Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy Hogmanay!

The clock is ticking and in just under an hour a new year will be upon us. This has been an unusual build-up to Hogmanay for me but nevertheless I have enjoyed these last few days. I do enjoy the days in between Christmas and Ner'day. If you are fortunate enough to be on holiday from work (as I am), these days allow you to regroup and relax.

Yesterday I spent the day baking traditional sultana cakes and for the first time in years I made a clootie dumpling! I didn't have Granny's recipe so I cobbled together my own version from a few recipes on the web. Trying to remove the dumpling from the cloot nearly ended in disaster but I managed to salvage enough for it to, once sliced, resemble real clootie dumpling!

Today I travelled through Glasgow to deliver some of my efforts. The City Centre was reasonably busy - in a calm sort of way if that makes sense. The atmosphere was so much less frenetic than Christmas - but there was an excited sense of anticipation of the celebrations to come. George Square had taken on a new look as it was closed off to the public in preparation of the Hogmanay Hoolie that will take place there (if it hasn't already started by now). The rehearsals were underway and the facitilies were being installed. I almost wished I could be a part of it - and then I remembered - It's December! It's outside! and I'm passed it!!

So far my choice of Hogmany TV viewing has been Jools' Annual Hootenanny or Remembering Gerard Kelly! Hmmn... I think I'll give BBC Alba a go - live from South Uist - I know someone who is working on the programme. (Just had a quick peek - looks pretty dire...!)

Night, night!

All the best and all the rest for a great New Year!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Down by the riverside...

Last week I took a slight detour into work. Instead of walking along Argyle Street in Glasgow, made up of shops and concrete, I decided to walk along Clyde Street as the sun was coming up and the biting frost was hanging in the air - to enjoy the effect of the frost and the light on this part of the Clyde. It looked beautiful!

As people scurried to work, wrapped up against the elements and simply too cold to notice, I took great pleasure from the clarity and beauty of nature's gift. Invigorated - a very pleasant start to any day!

Then a ball of fire to end the day.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

That was the week that was!

Out of the chaos - beauty!

Same spot photographed 3 days later!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tea rooms and days out

I have visited a few tea rooms this year and one of my favourites is definitely a gorgeous wee tearoom called "The Library" in Balquhidder. I went there in June this year and loved it so was delighted to have the opportunity to visit again the weekend before last, with Suzanne and Caireen. We had decided to get together for a day out and a bit of a blether. We met up in Callander and then headed for Balquhidder for some lunch, perhaps a walk, in this lovely corner of the world.

The Library is one of those little places that is either a lucky find you stumple upon when out for a drive, and which could be very easily missed, or you know exactly where it is and head straight for it.

From the outside it is so cute and inviting and its blueness emphasises its cuteness. On the inside it is rustic and charming. The odd tables and chairs (maximum of 6), vintage crockery and random embroidered tablecloths add to the charm of this tiny little space. Each time I have visited I have visualised setting up my own little craft shop there - but then not really convinced it would be much of a hit with the many cyclists who stop by who are more interested in its refreshments and freshening up facilities!

When I was there earlier in the year I came across this wee chappie - a travelling poet who just seemed to wander around the area spreading words of peace and harmony. He made me smile.

On our way to Balquhidder I had spoken of him to Suzanne and Caireen so imagine my delight when we came across him again during the latest visit, once more espousing his poetic words. He made smile me again.

Clearly a bit of a feature in them there parts!

After lunch we wandered up a path which led us to Balquidder Church and to the resting place (or so legend has it) of Rob Roy MacGregor

The inscription on the headstone at the graveside says "MacGregor despite them"!

Suzanne and Caireen stopped a while on the steps of the church to absorb some of the sun's rays and have a bit of a blether. I wandered off with my camera and the results are below.

A beautiful early autumn day in beautiful surroundings - what better way to pass a Sunday.