The delights of Ninewells

I’ve been in and out of Ninewells hospital in Dundee a fair bit recently, not for my own health reasons, but in order to to visit delightful assistant no.1. She has unfortunately had to spend much of the past three weeks there.

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Delightful assistants in Ninewells. Sandy the donkey is attempting to get his teeth into a bag of freshly picked pea pods.

I’m pleased to say she’s currently recovering after treatment for gallstones and will hopefully get home for good tomorrow.

As hospitals go, I quite like Ninewells. The wards I’ve seen are bright and welcoming, and many of them have wonderful views out across treetops to the Firth of Tay and Fife beyond.

It wasn’t until last week that we discovered secret treasures lurking outside at the back of the buildings. One of these delights was a garden containing a labyrinth.

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Labyrinth sculpture at the back of Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.

Near this is a Maggie’s Centre (Maggie’s is an organisation that supports cancer sufferers and their families), designed by renowned Canadian architect, Frank Gehry.

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Maggie’s Centre, Dundee, with delightful assistants admiring the labyrinth.

The delightful assistants and I were able to wander around this area in the afternoon sunshine during visiting hours. We all appreciated a little time outside as a change from sitting in the ward.

Beyond the Maggie’s Centre lies a large arboretum containing beautiful big trees, some of which are 250 years old.

On the edge of the arboretum is a welcoming hospital community garden containing herbs, flowers, vegetables and various interesting features.

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One area of the garden has been set up specifically to appeal to wildlife and contained something that fairly gladdened my heart.

Small tearoom for visiting birds and beasties.

Small tearoom for visiting birds and beasties.

As you might almost be able to make out in the picture above, on a wooden block next to the tearoom there were a few tiny dinosaurs. Delightful assistant no.2 was very taken with them.

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His spouse attempted to draw his attention to other things, but he only had eyes for the dinosaurs.

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Delightful assistant no.1:

Delightful assistant no.1: “Shall we move on to another part of the garden now?”
Delightful assistant no.2: “I want to stay and play with the tiny dinosaurs.”

Getting from the hospital to the gardens wasn’t easy because the obvious route, signposted within the hospital, had been closed off. It took us over half an hour to find our way out to the back of the building by an alternative route, and almost as long to get back in again. On the plus side, we got to walk along a curious temporary metal road in the sunshine.

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If you happen to be in Dundee with a bit of time to spare I can recommend a mooch round the back of Ninewells Hospital. The paths beside the community garden and throughout the arboretum have been designed with wheelchairs in mind and there are well positioned seats so that visitors can rest their weary legs.

If you need a bit of refreshment the cafe inside the hospital serves drinks and snacks throughout the day, and between the hours of 14:30 and 18:00 they reduce the price of all hot beverages to £1 each. A bargain.

On Sunday 9 August the community garden is having an open day from 14:00-17:00. Admission is £3.00 (children get in free) and there will be various activities, a plant sale and tea and cakes on offer.

28 day photo challenge – day 28

Today’s prompt is: Today I want you to have a dialogue with yourself. One voice will be the “yes” voice. And one voice will be the “no” voice. Give yourself 10 minutes or more for this one. Think of something you really want to do and let the voices go at it for 10 minutes. The Yes voice will talk you into it, and the No voice will come up with reasons not to do it.

My inner debate didn’t last anything like 10 minutes because one voice was very much in control, as can be seen below.

Yes voice: ‘Go on, Lorna, get yourself a nice scone and a cup of tea.’

No voice: ‘No, Lorna, don’t do it, think of the calories.’

Yes voice: ‘Calories? You like calories. What better way to get them than via a scone?’

No voice: ‘Okay then, think of the washing up. You’ll have an extra plate, a knife and a mug to wash up, not to mention emptying the teapot.’

Yes voice: ‘That’s hardly a disincentive, you enjoy washing dishes, and it’s best to use up all that lovely leaf tea while it’s still nice and fresh. Ditto the scone.’

No voice: ‘But if you eat that scone now you might not have room for your lunch.’

Yes voice: ‘Nonsense, of course you will. You do this every day: breakfast, followed by scone, followed by lunch. You enjoy every morsel.’

No voice: ‘I give up, there’s really no point in this, is there?’

Yes voice: ‘None whatsoever. If I were you I’d take a vow of silence, scuttle off post haste, and never darken this door again.’

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Tea and a scone. The perfect way to round off this challenge.

28 day photo challenge – day 27

Today’s prompt is: I feel…

…very fortunate to have the life I’ve got.

