14th-16th of July, 2017: Ants, Glasgow Jokes, and Flower Bombing

Friday, 14th of July

Haitham left me all by my lonesome this night, abandoning me for a testosterone-filled night of poker with his mates. Like the dutiful housewife I am, I sat at home, steadfastly gazing out the window awaiting his return, a tear of solitude trickling down my cheek.

As if!!!

How I love a quiet night in left to my own devices. I finished my book (A Face Like Glass); had Thai food delivered; cranked up some tunes and had a dance party in the living room. That sorted, I settled down to go through my repertoire of Films H Would Kick Up a Stink if Forced to Watch (a sizable list to be sure). When I spotted that Netflix had Marvel’s Ant-Man available, I queued it right up. (H has sworn off/missed pretty much the entirety of the Marvel comic book madness, which is a shame because they’re actually quite good.) Anyway–not a bad night by any regards!


Saturday, 15th of July

I’ll start off with a joke posted by the mum of one of H’s mates. I personally love this woman: mainly because she posts several jokes a day on the book of Faces. Some of them I have to ask H to translate, but this one tickled my fancy right enough. It’s about Glasgow, Edinburgh’s more rough and ready big-city rival.

A man buys a budgie. It keeps repeating, “Am a Glesga budgie an am as hard as nails.”

After a week the man gets so fed up he buys a kestrel. He puts it in the cage beside budgie and says “Let’s see how hard you are now.” Next morning the kestrel is dead, budgie says “Am a Glesga budgie an am as hard as nails.”

So the man buys a buzzard puts it in the cage. Next morning the buzzard is dead and the budgie says, “Am a Glesga budgie an am as hard as nails.”

“Right, then” says the man, goes and buys a golden eagle and puts it in the cage.

Next morning the eagle’s dead and the budgie has no feathers left…. Budgie says, “Hud tae tak ma jaikit aff fur that yin!”

There’s a lot of good jokes to be had about the lovely folk of Glasgow. Whether it be their amazing accent, their penchant for drunken revelry, or their firm resistance to anyone removing this addition to a famous Glasgow icon for many years now… yeah, they’re solid folk (who you probably shouldn’t pick fights with).

Enough about that though! As it happens today we traveled to Glasgow to visit with H’s mate’s new baby, a wee girl named Sophia, who is around 2 months old now and a total darling who didn’t cry even once while we were there (she is very wriggly, though). I don’t think I took any photos of her, but I did take a photo of a very vibrant church door just around the corner from their flat.


Sunday, 16th of July

Nice, peaceful day. Sometimes work is pretty enjoyable. I really felt in my element the last few hours of work. I tutted around the place discussing trees and hedging with three sets of people–the last being a young man, his wife, and their tee-iny baby who was only 5 weeks old. Discussing trees felt like a blast from the past. It’s all I did back at Southbranch, considering Tennesseean’s penchant for fast+shady! However here it’s totally different, and considering most people’s itty bitty gardens, they normally request the smallest plants possible.

Anyway, I didn’t take any photos. I think what I’ll do on these days henceforth is include a photo that H took of me from some of the random occasions we’ve experienced together in our 5 years of knowing each other. After all, he does take far too many photos of my ridiculous face. So I have a lot to choose from (unfortunately).

How about this one to start: appreciating some flowers in York as you do.


11th-13th of July, 2017: Destruction Blues

Tuesday, 11th of July

Welp. It’s a snail.


Welp, that’s all for today folks!!!

Wednesday, 12th of July

It was, for once, a totally gorgeous day on my day off. Although I did spend a pretty solid portion of it basking in the rarely seen warmth and sunshine, I also managed to get some errands run: baby shopping for H’s mates’ new wee one! We found a very cute shop in town that had some excellent dinosaur-themed pickings, and tiny baby raincoats. Just what every Scottish baby needs.

Just outside the shop there’s some major carnage taking place. Specifically, the destruction of the old St James Centre, a building long hailed as being the ugliest damn building in the lovely Edinburgh cityscape.

You can see what they’re working with in this Google Earth photo from 2012: yuck.

The neat and surprising thing about our baby-shopping today was that it featured a fantastic view of the demolition in progress. I wasn’t the only one who stopped and had a long gawk; there’s something terribly mesmerizing about watching things being ripped to shreds. Especially when it involves heavy machinery!


