Friday, 28 June 2013

You know you're (back) in Scotland when...

I am sure you would all love to see some photos of the house but we're waiting till a bit more unpacking has taken place first.  For now I thought you'd like my top ten observations on things I have noticed about being (back) in Scotland...

1. You hang your washing out to dry then pack a waterproof coat for going for a walk, all in the space of 15 minutes.

2. Cash machines give you Scottish bank notes.

3.  People have Scottish accents (I know this is obvious but it is still taking me by surprise).

4. Renting a house is not nearly so expensive as it was when we lived in England!

5.  There are hills, it is difficult to push the buggy up them.

6.  People and houses are further apart, there is more space.

7.  Just because it is warm doesn't mean it is dry.

8.  The water tastes amazing and tea doesn't have "bits" floating in it.

9.  Driving for an hour to get to the nearest "thing" is just what you need to do because "things" are just that far away.

10. Your local news (certainly on the BBC) covers 5 million people and more 30,000 square miles (so isn't all that local).

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Move

It is now three days till we begin our move.  On Tuesday our packers will arrive and pack everything we own then load it onto a big truck before driving north.  On the Wednesday (due to driving regulations they won't/can't do it all in one day) they will arrive in Stirling with all our stuff, where (as long as everything has gone to plan) we will already be in the new house.

Lots of people have been asking me how we are getting on with everything and how we are feeling about it all so here is a brief summary...

I don't really feel like we are moving house nearly as soon as we are.  We haven't really had to pack anything so the house just looks and feels like normal.  I have felt vaguely stressed that I should be doing "something" for weeks now and I think this is in no small part because lots of the practical things associated with moving are going to be done at the last minute by someone else!  I am starting to feel like things are happening as we have taken down the stair gates and are starting to put the house back to normal in the hope that we can get back as much of our deposit as possible. I am also in operation "use up all the food" so that we don't end up spoiling lots of frozen (or even chilled) food on the long drive north.

We are both quite sad about lots of things we will need to leave behind.  We have come to love and value our church and all the great people there.  We have both really enjoyed serving in our various ways and it will be sad tomorrow to know it will be our last Sunday there (at least as regular attenders, I am sure we will be back to visit).  I love all the wee groups that the girls and I attend and will be sad to leave them behind too. I really enjoy the physical place of Loughborough too, it is a lovely wee place to walk around and apart from the lack of nearby ocean it has some lovely countryside next to the town that has helped this provincial lass from Scotland cope while living in the big bad country of England!!

We are also sad to leave behind the house we are in just now.  There's plenty wrong with it but it is a good size and we have some good neighbours and one of my best friends lives right across the street.  Along with being nice and close to town there is a lot to be said for where we are.  Just a shame that it's not nearly so convenient for Sandy's new job!

As for what we're going to, I'd say that we are an appropriate mix of excited and apprehensive.  We don't know that much about what the future holds, not even in terms of day to day.  We just need to get there and find out.  I am worried that Naomi will miss her friends a lot and I know I will but I also know we'll make lots of new friends in Stirling, we are both chatty types of people.

I am excited for having my family grow up in Scotland, I don't know if I ever really felt all that Scottish before but as soon as you took me out my home country I have felt it acutely and I am really pleased my family will grow up in that environment too!

We are excited for finding a new church and new people and new ways of helping. We worry that Open Heaven has been so good for us that we've been spoiled and our next church won't be able to live up to what we've become accustomed but I suspect we're realistic and pragmatic enough to manage all right wherever we end up and it might even end up being even better!

So we are apprehensive but, as I keep reminding myself  a little over 2.5 years ago we moved to a place called Loughborough where we didn't really know anyone and didn't really know what we would be doing or with who, and that seems to have worked out pretty well for us! Just look at how sad we are to be leaving!

The next few days are likely to be increasingly hectic as we finish getting ready for and the go through with the move but once we've unloaded a few boxes we might even get to slow down a bit as we won't have all our various groups and meetings to attend!

See you in Scotland!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Emotions II

When Naomi was a couple of months old we did this post about all her emerging emotions.  Unfortunately we are at a slight disadvantage for making a similar post for Miriam, perhaps these photos will explain why...

