Posted by: christinelaennec | December 2, 2015


“Latchy” is a great Aberdonian word meaning “late,” as in not on time.  I feel I have been a wee bittie latchy with my blogging lately!  I can’t wait to have some time to read other people’s blogs.  What have I been up to?

Well, first and foremost, I have been looking after the Dafter, who caught a nasty virus towards the beginning of November.  After several weeks off school, and back to the days of helping her around the house, running up and down the stairs with trays, and generally focussing very hard on Not Worrying, I am pleased to tell you that even with her ME/CFS, she is now quite a bit better and back at school part-time.

I went to Schoenstatt on my retreat, which was excellent.  It was a very rainy weekend, but beautiful nonetheless:

View of the Campie Fells from the Schoenstatt grounds.  Mid-November 2015.

View of the Campie Fells from the Schoenstatt grounds. Mid-November 2015.

The retreat I attended was not a particularly religious one, though some of us were interested in religion, prayer and so on.  I met some very interesting women and learned a lot about nutrition and juicing, as well as other things.  Mostly I appreciated having 24 hours just to rest and focus on myself.

The shrine at Schoenstatt, Campsie Glen, mid-November 2015.

The shrine at Schoenstatt, Campsie Glen, mid-November 2015.

The folks at Schoenstatt did truly make everyone feel welcome, “of all faiths and none”.  I would like to go back there.

There is a new aspect of our lives that has taken time away from blogging.  Since she fell ill over four years ago, the Dafter has longed for a pet of her very own.  We have been mulling it over all this time, and at the end of September, we got her two baby rats.  I had a pet rat when I was a girl, and she was loving and intelligent.  These two baby rats have taken about an hour a day of care and interaction, and the Dafter has only missed one day when she was absolutely too unwell to get out of bed.  I love being on hand to help.  The rat in the photo below was, when he first arrived, terrified of everything and everyone.  Now he has really developed an outgoing personality:

Caspian giving me a cuddle, in his manner.

Caspian giving me a cuddle, in his manner.

His brother Artemis is an albino, and the Dafter noticed about a month ago that he was somehow different.  Indeed he is noticeably impaired:  he can’t really jump far if at all, can’t see or smell well.  He lets his brother come back and forth to the food call, and occasionally and slowly ventures out for his – preferring to raid his brother’s stash inside the cage.  But he is sweet and loving, and much more relaxed about almost everything.  It’s been fascinating watching them develop, and the experience has given the Dafter a great deal.

This past weekend, we had our Thanksgiving meal.  We were joined by our dear friend T, and by Our Son, as well as by an American exchange student who was a delight.

Some of our family at Thanksgiving 2015.

Some of our family at Thanksgiving 2015.

She didn’t seem to mind that we weren’t the typical Scottish family.  There was lots of talk about accents, vocabulary, politics, different regions of Scotland and so on, and she said she had learned a lot!  The Dafter managed to socialise for the best part of six hours, though had to go and rest.  Her concentration is better but she was flagging from time to time.  A happy time was had by all, though.

The Dafter and Our Son.

The Dafter and Our Son, Thanksgiving 2015.

On the Sunday, we took our guest up to Loch Lomond.  The weather was drenching, with sleet falling. But it cleared enough to see the snow on the hills.  Mostly we stayed inside and had hot chocolates and coffees!

Looking at the snow-covered Arrochar hills from the village of Luss on Loch Lomond.  End of November 2015.

Looking at the snow-covered Arrochar hills from the village of Luss on Loch Lomond. End of November 2015.

I am “latchy” with my Katharine Stewart / garden posts.  Mostly it has been a race to get the bulbs in – one I haven’t yet won as there are a few yet left to plant.  The weather has been relentlessly rainy.  We’ve had 11 inches of rain in our back garden in the month of November alone.

Rain, rain, rain!  Wellies worn with "Willowherb" socks from Roobeedoo.

Rain, rain, rain! Wellies worn with “Willowherb” socks from Roobeedoo.

And now it is Advent and Christmas!  There are decorations to put up and cards to write, but we are pretty well organised, fingers crossed.

I hope this finds you all well, and that I will have a chance to visit your blogs soon.  Cheery bye the noo!



  1. Better latchy than never. Couldnt resist!

  2. love the boots and socks!! I also have been feeling latchy. I love Christmas but it seems to be coming very quickly and I have so many things I was hoping to do before Christmas Eve. May you have much peace and joy during this Christmas season.

  3. It’s so good to hear from you. I was a bit worried when you hadn’t written a new blog post. Looks like you had a wonderful thanksgiving celebration. I wish you could send a few inches of rain to me here! Although, we did get some much needed snow in northern California. I love your boots and socks; very stylish. Please give my regards to the dear Dafter. Enjoy your week. Hugs, Pat

  4. Such a shame that Dafter has been unwell, she was doing so well. Sending her a big hug and best wishes hope she is feeling better soon. Look after yourself and stay strong. Take care.

  5. Lovely to see you back and sounding much better 😀 x

  6. Oh I do like to learn new words and I’ve not heard of latchy before. I’m curious as to how a place in Scotland ended up with a German/Austrian/Swiss name … glad to see the Dafter improving after her virus.

  7. You have lots of good reasons to be latchy with blogging! So glad Dafter is feeling better, you had a good retreat, a good celebration at Thanksgiving, and that you are enjoying the rats…is Tilly? When Mt. Hood isn’t hidden by rain clouds we are enjoying seeing it’s fresh white cape 🙂 xx

  8. Happy new rats! Great to hear that you were all able to enjoy Thanksgiving together, and that you benefited from the retreat. I like your new header.

  9. I must try out latchy on my Huntly and Buckie friends 🙂 Shame the Dafter was unwell but glad she’s picked up again. I’m sure the new wee pets have helped. And I’m loving those wellies!

  10. So much fun to read your posts, even with the rats. Funny but those pets like rabbits and birds would be named, breakfast, lunch and dinner by my crazy hunting cats. Hope the Dafter is well enough to enjoy her pets. Sounds like a great family time you had together. Look forward to your posts on Advent and Christmas.

  11. I am curious – what does Tilly think of the rats? My curious Lin-Lin often
    watches our BIG TURTLE Ninja- of course she is also watching to see if I drop a bit of turtle food outside the tank. A very tasty treat, she thinks. So glad to hear about the Thanksgiving -what a happy day.

  12. I always want to like rats as they are so loving and intelligent, but their fast moving ways make me freak out! Silly woman that I am! Finally commenting again on blogs, hooray! Xx

  13. I’m a bit latchy myself, Christine. We have a new pet, too….a mutt named Mr. Bennett. Looks like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I wish you a merry Christmas and happy new year, too. XO

  14. Christine,
    Although I don’t post very often, I want you to know how very much I enjoy
    your blog – your writing is not only very interesting but entertaining as well.
    I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and wish you all a happy and healthy new year!

  15. […] are going to be hosting another exchange student, as we did at Thanksgiving, and we’re all looking forwards to it.  I hope she will not find us too strange!  […]

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