“Spectacular Jousting” is spectacular

Last Sunday we made more good use of our Historic Scotland membership by attending the Spectacular Jousting event at Linlithgow Palace. Visiting the palace itself has been ear-marked for another day as once again there was so much going on at the Peel that there was no time left for exploring the palace.

We made use of the free park and ride service provided on the day which gave Scott and Luke the added bonus of a wee bus trip from the car park on the outskirts of Linlithgow straight to the Palace. We arrived in good time for the start of the event and Scott got involved in the Children’s Army which involved grouping the kids into schiltrons and marching.


I loved seeing all the kids that had dressed up too. There were some brilliant costumes. If only I could get either of my two into a tabard!

They are both rather partial to a sword fight, however….SAM_6499SAM_6502SAM_6510

There are two jousting shows during the course of the day and I really enjoyed them. The players put on a great show with the appropriate numbers of heroes and villains to cheer or boo.


The champion showing off some great balance at the end, straddling two horses:


In-between the two bouts of jousting there were acrobatics from jesters and an amusing Assassin’s tale. The boys didn’t want to sit back and watch most of these other shows so we took a walk round the encampment to sample the Medieval life.

SAM_6542This boy loves a guddle:SAM_6533SAM_6530

He is also very fond of the dragon that he met at Ardrossan Castle a couple of weeks ago.SAM_6534SAM_6535SAM_6537Ice-cream break


A sunny day would make this day pretty unbeatable, but there are some things that even Historic Scotland’s efficient organisers cannot control.

We left the event more than satisfied with the entertainment and I am pleased to say that both my boys have #gotthehistorybug



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Countdown to summer

The weather would definitely suggest otherwise, but the summer holidays are here. The past few weeks have had a few bumps and I feel ready for a rest.

I took Luke to the Ardrossan Castle Carnival (Scott was at a birthday party) and he had fun charging about with a sword.SAM_6429SAM_6428SAM_6431SAM_6427SAM_6438

I clearly have him well-trained as he claps and exclaims in delight whenever I mention visiting a castle now! Events like this set a pretty high bar, though, with jousting knights, a dragon and carnival games.


When the dragon “woke up”, Luke got quite a fright and burst into tears, but he soon settled to arguing with it; “You’re not taking my sword, dragon. No!”


This is an excellent free local event that even showcases jousting. I have a feeling that these are the same knights that we will be seeing at Spectacular Jousting….Not that jousting is a niche “sport” or anything!


In-between times we have had some Fathers Day baking – Victoria Sandwich and Key Lime Pie with meringue. Luke loves helping with any kitchen activities at the moment and whenever he sees me put an apron on, he goes to get his on. It is messy, but nice.

Scott has had a couple of Funworld birthday parties and Luke was at the last one too. He was delighted to be there and play with his lovely older friend who is extremely patient with him:SAM_6463


We stumbled across a fun event in George Square in Glasgow last weekend. The boys enjoyed the carnival atmosphere, music and activities.SAM_6472SAM_6475SAM_6478SAM_6479Looks like Scott is ready to dive into summer.Ā  šŸ™‚

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rock of Ages at Dumbarton Castle

A couple of weeks ago we had our second experience of Historic Scotlandā€™s Rock of Ages event at Dumbarton Castle. Sadly the weather was not up to the lovely sunshine that we were treated to last year, but there was still plenty to keep us entertained. It does amuse me to think about the contrasts in our weather system considering we were slapping on the suncream last year and this year I bought a cup of tea to heat up! There was also a section of the castle that was closed off this year due to the weather.

While Luke and Billy caught up with some zeds in the car, I took Scott out and we were immediately drawn into the action, watching a display from the Covenanters. This stirred up Scott’s sensitivities and he wanted to head off to the castle for a sword fight.

Scott cannon - Copy

Luke was soon with us and keen to join in on the action:




Rock of Ages has an assortment of characters from different phases of history and Scott was pleased to see his Playmobil Roman Centurions!



The shield is remarkably heavy:


I enjoyed talking Scott through the WW1 display and the evolving battle strategy:





Both the boys were happy to watch a lot of the displays, though we did discover that Luke is not keen on all the action….He likes the shouting…




But, “no like it big bang.” He is not a fan of the musket fire!



