Tuesday, 27 May 2014

I can has new stuff?


After six years of faithful service, and descending into a state where it will only work properly if a certain spot in the bottom left-hand corner is pressed in, just so, my poor old macbook has been given the dignified retirement it deserves. I'm now the somewhat reluctant owner of a shiny new laptop, with Windows, mainly because as much as I loved my mac and it's lasted about six times as long as any other laptop I've ever had (I drop things, OK...), they're damn expensive. Value for money, for sure, but a bit more than we can really justify spending right now.

And really, the new laptop isn't bad (except for the whole setting up process is way fiddlier than it was with the mac), but after six years of using all the shortcuts and getting to know how the mac works, it's a bit of an adjustment getting used to Windows again. The buttons are on the wrong side. When the hell did the Start button start doing that?! The keys are one over to the left of where I'm used to... Why can't I type grave accents easily? That's a bit of a bugger...

Doing acute accents are easy, but finding the right settings so I can type Gàidhlig properly has been a minor pain, but thanks to the help of Facebook friends and some late night idle Googling, I finally figured out how to do the graves - change the language settings to "United Kingdom Extended" via the Control Panel.

So yay!

à ò ù ì è

See? I thought I'd share. Now all I have to do is press ` and the vowel I need, and it works. Though I'm not sure why they couldn't just set it up that way anyway? 

In the meantime, I can now sit comfortably at a table and type, instead of having to carefully balance the macbook on a cushion as I sit on the sofa. The cat's not so happy about this arrangement, seeing as this means less cuddles, though, so after more than an hour of howling we had to reach a compromise:

The box the laptop came in with my dressing gown stuffed in it. Grumble doesn't do change too gracefully either, it seems. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Bealltainn and bluebells

Summer is here!

Even though the winter and spring were really mild, summer's been slow to get started around here. Finally, though, we have the bluebells:

Which I think are one of my favourite parts of the year – when they come out you know the summer is right around the corner (such as it might be in this climate!). 

And here in these parts we've started the season with some especially welcome news – just as the kids and I were preparing to celebrate Bealltainn, we got word that Mr Seren's latest freelance job, which was originally only supposed to be two days (two months ago now), is pretty much confirmed as a long-term gig, which will (hopefully) make life a bit easier. Touch wood.

So we started things off on a positive note. Rosie was really excited about Bealltainn this year because she enjoyed our celebrations at Là Fhèill Brìghde so much, but she was disappointed that we wouldn't be making another dealbh Brìde and inviting her in. She decided that maybe if she made an offering Brìde might come anyway, so put something out for her and asked me to help her with what to say. The kids have asked to start learning Gaelic so we've been going over the basics – verrrry slowly. I walked her through a simple greeting and thanks as she put the offering out in the garden, then she bounced back inside all excited and we finished off our preparations.

The house was put in order, we had our feast (which Tom helped to make), the house was sained, and after the kids went to bed I had the chance for some peace and quiet while I made my personal devotions. It was a pretty simple celebration for us, and I'm starting to feel like the festivals are settling into our routine now as they're becoming more familiar to us as a family.

We welcomed in the summer and the new opportunities it brings for us. And with the blossoming of hawthorns, summer has arrived: