Friday, 26 November 2010

The blizzard finally hit

Thank goodness The Boy came and picked me up from my friend's jewellery party early tonight.  This is the view from my bedroom window now.  Full blizzard ongoing:

I am SOOOO glad I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow.  Sadly, The Boy has to get himself to an airport tomorrow as he is going to the Motorbike Show In Birmingham.  Hopefully it will have thawed slightly by the time I want to go to Anne Marie's bead shop.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

An eventful week

I've had a such a busy week this week that I completely lost the plot and didn't know what day of the week it was by the end of it.

Monday: Spent catching up on housework and trying to put the house back in order after being out all weekend. The dishwasher & washing machine haven't been that busy in a while.  Hung up the diving hoods, masks & gloves to dry, put away the fins and snorkels.  Put the soggy thermals and towels in the washing machine. 

Tuesday: Put the BCDs (Buoyancy Control Devices) away, hung the thermals up to dry, put the dry stuff away.  Then manhandled the drysuits down the stairs to the bathroom one at a time, fought with them to turn them inside out, filled the bath with cold water and rinsed all the salt from Loch Fyne off them then mandandled them back upstairs and hung them up to dry.  Last week The Boy installed a rail just inside the box room door to hang them on.  Honestly, they look like 2 dead bodies hanging in the doorway.  Look:

We need a bigger house.  Looked out some stuff to take down to the Kidzeco shop and went there for a visit. 

Wednesday:  Quick scoot round the shops fopr necessities in the morning then home and made lunch, a nice big bowl of home made Bauernsuppe (beef, potatoes & smoked paprika).  After lunch I wrestled with the drysuits again to turn them the right way out and hung them up again. Went to visit my cousin Geri in her new Curves gym in Broxburn.

Thursday: Wore something slightly more respectable than my scruffy trousers and t-shirt to go out for lunch with The Boy and a friend of his that I'd never met before.  Had a lovely chicken pesto pasta salad. Changed into the scruffier gear after lunch and went to the Kidzeco shop to see if I could help with the preparations for the Christmas Preview Evening that night.  Spent the next couple of hours cutting out price tags and pricing hand knitted and sewn items, helping set up tables, etc.  Then stayed for the preview.  We were all worried that the torrential rain would keep people away but it was really busy.  Sauntered home (no rain) just after 9 and had a slightly late dinner of spaghetti bolognese that I'd cooked before I went out.

Friday:  Ok, by now I'm convinced it's Saturday and go into overdrive as we have a party on Saturday and  I have a birthday present to make.  Eventually I realise it's only Friday (phew!) and move all of my beads and tools upstairs to my former office as The Boy is dozing on the settee (my usual workshop).  I know my friend likes leopard print things and I had 2 big leopard print beads but could not for the life of me think what I could make with them that would make a nice gift.  So I rummaged and eventually found some Picasso glass dagger beads that have a pattern not unlike leopard print.  I added some Swarovski pearls and crystals and here is the final creation:

That done, I got ready for going to friends' for dinner. Woop! No cooking for me tonight.  The Boy said "I'm going mountain biking tomorrow, so I'll take the car, not drink and we can leave at 10:30 so I can have an early night".  Ha!  Not too long after we arrived he was persuaded to drop the car at home so Jack was his friend for the rest of the night and it was after midnight when we got home.

Saturday: Woke up convinced it was Sunday. Eventually got to grips with it being Saturday and started getting ready for The Party.  I found a pretty organza bag for Gillian's present, made her a birthday card, cheeky, but not too cheeky.  Then I decided to dye my hair.  Toilets in pubs and such always have lights that show off my white roots much more than is decent in my opinion so L'Oreal belle Colour was my friend. The rain even stayed off while we walked down to the church hall where The Party was taking place.  We didn't know that many people there but we had a really good night.

