Hey, everybody, we’re still alive and kicking,: it’s just that we’ve been so busy since we came home that we literally haven’t had a minute to catch our breath. And what about the weather in Scotland? – scorchio, scorchio! Brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the mid-twenties day after day is not what we’d call typical Scottish weather, but that’s exactly how it’s been recently. Tee-shirts and even sandals without socks! Yes, Really! On a couple of days in the past two weeks it has actually been hotter in Dundee than in Barcelona! Now there’s a turn-up for the books!

Football. I’m no longer going to be a Barcelona fan. Reason? They’ve gone and bought Luis Suarez, thereby breaking the principles within which they compete. You can’t be “Mes que un Club” if you buy a nutcase guilty of biting opponents. It’s just not on and Barcelona I’m ashamed of you! But, congratulations to the Germans on a terrific set of matches in the World Cup Finals, culminating in a cracking victory over Holland for whom I feel really sorry after a third defeat in the Final in 40 years. One more rant – Thomas Muller, you’re a great player and Mary fancies you to bits but you must stop diving as simulation is ruining football and it makes you a cheat pure and simple.

Scott at Berlin Fanpark on the night Germany humped Brazil

Scott at Berlin Fanpark on the night Germany humped Brazil

Scotland is of course the focus of much attention just now as the Commonwealth Games are taking place in Glasgow and elsewhere, causing much excitement to the floods of visitors keen to watch a bit of high-class sporting competition. The coverage on TV is particularly comprehensive, giving you a wide variety of sports to watch at different times throughout the day. I’ve taken in some table-tennis, weightlifting, judo and even a couple of games of rugby 7s which I found surprisingly exciting for someone who considers the round ball to be the only serious game to play. There’s also a lot of swimming of course but I still have a problem really getting into that form of watery competition although I was enchanted with the Scottish lad who won the 200 metres breaststroke. He genuinely couldn’t believe he’d just won the gold medal! It would’ve brought tears to a glass eye!

Coming back for the summer means a chance to spend quality time with the grandchildren again and how they’ve progressed! Ben and Artemis are the joy of my life and I seem to have a permanent smile on my face when they’re around. Mary is the same, especially with Ben for whom she’s taken to buying all sorts of little presents including a sunhat, a “that’s not my tractor” book and a plastic dinosaur with moveable jaw! I suppose she’s compensating for getting totally carried away when we were out in Balgay Park with Ben flying his kites and allowing it to zoom up into the top branches of one of the tallest trees in the park where it currently remains a week later. My rescue attempt was none the cleverer as the small branch I was throwing up at the kite got stuck itself and when I threw a large stone at it instead, the branch dislodged itself and hit me on the head!

"I have you now, young Burton!"

“I have you now, young Burton!”

 

 

Grass Wars!

Grass Wars!

This is how you do it, Mary!

This is how you do it, Mary!

Scott got back from his European adventure last night. All we care about of course is that he is safe and well, but it was nice to hear that he had had a wonderful time going round Europe in the train, visiting all the places he wanted to visit before he settles down to life as a serious student in Primary education which starts in mid-August. We obviously haven’t heard all he has done (and probably won’t, thankfully!) but we’d been keeping up with the fun via the photos he kept putting up on Facebook. By now you all probably know that he does a Messi goal salute (back to camera, head tilted up, arms raised, forefingers pointing skywards) at all the famous landmarks he visits so, in addition to the superb poses he captured in Oz and New Zealand last year, he has added several more from great European cities and landmarks. Here’s a couple!

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

 

Pilatus, Switzerland

Pilatus, Switzerland

The last two weeks have been particularly manic as we have had our visitors over from Catalonia. Guillem, my pupil back in Vilanova I la Geltru, his 10 year-old girl cousin Gao, plus their grandparents Ramon and Rosa have been our guests for the last fortnight and what a brilliant time we’ve had. Of course, when folk come to stay, you find yourselves going to lots of local places you totally ignore otherwise so it was nice for Mary and I too to see what this part of Scotland has to offer. As well as all the best things to see in Dundee, we managed trips to Pitlochry, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Stonehaven to see their Highland Games. Uncle Gerard chipped in with two Friday trips and lunch for the grandparents, while we managed to cope with three days looking after grandson Ben as well. Don’t ask me how we did it, but we did, and it was great fun. It also acted as an immersion course in Spanish for us and our ability in the Castilian tongue has really taken off.

Our visitors at Greyfriar's Bobby in Edinburgh

Our visitors at Greyfriar’s Bobby in Edinburgh

Where they slept!

Where they slept!

We’ll be relaxing now for three or four weeks before flying off to Holland to spend a week with our good friends Tom and Margaret. It’ll be good seeing a place we know nothing about nor have seen before. When I say relax, I am of course forgetting next Friday when I take my four boys up Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Great Britain. We try to do a mountain or two every first week in August but we can only manage two days this year as they are all extra busy. Just as it should be!

Gavin and Eve brought over my granddaughter Artemis yesterday and we all went to the wee zoo at Camperdown Park, just a couple of miles from our flat. It was the loveliest of days and, while both the otters and the meerkats tried their best, it was my wee darling who stole the show! I leave you with a photo of the bonniest bairn in creation.

Are you talking about me?

Are you talking about me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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