Mixed up Christmas

The furry girls and I have arrived back in our calm home after the Christmas extravaganza. 

First just to mention, I got a pan set for Christmas.  People seem to think this is the equivalent of a husband buying the wife an iron but I'm happy with my pans.  The set I had allegedly had heat resistant handles, this was a lie.  The handles were sort of painted black, they always got hot but when the paint layer washed off they got worse.  The dogs think cooking involved doing a dance around the kitchen before plunging your hand into cold water.  I love my new pans, my blistered hands will be most grateful.

Anyway, my Christmas was mixed up.  My little brother and his girlfriend went to her house first so I decided we couldn't open presents without him.  This was selfish, I didn't want my brother to have presents to open when I didn't.  So we got up and looked at the presents sitting all pretty in their Christmas paper.  Had breakfast and then went to my Gran's house.

We have gone to my Gran's on Christmas morning every year of my life.  The whole of her family still go every year to exchange presents, some stay for dinner.  This bit wasn't so good.  My gran got out of hospital on Christmas eve but during the night she had been ill and was really unwell while we were there.  I got to go and see her and she looked very old and very sick.  She could barely speak or open her eyes.  She ended up going back into hospital later in the day because she was so bad.   It made the day a bit sad and a lot of us had a tear or two.  I visited her in hospital before I came home and she was much, much better.  I think coming home was too much, she was only allowed out for two days because it was Christmas, the hospital let her make the choice and I think she pushed herself too hard.  They have found that she still has some infection in her bowel but we don't know what they are going to do yet. 

My bother and his girlfriend didn't have their children this year, they were both at the other parents.   This lead to the decision to give my mum the day off and go out for lunch, a first.  It was really nice but not the same as your mum's Christmas dinner, I suppose everyone has their own way of doing it. 

After lunch it was home for presents!  Obviously I got my pans.  I also got perfume, some nice bath things and some choccies!

My favourite present (I got on Christmas eve) was from Mr Midnite, a lovely chunky charm bracelet and the first charm for my new collection.  I think he may have had a little bit of help picking out just what I would like.

But, and prepare to be jealous, the ginger furry girl Star got the best present ever.  She got her very own bright pink doggy handbag, complete with squeaker.  It is so cute.  This isn't quite the same but it gives the idea.  I'll snap her with it and post soon.
NB.  Pictures have been stolen from Juicy Couture, go and see their lovely things at their lovely website.  Of course they don't ship to the UK so if you want some you need to be inventive, scour the Internet until you find a place that will ship or (I'd avoid this option if you can) pay the prices charged in the UK.
My family had a really nice Christmas even though we were worried about my Gran, it was lovely to see everyone and spend some time together catching up.  I hope you all had happy holidays with your families. Now onwards to 2011.

Check out the year in pictures

Been looking at the year in pictures, some great ones!

Clearly I stole this picture but I'm suggesting you go and look at all the others so hoping for forgiveness.  Go on it's Christmas.

Merry Christmas

A quick note to say Merry Christmas.  It has been a strange Christmas here, all mixed up but I've had a nice day.  Will post more soon.

Hope everyone has had a lovely day.

Best Wishes
Mrs Midnite


I have been thinking about things, not always the best idea but apparently the off button on my brain is missing.  Anyway one of the things that I was thinking about was how things haven't been going very well for me recently.  If you read my blog you will know I've had neighbour trouble, car trouble, redundancies at work and my gran is ill.  These thoughts could easily have become a self pitying path to depression but they weren't.

Instead I was thinking about how well I have been handling these things.  I have been stressed, upset and angry but not to the extreme.  I have been able to carry on with my life, going out, working and seeing friends while these unpleasant things were going on.  Not so very long ago I wouldn't have coped with these things, it could have gone two ways.  I would either have stressed myself into a manic mess where I would likely have gone a bit crazy with excessive going out and shopping, remember the handbags?  Or, I would have plummeted into a major depression and stayed in bed.

Mr Midnite would tell me that the bad things have been sent to show me I can cope.  It is easier to be positive when everything is good, the challenge is to stay positive when things aren't.  I used to get depressed sometimes for no reason so if something did happen I had no chance.  Now I have difficult things in my life and I still feel OK.

Not sure if I'm explaining this very well?

Anyway to reach the pearls from today's title.  I have a charm bracelet and I buy myself the occasional charm that means something.  I have a little heart to remind me to love myself and a little dog to remind me to be happy.  I went into the shop today to try and find something to signify turning negatives to positives.  I had no idea when I went in what that would be I just knew something would be there that would represent what I wanted.  I browsed the shop for a while and then spotted just the thing. 

When I saw it I immediately thought of how pearls are formed by the shelled creatures.  A little piece of dirt gets stuck inside and causes irritation so the creature forms a pearl to protect itself.  From an irritation it produces a thing of beauty.  A positive from a negative. Perfect!

Dear Santa

Dear Santa

I have tried hard to be good all year so I thought I'd write and ask you for a present.  For Christmas please could you make my Gran better. 

