Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Getting Ready

What a difference a day makes.  I have woke to a beautifully calm morning, although still dark it is not yet 7 the noise from the wind and rain have stopped.  We were very lucky it didn't blast the Island as much as anticipated.  Ireland took the brunt causing endless damage and taking lives, my heart goes out to all those affected.  Normal services have resumed on the ferry too this morning.  Monday saw the first of the problems with the lunchtime ferry struggling to berth at Ullapool on the mainland and subsequent services cancelled.  I have yet to see the consequences and effects this would have on the Supermarkets and business's but I can guess.  Some flights were also cancelled but I am not sure of the extent of cancellations.  There were power cuts on the mainland but power was maintained here on the Island enabling me to tick somethings off my list.

I kept myself busy sorting out clothes and shoes for my forthcoming trip. I was going to pop my shoes into a plastic bag and then decided to make a couple of  shoe bags to keep my clothes clean.  My neighbour had given me some fabric the week before so it was perfect for the project.

Lined with some plain green fabric and finished off with a red ribbon.

Whilst the machine was out I made a few key rings for gift toppers out of some scraps of Harris Tweed.

I also added to the pile with some pom pom key chains, again perfect for a gift topper.

I then went on to make the Christmas puddings, making two large ones and two small ones.  I used the traditional Delia Smith recipe with a little addition of Port.

They are all now wrapped and ready to go.  All they need is reheating for an hour on the day.

The jam store was added to I made some blueberry jam, ready to pop into a small basket for my parents along with some other of their favourites.

Finally from the kitchen a little earlier than usual, the Christmas cake has been made.

This year I intend to top the fruit cake with a wonderful array of fruit and nuts and not the traditional marzipan and royal icing, but for now the cake is all ready and can be fed a little with some brandy.  Potatoes were popped into the oven whilst the cake was cooking and enjoyed with some cheese and beans, a wonderful Winter warmer.

The wrapping of the gifts is going well I am hoping to have them all wrapped ready to go by the end of the day.  |I am ever hopeful, maybe tomorrow is more realistic.

The birds are once again gathering in the garden so I will leave you with a couple of images to finish.

World weather conditions seem to be dominating the news at the moment, hurricanes, storms, fires, flooding and earthquakes.  Where ever you are I hope you are safe.  I once again thank you for your concern and comments, both Gerard and I were touched by your messages.  They were certainly well received and indeed appreciated.

See you soon.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Calm Before The Storm

Hurricane Ophelia although now downgraded to a storm is on its way over, apparently due to hit here later today, early evening.  It is already quite windy so I do wonder about the impact.  The locals just seem to take everything in their stride and whilst some activities/meetings have been cancelled for this evening there appears to be very little preparation.   Apparently electric supplies can be cut, but we are now ready for that.  We had a large log delivery on Saturday too so that is now stored and stacked.  In fact we lit the stove yesterday but in the end had to let it go out, we were just too hot.  Anything that can be moved has been stored in the outbuilding, so not causing any damage if the wind lifts it.  This needed doing anyway, so it is another thing ticked off the list.

We attended Church as usual yesterday but didn't stay for the fellowship afterwards as I had a terrible headache, making me feel quite ill.  Sunday observance is still adhered to here on the Island.  No shops or business's open which I find quite refreshing after the hustle and bustle that we are used to.  However, I needed to get some fresh air to blow the cobwebs away and hopefully clear the headache so we went for a stroll around the Butt of Lewis.  The waves were crashing along the shoreline, sending spray feet upwards only to retreat and start the whole process once again. 

We were very careful not to get too close to the edge, the wind was quite fierce and was whipping the sea into a whirlpool in one of the inlets.  The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks was quite deafening.

It cleared away the cobwebs and the headache, fresh air the natural soother was all that was needed.  The little cove we visited when the children visited was a real delight with the waves thrashing against land in the distance.

The back of St Moulags Church looked quite mysterious as the mist started to envelope the building as the evening drew in.

We had a little drive around the stunning coastline and came across this sign.

On our return home I googled Dun Eistean and found that it is an archaelogical site on an inter-tidal stack.  There is a bridge connecting it the mainland.  The wind was building so we decided it was not the right time but certainly worth a visit when the weather improves.  I did take a photo of the fort from a distance so again worth a visit when the weather is suitable.

Our final stop was at the Port where once again the waves were breaking along the shoreline, bringing in seaweed and spraying the port walls.

Thankfully I was suitably dressed and enjoyed the ever changing view.  The turbulent water never still but quite formidable.  Not a force to be taken lightly.  Hot chocolate and lemon cake was all ready for our return.  Hope you enjoyed the little tour.

See you soon.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Winter Project Link Party

Another busy few days trying to cram everything in.  As the date for visiting family and our holiday draws nearer each day so does the lack of time for completing tasks.  The lists are getting longer and longer, with not a lot getting ticked off.  The mammoth task of getting gifts wrapped starts tomorrow, I am hoping that they will all fit in the car, only time will tell.  The last of the Christmas puddings are in the slow cooker steaming away, a little early but too late to make them on our return. 

