Archive for May 2007

camping with a camera

Last weekend’s camping trip was such a success that we packed up the car again Friday night and headed off to a campsite near Edzell. It wasn’t as nice as the week before and we were so tired that there was a point where we looked at each other and voiced thoughts of turning around and going home, but that’s not the way to start an adventure…

After a rough and cold night, with our neighbours drinking in their car until midnight and then waking their kids up and making them cry when they drunkenly crawled into bed with them, the morning came very early. Duncan was cold and tired and grumpy and I may have threatened a mutiny until Cory came through with coffee around 6:30 am. (Did I really give up coffee all through pregnancy and the early months of breastfeeding? How on earth did I manage?) By then the day was bright and crisp and I started to get back into the spirit of things.

(As for our drunken neighbours – we can’t wait until Duncan’s old enough to start hiking in to more remote sites. Even just a ten minute walk would get rid of the trashy types who can’t separate themselves from their car stereo and their desire to binge. And the poor wee kids (about 5 and 3) who had to deal with drunken fools crawling into bed with them in the middle of the night…)

So we packed up early and headed off for an exploration. Scotland’s not an early rising country so nothing was open, but we popped into Brechin to check out the almost 1000 year old round tower and then headed down the road to the Aberlemno Stones, carved around 700 AD by the Picts. That brought us to 9am and the weird mishmash of the Brechin Castle Visitor Centre, which is owned by the Dalhousie Estate that owns Brechin Castle but otherwise has nothing castle-y about it. Aside from the “country park” (charge applies) and the strange vistor attraction of Pictavia, the centre redeems itself in our eyes by making excellent bacon and egg rolls and decent coffee.


Finally, the goal of our day was to visit the National Trust for Scotland’s House of Dun. We’re really enjoying our National Trust memberships – not for the castles, but for the gardens. Duncan and I had fun rolling around on the formal lawns (bet that didn’t happen when it was privately owned) and Cory and Duncan spent some time smelling all the flowers.

There’s a fantastic wilderness garden (Lady Augusta’s Walk) by the house; a winding path up and down the steep sides of a teeny valley with a small stream at its heart. We spent a happy hour walking through, with Duncan loving how much was at his eye level (in the backpack!). Little colour suprises, tiny buds next to gloriously overblown neighbours, and an old atmospheric stone bridge hidden under the greenery. Having a baby has taught me to value peace and small-scale beauty.

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eleven months and trouble?


You’re eleven months old tomorrow and you’re already in trouble at school. I was a bit shocked to hear that you’d been trampling over the other kids at nursery. However a few questions revealed that (a) the other kids didn’t cry when you did so, (b) you did pause when the nursery nurses asked you to stop, and (c) this just stems from your inability to discriminate between an inanimate object you have to climb over to get anywhere (like furniture or your exhausted mother after work) and a friend that you might want to detour around. You’re not even eleven months old for goodness sakes! My maternal pride flared up hotter than I’d expected and I now understand how mothers get completely blinkered when it comes to their fabulous children. Sigh. What have we let ourselves in for?

This month hasn’t been what I expected. I was sure you’d be running around by now, but while standing’s great you’re happy to drop to your knees and crawl anywhere you have to go. We’re also no further along with the sleeping – you’re too hungry to make it through the night. But you know what? That’s okay. I think I’m starting to realize that this stage right now is pretty cool and I’m not sure I want it to end that fast.

Things I love about right now include tired snuggles, reading books to you, exploring outside, rolling cars back and forth, and your secret language with daddy (seriously, they can somehow make these weird noises that I can’t make at all and Duncan loves their boy-talk). You’re totally a person and I love you more every day.

Visiting the Duncan clan museum in Blair Atholl. How horrible your parents are to name you a name who’s first and most famous holder was “Duncan the Stout”.


What, besides the basic tent and sleeping bags, would be the silliest thing to forget on your son’s first camping trip? How about the camera?