Thank you

Dear blogger friends
I'm sorry I can't write much today.  I am trying hard to be positive and not let things get me down but my Gran is very ill.  She is in hospital with a perforated bowel.  They are trying something first but if that doesn't work she will need major surgery.  I am really worried about her, she is in her 80s and has a bad heart.  I'm too far away to visit easily.  I want to go and see my family but with the current situation at work I don't think I'll be able to.  It is one of the rare times when I wish I wasn't so far from my family.
Please send positive thoughts (or pawsitivity).
Thank you

A short story

I’m in my cell and I don’t know when I’m going to get out. I am scared and lonely and I don’t know what is going to happen to me. I am asking myself, how did I end up in here?

It was a lovely day so we decided to go to the beach, we all piled into the car and set off. When we get there it is gorgeous. We were walking along the sand, laughing and talking.

Then suddenly I was naked, I don’t know how it happened!

And I’m running, running so fast no one can keep up with me. They are far behind me and when I turn I can see them waving at me. I shout that I am OK.

I’m still running. I feel so free, the wind and the sun are on my face and my body and it makes me feel alive. I can taste and smell the sea air, salty and clean. Life is great, I love it.

Then there are hands on me and a man is saying “what have we got here?” I try to explain but he isn’t listening. I think he is angry with me. I’m put into the back of a van and we are driving again. I shout a bit but no one is listening so I sit and wait to see where we are going.

We arrive at a building and the men take me inside. I am judged to be bad and put in a cell. I look around and wonder how long I need to stay here. I lie on the bed and go to sleep for a while. When I wake up someone is bringing me food. We talk for a bit “how are you?” “I’m OK, can I go outside now?” “Here’s your dinner.” I eat my food but it’s not as good as home. I have a drink and then go back to sleep.

I’m bored there is nothing to do here. I am pacing my cell and trying to see if anything is happening. There are others here too. I can hear them. I try talking but no one answers.

Then I hear someone crying “I want to go home, please let me out I want to go home”, I agree but I’m not going to cry. Other voices join in and I add mine, shouting not crying.

I sleep some more, I don’t like it here. The food is not good and it smells bad, clean on top but wrong underneath. I wait and wait for someone to come.

And then they are there at my door, my family. Someone opens the cell and I step out. They are hugging me and kissing me saying “good boy, it’s alright” and it is because my family have found me. I wag my tail and roll on my back to have my belly rubbed and I realise that life is perfect.

This is repost from the beginning of my blog.  I don't think many people read it, I like it so I thought I'd share it again.  Hope you like it too.

So today wasn't the best day

We had a meeting at work today, it was supposed to be last week but was snowed off.  I was surprised they rearranged it as the CEO came over from the US for it last week.  Suppose this should have been a sign.

The meeting started with a stuttered thank you for efforts made to get to work and keep things going through the bad weather.  Then we were told that they are looking at closing 2 of the 4 Scottish sites, one of those is the site I'm based at.  Merry Christmas, great timing!  They are starting a 90 day consultation to decide what they are going to do but the worst and most likely case is that they will close.  Basically there has been a change in focus in the industry and there is less demand for the work done on these sites.  An affect of the global economic down turn. 

I suppose I have respect for the CEO for coming and telling us the news in person rather than leaving it to our local managers.  

After that we had a group meeting and were told the our team are a global rather than a site resource so there is a possibility that we can move to other sites within Scotland.

Later the head of human resources for Europe came and told the team that there would be positions available at the other sites for anyone who wants one.

Roller coaster!   I think I started feeling like maybe this is the kick in the butt I need to go and get a different job, use my MBA.  Then I moved to feeling angry, I and others on our sites have put in so much work.  We have turned work away because parts of the business were too busy but lost staff because other areas were quiet.  I have been fighting to get work done due to lack of resource yet apparently we are not doing enough and there is no work out there.  I'm not a business analyst but I have to say I find it hard to understand.  After that I moved on to sad, I looked at some of my colleagues and thought I'll miss them, I like a lot of them.

Finding out we were safe is great and yes I'll be able to pay my mortgage but I'm still upset about all my friends (including best friend girl) who are unlikely to be so lucky.  I'm upset that they are throwing away all the effort people have put in and all the skills and talent that the staff have. 

Many in my team were saying that people are going to hate us when they find out we are going to be moved rather than made redundant.  They were saying that it is going to be really stressful and difficult to get work completed.  Maybe I am naive but I think most people will continue to do a good job until they leave.  I'm sure the stress will show through and some will make comments about us but I don't think many will hate us.  I could list the people who will be difficult now.  I feel really bad for all the other people I work with, I'm gutted that this is happening to them.  The people I work with have made my job enjoyable and have helped me deal with the stress.  I will miss them a lot and although I'll get used to the people at the new site it won't be the same as working with the ones who where there when I didn't have a clue.

I don't know how I feel just now, probably just sad.  The advantage of taking an antidepressant (that for random reasons acts as a mood stabiliser for me) is the automatic cushion to bad news.  I know its bad but the reaction is reduced.  Thank Lilly for Cymbalta, without which I would be a crying heap of depression tonight.

Think I'll go to bed now and see what tomorrow brings, not really looking forward to it.

