chairs. I took off my coat and was about to sit down when a nurse called my name, and showed me to a treatment room.

‘I’m Christine, and this Is Janice’, said the nurse, showing me into the room. I was given a little information as to what was about to be done, and asked if I had any questions. I did not, so I lay on the couch and my abdomen was squirted with a rather chilly jelly. A few minutes of ultrasound scanning took place, and I was then told by Janice that my aorta was well within the ‘normal’ range, and I was filled in with a few further details by Christine. I was then ‘free to go’.

I wandered out of the hospital and back to my van (parked in the hospital car park, right outside, and for no cost, I should add), and as I turned on the ignition, noticed the time was 2.37pm.

Yes – I had attended my appointment, received top quality treatment, and was back out of the hospital BEFORE the time I was due to even be there.

I award 10 out of 10 to Portree Hospital, NHS Scotland, for their friendly and efficient care.  Thank you!

Portree Hospital