Thursday, 13th of July

I think I’ve mentioned before that I can normally tell what I’ve done on a day either by Google photos helpfully showing me what photos I’ve taken on a particular date, or, if that fails and I took no photos, I can usually rely on my chat with H during the day to fill in the gaps.

Sometimes that fails, too. Literally the only thing I sent to H today was this.

7th-10th of July, 2017: Cats, Mugs, Beaches, Cows

Friday, 7th of July

My girlfriend just got a wee kitten!!! (Okay, I think she’s 6 months old, close enough!) When I was invited over for some chat+cat time, of course I jumped at the chance. Over dinner and wine we had a much overdue gab fest which was frequently interrupted by my exclaiming, “Oh gosh you’re cute!” Seriously. But just have a look at the wee derpy charmer:


She’s sweet as pie too, even though she’s got a bit of a KISS look to her! I think she goes by several names, but the most broadly used one is “Gatiña” which translates in Spanish to, appropriately, “Little Cat.”

Saturday, 8th of July

It’s my day off! And, even better, it’s sunny. I had decided to chance it and boldly click “ATTENDING” a few days back to a bike ride with my Belles group, despite my still-stubbornly-lingering-on cold. I steeled myself and shot off to the opposite side of town, a mostly downhill, quite short, and normally enjoyable ride.

And yet, folks, I have brought shame to bicyclists everywhere: I arrived fifteen minutes late, drowning in mucous and coughing my damn fool lungs right up. My Belles were nowhere in sight. I’m not gonna lie, I dragged my feet the last ten mins of the ride or so, praying they would go without me. If not, I would have to face them while choking to death on boogers, blowing my horrible nose-trumpet and explaining lamely, sorry, I know I just made it, but actually I’m going home because I’m dying!

When I did finally manage to get my poor lungs under control and had a glance around at the sunny splendor of Portobello Beach, I decided I couldn’t just pack it in. After all, sunny days in Scotland are rare.

Lo and behold, my trusty partner in crime Krista and her visiting niece were game for a jaunty beach wander. With ice creams and pastries purchased, we wandered, dipped our toes in the water, and people-watched. Sunny days mean dogs and babies at the beach! Sometimes in combination, which is the best thing. I watched a small child attempt repeatedly to hurl the ball of a stranger’s dog, instead chucking it straight down at the ground in front of her feet. Poor wee dog was about to have a heart attack, trying to work out her tiny toddler aim.

Here’s a particular bit I enjoy on the beach. This totally random octopus clinging to a… what is that thing, even? A tide marker?


Ho ho! Thanks, internet: a quick google search has provided answers.

Sunday, 9th of July


I’m chuffed to bits.

Monday, 10th of July

I’m finally getting time after work to sort out the backlog of photos I’ve been hoarding from our wanders (mainly hundreds of photos of highland cows). Also, I didn’t take a photo today! How about more photos from York instead?? Okay then!

Here’s two from our last morning there. While making our goodbye-sweet-animals round before checkout, I stopped to admire the lovely backdrop of the rolling hills while a heery coo hung out in the foreground. I waited eagerly to see if he would turn and look our way, creating a cracking photo.


Sure enough:


Jesus Christ.


4th-6th of July, 2017: Much Celebrations

Tuesday, 4th of July

Happy fourth y’all! (Yeah it’s belated but so what??)

While I may have had my fair share of excellent Independence Day celebrations, somehow living in the UK has not particularly contributed to them. (Except two years ago–that one that lead to my tossing cookies in a bin/losing my equally inebriated friend who decided to get off our shared bus home only to get lost for hours until her rescue–good times!)

However, at the end of my shift at work I did my patriotic duty and donned my American flag tank top (it was really the least I could do). I then met up with my partner in crime Krista for some chat ‘n chew at a cafe we’ve been to before, which, as it happens, was French. I ordered some food, which included fries… should I… call them freedom fries, or…? Okay, maybe not.

It was pretty grim and windy on the way out after our gab fest, but I did manage to snap a photo or two on my winding wander back to my car in the drizzle. (Notice the saddening lack of fireworks and drunken revelry. Ah well–we’ll make up for it November 5th!)