By the luck of the draw, if I can put it that way, I was born into a loving family, in a stable country, at a time when numerous opportunities were available to someone like me.

There’s no way of telling what life in Scotland will be like in 100 years’ time, but I can’t imagine I’d be any luckier to be born then than I am now. I’m certainly glad I was born in 1972 rather than 1872, although of course I’m only able to view it from a present day perspective.

I sometimes wonder why it is that I’ve got so much and other people have so little, often through no fault of their own. I have no answer for that and I wish there was more equality across the globe. But at least I can be grateful for what I’ve got and try to remember to appreciate it frequently.

The photograph below was taken in June 1973, when I was nearly one and a half. As the youngest of four siblings I was desperate to do what my older brothers and sister were doing, even when it was far too advanced for me. This may account for my stubbornness as an adult.

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I want to climb the tree, too.

28 day photo challenge – days 25 and 26

I didn’t have time to do the challenge yesterday so this post combines two days in one.

Yesterday’s prompt was this photograph:

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Today’s prompt is: “——— still holds me back”.

Like most people, I have ambitions I’d like to achieve. Too often, lethargy, laziness, procrastination and a fear of failure hold me back. For example, I’ve always wanted to be able to do the splits.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F Kennedy

Did I fail greatly to do the splits? I don’t think so, I never put in enough effort in the first place.

“Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Hard is what makes it great.” – Banksy

In the case of me and the splits, was it lack of self belief that held me back, or lack of ability?

Perhaps it’s all down to drive and ambition. The more driven you are, the more likely you are to succeed, even without obvious ability. But how do we know if we’re driven enough? Can we somehow become more driven to achieve our goals? Maybe if we need to ask these questions the answer is staring us in the face.

With something you really want to do, drive comes naturally as part of the process. It might feel like an uphill climb, but you can see the top and know how good it’s going to feel to stand up there and admire the view. The obstacles in your way are things you believe you can overcome, and they don’t put you off pursuing your goal.

The following photographs represent goals I had for a long time and eventually achieved.

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As long ago as my teens I dreamed of working for myself. When I went freelance in the oil industry I set up a limited company. The company no longer exists but it was very satisfying to achieve that long-held ambition.

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For years I had an ambition to visit the Falkland Islands. When I eventually got there, it was by rather rashly taking an opportunity that might never have come my way again. It cost me pretty much all the money I had at the time, and meant sacrificing another ambition in the process. If I had my time over I wouldn’t change a thing.

28 day photo challenge – day 24

Today’s prompt is: My family…

…seems to have been inspired by its Viking ancestry.

In Scandinavian countries babies are often left outside to snooze in their prams. This frequently occurs in sub-zero temperatures.

As long as they’re wrapped up well in cosy clothing, Scandinavian babies tend to take longer naps outside than they do inside. Their parents believe that plenty of exposure to fresh air prevents their offspring from catching coughs and colds.

In addition to sleeping outside, babies who are stimulated by invigorating pursuits in the fresh air during their waking hours can reap a wide range of benefits from the outdoor environment.

There is the danger that certain forms of activity might lead to phobias in later life (e.g. a fear of heights), but that’s a small price to pay for general good health.

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Yours truly benefiting from fresh air and a good view of the surrounding countryside, aged nearly 10 months.

28 day photo challenge – day 23

Today’s prompt is: I’m obsessed with…

Yesterday, delightful assistant no.2 told me I was obsessed with bleach.

At the time I was bleaching a cloth in the kitchen sink, something I do now and then but by no means excessively.

When I refuted the accusation, he explained that he’s probably unusually sensitive to bleach fumes. He claims that when he was in the army doing National Service ‘everything smelled either of bleach or white paint’. I wonder if he’s confusing himself with the Queen. (It’s said that Her Majesty believes the world smells of fresh paint.)

Bleach aside (and I don’t believe I’m in any way obsessed with it), what am I obsessed with?

I suppose this is the obvious answer:

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Tea and scones: a healthy obsession.

Scones I have known – no.7

I consumed this scone only a few hours ago in the Pine Cone Cafe outside Dundee.

Although rather crumbly, the scone was soft inside and crisp outside, and absolutely packed with dried fruit.

It was very reasonably priced at £1.50 (served with butter and jam), and it slipped down a treat with four cups of tea (the teapot was a good size and came with a free refill; I gave it my best shot but didn’t quite manage to drink it all).

Excellent value for money and jolly tasty, to boot. Well done, the Pine Cone.

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Scones I have known – no.7: fruit, Pine Cone Cafe outside Dundee, 22 July 2015.