A Tale Of Two Spiders

* Warning: If you have arachnophobia, you may want to skip this post! *

As everyone knows, when the weather grows colder, the multi-legged critters like to move indoors. Sure, every house will have the odd spider in it, and don’t get me wrong; they’re good little creatures – They are kind enough to eat the bad bugs that we don’t want around, like termites. But when they decide to get better acquainted with us, sharing private spaces such as bathrooms and bedrooms, well one has to draw the line somewhere, right?

When you get up in the middle of the night to use the loo, and a rather large black spot on your TP scutters away…. creepy! But this is the story of the 2 spiders who decided to reside in my bedroom with me. I named them Hal (short for Halloween), and Charlotte, after the children’s novel character. Hal was the smaller of the two, so I assumed he may be the male. But I’m no spider expert (arachnophile??).

So, a couple of weeks ago, while making my bed, I happened to look up and spot a couple of cobwebs on my ceiling. Hmmm, I thought, I should get rid of those. And as I took a look around the rest of the ceiling, eyeballing for more cobwebs, I discovered Hal hanging out in the corner to the left of my bed. I told him he better not even think of falling (or jumping) on my head in the middle of the night, if he wanted to remain my room-mate. By bedtime, he was at the top of the wall on the opposite side of the bed. I contemplated removing him, but thought better of it. And being the polite spider, he moved off, and was around the corner above my bedroom door when I woke up in the morning.

For the next couple of days, Hal remained between the ceiling above my pillows and the bedroom doorway. We were getting along just fine! But then I looked up for him one evening on my way to bed, and lo and behold, there was a new spider up on the wall in the corner near my bed, and twice his size to boot! Introducing Charlotte… Meanwhile Hal was in his usual spot near the door.

The next morning, Charlotte had moved to within a few feet of Hal. I wondered if they were friends, or more… I watched them for a few days, staying close to each other, but not really together. Sounds like some human relationships lol! Then one day, I went into my room, and there was Hal, demonstrating his dangling from a thread prowess to Charlotte. However, she was facing a different direction and seemed unimpressed. Poor Hal!

The two remained near each other for another few days. And then one morning, doing my housework, I discovered Hal, dangling from a cobweb in the middle of the room, dead. I admit, I was a little sad. I looked around for Charlotte, who seems to have gone into the Witness Protection Program, because she hasn’t been seen since. I still look up occasionally, hoping to see her, wondering what the dynamics were with my two black little arachnids. But I had to tell their story. I hope it is as amusing to read as it was being a first-hand witness to it.

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A Few Things I’ve Learned In Scotland

  • People are friendly and obliging. If you ask for directions, and your destination isn’t too far, don’t be surprised if the person offers you a lift.
  • Roundabouts can be scary! And if you’re taking driving lessons, you can be dang sure your instructor is going to make you drive around at least one of them! I’ve witnessed people in driving school cars gingerly making their way around our little roundabout at the edge of my town. Good luck when you hit the big, multi-lane ones!
  • Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t rain here EVERY day.
  • Train station signs that tell you which station it is, are written in English and Scottish Gaelic.
  • In Scotland whisky is spelled the way I just spelled it. In Ireland and other countries, it’s spelled whiskey.
  • You don’t pet a cat or dog, you clap it. Sounds a little harsh, doesn’t it?
  • We still have pennies and tuppence (2 penny piece) as coins. Then 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, a pound coin and a 2 pound coin. I have to empty my change purse every week lol!
  • If you’re looking for eggs at the grocery store, they are NOT in the chilled dairy section. You’ll find them down some regular aisle, at room temperature.
Words and Phrases

Grilled cheese sandwich = Cheese Toastie

Zucchini = Bourgette (No wonder I couldn’t find them at the grocery store!). Oh, and by the way, grocery shopping = getting the messages.

An oven or stove = cooker. Kitchen appliances as a whole are called “white goods”.

Varieties of milk and cream also have different names. Partly skimmed = semi skim. Creams are single or double, but don’t attempt to put double cream in your coffee! Soured cream (yes, sour cream) comes in the same type of container as pouring or cooking cream. Beware!

Having been here for 2 months now, I’ve come to realize how much of the terminology I’ve forgotten since childhood. I’m a quick learner though, despite saying dollars instead of pounds yesterday, lol!

I hope you enjoyed this little semi-educational post. Please give it a “Like” and don’t forget to follow my blog.

Road Trip Adventures Episode 1: The Surprised Cows

Don’t get me wrong; this wasn’t my first road trip since arriving in Scotland. But it was a bit of an adventure! And it’s all because of lawn bowls… yes you read that correctly! My newest hobby, thanks to my aunt’s cousin, Joan.

Joan was taking me to a town called Denny, just outside Falkirk, to pick up a used set of bowls, so I wouldn’t have to borrow someone else’s. But the closest set in the size and weight to suit me, that were also in good shape, were in Denny. So, on a lovely Monday afternoon, off we traipsed.