Wednesday, 5th of July

And so day two of spending all my money rolls around! This time, it was my American gal Mel’s graduation celebration. Krista and I joined her for some cheeky cocktails followed by astounding pizza at Nova Pizza Kitchen, which happens to be all veggie (yussssss!). We also met her sister who was visiting for the occasion. Good times! (and damn was that cocktail amazing!)


Thursday, 6th of July

Shoo wee! Three nights in a row of being social?? My hermit side shudders and longs to be at home reading a book. Nah, I’m not gonna lie, I absolutely adore having things to do with friends in and around Edinburgh–I feel continuously lucky to have met such nice people, and even more than that, it makes Edi feel that much more like home, and that’s something I don’t think I’ll ever take for granted.

Tonight’s celebration was in honour of Natalie, the wee gal with the mysterious blue bubble tea. She just graduated, so we dined on Malaysian fair and followed that up with massive portions of ice cream. Hells yeah!


1st-3rd of July, 2017: Back from the Cold-Dead

Saturday, 1st of July

After several days in a bedridden state due to my pneumonia (aka a small cold, no honestly, it was probably at least bronchitis [she tells herself adamantly because she googled it and as we all know google knows everything]), it was time to get back into the swing of things. That’s right folks: it’s chores time.

Haitham cleaned out the car whilst I cleaned the house.

After all our hard work, I did manage to convince him to step out with me for a cheeky coffee and wander to nearby cafe Tea and Sympathy, where we had a wee snack and a very lovely coffee (complete with a sliver of tablet on the side).


Sunday, 2nd of July

I’m now desperately behind and trying to catch up. Luckily for me I jot down notes as the days go by.

Today’s notes: “Clarissa is given a snail; and rescues a bee.”

I’m just gonna leave it at that. I do like the fact that someone at work (Ben) decided that upon finding a snail, I should be called over to receive said snail–I also




Anyway here’s a photo I took of a pretty stinkin’ lovely dahlia.


Monday, 3rd of July

No clue what happened on this day. Searched mine and Haitham’s message log for clues. Find only this.

Damn I love that man. Anybody who can not only set foot onto the moon, but then punch a moon landing denier in the face … well, come on. What’s not to love?

26th-30th of June, 2017: Clarissa Is a Pansy

Monday, 26th of June

It’s back to work after the cow-filled vacation extravaganza!

However, sometimes too much of something (like having fun) can be a bad thing. In my case, my throat began hurtin’ something fierce during the workday. That’s an immediate uh-oh in my book. Usually a dire warning of many boogery days to come. I took some paracetamol and prayed that the bug would be obliterated by my trusty immune system. (Spoiler alert: immune system failed me. What a jerk.)

But check out what I got when I came home from work: wahoo!


Sorry for the horrible overuse of vignetting. It was the quickest and dirtiest way to snub out any unnecessary details. 😉 What this means is, I am halfway through the process of qualifying for settlement in the UK! And what that means is… after five years of living here, The Man can’t kick me out again! (And I no longer have to keep paying these huge fees and jumping through paperwork hoops to fill out applications anymore!!!)

That is, unless I want to apply for life in the UK test as a part of the citizenship challenges. Jesus Christ. Have y’all ever had a look at that thing?

Try it if you dare. (Hint: I don’t think I’ve ever passed one.)

Tuesday, 27th of June

Remember my ominous sore throat? Welp, I realized on this day that I was indeed sick, even though I had really been hoping it was just a 24-hour-bug. Darnit. Regardless I moped around work, snorting and snuffling and generally making a big nuisance of myself, but did manage to leave a few hours early. Then it was home and to bed!

Naturally I didn’t take any photos. BUT: here’s another delightful Google photos stitching job taken on the last day of our hols while we were saying goodbye to the animals.

here’s a wee piggy animation stitched together by GP (that’s Google Photos for y’all), taken on Sunday before we left our B&B. Look at this cheeky little guy.

Wednesday, 28th of June

I’m siiiiiick. Boo hoo, boo hoo hoo. Thank goodness it was my day off. Guess what I did? Slept like the little bitch that I am (it was just a cold, y’all).

Thursday, 29th of June

To work or not to work… that is the question.

And my answer: hell naw. Blugh.

