Auchencairn Bay

Nothing very special here, just some pleasant views that we came across a month or so ago, between Auchencairn and Balcary . . .

Almorness Point

 


Woodland on Torr Point

 

The hills at the head of the Bay.

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Pub Grub . . .

They certainly feed you well in these parts . . .

Fish and chips at The Mariner, Kippford.

 

 

Here’s to the next time . . .

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The State We’re In . . .

“It does not contain any requirement for the UK Government to
implement the results of the referendum, nor set a time limit by which a
vote to leave the EU should be implemented. Instead, this is a type of
referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the
electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in
its policy decisions.”

 The image above and the extract from it below, coloured red, are from the briefing notes issued by the House of Commons library in June 2015, a whole year before the awful EU Referendum. So, you would think that MPs would have had a good long time in which to digest the information about what they were to inflict on an unsuspecting public.  Whether they did or not of course, (or took any notice at all) we have no means of knowing, but it is a simple plain fact that the main stream media (BBC included), the Prime Minister, Government Ministers, Brexit Twitters et al, persistently refer to the referendum as a “vote” and say that because 52% of the voters said “Leave” as against 48% who said “Remain”, and applying the “first past the post” way of thinking, it was an undoubted win for “Leave”, the matter is finished, settled and closed, and we must all get on with it. Mrs May loves to refer to this as the “Will of the People” and says the “the Nation” has decided.

The Electorate, knowingly or unknowingly, did what was required of it and showed that amongst those who actually voted opinion was pretty evenly divided (with a bias towards leave). And further thought (there did not appear to be ANY thought) would have made clear that the total number of voters was only about half (51%) of the total population, thus raising the question, “what do the other 49% think ?”  And, even further reflection might have brought the realisation that if 16,141,241 people said they wanted to remain they counteract 16,141,241 people who said that they wanted to leave.  So the actual majority in favour of leave was really 1,269,501 people, about 2% of the population. And on the strength of this the “economical with the truth” brigade proceed to rip us out of the best thing to have happened to us since 1914.

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You just don’t know what to expect . . .

Some time ago – last April to be exact – our Dentist found a coloured patch in the roof of my mouth and referred me to the local hospital for it to be examined. The hospital in question, Darlington Memorial Hospital, did not contact us, when we telephoned them they knew nothing about my case, and the Dental Surgery also failed to get any useful response out of them.

We moved house – but not because of this ! – registered with the local dental surgery and explained all the sad story above, and guess what ? – they said they would refer me to the local hospital – in this case the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary. This time, results ! I attended the RI at its old site and saw a Mr Bell who arranged another visit, – x-ray first and then himself – this time at the brand spanking new infirmary building at Cargenbridge. This all happened as planned, it was decided that there was nothing amiss and that was that . . . except . . .

. . . that at the first visit, Mr Bell also spent some time, not looking at my purple patch but examining my nose and the skin of my head, and was obviously not happy about what he saw, or thought he saw. So today I pitched up at the RI yet again and was seen by a Dermatologist, Mr Malone, who photographed my head with his iPad in order to show me what I could not see !  In short order, I had a something removed from by my left ear, and something else dug out of my nose – the latter to go off to be examined – a “plug biopsy” I think it was called. I now have a fine collection of stitches which are to be removed next Friday by our local Practice Nurse, and then we await the result of the biopsy, and I really have no idea when he said that might be.

So, we came back home via the Loch Arthur Farm Shop, where we lunched modestly, and spent an inordinate amount of money, immodestly.

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Rabbiting On . . .

On a grey, wet, cold day we set off for a Sunday lunch out. Mad, or what ? We booked a table at The Clachan Inn the night before in a fit of enthusiasm, but rather regretted it come the day. But, feeling that it would be chicken to ring up and cancel, we set off.  Passing some fields on a minor road not far from the A75 we saw 50 or 60 swans grazing – quite a sight. The rest of the drive was uneventful, we were able to park right outside the pub, and I was even able tp post a letter as the Post Office and shop was open. We were hospitably received and shown to a seat and went through all the usual preliminaries of drinks ordering and menu studying. I went for rabbit (which you don’t often see these days – on a men I mean) and my wife for the braised beef. When we arrived the pub was pretty empty and somewhat cold not having been open for very long, but people continued to arrive and things soon warmed up apart from the fact that each time the door opened a cold blast of “outside” hurtled in and wrapped itself round everybody.

The rabbit was smashing, but we made one error in that we didn’t spot that if you wanted vegetables you had to order them separately from a part off the menu called “sides”. But, there was so much good stuff (lots of butter beans) under the rabbit that it might have been a serendipitous error. The braised beef was too much for my other half so I ate it and it was SO tender and delicious.

We then made our way home down the other side of Loch Ken and found the Catstrand Centre was open so had a look around in there and I was able to complete my set od local Ordnance Survey maps.

On again until we got to Laurieston and found the art gallery. Here we were not so much welcomed as enlisted. The enthusiastic owner, Phil McMenemy, told us all about the gallery and its exhibitors and regular exhibitions and he and my wife were off into “art” in a big way. It was an unexpected explosion of energy, but most enjoyable – and we bought a picture too !

So glad we didn’t let the weather put us off.
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The NHS comes up trumps again . . .

