Friday 27 October 2017

A Little Adventure

Another beautiful day here on the Isle of Lewis and consequently a little adventure out to explore a little more of its beauty and history.

 A monument to commemorate the loss of the Iolaire where 205 souls perished within yards of land.  A true tragedy of predominately naval ratings returning to Lewis and Harris in the Great War. 

 Sadly only 79 survived.  It was heart breaking to see how near to land this tragedy occurred and how fragile vessels are when a storm hits these exposed Islands.

The loss of so many had a devastating effect on the Islanders and was in part the start of the decline of the population in between the wars.

At An Lanntair there is the Hebridean Book Festival going on with Films, workshops and exhibitions.  Such a lot going on when you consider the size of the Island.

A lovely place to sit and relax over a pot of tea and cake overlooking the harbour and make  plans for the future.  A wonderful little adventure around the Island once again highlighting its amazing history. 

Another stocking is finished, it takes as long to sew in the ends and sew it together as it does to crochet the squares.

Not cool enough to light the fire, although a little overcast the temperatures are still quite high for this time of year.

 The dappled sunlight making the photo a little hazy and reflecting off the mirror above.  I am hoping if I leave them there long enough Santa will take pity on me and fill them up.  In truth I have everything I want and need already and feel blessed that we are living the dream.  Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend.  We have no real plans and intend to take things easy prior to our departure next week.

See you soon.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Pot of Gold

As always I thank you for your wonderful comments, emails and support.  I would also like to welcome new followers and hope you enjoy our little adventures through life.  I live on the Western Isles also known as the Outer Hebrides the beautiful Isle of Lewis off the west coast of Scotland.  It takes two and  a half hours on the ferry to reach the mainland, so although remote it doesn't feel that way.  Shopping is certainly limited but I visit family regularly and shop when I visit the mainland.  Although we have only been here since April we call it home and love it, we have lost our hearts to this wonderful place.  Next week we travel to the mainland and start our journey to visit family who are spread throughout England, we are counting down the sleeps until we see our Grandchildren who are so excited that we are visiting.  We also have our exciting trip to Florida the sunshine state of America to look forward to which is why Christmas preparations started and finished so early.  The only thing we have left to do is write the Christmas cards, which hopefully will get done over the next day or so.  I am not usually this organised so I did feel as if I should explain the early preparations. 

I was asked for the recipe for the black treacle marmalade.  It is a traditional orange marmalade recipe with the addition of 2 tablespoons of black treacle added with the sugar.

3lb oranges
2 lemons
6lb granulated sugar
2 tablespoons black treacle

Cut the fruit in half and squeeze out the juice.  Remove the pips and membrane and tie them in a muslin bag.
Cut the peel into thin shreds, place in a preserving pan and add 5 pints of water.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 2 hours until the contents of the pan has reduced by half and the peel is soft.
Remove the muslin bag and squeeze out all the gooey liquid - this contains all the pectin required to thicken the marmalade.
Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved.  Add the black treacle.
Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached (about 20 mins).
Stir well so that the peel is evenly distributed and then pour into sterilised jars, seal and label.

Hope that helps and that if you make it you enjoy it as much as we do.

I am doing well with the crochet stockings, one complete and another 22 Granny squares ready to have their ends sewn in and then stitched together.  It is such a great make using 22 Granny squares, stitched together and then a round of popcorn stitches around the top.

A short post today as I have some ironing and packing to do.  I will leave you with a wonderful rainbow, here's wishing that there will be a pot of gold at the end of it for you.

See you soon.

Monday 23 October 2017

Footprints in the Sand

A quiet, restful weekend with lots of lists been made, a short trip out and some marmalade made and tested.  That just about sums up our weekend.  It was such a beautiful day on Saturday we went for a drive around the Island, it was nice to have a break out and become intrepid explorers.  We stopped off in Stornoway to refuel the car and admire the changing season.  There are so few trees on the Island due to the winds it is always a delight to see so many around the castle looking over the harbour.  The changing colours were a joy and a sharp reminder of the change in season.

A stroll around the harbour is always a joy as it is flat and easy for Gerard to walk.  The ever changing sights are always wonderful.  We never know what is going to catch our eye.  This time a gull performing on the harbour wall and another illusive seal was our show for the day.  The reflections in the water were also a feast for the eyes.

Then there is always Gerard who is generally good for casually posing...LOL!

I managed to get some marmalade made on my return, so that was the last of the preserves made.  I used a recipe from a Women's Institute Cook book, a traditional recipe with a lovely twist, the addition of black treacle. 

I have tried and tested it it looks darker than normal but it does taste good.  I would certainly use this recipe again.  Just needs some nice fabric toppers.

We live in an isolated part of the Island so we are blessed with delivery vans/mobile shops there is even a bank that is mobile and of course the library.  Enabling so many people who can't get out and about to remain independent in their own homes.  This morning the bakery van which also carries some groceries.

We woke to rain but this soon stopped and made way for another beautiful day.  Too nice to stay in so I joined Christine Callum and Ann one of our neighbours for a walk on the beach.  Once again the seals were teasing us with their antics and disappearing as soon as the camera appeared.

It was so lovely to chat and enjoy the beauty together.  The sun was shining and apart from the waves breaking on the rocks a still calm day with little wind.

Checking out the footprints of those who had been before us.  Each visit so different from the last as the tides comes in and out removing the evidence of those gone before.

Well of course you have to pose for the camera...

A beautiful stroll with beautiful people, and lots of treasure.  Who knew there were so many varieties of seaweed, all making such amazing photographs.

The ever changing landscape a joy to behold.

Where would you like to leave footprints in the sand?

See you soon.

Friday 20 October 2017

Done and Dusted

Another busy couple of days adding to the store cupboard and ready for gifts some more jam. It took awhile to chop them but it as worth it in the end.  The finished product is a vibrant colour and I added a little ginger to give it a touch of heat, all ready for those Winter moments.

4 cartons of plums each 400g made 5 jars of jam.

They now have a fabric top and are ready to fill any gaps I may have.  I have been saving the fruit containers to use as the base for the jars, they usually hold three.  A great way to recycle and they look effective wrapped in cellophane and topped with a large bow.

Christmas tags have been made.

Written on and attached to the wrapped gifts.  They are all ready to be packed into the car.  All that remains to do is the write on the cards, which we intend to do over the weekend.  

Christmas done and dusted, all ready for Santa...!

We also have a lot of family Birthdays over the next few months so they need to be wrapped and that will be another thing ticked off the list.  I did spend some time making up the girls some bows for their hair, they do so love pretty things.

I loved sorting through the ribbon box, it has been awhile.  

I have had to stay focused to get everything ready and still a couple of weeks to go, but I am thrilled that I didn't get into a panic with last minute issues.  I will add that although Christmas is done and dusted,  many of the jobs I wanted doing in the cottage remain untouched.  We intend to take a break and relax prior to going away.  Our work on the cottage will start again after Christmas.  I have a pile of books that I want to browse and some little crochet and sewing projects to enjoy.  There is no deadline so I can enjoy the process.  

Mickey needs a little attention, he is in dire need of a wash and brush up.

Yes he is in his bed, I don't think it will last long but I am rejoicing in his attempt to try.

Oops!  Spoke too soon...

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

See you soon.

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.