Snow, trains and automobiles

Yesterday Scotland ground to a complete halt due to a few more flakes of the white stuff.  It started to snow pretty early in the morning and continued on until late afternoon.  The snow let most people get to work before it really bedded in for the day leading to major problems for people getting home.  To add to the snow we had some chilly sub zero temperatures just to make it more interesting.  The major roads between Edinburgh and Glasgow turned into car parks and some people spent last night in their cars.  One hour journeys turned into epic adventure reminiscent of lord of the rings.  Children stayed over night in schools and some people had to sleep at work. 

The snow was bad, it came down fast and although the weather forecasters are saying they warned us I never saw any prediction of this snow.  I was trying to work out with my dad how long it is since we had winters like this and last years.  There are pictures of me as a toddler standing on snow that was up to our garage roof.  We lived on a hill and usually got worse snow than the surrounding areas.  This was probably about 30 years ago and since then our winters have been mild.  I guess what I'm saying is that the UK seems to be totally unprepared for snow and icy temperatures now.

Work was closed today for the second time in two weeks, great a snow day but with the economic issues the last thing we need is to lose two days in addition to the days when we have been sent home early.  I like to think the company is doing OK but like everyone else they haven't had the best results recently.  What damage will a bad winter do to us.  Is this something that can be fixed by a few extra bags of grit and  a nice new snow plough.

I watched the unfolding chaos from my cosy sofa as I waited for the nice breakdown people to come and fix my car.  Called them at 8am and was told there was a 6 hour wait, they turned up at 10.30pm.  Twenty minutes later my car had a new battery and was back in the land of the operating vehicles.  I would moan about the cost but I'm really just pleased it's fixed, I love my car.

Anyway my final snow and transport related comments are about the Santa train, I took some pictures during our trip out to see Santa on Sunday, I'm very pleased with this one:

It was a lovely old steam train and when we stopped at the North Pole there was a bridge allowing the following pictures:

At least this train was running unlike most of them in Scotland.

I love taking pictures but most of them don't turn out how I think they should, I possibly need to invest in a better camera, but these I like.

Hope everyone is safe and warm.

Snow Guilt

I worked from home today.  The weather is still bad, we had about 8 hours of snow today causing traffic chaos.  I didn't know this was going to happen yesterday when I made the work decision.  I was waiting for someone to come and look at my broken car.  It seemed like a good reason to work from home, I have remote access and an evil Blackberry to ensure I can work from anywhere in the world. 

But, I felt guilty because I stayed home.   I live close to work and can get in on the bus.  But equally I can do my job from home.  I felt so guilty I cried.  I was sitting thinking everyone would hate me because I stayed home.  They will all be talking about me.

Around this time I realised I am slipping into depression.  I felt low yesterday and thinking about it there is a definite trend.  I think that explains why I have felt so rubbish recently.  I had flu and have felt bad since.  It's probably because of the time I spent on my own when I was feeling ill, not getting out enough added to the dark gloomy days and you have the ideal growing conditions for a dose of depression.

So to be aware of this is to be armed.  I will fight it, the gloom will not win.  Will get my depression beating stick out of the cupboard and knock this winter depression on the head, after all there is a lot of winter to go.

Ho ho holidays?

Here comes Santa, here comes Santa, tra la la la la.

Just wondering how many people out there dread the whole Christmas thing?  I'm not a total Scrooge about to have a big downer on the season of goodwill but there are bits of it that I find really hard.

Today I went with best friends boy and girl and their two boys to see Santa.  Had a lovely day out, got home and ended up watching a Christmas movie on TV.  All very nice and sentimental but by the end I was crying.  Perhaps I forgot my antidepressant this morning? 

It made me think about the things I do because it's what is done rather than because I really want to.  In the years when I have really struggled with depression the holidays are torture.  I always have to paint on the happy face so that my family don't realise how depressed I am.  Even on years when I feel OK there are bits of Christmas that I find hard.

Take the work Christmas night out, last year I left really early because I felt like an outsider watching a bunch of mad strangers.  Partly this will be because I only drink with people I am very comfortable with, even then its not often I have more than one or two drinks.  Drunk people are either funny or, more often really annoying.  I was home by 10.30 watching TV with the dogs.  The year before I ended up crying then smoked?  I've never smoked in my life.  Woke up next morning feeling like I'd been licking an ash tray, rubbish night.  Most years I end up sitting next to someone I don't have much to do with and I have no idea what to say.  I end up just feeling worse and worse until I give up and go home.

This year I decided I wasn't going, that way I won't not enjoy it.  But then I ended up feeling guilty because people kept asking me to go and wanting to know why I didn't want to.  So now I'm going! 

Christmas eve, every year we go to the local pub carol singing night, it's OK but I don't know anyone so I go with my parents and sit with their friends.  I always feel like I'm about 10.  I'm an intelligent adult, I have conversations all the time, I'm actually hard to shut up but with my parents and their friends I can't think of anything to say and feel totally out of my depth. 

The Christmas bit itself I like, I think I'm pretty good at presents and like to buy people stuff they will like.  I enjoy the whole giving and receiving bit.  I like the dinner and the crappy TV, I like seeing my family.

