Tuesday 24 January 2012

Marmalade making contraption

It works! The Spong patent slicer for marmalade beans and all vegetables! Dear Helen gave it to me. It belonged to her mother, and I believe it to be as good now as the day it was new - probably back in the 1950s. No namby pamby plastic here just iron  and a wooden presser to push the orange peel through the funnel at the top of the slicer. It's a brilliant piece of domestic machinery  and has knocked hours off the cutting up time I need  for marmalade making. The instructions suggest that after use the slicer be washed in hot soapy water and coated in lard - I conceded a little, and used ground nut oil, rather a nice one actually from Waitrose, before packing it back in what is, without question, its original box, until next January!

Friday 20 January 2012

A walk, a tea cosy and some flowers

I seem to have wondered off a bit over the past couple of weeks! I had an email this morning from a friend asking if I was ok? Sorry Brenda. Yes, I'm fine, but sometimes it's difficult to think of anything that may be of interest to anyone worth 'blogging' about! I feel a little bit bad because I see I've now got thirty six 'followers! Amazing, and I apologise to them  too as there hasn't been very much to follow on here just lately.
But, I've decided to put a series of pictures on here of a recent walk and some everyday sort of things
like this tea cosy I'm knitting!
Riveting stuff. Here it is in close up. Wait until it's finished and I've made the pompom to go on the top!
But back to the walk. I didn't take my knitting. The weather was beautiful and cold and sunny
boggy puddles froze over which made walking less messy!
We look out over this distant mountain in the background from the house
Up here is a million miles away. Big sky with big wintry views
There are signs of civilisation. Deer fences long since fallen into disrepair
and the deer, a good way off,  keeping a look out. They melt into the distance long before we get near. 
This was taken a couple of years ago, in the Spring - just to show that I do occasionally manage to capture a deer on camera! She was very curious and seemed as if she wanted to chat. I think deer numbers have been down over the last couple of winters. I can't back that up with facts, just we haven't seen as many. Last winter was cold and prolonged as was the winter before. The deer have a tough time when the ground is under snow for weeks at a time.
On we plod, Niels always way out in front. I'm busy fiddling with the camera, messing up my settings and getting cold fingers
We start coming back down to earth. The sun is setting
Just in time we arrive back at the lochside as the sun sets
And, in case you're bored with just walks, here are some grape hyacinths. I bought them from a very well known supermarket. I was amazed to hear they recorded profits down over the Christmas period. I can't understand it. Me alone must help boost their economy considerably! Anyway these grape hyacinths came in a very pretty wooden box.
The milk jug is still not dripping. I've replaced the milk with water and some daffodils and hyacinths (not shown as they should have been thrown out three days ago!)  
And, finally. I love this. I bought it in an talla solais before Christmas as a present for me. It's one of those things that's so simple you think 'I could have done that!' - only  didn't! 

Wednesday 4 January 2012

On the Road

Monday 2nd January was not the best day to decide to drive to Edinburgh for a bit of shopping and sightseeing
We knew there would be snow. Loch Glascarnoch looked beautiful  
with Ben Wyvis snow clad in the background
Aultguish Inn lies at the east end of loch Glascarnoch and is closed during the long winter months which was a shame as hot soup and rolls would have been very welcome!
Our journey to Edinburgh was surprisingly stress free and uncomplicated. 
We were lucky. We learned later that in the afternoon part of the A9 near Blair Atholl had to be closed due to stranded vehicles in the snow
As it was we jigged along slowly in our cocooned warm world
looking out at what was at times
a stunningly white and beautiful landscape
 At one point the sun put in a wishy washy appearance 
and even the snow plough lit up
This is the very lazy way to take pictures - not once did I step out of the car - except to change drivers!
Soon the snow came back. Sensibly no one attempted to overtake on this stretch of dual carriageway!
At this point I think it got so dark and miserable outside I stopped taking pictures. Before we even reached Perth the snow had gone and the rest of our drive to Edinburgh was pretty nondescript.
While we had been prepared for some snow north of Edinburgh we were totally unprepared  for the storm force winds that woke us in the early hours of the following morning. We looked out of the hotel window to see bins and branches blowing along the street. Later we took refuge in Ikea! Surprisingly it was open despite damage being done to cars in the car park by flying roof racks and debris. We saw a number of cars with windows smashed in. We set off for home later in the afternoon once the storm had died down a little. We saw many fallen trees and overturned lorries. The Forth road bridge was closed, along with the M9. The journey home took ages, but fortunately was uneventful. While we tend to do things on impulse I don't think if we'd realised there were going to be gusts of wind up to 102 miles an hour recorded in Edinburgh we would have set off on what was meant to be just a pleasurable excursion after the new year. As it was we arrived home safely and after watching the news and seeing the devastation, we felt very lucky that we had got off so lightly.  
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