Whirlpools, eagles and fantastic views

Mrs D and I returned on Wednesday from a wonderful few days in Argyll – staying beside Loch Melfort with my parental parents – we used to go there every October holiday, but I’ve never known such fantastic weather!

We walked and took in views north over Seil towards Mull, and south towards Scarba, the Garvellachs and Jura.

We ventured out on the sea from Craobh Haven on Farsain with Duncan, our skipper and wildlife expert, for a circumnavigation of Scarba.

Apart from the currents, waves and whirlpools of the Corryvreckan, a highlight must have been seeing a couple of golden eagles soaring high overhead. Then later we saw sea eagles – one flew past us, landing in a tree on Scarba – this was joined by another, and then we spotted a third in a different tree, higher up the hillside. An unforgettable sight!

A selection of photos…


Corryvreckan – standing wave


Corryvreckan looking south towards Jura


Looking north towards Seil and Mull


Looking south towards Seil, Scarba and the Garvellachs


Sunset over Loch Melfort

Druridge Bay

We love this place…
It was lovely to visit again, this time with two wonderful friends – Roz and Mark, who came up to the northeast for the weekend. Mind you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as excited at seeing the sea as Roz was!


Cloud swirls at dusk


Where has all the sand gone? Highest tide I’ve seen here…


Heelan coo!

Thank you Facebook

I had my first Facebook reunion on Thursday evening. A friend I had lost touch with about 10 years ago asked to be my Facebook friend a few months ago… And then I had a note to say he’d be in Newcastle to visit his parents this week…

It was great to meet up again – catch up on 10 years, talk about old friends, new families, hopes for the future… An unexpected joy in the middle of a really busy week.

Thank you Maik and thank you Facebook.

What a week

D’you ever have those weeks when the first time you sit down is Saturday morning?
We’ve just had one!

Nothing particular has made it like that – just lots of little things all contributing to one huge mountain…

Late Monday afternoon our social worker (I think we’ll have to call him ‘Mr W’ on here) arrived for the first of our assessment meetings. It went well. We showed him round the house. He asked us some stuff about us, gave us some stuff to read. One in particular has really made me think… lots to think about… We also have some forms to complete – one for doglet (has she ever bitten anyone, what is her temperament, does she like children,…), one for health and safety (have we got saftey glass in the windows, blind cords within reach, fixed fireguard, rusty car at the bottom of the garden…), and one to fill in with our history from birth to now – everything which has had an impact on us, in chronological order… that’ll take some time methinks!

We’ve been promised more to do, but that hasn’t yet arrived (email problems perhaps?). Next meeting is booked in for 21st February.

Mr W is really keen for the process to go as quickly as it can, obviously not jeapordising on quality of the assessment – so we’re glad about that. His best esttimate is that we’ll be going to Panel for approval in June, so the assessment will need to be completed by the beginning of May.

He wants to see us with children, how we interact with each other, whether we get onto their level. I think we’ll have to borrow some of our god children for an afternoon… But only if they’re going to behave (don’t they always!?)

Mrs D wants to get Mr W to come to Kidz Klub as well – not sure he’s ready to have green custard thrown over him, mind you!

London

Mrs D and I are just back from a fantastic 36 hours in London, courtesy of some free return 1st class tickets on National Express East Coast.


Lunch at Covent Garden with string quintet…

…then off to see Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre – the way the show manages to capture the grit of the miners’ strike and 1980’s Co Durham, with the magic of a boy’s dreams and ambitions is fantastic… the language is unsanitised, but adds to the reality.

Dinner at a lovely little restaurant in Smithfield – special thanks to our waitress who saved me from a fate worse than sweetbreads! One of the other waiters had helped us with some of the menu items (all written in French), and wrongly told us that rognons de veaux were veal steaks… how wrong he was! I’m still reeling from the shock of what might have been on my plate!


A short after dinner stroll along the Thames near our hotel at London Bridge.


Sunday morning after breakfast – and onto the river heading east towards Greenwich on the river boat from London Bridge…


Tower Bridge, looking west towards the city


The Traitors’ Gate hasn’t been used for a while…


The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich


The structure formerly known as the Millennium Dome (now the O2 arena), with Canary Wharf in the background


The roof of the Millennium Dome

Then inside the dome to see 3000 year old treasures from the tomb of King Tutankhamun and some of the other Egyptian kings and queens – an amazing exhibition… I couldn’t quite believe that the stuff was so old – much of it looked like it was made yesterday, particularly the wooden items… Well worth the trip if you can – it runs till August.