Thankfully, Luke’s enjoyment of all things castle seems to be continuing as this Historic Scotland event is becoming a bit of a standing calendar commitment. Hoping for better weather at our next one – Spectacular Jousting!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bits and Pieces

I am still chasing my tail a little to catch up with the past few weeks and to look forward to the summer. My marking has dragged on a bit and I have been a busy bee. I am now thinking “eek” about all the things I still have to organise in the next few weeks. Tired and a bit run down sums up the current standings! The weather hasn’t been too summery over the past couple of weeks so jackets have been back on for trips to the park.



Scott and Luke want to go outside ALL the time. This is my first excuse for a messy house!

Luke discovered a wee pair of jelly shoes recently that used to be Scott’s and he has taken a shine to him. He calls them his “crocodile shoes” which just reminds me of Jimmy Nail!


Luke is also partial to putting stones down the drain. This used to pass the time with Scott too!SAM_6362

Skiddling in water is top fun:SAM_6333SAM_6335

Now that Scott is reasonably competent on his bike he is keen to take it more places to go a bit further.SAM_6370SAM_6379SAM_6384

Luke just about always gives me a RSI at the park due to constant swing pushing. He is perfectly happy to stay in a swing for about an hour.SAM_6373


Playing hide and seek and climbing:SAM_6382SAM_6383SAM_6386

A rare time spent indoors gave us some time to make some cupcakes. This is not for those of a nervous disposition as giving a toddler some sprinkles to put on the cakes produces some interesting results!SAM_6353SAM_6354SAM_6359SAM_6361

Hoping next week is not so busy…..hoping for flying elephants….!





Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2nd Birthday catch up

A manic couple of weeks has meant I haven’t had time to think about much or catch my breath so it is nice to look back a little at Luke’s 2nd birthday. I didn’t need much inspiration for Luke’s cake this year. Mr Tumble is a firm favourite in Luke’s world so I found myself a Mr Tumble magazine with a Mr Tumble to use on my cake. The sugar craft making of a Mr T was absolutely not an option and to be fair, the wee toy has been getting tucked up in bed every night since Luke’s birthday!

18492355_10155364296861757_1417005454_nSAM_6314SAM_6312We think he liked it.

Birthday morning (Kind of ignoring the new book box we got him!):


As I don’t need much excuse to make cake, we had a special birthday tea for Luke on his birthday.

Old school jelly by Billy:SAM_6325

Dinosaur cake by me: After Eight and Matchstick spikes and Tic Tac claws and teeth! The rest of the dino casing is green ready roll icing. Fun to make, but cutting all those triangles took some time!

dino cake - CopySAM_6328

Truth be told I am pretty exhausted so am looking forward to a less hectic time (hopefully). šŸ™‚

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Millport 10 miler race recap

Last Sunday I ran the Millport 10 Miler Fun Run. This is the third time I have participated in this event (previously known as Michaelā€™s Movers Millport 10 Miler) and as ever it was a friendly, efficiently organised occasion. I had this in my plans as my ā€œgoal raceā€ for some time so I have been training accordingly. The use of a Garmin and my Sunday runs, in particular, gave me a good sense of where I was at in terms of setting my race goals. Last year, I completed the course in a time of 1:14:43 and I had high hopes of being able to better this time. Ā I calculated that running at an average of 7 min 20 sec miles would produce a 1hr 13 min 20 sec time. I have been training at running at this ā€œgoal paceā€ for parts of my runs over the last few weeks, but the challenge is being able to hold the pace for the entirety of the distance.

I was extremely relieved that the weather on Sunday was far nicer than Saturday so I set off for the ferry feeling optimistic. I did however feel chilly as I waited for the pre-race warm-up.