Boxing day is another big family gathering, this can go either way.  Mostly its a great laugh but sometimes I feel out of it and like I don't belong.  Because I don't see my family often I get a lot of questions: Do you have a boyfriend? Are you courting?  Did you never want to get married?  Did you not want children?  Excuse me, 35 not 65, I'd like to think I've still time to get round to these things.  This year I'm a bit annoyed because the dogs aren't allowed to go for the party, my aunties have taken their dogs along for years but now the decision is that their dogs might not like strange dogs?

I think really I'm just not good with large groups especially if they are people I don't know too well.  I think this is something I've always had a problem with and probably why I hate parties.  I'm not antisocial I just feel really uncomfortable in these situations. 

So entering the holiday season with mixed feelings I'm thinking about the people out there who dread this time of year.  Seeing everyone seemingly so happy surrounded by family and friends can be heart breaking when you don't belong to that world.  Here's hoping everyone has the holiday that is right for them even if that's sitting watching TV with your furry friends.

Asbo dogs and snow

Some of you may be aware of the severe weather conditions that we have been experiencing in the UK.  For those of you that have real weather let me say we have had a bit of snow, you know a few flakes, just enough to get the ski resorts open.  Its about 12 inches of snow in my part of Edinburgh, more on the outskirts.

To those of you who live in tropical climates (or London who I know can't handle snow)  we have experienced a short ice age, the country has ground to a halt with airports closed, trains disrupted, schools, colleges and nursery's shut and the roads blocked.  Edinburgh's buses using their super powers have ran thoughout the freeze.  We have had hail stones that reminded me of the opening of The Day After Tomorrow and have been invaded by an army of dodgy looking snowmen.

The Asbo dogs have been enjoying the snow so I thought I'd share some of their snowy moments:
Star and Sasha in the snow!

Shooting Star
When you have wee legs you have to bounce through the snow.

Digging a snow hole

Star, such a poser!
Observe that snow doesn't stick to red fur.

Quick Dog Interval:
Snowy Tree

Cool Icicles

Back to the Dog Shots:

Flying Furry/Snow Ball

See what I mean by Snowball?

Can't be comfortable but if you can get them off they would be great for throwing!

This week has been fun apart from the car, the street has been blocked all week but finally I decided to dig the car out, 40 minutes spent clearing snow off the car and digging it's wheels out:

Only to find that it won't start, flat battery I think.

Hope everyone is safe and warm, have a great weekend :0)

Sorry for the posting gap

Apologies for my absence from the blog I have been feeling very ill so haven't written much although I have ideas in my flu filled head. Gorilla flu is quite nasty, hope it doesn't spread. I've been trying to keep up with reading your blogs and will be back with you all this weekend.

Mrs M

Fires and fireworks

In an nontraditional way my block of flats celebrated bonfire night a day early.  We have a bin cupboard on the outside of the block, last night some of the local kids decided it would be fun to set fire to our bin.  I was in my front room at the other side of the building, when I went to take the dogs out the rest of my flat smelled of smoke.  Leaving my flat and heading down the stairs it was definitely smokey.  Once outside the cause was obvious as the bin had been half pulled out of the cupboard and was full of flames.

In normal emergency mode I stood like a muppet (probably Ralph the dog) and stared at it for a while before I knocked on my neighbours door and they put it out.  No real damage other than to the rubbish.  Oh and the fact that the dogs now have a smoked smell.

So tonight is bonfire night for real, no pretend bin fires, real inferno type fires are alight all over the country.  To remember what it's all about here is the poem:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence [or By God's mercy] he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring.
Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King!

If you don't know or remember the Guy Fawkes story I think it's the Die Hard movie where Bruce Willis travels back to the year 1605 and stops a terrorist from blowing up a government building.  What you missed that one?
The girls and I are cuddled up on the sofa watching fireworks out of the window.  They are totally undisturbed by the fact that outside sounds like a war zone.  I was remembering November the fifth when I was young.  We used to get dressed up in our wellington boots, coats, scarves, hats and gloves.  So wrapped up you could barely move your arms.  We'd get taken to a local bonfire and fireworks display.  I mostly remember that your front would be roasting hot from the fire but your back would be freezing.  You had to pick your spot so that you didn't get a face full of smoke.  There would be hot potatoes and soup to help keep warm and then the high point of the fireworks.  All the oohs and aahs.  You'd go home freezing cold and have to get warmed by the fire or radiator.
I was wondering how many other countries celebrate a 400 year old attempt at terrorism?

Ghostly Goings On V

Haunted Houses

I've stayed in a few places that are supposed to be haunted so I thought I'd tell you the tales. 

First there was Beamish Hall:
It is now a hotel, looks nice if you are ever in the North East of England it is worth checking out there and Beamish museum - Link

I stayed there twice while I was at college.  It was an optional part of our English course and was great fun, groups of 16 to 18 year olds away from home in a haunted house!  The house at that time wasn't a hotel but hosted residential courses, it was quite basic with a lot of the house unmodernised.  At might it was very spooky and there were a lot of unexplained noises but nothing to prove haunting.