Part way along our journey, she punched our destination into her GPS. But for some mysterious reason, at one point it told us to make a left off the road we were using. Ok, sure. When we turned onto a single-lane rural road, we looked at each other and shrugged. Why was it taking us this way, along hilly, windy country roads with barely any room to move over if we met another vehicle? I mean, the scenery, hills and lush fields, was gorgeous! It gave us further instructions to turn at an upcoming junction. Again, another single-lane farm road. But the best part, as we approached the junction, there was a field gate ahead, and several rather surprised looking cows staring at us! I told Joan that they had probably never actually seen a car before, only tractors!

I really wished I had taken a moment to photograph those cows, because I’ll never forget the way they looked, standing there at that gate in the afternoon sun, all confused. It was absolutely priceless!

As for the GPS and our unexpected scenic tour, well, we still can’t explain it. It did seem to cut a corner off our route, but the main road would probably have been quicker. The rest of our journey was uneventful, except getting temporarily lost in a new subdivision where I was to pick up the bowls. I am glad of the little side tour, because it showed us some scenery we would not have otherwise seen, and gave us a memory we will not soon forget!

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I’m Back!

Well, after what seems like a really long wait, I have finally got my internet hooked up. I have a lot of online catching up to do!

So in the next couple of weeks I should be able to write more blog posts, work on my web page, and start some new projects.

I think I have a new writing partner!

Pantera was wanting to snuggle with me today, as I started writing this post. I’m thinking that perhaps he will be my furry little muse!

I’m keeping this short. Just wanted to let everyone to know that you can expect to hear more from me in the near future. Hope everyone is staying safe, and enjoying their summers as much as possible.

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Life In Scotland

It’s been a busy almost 3 weeks for me… Getting settled in my lovely wee bungalow, buying some necessities, decor, and adopting a pair of fur-kids. Doing a little exploring and getting accustomed to my surroundings.

At Lady’s Tower near Elie

I’ve been getting other things in order too. Working on setting up my banking, cell phone and internet services. Even had my first job interview yesterday, via Zoom.

So I’m getting used to my new life here. Settling into my new routine and moving forward. Today is another first for me. My very first chemotherapy treatment here in Scotland. So I’m writing this, sitting in the treatment chair, waiting for my blood results to come back.

I’m enjoying my new life. I feel settled and at peace. Even the tumour on my spine has been behaving itself, not paining me much at all. I think the air here is fresher, and I’m certainly getting lots of it.

I’ll keep you all posted as my adventure continues! Please give this post some love with a “Like”, and sign up to follow my blog. Thanks!

Week 1 Adventures

Well, I landed safely in Scotland on Sunday as scheduled. Flight was pretty uneventful. And airports were ghost towns, so no problem with waiting.

The town I’m living in is called the Coaltown of Balgonie. It’s just outside Glenrothes. And the scenery is wonderful! I can see the sea, hills, and there’s a castle close by. I’ve started going on short walks to acquaint myself with my new surroundings. Today I ventured to Balgonie Castle. Here is aquock video I took.

Balgonie Castle

I hope you enjoyed seeing the castle, and stay tuned for more of my adventures in Scotland!

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Saying Good-Bye

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, you know I am leaving Canada to return to my homeland of Scotland. Here I sit, down to my last few days here. It kinda’ feels surreal!

This is not a sad occasion, however. Even though it is hard to say farewell to family, friends and loved ones, we have been keeping things upbeat. I’m about to start a brand new adventure!

But sometimes, it’s just as hard to say goodbye to places and the memories of the good times had while at those places. That’s how I felt, as I watched Lake Huron disappear in the passenger side mirror of the truck as we drove up the hill from the Goderich waterfront. I felt a little piece of my heart break off. It was the same leaving Southampton, watching the shoreline from the ends of the streets we passed driving down the highway. I’ll miss the sunrises, sunsets, big ships, Great Blue herons, Bald eagles, cormorants and other shore birds. But I’ll always have the memories of those things stored in my heart, and the photos to remind me I was there.

Chantry Island, Southampton Ontario

Have you ever been somewhere, on vacation for example, and it’s your last day or night there, and the sunset (or sunrise) is absolutely spectacular? Like it’s saying goodbye to you, and putting on such a show that it brings tears to your eyes? I have noticed that since childhood, when I went on a week’s holidays with my friend and her parents. I’ve seen it many times since. It was hard, saying goodbye to such a spectacular lake.

Bur soon, my new adventure begins, with not just lakes, but seas, massive river mouths, mountains and castles! I look forward to sharing my journeys and explorations with you all!

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Who Has The Nicest Butt? (Artistically Speaking…)

Social Media can either be useful and educational, or totally annoying and useless. But you can be guaranteed a laugh on a regular basis. I don’t even remember how I found this page, but it was definitely a link from one of the social media channels.

