Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vancouver Island-Vancouver-Dublin

This seems like a l.o.n.g time ago already!

I'm back in Kuwait and back at work. All that green hurts my eyes now.  

The day was mostly spent hugging friends and talking about holidays. Occasionally showing lost newbies around and, for rather too long, listening to loud animated voices trying to motivate teachers by showing them photos of Mr. Bean and sporadically shouting out names to check that everyone was listening. All that was missing was the red nose and clown shoes, but it was all rather (I've spent a long time thinking about the next word- fun/good/nice/inspiring...) easy.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Dog Days Are Over

There is nowhere more beautiful than home.

I am obviously a little biased in my thinking, but as I run along the back road over the rolling hills behind our house, I am always struck with how beautiful the view is. Or when I turn the corner just by the shops and the loch opens up in front of me, I think, why was it do hard to get out the door this morning in my trainers, look at this!

The mornings and the nights are generally the best time of day for clear skies and little rain. At night the sky is ever changing in colour, purples to pink, delighting those shepherds.
We don't often see clouds in Kuwait. The sky is just awash of yellowed grey. Grainy and hazy. It's hard to describe in words, I doubt many poets have tried.

I've had a quiet couple of days at home, doing those jobs that need doing; the dentist, the hygienist, the hairdresser (you would think I was off to the DRC rather than the sandpit), the last minute round of phone calls and final visits to my grandparents. I'm not a fan of this bit of the holidays. Knowing it is over so very soon. The bit where you start to actually think about the upcoming school year and think about all the things you could have/should have (nahhhhh, it's my holidays) done, the reading on mentoring NQTs or new BUILD initiatives (!!!). Oh well, too late anyway, try not to think about it. The bit when you realise that soon my time is not my own again.

I had a wee mini-break to Wales, nicely timed to get the most out of these last days. I stayed with lovely friends (my Lewa running buddy and her family)that I worked with in Nairobi. We didn't stop talking for two days as we connected all the parts of our lives together, making us, hopeless wanderers full in our hearts.

Then mum and I went on a shellfish cookery course at Nick Nairn's cook school, which was a fantastic end to the summer. I learnt a lot, but drank too much wine to remember what it was that I learnt. I'll have to just YouTube the next time I dispatch a lobster!

But now it really is time to start packing (I fly tonight!). It is easier returning back to work after 10 days rather than 8 weeks (HOW MANY!!??). I'm not sure I'm going to cope with it!

Enough of that, I'll be fine after a day back in the sandpit. I just need to take a big breathe and hope my bags are under the limit!

Friday, August 23, 2013


Currently reading-The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen. (No jokes about having razor blades nearby.) This was the first fiction I've read by the poet, and although it is taking me a while to read, his words are beautiful...and I will stop giving my dad a hard time for being his biggest fan!
I recently finished this by Maria Semple. I picked it up cheap in the supermarket. It was witty and different and I loved Bernadette, the main female character.
I haven't read much else in the past couple of weeks, but I was engrossed by this book which I started on my way to Canada and finished before I landed. (That also tells you a lot about the entertainment system on Air Canada flights!) It is so much more than a parenting book! I left it with my friend Kirsten, so that we can talk about it when we run together soon. I didn't take my kindle with me to my friend's cabin, so read a book on their shelf; this. I've never read a Ken Follet book, but really enjoyed this thriller...although I did keep thinking the stabbings were being done with a shoe-who knew a stiletto is also a knife!!

Currently packing for-my return to Kuwait and work..well, I've dusted off my suitcase...that is a start! The holidays are nearly over. That is all I have to say about that.

Currently training for-Munich half marathon. I signed up for the October (full) marathon after returning from Seville, purely because it is on my October holidays. When I return to Kuwait it will be 47 degrees Celsius...I'm not motivated for the long runs in the heat, so I am going to stick with the shorter distances and transfer my registration from the full to the half.

Currently watching- Celebrity Masterchef. I don't watch much TV, partly because summer television is full of repeats (on our 5 channels), but I like cookery shows...and it happens to be on at 'let's slouch on the sofa' time.

Currently looking forward to-going to the Nick Nairn cookery school on Saturday for a day long shellfish cookery course. So excited!

Currently thinking about- my next holiday...even though I haven't started work yet! I'm not wishing my life away, or dreading work, just thinking happy thoughts.

Currently listening too-

Friday, August 16, 2013


Three beautiful things from my day:

  • Writing and sending 5 cards of congratulations-to pregnant mamas and happy couples. Happy days ahead for special people.
  • "Your oral hygiene is good." Never one for niceties, I usually leave the chair in tears, this is a compliment indeed from my dentist. Flossing before my appointment was 5 minutes well spent!
  • A phone call from Australia, to say hello and have a quick gossip-even though I catch only one in every ten words, it makes my morning and sets me up for my run in the rain.
(A bonus one- watching this video!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

We're going on a bear hunt...

A highlight of my trip to Canada, was spending time with my friend Heather at her dad's cabin. The cabin is not reachable by car, so after a three hour ferry ride from Port Alberni, we kayaked for an hour and a half through open water to a small pass where half a dozen cabins were hidden. Seals and sea lions popped up to say hello and once we were in the pass we opened a can of beer to toast the god of good weather.

Heather's dad and family built their cabin. There is no mobile phone reception, sounds of passing cars or noisy neighbours; a few days there felt like a month long holiday- a true retreat. The water gently rocked the cabin like a cradle and we slept long and soundly, only waking early one morning to fish for salmon.

Every morning and evening we watched a bear nearby searching for food. We even were lucky (!) enough to see a mummy bear swim across the water to protect her two young cubs. (The fact that Heather and I were sitting in a row boat separating the bears was a bit nail biting-thankfully I had a glass of wine in my hand to calm my nerves!!) The light was not great, so my photos are memories of a wonderful experience rather than art for the wall.

I feel so lucky to have been shown this part of the great outdoors by Heather, it really was a 'Canadian' experience.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll

On my return leg from Vancouver, I stopped in Dublin for a few days to catch-up with my brother and his wife, and to run the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon.
At the time of registration this seemed like a great idea, but as I lined up for my bib number at the expo after a 14 hour journey, I was rather unenthusiastic about the event!

The day before the run I put on my trainers and went for a 15 min jog (more of a slog really...) to try and determine if I would be able to finish the 21km. I decided that I would be able to finish (note-being able to jog for 15 minutes is not an accurate gauge to see if you are ready for a half marathon!). It would be no personal best, but I would be able to get a medal at the end of it then have a guilt-free, indulgent celebration afterwards.

So, after rubbing a lucky lamp, I lined up for the inaugural race. As the music blared out of the speakers the adrenaline started pumping around my body, and in a style similar to the wise tortoise, I was off!

The majority of the run took place in Phoenix Park and for a while I actually was enjoying myself! The event was very well organised, apart from one of the few water stations running out of liquids and I was glad I hadn't feigned that illness (which was rather like bird flu or malaria...I hadn't quite thought out the details!) I would run it again and hope that next time I could encourage some running buddies to join me (Stuaaart!?)

Phoenix Park

 2 hours 19 minutes later I crossed the finish line, collected my medal and promptly had a banana and beer!

Big love to my brother, Stuart, who came to cheer and was the official photographer of the day!

I'm back home in Scotland now, still a bit jaded but happy to be in my own bed for more than a few nights and excited to share stories of adventures had. But first I have some washing to do!