Off to the erstwhile Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, now renamed the Mountainhall Treatment Centre, for a visit to the Audiology Department brought about by our move to Scotland.  The first thing we noticed was that there were plenty of empty spaces in the car park. And as we followed the signs to “Bay 1” there were very few people about and no one at all in the waiting area so we pitched up at the Audiology Reception window.  We had a short wait and were then ushered into a treatment room where a very nice person extracted the whole story of my hearing loss and ear troubles since childhood, gave me a hearing test, and said I would be issued with a new hearing aid, and that I might hear from them again in about 6 weeks !  A quite unexpected happenstance.

The hearing test was done by inserting wee tubes into my ear passages, not by using earphones as in the past.

This done, we reverted to daily living and braving the Dumfries end of the working day traffic, made our way to the big ALDI store, and partook of its wonders. Once home and unloaded we dined on House Special Chow Mein from the Canton House takeaway.

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Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud . . .

After a somewhat unproductive trip to Dalbeattie to check up on the arrival or non-arrival of a dining set we took ourselves off to Kippford and checked on the pubs there. The Anchor appeared to be closed, but the Mariner was open. We went in, were hospitably received and examined the “specials” board. He had one portion of haddock left which was bagged by me, and my wife went for the pork and mushrooms which she said was smashing. My haddock wasn’t bad either. We sat opposite a window and looked out at a sea of mud – it being low water.  We lamented not bringing our binoculars (as yet unpacked) and the Landlord appeared as if by magic and lent us a pair. There were flocks of widgeon at the water’s edge, and lapwings flying about – the most we have seen for a long time.  As we watched and ate, the tide began to make and the birds followed it upstream.

The small numbers of lapwings about now is a great contrast to 60 years ago.  At that time the airfield at which I was training was mowed regularly by contractors and great flocks of lapwings shunted themselves about as the mowers went circulated.  In those days I did not take much notice, but in retrospect I suppose they were after earthworms which perhaps came to the surface disturbed by the noise of the mowers and tractors.

(OS Map reproduced without permission !)

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A Cold Night . . .

A very cold night. At 8.15 am it was 0°C in our porch (double glazed, but no heating) and -5°C on the car thermometer when I cranked the engine into life. Later on, c.10.30 am, in the garage attached to the house, the thermometers read about 28°F and -2.5°C.

While I was out I called in at our local garage to get a new light bulb fitted and felt so sorry for the mechanic as he strruggled with the plastic clips with cold fingers. It always hurts so much when you bang cold fingers against something in the winter doesn’t it ?

People of my parents and grandparents age used to say that the cold winters were good because they killed all the bugs. Whether the bugs knew about this I don’t know as they appeared again each year when spring arrived.

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A Grand Day Out . . .

The weather forecast said fine and sunny but cold – and it was correct. After defrosting the car we set off for Port William where we had booked at table at “The Clansman” restaurant. The roads were frosty but dry except on the minor routes where standing water at the sides was completely solid. We arrived at The Clansman a bit early but they were not in the least put out and we were soon seated and being told what was on the menu. The potato and leek soup was exactly that because the evidence was there in the form of potato chunks and leek flesh. Very tasty. The roast of the day was chicken breast and I haven’t seen such chunky pieces of chicken for a long time. It was all I could do to finish mine, and my wife gave up on hers. They came with roast potatoes, baby sausages and stuffing, and nice vegetables served separately  – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and turnips or swedes (I couldn’t decide which). We then stuffed our selves on a meringue nest filled with cream, ice cream, and peaches and tottered out into the sunshine.

A stroll around the harbour area helped the digestion . . .

. . . but the cold soon forced us back into the car, in which we set off for the Isle of Whithorn. Passing Monreith golf course we stopped to look at the memorial to Gavin Maxwell – an otter perched on some rocks.

At the Isle of Whithorn the village hall has been refurbished and in addition to its hallish duties has a cafe, a shop and post – office so is a real village centre. By the time we arrived the cafe ladies were beginning to clear up, but they made us tea and coffee which we drank gratefully as they worked.

Palm trees on a freezing January day.
By this time the short winter day was ending so we set off for home and arrived before it got really dark, stopping only to buy milk on the way.
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A New Year Outing . . .

Garlieston

Not having been for an “outing” in recent weeks, the weather being not actually inclement, we took to the road. North westwards along the A75 to Newton Stewart where Sainsbury’s was open and we got a few essentials and made use of their toilets. (Essential for Oldies). Then on to Wigtown which was obviously well shut up and recovering from Hogmanay – or just enjoying a lie in ?
So, on again a mile or so to Bladnoch and into the Inn there ‘cos it had a sign outside saying “Lunch”. But, alas, this was an error and there was no lunch. But they were very keen to tell us on what days we would find lunch there, and furthermore rang the Harbour Inn at Garlieston to see what they were up to. “Open, Lunch served till 2.30pm, very busy” was the reply.  So, off again to Garlieston where we were hospitably received and found a table. We had an exceedingly good steak pie with peas and a choice of “sides” – I went for the chips, my wife for the spicy wedges. A good apple crumble followed with coffee and we tottered out in the fading afternoon and made our way home through the rain showers.
In the photo above, the Harbour Inn is indicated  by the orange coloured arrow.

 

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