Birds on the wire

Every morning these birds collect one the high wire like trapeze artists they limber up stretching their wings and perhaps discussing strategies for the long flight ahead.This brooding sky tells them that summer is at an end and they must take flight soon to sunnier climbs.


Last Friday Gill owner of the fantastic Creggans Inn in Strachur and I went to the  BBC good food show at the SECC in Glasgow. Within minutes we were in food heaven as we sampled the finest regional and artisan food and drink in Scotland and beyond.There are not many occasions where you are encouraged to eat for free and believe me I need no encouragement. All of this plus our favourite cooks too including Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood( from the great british bake off)  and Nick Nairn ( pictured with me above) who is a passionate supporter of local Scottish produce. Although there were lots of producers from Perthshire East Lothian and the Highlands I was really interested in the folk from Argyll and I wasn’t disappointed. There was the Local produce Argyll stall who promote the producers of Tarbet, Kintyre, Islay and Gigha. On their food map was West Kintyre Honey, Inverloch cheese, the Skipness sea food cabin and the healing vegetable garden in Campbeltown . My favourite was the mature cheese from the Mull of Kintyre delicious melted on toast.Then I moved on to The Arran cheese shop stall and sampled their beautiful round cheeses all sealed in colourful wax with and flavoured with chilli , whisky, crushed herbs and mustard.The best part is that they all keep for a couple of months so you never need to run out!

When we finished eating we started to sample the drinks on offer the first tipple was some chocolate wine and although I was dubious about mixing the two it was a really subtle blend of flavours. I then tottered on to the next stall which was serving Paris rose strawberry and cream liqueur. It had a beautiful scented aroma and a really pretty bottle to match and I couldn’t move on before tasting the thunder toffee vodka aptly named and guareenteed to get any party started! From the slightly frivolous to the serious blenders of Malt whisky such as Gordon and Macphail who are one of the worlds leading specialists. I had to buy  a spey side single malt from them named Benromach as it was just such a smooth blend that didn’t catch my throat like some. So with feet aching and bags ladened with foodie goodies including Halloween cups cakes for the kids we swayed home still extremely full and with definitely no room left for tea.

The other night I couldn’t sleep as I had some fairly major decisions to make in my life, I wondered how many other people sit alone at night with no-one to console them- if you are one of them this is for you…

I know I’m in trouble Lord that’s why I’m wide awake

There’s so much that bothers me and just so much at stake

I’m looking for the answers or just some kind of sign

That says I’ll find a solution for all these worries of mine

I am hoping in the quietness you will speak my name

And tell me very gently that soon, all will be well again

Because I know you see my whole life the beginning and the end

And all the roads I’ll travel every twist and turn and bend

So please Lord take my hand as I wander back to bed

And stand by my side tomorrow as I face the day ahead



As  summer succumbs to winters iron will

leaves with papery hands crumble to dust

and snow curls around the hills

as trees turn from red to rust

and birds whose song once pierced the sky

are now just a whispered lullaby

as smoke escapes like a ghost

from bright braziers where blackened chestnuts roast

and trees vulnerable and exposed

stand awkwardly without their summer clothes

whilst the cold creeps through this naked land

ending  summers song with an unseen hand

Last night I went to a rock concert in Manchester. I will be honest a big part of me wanted to curl up with a good book fluffy slippers and a cocoa. As I queued in the chilly Manchester air with a group of shall we say slightly younger folk I did have to check my sanity. Soon however I was caught up in the excitement and energy of the young crowd most of whom would not have been born when these guys started up. We entered the theatre and as in my youth I remembered the plastic cups sticky floors and the slightly faded grandeur of the venue. As the support act came out the sheer volume of the music pounded off my chest and filled the auditorium! Soon wedged in by the ever-growing crowd everyone started to move to the beat and the atmosphere became electric. I sung waved my arms in the air and just let go- very cathartic! As the concert ended and the doors opened the heat hit the cold air sending a thick cloud of smokey air into the night. I ended up in a bar called the blue parrot or was it the green parrot drinking a cosmopolitan cocktail with a young crowd who wanted to know all the bands I had seen when I was their age . So everyone just remember you are never to old to rock and roll and I still intend to do it even if it takes me the rest of the week and a few early night to get over it!

