Monday, 20 April 2015


We have now returned from a week's holiday on Mull, an island off the west coast of Scotland.  It is a 2 hour car journey from Glasogw to Oban where there is a daily ferry service to the island. 
It was Ma, Pa 'n all the wains, meaning:  John and Mairi, Ishie (8), Alastair (7), Harriet (nearly 2) and baby Ellie (3 months) and Iain and I.  We were a right circus ... ooops ... I mean 'caravan' as every day we explored the single track roads in our 2 cars.

John booked a 3 bedroom house in the country "on a small holding" located on the road from Tobermory to Dervaig.   []

Every morning (which, thankfully, were fair) Harriet and I spent time together outside, i.e.  picture a fiesty nearly-two year old who has recently learned to say "No" who loves puddles, 'chuckies' (stones) and climbing up anything remotely vertical.
Hold on.....

What have we here?!!!  Chickens!  And better yet a Hen-house!

And for Grandma ....

Friday, 10 April 2015


I headed off to Braehead shopping mall this morning with the intention of buying a replacement electric toothbrush at a larger branch of Boots. What I did not know was that the stores do not open until 10 am.  At least most of them don't....

By pure chance the Apple Store in the mall was open and I sauntered in ... and found that today is the day the new iWatch arrived in the shops for sale.  

I am a big Apple user, i.e. jet-engine of a Apple computer with large screen for desk-top publishing work, an iPhone and iPad.  I was aware of the new techy watch coming out and was interested because I have an ordinary wrist-watch which never sits squarely.  I like a leather strap but all straps are basically the same. On my wrist the face and the buckle always slide around to sit 90 degrees to what they should.

So I bought one or at least I ordered one.  The lad wanted to demonstrate all the 'techy' features to me; I spent all my time fussing about the strap!

I am dreadful that way!  Whenever I go to buy a car (and I do buy my own) I am not interested in the battery or dip stick, just let me concentrate on getting a really good radio and CD player (or rather as it used to be: a 'tape cassette'.)

But, of course, I can now have fun bragging to my younger friends that I have ordered a watch.  It didn't take long to get the desired reaction:  "No. 1 Son is impressed.  Says it is a clever bit of kit."  Quite so!

Sunday, 5 April 2015


It has been a love day today, Easter Sunday. The sun shone and so we got out the garden furniture from storage.

Alastair is helping Grandpa with the battery operated drill.  Harriet is 'supervising'!

The 2 photos below show the back sit-ootery this afternoon. The tulips in the black plastic pots are going to bloom soon.  I then place them around the other side of the house facing the street.  I have already done that with the daffs - a great show of colour on the north side.

The garden (facing due south).  All the bulbs are out; the leaves are swept and the herbs are just starting to show some greenery.  The washing line has the boat cushion cover draped over it... trying to get rid of the tangy smell of diesel.

Mairi's brought a bottle of wine yesterday which is getting tasted by me.  I'm not going anywhere today to it is time to put my feet up. The last of yesterday's Fairy Cakes are on the cake stand.

In the background, sitting on the step are Ishbel (8) and Harriet (1.5).

Here's another shot taken with my iPhone using the facility where you zoom in by swiping 2 fingers across the screen.  It's a bit grainy but I like it!

Harriet has discovered the woodshed which is now empty. It makes a great 'Wendy House'!

I recall my father saying, with reagard to filling up the car gas/petrol tank, "It's just as easy to keep the top half full as the bottom."

Quite so....!

Later ...  here is a photo taken by John.  I love wee Ellie's expression!  I think we have another Cheeky Monkey here!

Friday, 3 April 2015


'Stina (short for Christina) gave me the recipe for Mairi's birthday cake that I made last week.  Several people have asked for the recipe which is below.

On looking through Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook I found a very similar recipe:  'Flora's Famous Courgette Cake' (page 18-19).
Stina's recipe is a pleasant variation on carrot cake and just as easy to make.


135 ml sunflower oil
200 g caster sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
300g self raising flour 
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
335 finely grated courgettes
Grated zest of 2 limes

Line base and sides of 8 inch loose bottom round cake tin.
Beat oil, sugar, eggs for 2-3 minutes til light and fluffy. 
Stir in self-raising flour, baking soda and baking powder.
Then add courgettes and zest of limes.

Bake 40-50 minutes in 160 degree C oven.

200 g full fat cream cheese
100 g icing sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lime 

Mix altogether and spread over cake and middle if desired.

Stina's source: Glasgow Herald March 2014 as eaten in the Three Sisters Coffee Shop in Killearn.

I made a test batch first and shared it with some of the neighbours.  

The verdict from my 3 year old neighbour, Ewan, "Don't like the green bits!"

I made 'the real thing' last weekend and put the 2 layers in a poly bag out of harm's way in the garden room adjacent to the kitchen where it is cool.  When I went to retrieve the bag I found a brown paper bag with a selection of Mellis's lovely cheeses had been placed on top ... by Mr Nobody, of course...!

If I ever write a cookery book it is going to be called I Try Not to Weep!  What is it they say?... "Keep Calm and Carry On"!

In the end I did not use the cream cheese filling as above but combined whipped cream and lemon curd and slathered it liberally in the middle to fill the hole and what was left went on the top. (Lime curd was a possibility but I found it too sharp.)

Of course, nobody knows the difference and the cake was fine ... actually it was excellent; I would do the same again!