My race management was not the best on this occasion. I set off too fast as my split times demonstrate:

Splits Time Cumulative Time Moving Time Distance Elev Gain Elev Loss Avg Pace Avg Moving Pace Best Pace Calories
10 7:13.6 7:13.6 7:08 0.99 29 7:19 7:14 5:49 99
9 7:49.4 15:03 7:48 1.00 28 17 7:49 7:48 6:26 102
8 7:39.6 22:43 7:36 1.00 31 35 7:40 7:36 6:24 103
7 7:39.1 30:22 7:34 1.00 35 7:39 7:34 5:50 102
6 7:14.6 37:36 7:14.6 1.00 10 11 7:15 7:15 6:14 103
5 7:03.9 44:40 6:58 1.00 9 4 7:04 6:58 6:17 101
4 6:56.5 51:37 6:55 1.00 22 27 6:56 6:55 5:11 101
3 6:52.9 58:29 6:49 1.00 25 80 6:53 6:49 5:59 100
2 7:00.0 1:05:29 6:58 1.00 51 11 7:00 6:58 5:53 101
1 6:44.0 1:12:13 6:40 1.00 28 23 6:44 6:40 5:34 98
Summary 1:12:13 1:12:13 1:12:11 9.99 239 238 7:14 7:14 5:11

MileĀ 1 was my fastest at 6.44 pace. I managed to tail onto another runner until mile 4 when he began to leave me behind and then my speed began to drop. I could not hold the 7 minute mile and a few doubts began to creep in. The wind also picked upĀ after mile 5 and I had to tell myself just to hang on and keep going.

A wee “handy” bit of self motivation can help:

I told myself to get to mile 9 and it would be okay. Mile 8-9 was my worst, but when I knew I only had a mile to go I was able to give it everything I had left.

run 2run1

The finish was an extremely welcome sight.

finish 2

post race

I finished in a time of 1hr 12 minute 15 seconds which calculates as an average pace of 7.14. I am obviously delighted, but not quite sure what to make of the way I went about it. Should I reign myself in at the first few miles of future races, or set a fast pace and try to hang on for as long as possible? That’s the problem of coaching myself!!

The race organisers kindly presented me with a bottle of champagne as the first female finisher. (I finished 4th overall) The goodwill at the end of the race was typical of the spirit of this event that is organised to raise funds for Parkinson’s Scotland.

presentation 3presentation

The boys also had a nice visit to the island. I was pleased that Billy brought them over and they enjoyed their time on the beach waiting for me to finish.

beach 1beach 2beach 3

car 2car

The sore legs that I have experienced since last Sunday remind me why I don’t appear to have it in me to race every week. Plenty of time to plan for the next one!






Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two already

Well my little Lukester, IĀ cannot believe you are two already! Two years is a long time and then not really. It is hard to remember how life was without you. Every year as your birthday dawns I will remember the cherry blossoms that are blooming at this time of year. I remember vividly the cherry blossoms as I waited for you to arrive. I remember also seeing them last year as you turned one and seeing it as a sign that I had a made it. A difficult time was passing and I could look forward with my wee family.

cherry blossom

Every day is special and every moment is precious with you. There are so many reasons to be thankful to have you in our lives.

I am thankful for every single day I get to spend with you. Your curiosity, your innocence, your quest for learning, your lovely chat. The things that you do and say that makeĀ me smile and burst with pride.Ā I am so glad on the days that I donā€™t have to rush anywhere else. I feel privileged to be able to live those moments with you.

The way you were: Day 1


Age 1


Almost 2:


A child giggles with all his heart, without any care in the world. I am thankful for those giggles which fill my heart with joy. The things that set you off can be so random, but you do love a right good giggle.


You are such a playful wee boy. You love spending time with your big brother Scott.


You love the outdoors.



I am the world for you today, as you will remain mine; but as you grow up, make new friends, learn new things, there will be a world beyond us. You are already making friends and making your world that bit bigger at nursery.Ā It is incredibly exciting asĀ wellĀ as a little sad for me.Ā I am very thankful thenĀ for these moments in life when we have hadĀ each otherā€™s attention all the time.



I have been guilty sometimes of feeling irritated when you pull me from all sides for attention. when you literally won’t let me put you down, when you won’t accept anyone but me.Ā Those times late at night when I am tired or I have had a long day. I know this time is special and it is never going to come back. I know I need to slow down sometimes and take it all in. To tell you one more story. To hold you a little longer.


I have so much more to say, but words cannot quite say what you mean to me. I just hope I can remember the finer nuances of our daily lives, the fun we have, the many adorable things you do. I hope I can hold the beauty of these moments in my heart forever. I hope I can remember much more than a photograph or a video can ever capture.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Luke xx

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment