30 Dec 2011

Hestia and Hogmanay

Please don't let them ever retire -
I won't know what to do at Hogmanay without them
I don't know about you, but the days between Christmas and New Year always leave me feeling a bit sad.  First of all, the excitement of Christmas is over for another 12 months and secondly, I realise that I've hardly seen any of the TV shows/movies that I carefully circled with my black biro in the TV Times on 17th of December.....

I also realise that I have have eaten more than my body weight in turkey and mince pies.

Sometimes on the same PLATE.

26 Dec 2011

Hestia's mystery Christmas present was.....

An ipad!!!!!

I had dared to hope that it might be a Kindle reader, but never in my wildest dreams did I believe that Tartarus would spring for an ipad!

Christmas Day was largely spent humphed over the router trying to work out how to get the damned thing onto the home network....but perseverence does overcometh all difficulties and soon I was downloading free books, apps and Sonshine and Tartarus had a jolly big fight over Angry Birds.

Tartarus did ALL the cooking. And all the washing up.  And he bought me an ipad - did I mention that?

And didn't Maggie Smith get all the best lines in Downton Abbey - I actually stifled a guffaw at one point, but then I had been drinking pink fizz all day and all sense of reason had pretty much left me by 9pm.

What about you - did you have a lovely day?

Tell me all about it *pops open another bottle of pink fizz and waits*

24 Dec 2011

Hestia...goes Christmas Crackers

Could it be keys to a Ferrari?
We'd put it off for as long as possible, but with the weather threatening to put the ferry service off on Christmas Eve, we could be left staring at a Christmas lunch that consisted of the remains of a selection box and the partially decomposed body of an ancient pain au chocolate.....

So, today (Friday) we did the Christmas Food Shopping. On the mainland.  In Tesco. Yeah, verily, bow down and worship at the feet of the Hestia The Indefatigable and the Blessed Wallet of Tartarus

I had a list, laid out with military precision - all the veggies together, all the meat and, of course, all the booze.

First of all, we dumped Sonshine at the in store child care facilities Toy Department and off we went, jaws set grimly, list in hand, trolley squeaking wildly and Don't F*ck With Us, We're On A Mission From God To Get Croissants expressions.

Actually, most of it passed off without incident.  Although we did run into most of our island neighbours while we were there - which is only to be expected.  It's ok running into someone at the beginning of the supermarket trek, but after bumping in to the same people in every subsequent aisle, conversation dries up.  And everyone just looks pissed off to be there.  You just eye-roll each other as another fifty quids worth of food gets added to the cart.

Anyway, picture the scene:  we've just loaded up with umpteen bottles of Crabbies Ginger Beer and Tenants Lager when Tartarus announced that we needed more crackers.

'I've got crackers in the house,' I say breezily.

'But have we got enough?' he said, his brow creasing with concern. 'We've got friends coming on Boxing Day and I think we'll have none left after Christmas Day.'

My heart leapt - maybe The Grinch Tartarus WAS getting into the Christmas spirit right enough........'Maybe you're right....you look after the trolley, I'll go and get some more,' I say, offering him the chariot and shouldering my way through the crowds.

A short while later I arrive back at the trolley, cheeks aglow, a large box of crackers in my hand.

'What in the hell is that?' he asks.

'Crackers'  I show him the box - gold and cream trimmed crackers, one dozen of the finest thereof.

He sighs. 'For CHEESE,' he says. 'Crackers for cheese.'

Well, it's a mistake that anyone could make, right? RIGHT?


For the first time in living memory, Tartarus has bought me a surprise Christmas present.  I haven't had to buy it or wrap it (which is what has happened for the past 10 or so years).

My heart hopes that it is something crazy beautiful like an ipad or a kindle.....maybe jewellery? Oooooh - maybe theatre tickets for Warhorse or Wicked in London in the Spring?!  My imagination has been  working overtime.

Then friends reminded me of previous surprise presents that he'd bought me. And it reminded me of why he doesn't usually do this.  I started to mither a bit about it......

'Alright, You can ask me ONE question about your present', he said magnanimously.  'But you can't ask me what it actually is outright, ok?'

'Ok.  Here's my question:  Is it from Halfords?'

There was a lot of huffing and puffing and bluster, but there was, dear reader, no outright yeah or nay.

I'll let you know on Christmas Day.

What's the betting it's wiper blades?

21 Dec 2011

Hestia and....the Winter Solstice

The Druids Bringing in The Mistletoe
This is the hardest jigsaw I've ever done.
Tomorrow morning, when birds are still sleeping with their heads under their wings and most teenagers are not even THINKING about going home, it will be the point that marks the Winter Solstice.

There are two Solstices in a year - one at midsummer and one at midwinter - both marking the turning points of the year.  For tomorrow's Solstice, we mark the (albeit imperceptible) lengthening of the day until we reach the Summer Solstice in July where things sloooooowly start to tip the other way.....and the nights start to draw in.