Beamish Hall allegedly has a few ghosts, the most famous is the Grey Lady:
"Legend has it that the grey lady was in love with Mr Shafto, but was promised to another by her father.  On the day of her wedding, she ran to Beamish Hall to escape from her appointed suitor and hid in a casket in the lowest cellars within the hall.  Unfortunately, the lady locked herself in and suffocated to death, being found some months later.  Her restless spirit wanders the hall today, her wedding dress-grey with age, rustling as she moves."

Others include a man in a tweed suit patrolling the corridors, this is thought to be Mr Shafto.  A lady in pink sitting in the Eden room with her companions including a cat and a parrot.   Amongst the others are children in the attic and a nasty spirit in the kitchen.   It would seem the kitchen spirit had an adverse effect on the food, it was pretty bad, we ordered pizza.

So we are there for a weekend do lots of interesting team building exercises and bits of drama.  One of the things our artistic English teacher decided we should do was scream.  As in arrrrrrgh.  Just as a release.  So there we are taking turns to scream when a blood curdling scream comes from elsewhere in the building.  The screaming increased from there and that was the end of that session.  No idea if it was an echo, the staff joining in or the sound of a tortured soul.

Years later I stayed in Chillingham Castle:
This is a lovely place to stay, check it out - Link the website includes details of the many ghosts, it is allegedly very very haunted and has been on many TV shows.  I went with a large group of friends for a weekend that included a murder mystery evening hosted in the coaching rooms. 

The group I was part of stayed in the landseer rooms,  I shared my time little room with a gay guy and we had a great laugh.  I woke up the first morning and was reading when he woke up and said "shit, this is like a prison cell."  That was before he knew we were locked in!

The downside of the weekend was that I had just split up with a guy I'd lived with for 7 years, he was there too.  I had a great time but there were some tense moments.  At one point I had to escape a, and crept into the next suite where I say on my own and had a good cry.  Other guest may have heard the wailing and thought it was a ghost, sorry guys just me.

The couple staying upstairs from us had a massive fight one night leading to a lot of bumps and bangs which again other guests could be forgiven for assuming it was the blue boy having a party. 

I had to go and collect my dog before we went home.  I was very naughty and let her have a sniff round.  Little Looby didn't notice anything strange so I'm not convinced by the Chillingham ghosts.  Lovely, interesting place though.

Finally at the suggestion of Dan I have added another haunted place that I have stayed.  Edinburgh is allegedly one of the most haunted cities in the world.  I've been here nearly 10 years so I've obviously visited less tourist attractions than the average American would do in a weekend but let me try to summarise out ghostly residents. 

Looking at my fantastic picture of Edinburgh you can see the castle on top of the volcano.  The streets running down from the castle are the old town and this is where most of our ghosties live.  From the Royal Mile you can take a few different ghost tours.  I've done most of them now, the most famous is Mary Kings Close.  When I first visited this tour was very rough and ready, done by student guides.  It was great.  This is a narrow street (or close) that used to run from the Royal Mile to the Nor Loch.  They built new buildings on the Royal mile but left this street underneath.  The story goes that during a plague they walled it up and left everyone there.  The horrible history aside it is really interesting to visit.  They have now done this up to make it a proper visitors attraction, it had taken away some of the character but is still worth a look.  They just did their first public over night stay for Halloween, wish I'd known I might have joined.

The one I like best is the Vaults, Edinburgh's underground city.  This is basically a bridge where they have built both sides and the arches have been filled with vaults.  A quick pic:
You enter the vaults through various buildings, some of the buildings are using parts of the vaults as store rooms.  Some of the pubs are actually in vaults.  I've been down here a few times and it is always different.  They definitely have a spooky feel, you are under the city so there are strange noises.  They have odd temperatures with hot and cold patches.  In addition there are dark doorways and random little storage areas.  There are definitely rats in the vaults so you do hear them.  It's history is nasty too (a pattern forming here), Edinburgh's poor and criminals used to live in the vaults.  I think the famous Burke and Hare stayed in the vaults at some stage (might be wrong).  I'm sure they were dark, smelly and unpleasant then, they still are.

The first visit I did was with work, it's hard to scare a group of 40+ people so it wasn't very creepy.  The second time I was with 2 friends and the total tour group was 6.  The thing I noticed was the temperature changes, very obvious when you take one step from warm to cold.  The best bit was one of the girls on the tour who claimed to be psychic.  She kept describing the spirits she was seeing.  Old women sitting knitting in one vault.  A man running down the centre corridor shouting at us to get out.  She seemed genuinely scared and wanted to leave.  We had been drinking so we were equally but very differently affected by spirits, I've not often laughed that much while trying hard not too.

One of the bars that backs on to the vaults is Whistle Binkies, very popular as it often has a late licence.  This bar has it's own spirit in the form of a long haired 17th century man who sits at the end of the bar, he's called The Watcher, because he watches (see what they did there).  Apparently he has been mistaken for a tour guide in the vaults, not sure how interesting he would have been as I don't believe he speaks?  A lot of people have seen him.  I'm not one of them, I don't drink much, I'm not sure if there is a connection between these things.  They have a second unseen ghost called The Imp which stops clocks and locks doors, more scary than the Watcher.