Sunday: Yes, that's today and I knew it was Sunday when I woke up.  I finally caught up with myself.  No hangovers for either of us.  The Boy tried to freeze me to death by leaving the back door wide open while he jet washed his mountain bike.  We had a late breakfast, quick run to Tesco, leisurely late lunch/early starter for dinner and we're now sitting chilling with a beer while we wait until we're ready for the main course.

I'm hoping next week will be slightly less busy. That way I might manage to keep track of what day I'm on.  No more diving until December so that will help a little.

Monday, 1 November 2010

What a difference a day makes.....

.... or to be more correct, a fortnight.  Regular readers (do I actually have any of those?) will remember that two weeks ago at Loch Long, I had a slight underwater trauma due to a leaky mask and regulator.  Last week we went to Aquatron, our friendly, local(-ish) dive shop to investigate different mask styles along with my hood and I came home with a mask to match my snorkel:

Isn't it pretty?  My last one was blue but I went for pink this time because I thought it would discourage any of the boys from stealing it.  It's not a whole lot different from my last one but it made a big difference to my diving experience this weekend.  Yes, it still leaked a little but I could cope.  It also didn't push my regulator out of my mouth all the time so I wasn't fighting to keep the regulator in my mouth and I don't have sore jaw muscles today.  Result!

Thank goodness the clocks went back on Saturday night.  It made the 5:30 rise on Sunday morning slightly less painful.  We had a 200+ mile round trip to get to Furnace on Loch Fyne and we weren't able to enjoy much scenery on the way as it was a bit grey and misty.  It wasn't too cold though.  We arrived at Furnace, had the safety briefing, got ready, had the dive briefing and went for our first dive.  Skill #1 - fin pivots.  (Basically you use your breathing to control your buoyancy keeping the tips of your fins on the bottom.) That was interesting as we'd to lie on a big, sloping, concrete waffle and wait our turn.  The least movement kicked up silt so the visibility was practically zero at times, very weird feeling.  I did my fin pivot, eventually, though how the instructor could actually see enough of me to decide I'd done it properly was beyond me.  Skill #2 - hover.  Very similar to skill #1 except you have to be suspended in the water, not touching the bottom when you do it.

We had a swim around after the skills then came back to the surface to this:

What a difference!  Look at how calm and smooth the water is.  And the sun was out and giving off enough heat to make our drysuits steam.  We could see seals just off the end of that rocky outcrop but they were clever enough to avoid us when we were under the water.  Shame.  Maybe next time.

How gorgeous is that?  Maybe scuba diving in winter in Scotland won't be too bad after all.

We had lunch and did our second dive.  Only two skills to perform this time as I did my remove and replace BCD & tank at the surface on my last dive.  Skill #3 - remove and replace dry suit inflator hose under water (sorry can't find a video for this one).  It's fiddly enough doing it on the surface with no gloves but underwater, with gloves???.  I surprised myself by being able to disconnect the hose first time.  Yay!  Reconnecting it was a tad trickier but even the instructor had trouble reconnecting his so I don't feel so bad.  We had another wee swim under water then it was time for the final skill.  Skill #4 - safety stop.  When you finally ascend to the surface at the end of a dive it's good practice to make a safety stop for 3 minutes when you are still 5 metres from the surface.  If you've had a deep dive then you must be able to make safety stops for varying lengths of time to avoid the bends so this really is a skill you have to master.  Stopping isn't always something I'm good at once the upward momentum kicks in but I managed it. 

So - yesterday's result - The Boy and I both passed our PADI Drysuit speciality.  Yay!

Thank you to Ally at Aquatron who was able to spot (despite almost concussing himself at the start of the morning when he slipped on the grass)  that I had too much weight on and that it was excess weight rather than dodgy technique that caused me to drop to the bottom like a stone now and then during the dive.

What's up next?  We have PADI EFR (emergency first response) in the classroom at the start of December then 2 dives the following day.  I expect the two dives will be underwater navigation (that will be fun) and underwater naturalist and they will contribute to the PADI Advanced Open Water qualification.

Tune in after 5th December for my latest underwater adventures.