19 Dec 2011


'If you've never been hated by a child, you've never been a parent
- Bette Davis
So it's the BIGGEST night in an 11 year-old's social calendar - The School Christmas Party.  We have sorted an outfit (fuchsia pink and black shirt, skinny black tie, skinny black jeans, black canvas slip-ons with skulls and whatnot on them for footwear).

When he appeared in the doorway doing his best Joey Trebiani ('hey, how YOU doin?') there was a little tug at my guts, not entirely due to the tsunami of Davidoff Cool Water that flooded in with him.

No.  My little boy is growing up.

14 Dec 2011

Hestia and the high winds (does not refer to flatulence)

No, this has got nothing to do with that other posting that I made about the flatulence reducing underwear.

Monday night I was supposed to be out and about with some girlfriends in Glasgow, hanging around the bohemian haunts of Glasgow University and quaffing oodles of chilled white wine and inhaling gorgeous food at The Left Bank.

But the weather put paid to all that.

I had been regularly woken during the night by the wind howling in the chimney and the rain lashing against our windows so hard that there was a drip SOMEWHERE on the window frame.  I tossed and turned...worrying about whether the ferries would be running in the morning.

And, of course, they weren't.

They didn't run at all on Monday because the weather was so utterly foul.

I had a petted lip and a bad temper that was somewhat assuaged by the fact that the girls cancelled the dinner ANYWAY because they didn't fancy being out and about in it much either.

So, today, to make up for missing out, Tartarus took me to Loch Fyne Osyter Bar.  A forty-five minute drive (and a miniscule ferry journey too).

That's the restaurant up there.  And the car park is NEVER that empty - not even today when the wind and rain would have blown a hole through you.

And here's a link to find out more about the Nice People At Loch Fyne - if you're in the area and thinking of popping in for a spot of seafood malkarky.  I can thoroughly recommend the smoked mussels from the shop *Homer Simpson drool*

We were the first customers through the doors (as ever) and were escorted to a neat little corner table where we watched the weak wintery sun trying to fight its way through the ever-darkening storm clouds over of rose. I pretended that I was in Spain and not Darkest Argyll.

Today's Specials!

Maybe too much of a slant on this arty photo but that's the bar.  It's built like a viking longboat.  Neat, eh?

Then we ordered two plates of these.  One each.  Obviously.

These were six plup grilled oysters served with creamy cheese and pancetta melted over the top.
Yeah, I pretty much inhaled these.

As you can see, I had snaffled two before I remembered to get my camera out of my handbag.

This was a poached smoked haddock fillet - and it was the softest, creamiest, saltiest thing EVER.  With potatoes and grated cheese.  It was divine.

This is the fairly mollocated remains of Tartarus's salmon risotto.  It was damned tasty.

And then we came home and went to the Co-op for our weekly shop *sigh*  

It's all high falutin' stuff with me.  

Have YOU had any nice lunches out for Christmas yet?  Tell me alllllllll about it!

Hestia finds the PERFECT pressie for Tartarus

If the man (or woman) in your life can fell a grown bear at 10 paces after breaking wind, this is the ultimate way to say 'I love you.'

Medical standard flatulence-proof pants.

Tartarus's Christmas present.


11 Dec 2011

Hestia makes a ....natural...mistake

Life in the Hestia household is a bit devoid of interest at the moment.  But just so that you know I've not been elbowed to death by a pensioner as we duel over the last bag of sprouts in the Co-op, here's how it's been with me:

One evening last week, Sonshine and I were ensconced on the sofa beneath our snuggle blanky, looking for something entertaining to watch that would suit us both.  

Usually this limits us to The Gadget Show or The Simpsons.

So there I am flicking down through the channels and lo, we come to a scantily clad blonde lady who is whipping up a storm as she shimmies herself around a pole.  I think it might have been BBC3 and probably only formed a few minutes of whatever show it might be from, but I scooted past it with unseemly haste nonetheless.

9 Dec 2011

Hestia and...... The Gruffalo

The second part of Julia Donaldson's travelling exhibition arrived at the library last week - and it was worth the wait!

Not only did it have some loooovely illustrations from kids' books that I hadn't seen before, but it had THE GRUFFALO!

First of all, let me lead you round this week's exhibits....

This is the original front page painting for Room On The Broom!

Loved this - hadn't seen the book before  'The Dinosaur's Day'

Loved these little pencil sketch snails!

We luff our Gruffalo - look at all the copies of the book we've got!

Couldn't get to see these as close as I would have liked as they were in the Librarian's area and I think they may have thought I was going to make off with all the Library Book Fine Money.  Which I might, but given that most of it is generated from MY FINES, I think it would have been ok for me to do that.

And here is the star of the show.  

With his terrible claws on his terrible toes and his nobbly knees and his green warty nose


Which reminds me - Tartarus is back in the bosom of his family for Christmas - a great relief all round.  Especially in light of yesterday's horrendous weather.  A sample of which can be seen here at Largs, just across the water from us.

How are YOU all after the storms?  Or did you escape them?!  Tell all!

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