The Old Manse 02/06/02
Dear All
The swift arrow of time arcs high over the sleepy village of Tarbrax, or at least that's what I think it was, it's difficult bing precise about such things, it could have been a jet.  I blame cloudy weather, that and my eyes.
Speaking of such, we have decided to put ourselves under the knife, or more (and I hope very) precisely, the laser, on the 28th of June. The objective being better sight without glasses or contact lenses.  Fiona is going to get both eyes done and I am leaving my left as it is.  I'll tell you the results at the Hoolie do on the 27th of July, if I don't recognise you, perhaps you had better not ask how it went.  However I am told we probably won't emerge as Borg. (Star-Trek reference for the permanently bewildered). 
Summer here is a little patchy, though it's warm enough, and although it might be tempting providence, I can report there have been very few midges so far.  The weeds however, are growing at such a rate that I've had the strimmer out twice in May.  The trick is to get out while we can, but keep an eye on the clouds.  A few times recently the cats have come in complaining of sudden downpours and requiring towelling down.  That's fine in the afternoon, but a bit of a pain at five in the morning on a Sunday.  If it does rain, I usually go and make something in the workroom.  I have made things a little difficult for myself however by turning it into a spare bedroom and getting my woodworking gear out of it, so recent projects have tended to be either outside or very clean.  It will encourage me to get on with the next project, the construction of a decent shed from what's left of the old wooden garage and building a concrete double-garage in place of the latter.  Since it will be used by the Landrover it will need to be a bit taller than most.  I find getting such structures level the hardest bit, perhaps that laser eye might be useful there.
One of the cleaner projects is the web-site which is still expanding, and this newsletter will be going onto it fairly soon.  I won't describe it, you are, or will be, probably lost in it reading this and that would spoil the fun.  The site is not published to the general public, and can only be accessed by people with the right address.  I am impressed by the number of visitors though.  Maybe I'll let the public in one day.
So what else is going on?  Well we were delighted to put the Aunts up for a few days, and went all over the place looking at old ruins and ancient monuments.  (Mind the jokes if you don't want a frog in your drink at the Hoolie do.)  Stirling Castle was well worth the visit and Rosslyn Chapel has more stories, carvings, and masonry (both kinds) per square (pun) inch than anywhere I've seen.  Unfortunately we were unable to get onto the roof this time, perhaps next time.
Tess came with Mum and behaved herself (well actually both did) and although the cats were unimpressed and hid, they were less bothered than I had expected.  The rabbits on the bing will speak in hushed tones of the Black Lightning, for a few generations, but to be honest they live such boring lives they always go on like that about any disturbance.  Look at the fuss they made in Watership Down over a house move. 
The cats themselves continue to live the lives they feel they deserve, not much work and the opportunity to career madly round the house at all times of the night, dozing quietly most of the day, and eating in between.  Can't be bad, they love the conservatory, though neither shows any musical talent, and Maggie, who is the more human inclined of the two, has learned how to get a hug by yelling till one of us gives in.  It's a heck of a job typing with one arm. 
Work, if you'll pardon the expression, continues and seems to be getting more and more demanding at the Hospital, (though I'm glad to say that Fiona has not found that at I.F.)  The latest development has been the gradual advance of the University run departments into the Outpatients Building.  If you turn your back, or have a long weekend, you find on return that they have taken over another room.  There don't seem to be any actual staff going in and out, however, and the building gets quieter and quieter.  A bit like the Invasion of the Bodysnachers, and no, I haven't checked the basement for pods.  Anyway that's where I.T. hangs out.  Its like a huge students flat and has different rules. Teetering stacks of computers and printers, coffee mugs with primitive civilisations in them and they all speak an unintelligible language of their own.  Come to think of it they do have University connections, maybe it is an alien invasion.
On a more planetary level we are starting to plan for the Australian trip.  It looks as though the house building has been delayed so it's just a holiday this time.  My knowledge of Australia is limited to tales of Crocodile Dundee and 6X adverts, so I'm working on the premise that its just like Scotland but hotter.  It worked well enough in Menorca.  If I add bigger, (and lager) I should be OK.  Weird natives, the ever present danger of getting lost, dangerous life forms, and a strange incomprehensible language?  I've been to the I.T. Department, and Glasgow.
Our hope is to do a swift loop right round the planet, no particular reason, it just sounds like a good idea.  A pity we can't stop off all over the place, that would put the price up a fair bit, but we'll do what we can.  Good dream building stuff.
On the matter of travel, although more close to home, the council has just spent a week blocking our main road into Edinburgh, ostensibly repairing it.  Some locals think they were really clearing a crashed flying saucer, it is a better explanation for the diversion, they certainly don't seem to have done much to the road, there are some impressive skid marks, and the visibility has been rather poor at night lately.  I don't believe it myself, the aliens in the area wouldn't go risking their no-claims bonus when the weather around Harperrig reservoir gets mucky. They go over to Dollar where they blend in just fine.