On looking through my lists of things to do I noticed that I had never completed or indeed ever started the crochet stocking that I wanted to make this year.  Whilst it is too late for the children for this year it would be nice to have a couple hanging off either the mantle or the bed for ourselves.  I really did enjoy sorting through the yarn and laying them next to each other and have come up with quite a nice combination of colours.  The trusty wool winder has been out and I have been winding some wonderful yarn cakes for ease.

Only a couple of squares done so far but at least a start has been made.  The project is easily transported so can be a something I take with me, if indeed it fits in the car.

My long term Winter project is to make a quilt for my Grandson Hector, all hand stitched and filled with love.  The fabrics have been chosen and the style picked out so a start will be made later today.

I am joining up with Jennifer thistlebearhome.com for the Winter Project Link Party in the hope that it will spur me on, they are both projects that have been on the list for awhile.  What are you working on at the moment?

See you soon.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Communion Weekend

It was a busy weekend as it was Autumn Communions at our Church.  The Kirk session was opened on Thursday night where Gerard and I met with the Minister and the Church Elders to profess our faith and become communicant members of the Congregation.  We are now members of the Church of Scotland.  We have enjoyed the services and the wonderful fellowship throughout the weekend.  Everyone has been most welcoming and inclusive, which in its own way confirmed in our own minds that we had made the right decision to worship locally.  We have been going to the local Church since our arrival so it was a natural step to take Communion and indeed become members.  At this point maybe I should just say that we have always been Church of England so we didn't take our decision lightly.  There have been some differences but at the end of the day it is the same God and that is all that matters.  The weekend has brought a new and refreshed enthusiasm, a thirst for knowledge which has been lacking in recent years.

Last week on our trip to the metropolis of Stornoway we did the usual rounds of the charity shops.  I was looking for pudding bowls in readiness for making Christmas puddings.  I didn't have a lot of luck so my search continues.  I did however find a small glass bowl which will be useful for the festive period.

A real bargain at 50p.  I also found a small glass jug which is useful for cream and sauces, whatever the season.  Another bargain at 40p.

Gerard slipped in the bathroom a couple of weeks ago and dropped the soap dish breaking it.  Thankfully he was OK.  I did come across this beautiful shell, the perfect replacement for the bathroom, fitting the theme perfectly.  50p was its bargain price.

Finally, I always browse the patterns and managed to find some crochet patterns to add to my collection.

Each one 10p each.

We are training Mickey back to the floor, he has been a little cheeky of late loving the chairs and settling right into the cushions.  When he was told to get down he took the cushions with him, he is one clever dog.

Here he is in his bed using the chair cushion for his head, he has his own but still favours mine.

Our garden seems to be on the migration route for many birds, we have been inundated with flocks of Canadian Geese and Starlings.  It was at times looking out of the window like something out of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds.  Sadly the camera is never handy when you want it but I did manage to snap a couple of photos.

We are going to put our feet up today and take things easy, taking our time to reflect upon the events of  the last few days.  

As always your comments and support are always appreciated.  I am a little behind in my visits to you but ill be visiting as soon as I can.  Take care.

See you soon.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Finish For The Weekend

I have had quite the week this week, keeping me busy which I love.  It is Communion Season so church events have kept me busy too.  The weather has been typical of that of the start of Autumn and so akin to Island weather and that is changeable.  It is so difficult to know what to wear, even the heating system doesn't know what to do.  We have now ordered logs which will be delivered next week so that we can light the stove in the afternoon ready for the big drop in temperature as the darkness descends.  It seems to be getting darker each day so we are settling down a little earlier and moving into the Autumn/Winter mode of entertainment jigsaws, crosswords and crafting.

Preparing the store cupboard has been high on my agenda so after drying out herbs and chopping them finely I now have an assortment ready for those warming stews/casseroles.  I also have some that have been warmed in oil and bottled along with some chilli oil.  Sadly herbs and chilli's are the only produce that we have grown this year but we do have plans for next year.

The raspberry vinegar has now been bottled all ready to use for Winter salads.

Some natural twine wrapped around the bottle neck to give it some glamour.

I had quite the bake this morning filling the oven to capacity to optimise the electricity.  We are trying to keep the bills as low as possible so that we can have some extra treats on our holiday. The bread maker was put on, this time for a small white crusty loaf which was indeed very tasty and looked as it should despite it coming from a packet.  We have two more varieties to try and then normal service will resume.

Quiches, cranberry mincemeat pies and banana nut bread all ready for the weekend.

The blanket is now finished, I did another round on the initial granny square as it did not look full enough and then used a single crochet to put them together.  My apologies for not doing a tutorial as requested but it is on my list of things to do and I will get to it as soon as I can.

I have made a little shopper and a taggy blanket for little gifts.

Alterations have been completed finally, even petite is still too long for me so I do struggle with trousers been only 4' 11" tall.  I am once again joining Jill at Emerald Cottage for the weekly get together to showcase your finish's , why not join in the fun and pop over and see what has been created and indeed finished this week.

As always I thank you for your comments, emails and support they are greatly appreciated.

See you soon.