There are a huge number of ghosts around Edinburgh's old town.  A lot of the bars, hotels and theatres have ghosts, just have a flick through the list on this interesting paranormal site - Link.  I suppose since history says there has been settlements in Edinburgh since it was a hill fort in the 1st century.  Yep a lot of people must have died here so even if only a tiny, tiny percentage hang around we would have a lot of ghosts.  We've also had a lot of influential and famous residents who may have left a residual influence.  I'm particularly looking forward to the first sitings of Dolly the sheep's ghost, she now lives in the national museum.

I think my favourite ghostie is Deacon Brodie (also a great pub on the Royal Mile) he was the inspiration for the Jekyll and Hyde story, a respected business man by day but a criminal by night.  Apparently he was hung using the gallows he designed.  He is said to still walk around The Royal Miles carrying a lantern, with all the strange things on the Royal Mile I'm surprised anyone notices.  In August all the ghosts in Edinburgh could parade up and down the Royal Mile and no one would bat an eyelid, they'd be lucky to sell any tickets for their show.

Ghostly Goings On IV

Suspicious Psychic Snippets

While I haven't been back to a spiritual church meeting since I was in my mid teens I have occasional encountered a psychic, other than vague suggestions of personality and relationships they haven't ever said anything that has astounded me. Other members of my family either seem to attract or seek out psychic types and therefore I have an interesting collection of things that have been said that are a bit strange.

My Aunt went through a phase of visiting a spiritual church after her mum died. She had noticed at home that two of her clocks kept stopping at the time her mother died and could smell lavender occasionally. This made her think her mum was still around so she went hoping for a message. Her mum had been ill for a long time, cancer and later some sort of Alzheimer's type memory loss. It was very sad and could be distressing but at times she could be unintentionally very funny. She was a lovely lady and kept her humour throughout her illness so was able to laugh at her own antics when she realised what she had said or done.
Amongst the many messages my aunt got where some that have stuck in my mind, she was told:

"You have a knee in a draw?" She had her knee cap removed and had kept it, it was in fact in a draw in her bedroom, she swears there is no way anyone could have known this.

"Hickory, Dickory, Dock, the mouse ran up the clock" A nursery rhyme her mum used to keep saying while she was ill, there was no reason for it.

"Do you have a son in the spirit world?" No she didn't. "I am been shown an image of someone climbing out of a bedroom window and running away, it is definitely a male in spirit." My Aunt had a dog called Fred who used to unlatch the bedroom (first floor) windows, jump out and run away. She would be sitting down stairs and would see him land and head off down the street. She had moved since Fred died so didn't think anyone there would have known about this.

She was also told that her mum was making her presence known so that she could feel the love that was there. I don't know if this is true but it probably made her feel better.

My Dad gives off some sort of come and speak to me vibe while walking down the street and often gets stopped by people who will give him things or chat to him. It's not the buy some white heather thing, we were walking around London one day while I lived there when a very very old gypsy lady came over to him and gave him a good luck charm. She stood talking to him telling him all sorts of random things. She said he had two children one who was academically clever (me) but that the other was more intelligent (my brother). I still haven't gotten over this!

He had another lady approach him in a similar way when he was on holiday, he really thought he had been set up by his friends or something. She knew so much about him, predicted that his mum would have another heart attack in amongst other health issues but that she would be fine, that all happened. Told him he would buy a new house and move within the next 6 months which he did. Described his personality so well it was scary. Told him things he hadn't known about his grandfather and great uncles. He was really quite shaken by the accuracy of what she said.

My Dad is a big guy, he has always had a manual job and isn't really the type I would expect to believe in the supernatural but due to a number of events over the years he is a strong believer that there are people who somehow are in contact with spirits. Although not the clincher I think one of the deciders was been told many years ago that he would spend his later years living with a woman who wasn't his wife and have two children with her. At the time he was happily married with two children and laughed this off. Now he does live with a woman who isn't his wife and they have two children. My mum and dad got divorced but ended up back together.

Anyway not so much a ghost story just a few oddities. What do you think, can people contact the dead? Have you had any strange messages?

Followers Favour

Dear Lovely Blog Followers

Thank you for all your comments, they are very much appreciated.

I was hoping to pick you brains.  I'll try not to do this too often.  I am about to enter a writing competition to try to realise a goal I have to get something published.  It is for a magazine and I'm sure the competition will be intense.  I'd like to think I have a reasonable chance.

They want writing about anything but have said it should be witty, well written, real, interesting and honest. I think I can manage that.

What I was hoping you would help me with is to tell me which of my posts stand out for you, is there anything you have read on my blog that you have remembered or that has particularly interested you.  I am just hoping to get an idea of what sort of topics I could cover.

I have some ideas but too many and need to make some selections.

I'd be really grateful for any feedback you can give.  Getting published has been on my to do list for a long time.

Thank you
Mrs Midnite :0)

Ghostly Goings On Part III

I used to love horror movies until I started living on my own.  Then I realised that it is far too creepy, the final straw was after watching The Grudge.

I went home feeling a little bit spooked, had a cup of tea and went to bed.  My little dog at the time curled up to go to sleep on the floor next to my bed and I started to drift off to sleep.

Suddenly the furry muppet was in the hallway barking and I was wide awake with my heart pounding in my chest.  Initially I was going to employ the universal defense against spookiness at night and hide under my covers.  But The Grudge had already prepared for this.  In the movie a lady is followed home by the ghostie and hides uses the cover defense, rather shockingly the spirit creeps under her bed cover and drags her to her doom.  So I sat up and put the light on, small and furry returned to her bed and settled down.  I waited for my heart rate to return to normal so I could go back to sleep.

Later when I had gone to sleep muppet got up and headed for the kitchen.  She started another round of furious barking waking me up in a state of heart attack inducing panic.  I was nearly in tears, shaking as the adrenaline surged round my body.  I put the light on and crept out of bed although anyone with ears would have been able to hear my heart banging.  I tip toed through the hall and into the front room, flicked on the light and saw nothing.  Onwards I bravely went towards the kitchen thinking this is the bit in the horror movie where the stupid teen dies horribly.

Once at the kitchen door I flicked that light on to see something a lot like this:

Yes, my cavalier laughing her furry little socks off at the success of her scary story.  I'm sure her cavalier friends all had a laugh when she told them about her clever trick!

PS, That's not Sasha laughing, it is the fabulous, wonderful Looby who I had before Star and Sasha.  A dog renowned for her wicked sense of humour.

Ghostly Goings On Part II

A spooky experience I had in the early 90s when I was about 16.  I had a good friend at the time called Jill, she was really into rock music and had embraced the whole Goth life style.   I liked some of the same music but not everything she liked, we both loved a good vampire story but she could get a bit macabre.

She wanted to go to a spiritualist church so asked me to go along with her. I hadn't been anywhere like that before and didn't really know what to expect but thought it might be a laugh.  So off we went on a Monday night.  The church was a corrugated iron hall at one side of a big field in the centre of town.  We got there to find that the majority of the congregation were pensioners.  There were 3 or 4 people sitting at the front and then a few rows of mismatched chairs in a semi circle.  We took some seats in the second row just off to one side.

The meeting / service whatever you would call it started with a prayer and then the people at the front started giving people messages "from the other side".  I wasn't really very comfortable in the meeting because I was freezing, I had goose-bumps and was close to shivering.  During the break I spoke to the ladies we were sitting next too and one of them said something strange. 
"If you feel you have something to say you should just speak out." 
I just said "OK, I will." 
Later in the break Jill said she heard the woman say, "she definitely has a message but doesn't want to share."

Jill asked me if I had a message.  No, I told her that I had a song stuck in my head, I thought I must have heard it before I left the house.  This was the song:

Towards the end an old man focused on me and said "you have a strong spirit guide with you, she is protecting you from harm."

I was a bit shocked to be picked out but probably just gave a nervous smile. He went on to say that The guide wasn't a relative but an oriental girl who had drowned.  He said that I had a experience where I could have drowned (which I did) and that this spirit had protected me.  He said that I should listen to my guide.

Not long after that a lady stood up and said she had a message but wasn't sure who it was for, she said she had a young woman from the spirit world who had taken her own life. She mentioned that there was a strong Scottish influence.  Someone said that might be for them.  She went on to say that the girl had a difficult life and couldn't see any way out but to take her own life.  She wanted to apologise for all the pain she had caused but that she needed to end the abuse.  The lady said that she thought this was her niece and that she had shot herself.  None of the family understood why she had done it, they knew she was unhappy but thought it was just teenage moods. 

If you know the Aerosmith song story (or just watched the video) you might see some similarities between that and what was said about this woman.  By this point I was shivering, it was absolutely freezing.  I had an urge to say something but I never did, I don't think it would have been right.

When we stood up to leave I noticed that there was a gas heater just behind where we were sitting, Jill had felt warm through the whole meeting.  This freaked me out so much that I never went back.  No amount of begging from Jill would make me, she persuaded some other friends to go instead.

Ghostly Goings On Part 1

As we are approaching Halloween I thought I'd run a special series of spooky posts.  Looking back I have had a few interesting, potentially supernatural experiences so I thought I'd share.

The School Ghost

When I was around 9 I think I saw a ghost, I was out riding my bike with a friend, Glen and we saw a man on a horse.  We both stopped and stared for a while because the man had no head. I started to say something about it but Glen interrupted and said "don't say anything."   It wasn't a frightening experience, maybe a bit creepy but the horse and rider passed us just as a normal man on horseback would. 

The Headless Horseman" by Veronica Smith

I know now that near to where I grew up there is a old house, Beamish Hall that supposedly has a number of ghostly residents.  I have stayed there twice and it is a pretty atmospheric place.  I have heard stories that there is a headless horseman as well as the most famous grey lady.

Although Glen didn't want to talk about it I couldn't resist telling my friends at school the following week.  Even at the age I was a story teller! This first story lead to a new game of telling scary stories during break time.  At that age you would be surprised how many horror stories you know, we had ghosts, possessed dolls and mysterious moving objects.  The whole school was sharing ghost stories after a few days.  Even one of the teachers joined in with her ghost story:

Two of the older teachers Miss Bell and Mrs Elwood had been away on a residential teachers training course.  During the night Mrs Elwood told us she woke to see a woman standing by her bed.  She was wearing a nuns habit and Mrs Elwood said she knew it was a ghost although the woman looked real.  She lay watching until the woman left.  The next day she mentioned it to Miss Bell and turned out she had seen it too.  Both were quite scared by the experience.

It seemed that there were ghosts everywhere, the temptation was too much for my young creative mind.

A small group of us decided that the school needed a ghost, so we made one up (I say we, it was my idea).  It wasn't an old school, built in the 70s but for reasons I don't remember we decided that our ghost was a student who killed herself in the toilets at one end of the school.  I'm sure the story wasn't very well thought out but as we were only trying to convince 7 to 10 year olds before the days of Google it didn't need to be.  The story was rolled out one lunchtime and by the following afternoon it had taken on a life of its own.  New details were added, names and reasons for the suicide.  A teacher bullying the student who wasn't very clever. 

The following week two of the girls from the lower class heard something in the toilets.  Another saw a strange girl in the corridor.  Soon the girls were to frightened to use the toilets and the boys from the top class were daring each other to go in alone.  One girl actually fainted in the toilets she was so scared after hearing a noise.

Eventually an assembly was called and the head teacher explained to us all that no one had died in the school and that there was no ghost.  Did anyone believe them, no chance.  This taught me the power of whispered rumours and the weakness of official statements.  The stories continued in to the next year when we were the top class. 

A few years after I'd left school, in my late teens I went to a reunion at my junior school.  I heard some children talking about the ghost, fortunately at some stage the story had evolved and apparently the ghost is just lonely and wants to be friends. 

I guess I should really apologise to the school and teachers for causing lots of problems with my story.  I never meant any harm and it taught me a lot but I suspect it was a bit of a nightmare for the school at the time.

Miracle Jeans

Last week I wrote about my battle to buy miracle jeans.  Finally I successfully ordered these denim phenomenons.  They arrived in a heavenly glow and I freed them from their cardboard packaging with joy in my heart. 

BUT it seems they are a false sensation.  I pulled them on, zipped them up and yes they flattened my stomach partly by pushing down which could be uncomfortable over a whole day but they also created major muffin top!

I'm quite annoyed by this bit because I measured and got the size recommended.  Funnily the jeans don't feel tight, they are quite comfortable but there is a definite muffin ness and when  I sit down it is very obvious.  That aside the material is less denim and more Lycra, that to me says jeggings not jeans.  They also have quite a straight leg considering they were meant to be bootcut.  All in all not a miracle and certainly not worth 100 of my hard earned pounds!

The search for the perfect jeans continues.  But here to cheer me up is a muffin cat, enjoy!

Tattoo Trouble

I sort of want a tattoo but the road to body design is paved with problems.  I'm not sure if I will ever be able to make a decision on what and where to permanently colour myself!

First issue is the what.  This is going to be on me for ever, it takes me ages to decide what to wear on a morning.  So careful consideration is required:

Anything with words is dodgy in case of an illiterate tattoo artist:

I also worry that tattoo man might get carried away and forget to stop:

I guess I'm thinking that it just won't look right:

Like seriously my dogs with some coloured pens could draw a better panther and WTF is that unicorn doing?

The other worry is that I pick something that dates really quickly or that I hate after 6 months. 

Remembering the various tattoo fashions I have seen through the years that I sort of liked - dolphins, butterflies, devils moving on the Chinese symbols and tribal designs.  I think you can kind of tell when a tat was done if they fall into one of the fashion tattoo areas:

I'm not sure I'd still love Flipper now although I did really like them about 15 years ago.  I suppose not sticking to the fashion but getting something that appeals specifically to you is the secret.  I need to watch out in this too because a lot of the tattoos I see and think wow are really more for men:
I have always had a thing about dragons so have strongly considered getting one of those. Slight issue with that because Mr Midnite has a black dragon already and I suspect people would think I got one to match. His and hers tattoos!

So if I narrow down to things that actually mean something to me am I considering a cavalier tattoo?  Well it would be original because even the power of Google can't find one:

Actually I have it narrowed it down to a dragon, something with a Star and a Sash or some sort of flowery thing:

So with the what in progress I have to consider the where?  I want something I can hide if needed and reveal when I want to.  I think I also want something I can see.  Some places that have been withdrawn from discussion because they don't fit these requirements:
The head or face -
Anything around this area -
The back, partly because I can't see it and party because the lower back ones are now known as slag tags -
Don't fancy anything on my stomach, not my favourite body part and I would hate to see it stretch if I got pregnant or just fat.  Not really wanting anything on my upper arms of legs either and anything on my chest is totally out, best feature does not need anything added -

Have I left anything?  Oh yes, sides, wrists, hands, ankles and feet.  Not much to choose between so why can't I decide?

Any suggestions or advice will be appreciated and I promise if I ever make a decision I'll share.

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30 something female, GSOH, independent, unreliable, seeks sanity. Must like dogs and handbags!