We had a blustery (but wonderful) night, with Duncan looking adorable all cuddled in fleecy suits and sleeping bag. There’s something lovely about being out in stormy weather in a tent. You’re aware of every gust of wind but you’re warm and dry, snuggled and cosy. It was also a good test for the new tent, which didn’t leak, and its palatial floor space left us rolling around in glee. After years of tiny two-man backpacking tents, spreading out in a four-person base camp tent feels like when we moved from a flat to our house.

Our first breakfast, at 6am, consisted of instant coffee. Next time I will agree with Cory and bring the mocha pot! However, our second breakfast, at the Finzean Farm Shop was out-of-the-oven scones for three (and more coffee for two). Yum. Camping should always be this good!
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pushing our limits.

We’re going to step outside our comfort zone this weekend and go camping. Funny how something we love to do, and used to do on a moments notice, turns into an expedition now that we’re sleep-obsessed and a group of three.
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jumble (& breastfeeding a toddler)

While I type this Duncan is rubbing his fingers in some dirt he’s carefully transfered from his Daddy’s chilli plants to the floor. This is good right? I’m letting him explore texture and see things for himself? We’re in a clingy, I-want-my-mummy-AND-daddy stage (both of us at once, before at least he was satisfied with one at a time), so any time he wants to explore on his own I’m inclined to allow. Or I could just be letting my kid make a mess in the living room. Equally valid statement.

I’ve a jumble of things to post about, smidges of this and that and nothing that don’t really add up to anything concrete. We tried to visit Leith Hall on Sunday, but Duncan wanted motion so we ended up abandoning the tour to walk around the gardens instead. Honestly I don’t blame him, our tour guide was dry and full of extensive facts about the family history; who they’d married or why Victorians liked dead animals. Nothing about what it’d be like to live back then (especially when not one of the ever-revered upper class – why idolize a few and ignore the lifestyles of the majority?). But the gardens were fun. We rolled around on the lawn and looked at flowers and enjoyed the views.

We had visitors last week too – Kim and Colin and bump and I totally failed to get any pictures. Since she’s in a satisfying stage of roundness (not the about-to-explode stage but the one before, the definitely pregnant-and-not-just-chubby) it’s too bad I didn’t get a picture of her with D, although there’s a current picture of Kim on her blog.

And to top off the unrelated nature of these paragraphs, I even got my hair cut at a proper salon. I’m enclosing a picture and writing about this mostly to remind myself when this happened. In a few months I’ll be searching through the archives as I often do to sort out what happened in my life when. There is a bit of a story behind it though, as it marks the first time in ages that I have had my hair cut at a proper salon. For a while Cory was cutting it, reluctantly until I pointed out the money we were saving. Then recently I’ve been going to a hole-in-the wall local place which felt like a trip onto a British soap set. From the non-existant cooking abilities of one local woman to the hangovers of the stylists, the overheard conversation was far more interesting than the cut, which last time was so uneven it forced me back into the mainstream. Ahh, good hair, I’ve forgotten what it was like!

But really the point of this post should be to ask for advice. I’m still breastfeeding Duncan, which isn’t a big deal in some places but stands out like a sore thumb over here. I’m finding that along with the weight loss (I’m 5 lbs lighter than when I got pregnant) and the exhaustion (which could be due to our new sleeping habits), I’m also finding bruises all over my legs. I’m speculating the two are related and it could be due to some sort of diet deficiency combined with the amount of time I spend tripping over bits of plastic. The thing is if I ask my GP I’ll just be told to stop breastfeeding or told to suffer through it. So I’m asking anyone who reads this if they have any ideas what bruising could indicate. (I do take a daily multi-vitamin and I’m a meat eater). Breastfeeding is great for Duncan and I don’t want to give it up quite yet (besides, he’s allergic to formula!).

I’m sending all the warm thoughts and love I can muster Kate’s way too …
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