Happy looking at Mummy

Happy playing with toys 
Happy Having drunk some milk

Happy despite being strangled

Happy while bouncing

Still happy bouncing

Happy on the floor

Happy having a cuddle

Happy having woken up

Happy looking beautiful
However, just to prove that we do occasionally see other expressions I would like to share with you these two


And we seem to be in no doubt that she is unhappy if you wipe her nose
But as you can see, the other emotions are hard to capture on film as she spends the majority of her time smiling and being happy.  What a blessing to be parent to such a happy baby!

Friday, 14 June 2013


I've been meaning to have somewhere to put my various geek considerations for years. There's lots of little things I've found interesting which may be worth sharing with others, or at least writing down because I've got such a terrible memory (or even just to reduce the geek content of Brownlee Banter). Anyway, I've finally got round to doing something about it - so here's the Grid Blog.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Continuing the development olympics, Miriam has decided that sitting up is now something she wants to do. Still a bit wobbly, but given something to lean against she's becoming quite competent. Here she is having a jolly good sit this morning.

Sunday, 9 June 2013


We're starting to have our "last" things in Loughborough. Last Sunday was what's likely to be my last stint on van driving for the church. This is great, aside from being a simple job that's really appreciated, you also get to drive a van! Here it is fully loaded up to take around to Mountfields School, the venue for our church.

I'm sure (alright, I know) there are really good reasons for blurring out numberplates!  My main motivation today was humour though.
Today is likely to have been my last stint doing AV stuff as part of the Sunday gathering - the next few weeks I'm going to be trying to give practice to the new recruits on the team so while I can be around to help (not that they really need it - both the guys are doing just fine).

My last cell group is coming up fast - we've only being going about a year or so but we've had some really good nights and it's been a real pleasure to join these guys on their different journeys. The last couple of months we've had a really worthwhile dig through a book on science and God's creation (most of us being scientists, engineers or simply interested in such things), and more importantly we've all been able to prayerfully support each other with coming uncertainty and difficult things we've encountered.

We're really going to miss being here - and how much Loughborough has been a part of us is reflected in the huge number of "lasts" that are coming over the next couple of weeks.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Developmental leap frog

In the last couple of weeks the children have been trying to out-do each other on the developing front, here is my summary of all that has been going on...

Miriam grew some teeth (they are bigger than this now as the photo was taken only a day or so after they first made an appearance).  They are being well used for eating food, which is to be approved of, and chewing people which is less desirable.

Then Naomi grew another tooth, she is now the proud owner of one of her back molars, I haven't included a photo as it is hard to get a clear photo of something so far inside the mouth!

Miriam learned to roll!  Hooray! Better late than never (although, in her defence it is hard to learn to roll when your Mummy never puts you on the floor out of a realistic fear that you will be trampled on by a loving yet over enthusiastic big sister)

Here you can see she has rolled over for a snooze (as an aside, sleep still has quite some improvement to be made but Miriam is now more regularly sleeping for 5 or 6 hours at a time which is much nicer than the 2 to 3 we were subjected to for the first 5ish months of her life!)

One of the big changes in the house is that Naomi has decided she is a big girl now and doesn't wear nappies any more!  We are only a few days into this so might decide it isn't working out but she seems to slowly be getting the hang of what she needs to do.  The big problem seems to be that you need to stop playing/reading/eating/running/climbing in order to sit on the potty!

For obvious reasons I won't include a photo of Naomi on the potty but here you can see her sticker chart, she loves this! Every time she successfully uses the potty she is rewarded with a sticker and when she gets to the end of a row she gets to have a chocolate biscuit!

Today, Miriam didn't want to be outdone (again) and so spent a good chunk of time sitting unaided (with me behind her as she still likes to nosedive every so often!)

I think that's it for now (although it's enough to be getting on with!!) but here are some lovely pictures that I would love to share with you...

This is the sight we are greeted by most mornings, what a lovely way to wake up

Naomi, being two, likes things to be a particular way and the things she want things to be aren't always that obvious.  One day last week she point blank refused to leave the house unless I let her take with us this decorated paper plate (I kid you not!).

And finally, I got this photo of Miriam yesterday morning, how beautiful?