I was trying to get into the “zone” to write my blog but inspiration wouldn’t come. I made a cup of tea watched the swallows balancing on the wire before their flight south, perhaps, I thought I should write about the beautiful natural surroundings I live in? Then I noticed a mark on the window right in my line of sight. I went and got the glass cleaner from under the sink and bang crash everything tipped forward and propelled it’s self out of the cupboard! I then tided the cupboard throwing out all the empty bottles and  was just about to clean the window when I then noticed in the sink a saucepan with the remains of the vegetable soup my teenage son had made earlier a stray pea bobbing around in the orange water complete with spoon and dish. I went into his room which resembles a cave ( he never pulls the curtains) to get him to wash up and then remembered he was playing football.Peering into the gloom I could just make out the goldfish who was desperately trying to get my attention. I found the food and watched Irene ( don’t ask) fall onto the flakes as they descended into the water. Just as I was about to leave I noticed his clothes spilling out of his wash basket and a faint aroma I couldn’t quite identify. I had to investigate! I then found an unidentified object on a plate under his bed with fork still in it! What else was under his bed I thought? Well it turns out lots of socks sweet wrappers and old laceless football boots . I went to get a black plastic bag and like a commando inched myself under the bed finding more horrors the further I went in. Having cleared everything out I then hoovered hearing the clink of all the loose change I missed going up the pipe. I then went back to my blog but just as I composed myself again my daughter came in to announce she didn’t have anything to wear and needed to order new boots immediately! She then helpfully showed me all those she liked in the catalogue and said that they took credit cards if i didn’t have enough money. I ended up ordering them but having lost my password it took longer than anticipated. I had to phone the company to reset it. I ended up agreeing to the special offer of the day six pillows at a fantastic low price! I then went back to my blog but all hope of inspiration had completely faded. My son returned. “Cheers for tidying my room mum” he said throwing his new football boots under the bed and then stuck his head out of the door “whats for tea I haven’t eaten for ages” I give up I thought as I went to see if he had left anything edible in the fridge  to cook. I will just have to leave my blog for another day!

It’s just three sleeps until my holiday! I know I shouldn’t be so excited but when it comes to holidays I am a big kid. My husband Chris is excited too although you wouldn’t know it at the moment. He is somewhere in the loft hyperventilating trying to extract our cases from under a lot of junk we threw up there last year! We then have the conversation about what to take.He would be happy to take as little as possible.I pack for every eventuality- clothes in case it’s warm, clothes in case it’s cold even though I know it’s going to be warm! I love buying new things for my holiday, Chris  just wants his comfy stuff like his velcro shoes that got as far as my car for the charity shop before he spotted them! I also have this ritual of cleaning the house before I leave, like a woman possessed as though someone is really going break into my house to to check that I have defrosted my fridge or lined the tins up in alphabetical order (i am kidding). Finally once my large suitcase and his ruck sack are packed we are off! Then we  reverse up the drive again whilst I check that the windows and  doors are locked. Oh and I have to say “goodbye house” even though it never says goodbye back!

But it’s all worth it because when we arrive at our Gite all the tension has gone.We sit in the garden and open the wine and breathe in the night air wondering what all the fuss was about.

Having eaten too much chocolate and indulged in master chef on the TV, I thought I had experienced enough culinary experiences for one day!

Flicking thought the channels I came across a programme about the children orphaned in South Africa through aids. It highlighted a township near Cape Town where an elderly woman cooks  for 500 people a day, mainly women and children.The food is mostly out of date, donated by supermarkets. This is their only meal of the day-food for thought!

Looking on the web there are lot’s of charities helping people in South Africa  who are struggling for survival. The children, unlike my own have few possessions but one charity is changing this by encouraging people to knit or donate a bear.The website shows the joy on the children’s faces at receiving this small gift which carries the name of the person who knitted it.

If you can’t knit- like me you can donate a bear knowing that a child will have something to hold close and love even when their life seems so fragile and uncertain.

Book Club Sponsor

For more details just Google the mother bear project and then get knitting!

I often complain about going to work, especially after a weekend pottering around the garden. But in the last few months instead of pressing my foot to the metal I stopped along the way to take a few pictures.Living on the West Coast of Scotland I am surrounded by beautiful views and now spring is here there is new life all around which just adds to the huge variety of wonders to capture

Not a bad journey to work after all ?