At some point during the day I did eventually manage to extricate my carcass from the bed and make my way to the living room. There I peered into the depths of my computer and found something amazing: a website dedicated to all the roadside attractions in America.

Who knew there was a 30-foot Sasquatch made of scrap metal in Utah? And the world’s largest roadside watermelon slice, for that matter.

Man I love this website.

Friday, 30th of June

Back to work, which actually wasn’t so bad.

Did I take a photo though?  Naw.

So here’s Haitham breaking up a fight between a goat and some donkeys our last day in Yorkshire. He’s the reason they were fighting anyway, as he was bending the branches for wee nanny to munch on (and the donkeys wanted in on that yo).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



25th of June, 2017: Royal Highland Show

Sunday, 25th of June

I mentioned before that we had a quick pitstop at my old job to pick up a parcel before we scooted down to York. That parcel was responsible for us not spending very long in the morning dawdling at our B&B in the moors–it was two tickets to a show I’ve been hankering to go see for many moons.

Or at least since I first clapped my eyes on a gigantic advertisement for it my first year in Edinburgh.


Can you guess why it had my interest???

As business folk who do some dealings with the Royal Highland Show, my old boss put a post up on FB asking who deserved to win tickets and why. Cheekly, I said “I dooooo, as I’ve wanted to go for ages! <insert crying laughing emoji here>” Imagine my surprise when a day or two later she said I’d won them! Bless her heart. She knows just how much I wanted to see those damn cows!!

So with much aplomb (and also a leisurely round to say goodbye to our favorite animals at the farm/Haitham to feed the goat some leafy branches) we hit the road from the moors to head back up to Edi for the hairy fireworks. Four hours later, we arrived home. I scooped my trusty party in crime Krista up. (Haitham was all farmed out by this point, hence why he didn’t join in.) We trundled off, got stuck in traffic, had to make another loop through said traffic again when we missed the parking area, and eventually made our way inside.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that tickets to the RHS are a bit dear. (In American, pricey as hell!) They’re 27 pounds per person, which is around 35 bucks. This was all the more reason for me to be supremely grateful that I was gifted these tickets–however, when I arrived in the parking area and spotted a sign that parking was another 8 pounds (10 bucks!!!) I nearly shat myself. Luckily for us, having arrived quite late in the day, we got to skirt past all that and park for free. Phew!

Immediately though, even though this was the final day of the RHS for 2017, we were greeted with quite the scene. It was mobbed.


Despite the crowd, and how massive the entire place was, we started the circuit and in quick order had admired countless types of Scottish-bred sheep, the fluffiest, cleanest sheep you ever did see. And some horny devils too.


Then we saw some show jumping, which Krista and I stood gaping at, camera shutters going off nonstop as we captured the big, beautiful beasts in action and the subsequent “focus” faces of their riders as they conquered each hurdles.

Some horses, however, did not fancy the idea of going over the hurdles, thank you very much.


After some more wandering (and some snacks), we realized we had yet to see any of the cows. With some help from a gigantic map of the place, we tramped down to a gigantic warehouse–and there they were. Hundreds of cows, all in one place, mostly placed booty-facing outward which was admittedly a little terrifying to walk past considering the potential for rocketing cow farts going off at any second.


After admiring the silky soft highland cows, being terrified off the extraordinarily muscled bulls, and wondering just what the heck caused one breed’s particular wrinkliness, we headed on again. After all, the clock was ticking and we had shit to see! Next up: the goats!

However, on the way there we got sidetracked. It seemed there was a bird of prey show going on, so we stopped to take a peep. It was incredibly engaging: after watching a few vultures and smaller birds of prey being show off, the falconer brought out the big guns.

This guy. Some sort of sea eagle.


The guy also spent some time explaining where and when he got each bird, their temperament, and so forth. As it turns out, he got this bird quite late in its life… and it was a bit temperamental in front of crowds.

I think you can see that from below. The photo I took right after this one shows the guy hilariously hissing out a breath, making the same face I think most of us do after a painful toe stub.


Needless to say I took so many photos of the RHS, but I’ll leave off before ya get sick to death of countless photos of cows and things. Here’s one more of Krista tormenting a poor goat with the proximity of her delicious Craigie’s strawberries.