Whether or not you have an appreciation for art, consider yourself a connoisseur, or if you’ve never stepped foot inside a museum, I hope you enjoy this post!

It’s funny when corporations such as restaurant chains battle on social media, but I think this one takes the cake! It all started when the Yorkshire Museum in England sent out a “Curator Challenge” (#Curatorchallenge) on their Twitter account, saying they thought they had the #BestMuseumBum. Absolutely priceless! What transpired was a plethora of responses from museums around the world, showing off their favourite bums from their collections.

The commentary in these tweets makes for a fun read as well, and at the same time we can learn a little about some art pieces from around the globe. And if you are interested, here is the Yorkshire Museum’s Twitter account: @YorkshireMuseum

Best Museum Bum Article

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My Aurora

Five years ago, my sweet girl Aurora passed. She came to me at the boarding kennel I owned in 2001, as a rescue foster dog. The poor thing was nothing but skin and bones after having lived on the streets for goodness knows how long. She had finally been trapped and taken to the “pound” in Woodstock Ontario. They named her Allie.

The first time I saw her, she was in the bed of a pick up truck owned by a member of the Canadian Alaskan Malamute Rescue group. It was a chilly January morning. When Jim had lifted her to the ground and brought her to meet me, I’m sure the poor thing had no idea what was going on. As I knelt to be at her level, she just kind of gazed off into the distance. I could see and feel every rib bone. I petted her, stroked her fur, and spoke soft words to her. And I knew within those first few minutes, that I had to give her a chance at a better life.

So, with the help of a couple of friends who had experience with rescues and Alaskan Malamutes in particular, we worked with Allie, who I renamed Aurora. As she relaxed and realized that she was finally safe, had regular meals and a comfortable place to rest, we began to see her personality show. She gained enough weight to render it safe for her to have her spay surgery done. But she hated the vets! Did not like being held still for vaccines, have her nails trimmed, or any other types of procedures. When they took her in for her spay, they discovered a Grade 3 heart murmur. She was given heart medication, but I was told she may not survive the surgery. I was devastated!

But she did survive. She healed well, and on consequent vet visits, no sign of the murmur was found. I’m thinking that perhaps she had just gotten herself so worked up at the vets, that her little heart acted up. I told the vet that I wanted to run her on a dog sled and hike with her, but I was afraid of her dying because of her heart, he told me that even if she did die doing those things, she would be happier. So, after having her for 8 months and socializing her with my friend’s male Malamute Hudson, I took her to the Malamute Rescue’s fall Pac N’ Pull event. We played agility games, had a fun pretend dog show, she participated in the weight pull competition, and we hiked into the wilds of Northern Ontario. And for every Pac N’ Pull for the next 8 years, we were there. Hudson joined our little family the year after I adopted Aurora and also participated in the events.

Things weren’t always perfect. Malamutes can be stubborn, and as with many rescues whose past stories we can never know, have personality quirks. There were a couple of scuffles between the dogs. Small, furry things were prey (Malamutes have a strong prey drive), and she was stubborn! But I learned from my friends in the rescue group, received a lot of good advice, and never gave up on her!

Here are a few pics of my beloved Aurora. In the first photo, she is sporting one of her many gold medals for either agility games or weight pulling. She lived to the ripe old age of 15. Not bad for a rescue was was 24 hours away from being put down at the shelter. She also earned her WPD (Working Pack Dog) title, and WWPD & WWPDX (Working Weight Pull Dog + Excellent) titles. Miss you, Sweetie Petitie! Your story now lives on in our book. Many people will learn about you and how you touched my life forever!

For those interested in the book I’m referring to, you can get it on Amazon.com (.ca, .uk….) Choices For Change: Courageous Decisions That Continue to Change Lives

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My Apologies

I had a plan when I started this blog. That plan has since been revised. Twice. At least…

My original plan was to come up with something to write every single day. But life is busy, and sometimes my brain doesn’t want to have to work that hard. So, I thought I’d do theme days. Which I still occasionally do, but not every week now. So, after taking an online blogging class, I found out that a lot of popular bloggers don’t write every day, so I decided to make a schedule. I figured I could write a blog for Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. To give my readers and myself a break every now and then. Which is good in theory…

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with all the details and chores related to my upcoming move to Scotland. It’s less than three weeks away now. So unfortunately my blogging has taken a seat on the back burner. And the next few weeks will be more of the same. If I do get a chance, I will try to write, or find something interesting to post about. I will try to schedule some posts ahead of time. But if you don’t hear much from me for the next few weeks, now you know why.

As for today, I’ll leave you with this image that came up in my Facebook memories. “23 Adult Truths”. It made me giggle, and we could all use a laugh with our Monday morning coffee, right?

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