Monday, 30 January 2012

Catching Up and Burns

I still have a bit of catching up to do from my blog break. 

In December we always have a Christmas Sale here on the island. It is supposed to be for things that are made in Sanday, so we have handmade chocolates, knitted items, baking, freshly butchered meat and lots and lots of crafts. I decided I was going to take part for the first time since we moved here. I have always taken part in Craft shows, wherever I have lived, so I knew what it entailed. I wanted to make a lot of shopping bags and back packs with a fancy embroidery sign on it and the name of our island and some other miscellaneous crafts.

 These are my two tables, before I started setting up in the Community Hall. There were a lot of stall holders.

I did not get a chance to take a photo of the stall, before the sale started, because people started asking to buy things, as I was getting them on the stall. All  these photos have been taken about half way through the sale, when the initial rush had died down. You can see my husband having a rest. He always helps me out with my sales. He is great!!
 I not only made lots of bags, but I dyed silk scarves, knitted beadie bags, made wire jewellery, loads of earrings, aromatherapy material crackers, dyed wool packs, embroidered coasters (thanks!) and Christmas tree ornaments.
I sold a lot of things and had great fun. 

I was very quiet last week. I was asked to address the haggis at the Burns Supper. We usually have a meal and a dance, but this year we had a funeral on the day of the dance, so the supper was put forward a week, with no dance afterwards. I thought I would read the poem, but my husband persuaded me to learn it off by heart! I have real problems learning anything by rote, so I downloaded the free software, Audacity, to help me. You can record things easily using this software. I used to record the course material for the different exam subjects and export them as mp3s, when I was still working. The pupils could then revise their subjects using their Ipods. Much cooler than studying from a book! I used this software to record the individual verses of the poem, and gradually learned all eight verses. I practised in front of the mirror, and my husband kept on thinking we had unexpected guests, when he heard me talking to myself! I was really nervous on the night, but when I got to my feet, and saw the lovely haggis 'fillin' the groanin' trencher', I just let rip and had a good time. I have a West Coast accent, and as Burns was born on the West Coast, I had no problems with the pronunciation. I love Burns. He was such a perceptive poet, and had a naughty sense of humour! No wonder the lassies loved him!

On the tables, someone had thoughtfully provided a napkin with a translation of good old Scots words. They are not so old, as I was brought up with these words! Perhaps they were provided because there were so many English in the hall !
Here they are, with pronunciation in the brackets-
stotter (stoat-er) - excellent example
numpty (num-p-tee) - idiot, intellectually challenged
braw (br-AWW) - beautiful
skiver (sky-ver) - lazy person, shirker
cludgie (clud-gee) - toilet
wabbit (wah-bit) - exhausted, under the weather
crabbit (cra-bit) - bad tempered, out of humour
laldie (lall-dy) - to do vigorously, get stuck in
besom (biz-um) -hussy, female upstart
blether (ble-ther) - gossip, incessant chatter
clype (klipe) - informer, tell-tale
drouth (dro-oth) post dram thirst
wheesht (whee-sht) - quiet
eejit (ee-jit) -idiot, not the full shilling
clarty (cla-rty) - mucky, boggin'
scunner (scun-ner) - feeling of disgust or loathing
canny (can-y) -thrifty, wise
drookit (droo-kit) - drenched, soaked through
glaikit (glai-kit) - foolish, not very bright
fouter (foo-tir) - dither, to not get on with
mauchit (maw-kit) - dirty, filthy
haiver (hay-ver) - to talk rubbish
dreich (dreech) - dull, bleak, miserable
gallus (ga-luss) - bold, cocky, cheeky

Anyway, I think I have haivered enough! It is a right dreich night, enough to make you scunnered. I have got a drouth, so I will go and make a cup of tea and stop bletherin', in case I make you crabbit!
Till next time.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Procrastination and a Recipe


My New Year resolution of trying to blog more often has not been too successful. Trouble is I am a born procrastinator, so I have decided to take Marianna's (of Craftluver Marianna) pledge. Now it took me ages to make up my mind to pledge, and even longer to blog about it, but I am getting there . So far I have-
  • cut out material for a Dear Jane block, 
  • made templates for another one, 
  • made two cushions, 
  • have two more cut out
  • experimented with baking with quail's eggs
  • soaked postage stamps from paper and dried them for my husband's stamp collection. 

