A Wee Dram

Hello there! McSquizzey here…

Yes, I am at long last on my summer holidays and whizzing ever northwards. After a fab-ly fun stopover with my lovely mates in Kendal, I have made it into Scotland. Currently in Fort Augustus on a stop-over, we visited Dalwhinnie Distillery yesterday to pick up some of their special brew for Geek-Boy who’s been left at home. He’s fine. He has computers to play with and a kitchen floor to put down. 🙂

I persuaded Kaff to get me a bottle of Dalwhinnie whisky and I look forward to having a wee dram this evening when I put my paws up.

In the meantime, here’s a pic of me with my bottle among some of the casks at Dalwhinnie. Like the outfit? It’s so Moi, n’est pas? It was a pressie from our mates in Kendal. That’s how cool they are.

More posts to follow, lovely friends, so you can follow me on my Scottish adventure.

The Squirrel’s heart beat

‘If we had keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.’ George Eliot

I read this quote from George Eliot’s Middlemarch today. It’s not a book that Kaff or I particularly liked or enjoyed but we’re revisiting it this summer and seeing if we weren’t a little hasty in our dismissal of it. That, and, once she’s read it, Kaff believes she’ll have another excuse to watch the adaptation with Rufus Sewell in it. (As if she ever needs a reason to do that.)

Anyway, the quote got me thinking about how good it would be, if you humans did occasionally stay still long enough to hear something as quiet as a squirrel’s heart beat. I know we all lead busy, busy lives but really, when was the last time that you stopped and took a little time for yourself and looked at a place or an object or another person or listened to another person or a song or a poem? I mean properly looked or listened. Maybe you should do that this weekend? In amongst all the noise (those dratted vuvuzelas or, if you live near Sid, like I do, that darned woodland imp of a real squirrel, who’s been banging on about how the new patio’s covered up his nut stash all blooming day!), STOP and look at something or someone, or listen to them, so that you really see or hear them. Don’t just glance up and back to whatever you were watching or doing or reading or tweeting (yes, Kaff, I’m talking to you!) Really LOOK and LISTEN. Try it. You might like it and want to do it more often. Just saying.

Hammock Heaven

My hammock isn’t really an outdoor hammock. It’s supposed to sit on Kaff’s desk. (High up, where she can forget about me.) I keep asking her when she’s going to plant some nut trees in the garden and swing a hammock between them for me but 10 summers have passed and it hasn’t happened yet. So, when the weather was so warm and balmy on Saturday, I sneaked my super posh hammock with palm trees out onto the patio and caught some rays. Do you like my shades? Super cool, no? I am still in my festival gear, so this might yet turn out to be the summer of love for one little grey squirrel. I can live in hope. Most of my new Twitter followers are female, so things are decidedly looking up…

Here’s a pic of me chilling and swaying, waiting for my amaretto on the rocks to be brought to me by my ever-unreliable and decidedly-lazy serving wench.

Paper Aeroplanes

I went to a Paper Aeroplanes gig at Chapter Arts in Cardiff last night. Me. Out. On a Friday night. I was beginning to think that I might be getting too old (well, I am 3,000 years old) to keep up with the youngsters or down with the kids or whatever it is these days but no, it appears that I still have it going on. Yeah baby!

Paper Aeroplanes are the soundtrack to summer for me. They make perfect, poetic pop songs. Lyrics with depth and melodies that soar and sear their way into your soul. I do also have to confess to having a little crush on the lead singer, Sarah. She’s lovely and her voice is pure and beautiful and makes me go a little weak in the paws.

If you haven’t heard of them, check them out. Cliche was their first single and you can hear more of their music on Paper Aeroplanes’ MySpace Page. They are absolutely wonderful and I guarantee that you will hear more and more of them.

Purple Ponty

It never fails to amaze me just where Kaff sometimes takes me. Take last night, for example. I thought I was going along with her and Geek-Boy to meet up with Fenty (a top bloke who we all used to work with) and go to an event in The Blueberry Hotel in Pontypridd.

Admittedly, while Kaff, G and even Fenty had registered, I hadn’t and so Kaff smuggled me in a bag (as usual – not very V.I.S.) but, as I blog and live in a valley, I did actually have every right to go along to the inaugural Valley Blogger Meet Up, which is what we were going out to.

But when I forced my way out of my (I’d love to say limo here, but you know it wasn’t, it was a bag) transport for the evening, I was confronted with a purple haze. Hey up, I thought, what’s going on, where are we and what have I let myself in for? I was expecting to see dancers of a certain kind appear any minute.

Sadly, they didn’t, but the evening was great fun despite this minor disappointment.

Way-Hay!

I have Hay Fever after my first ever weekend camping in the famous Book Town. Okay, okay, so technically the campsite was just outside it and over the border in England, but still. I was there!

Although I’ve been to the Guardian Hay Festival many times in the past, I’ve always gone up there for the day and come home again, Kaff being too much of a skinflint to shell out for some deluxe squirrel-friendly accommodation. I don’t know what happened to her this year but somehow Joycey persuaded Kaff to camp over the first weekend and she booked a Yurt for the three of us. It was smashing. We had enough room inside for two single air beds, a table, two chairs and plenty of space for my travel hammock.*

Hay was fab. Plenty of squirrel-friendly treats, like macadamia nuts, pistachio ice cream and amaretto and cherry fudge during the day and coconut curry in the evening. I wore my trendy festival gear and made lots of new friends. I think it’s fair to say that I was quite the hit. No doubt everyone I met will be back the next time I appear at Hay to promote my very own decalogy, The Adventures of Squizzey. I should think next year for Volume 1. The wench must surely have finished it by then?

*A travel hammock is slightly less salubrious than my usual hammock, with no paint job but still with palm trees (I do have my standards, after all!) but it stands up to the rigours of being on the road much better than the posh Floridian hammock does, and I would hate for that to get damaged.

(Many thanks to Kaff’s mate (@ViolaMaths) for the pic.)