I now have to think of -
  • unpacking some more boxes from the shed,
  • finishing the cushions
  • blogging more regularly
  • paperwork
  • learning a poem!
  • sewing a cushion for a friend!
  • dyeing wool with natural dyes.
This list could go on and on, but I don't want to put myself completely off. If I could get two off the list I would be happy.

I love baking, but never usually find time to make a Christmas cake. This year I found a really quick recipe. I used some of the mix to make individual little cakes. I cut out the marzipan and the royal icing and put them on with apricot jam, but stepped them, so that you could see both. 
The individual cakes were finished off with a cherry, and they looked really cute and tasted great. I used the rest of the mix in two x 2lb loaf tins, to make two rectangular cakes, which were decorated with marzipan and royal icing and then sliced. The recipe is below. I did not use currants, but divided the fruit between raisins and sultanas and used ground almonds instead of whole ones. Next time, I would add cherries as well, but it is yummy as it is. This recipe is from the UKTV site.
Quick Christmas Cake


  • 225 g lightlight muscovado sugar
  • 225 g butter, or margarine
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • large pinches salt
  • eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • apple
  • orange, grated rind
  • 275 g raisins
  • 275 g currants
  • 275 g sultanas
  • 65 g almonds
  • 5 tbsp brandy
  • Method
  • 1. Turn the oven onto 140C/gas mark 1 and put a shelf onto the centre runner. 

    2. Grease 10 x 10cm tins using a little of the butter and line with baking parchment. 

    3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, sieve in the flour with the spices, bicarbonate of soda and salt and add the beaten eggs, treacle, apple and orange rind. 

    4. Add the fruit and almonds to the bowl, mix together. 

    5. Finally add in the brandy and mix together thoroughly. 

    6. Spoon the mixture evenly between the tins and press down gently with the back of a spoon to even it out. 

    7. Bake for around 1 hour or until cooked. Check if it's cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre - if the skewer comes out gooey then leave the cake in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean. 

    This cake can be enjoyed anytime, not just at Christmas!
    Till next time.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Hello Again!!

Now I know I have taken a very long, extended break, but I am back!! There were a lot of reasons I have not been blogging, but hopefully they are long gone, and I can get back into the habit of sharing some of my thoughts and things I make with you.

We have had lousy weather for ages. We had the first gales in October, which was very early for us and since then we have had high winds on and off, and loads of rain. On the night of December 8th we had terrible gales, with winds gusting to over 136mph and no power. One of the larger fishing boats, tied up at the harbour, was swamped by a 20ft wave, and sank! This is a picture of the boat a few days later.
 The boat had been pumped out and dragged further into the harbour.
 It looks as if there is not a lot wrong with it. The insurers, however, say it is a write off. The people who own the boat are heart-broken, as it has been in the family for three generations.
The harbour looks very calm, but when I was taking these pictures I was being buffeted by a high wind, and had to be careful I didn't end up in the harbour too! It was very difficult to take pictures without them being affected by the wind - see picture below -

Usually I just stay indoors, when the weather is bad, but I am getting quite fed up of wind and rain. We have had a few good days -
- but they have been few and far between. This is a picture of our bay at sunrise, with the tide out. The following was taken at the same time, turning the camera to the right, towards our neighbours. Although it does not look it, they are about four or five fields away,past the bridge -

When the wind is in a certain direction, and over 70mph, it lifts the water off the top of the sea, forming a mist called spindrift. I tried to get photos of it, but, what with the wind buffeting me and trying to get a steady photo, I did not succeed very well. The pictures look unclear, but that is the spindrift on our bay -

Now the waves don't look too bad in these pictures, but I was nearly blown off the path, taking these! Just after I went back in, the wind got worse!!

It sounds all doom and gloom, but we are just having an exceptional winter this year. The previous winters were fine, so we just have to think that we are now in the new year, and Spring is on its way!!

I know it is a bit late, but one of my friends sent me this, so enjoy the beautiful scenery! Double click it to get the benefit of the complete screen and turn your sound on!

Happy New Year!
Till next time,