Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Horse’

Yesterday was the delightful assistants’ 53rd wedding anniversary.

Acting as chauffeur, I whisked them off into the county of Angus for a tasty luncheon, an invigorating walk and afternoon treats.

Here they are attempting to gaze lovingly at each other for the camera:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They found this highly amusing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assitants in a more natural pose.

Delightful assistant no.1 chose to go to Peel Farm, near Kirriemuir, for lunch:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A welcoming sign at the entrance to Peel Farm.

We arrived nice and early, a little before noon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The entrance to the coffee shop at Peel Farm, decked out with wreaths and other Christmas decorations.

Due to our fortunate timing the coffee shop was unusually empty, which allowed me to take a photograph of the inside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside the lovely Peel Farm coffee shop, unusually empty of hungry punters.

The delightful assistants wisely chose a table at the fireside end of the room, from where we all ordered a farmhouse special of soup with a roll and butter, followed by a scone and tea or coffee.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistants perfectly placed near the fire with bowls of hot soup.

Delightful assistant no.1 and I both chose carrot and parsnip soup, while delightful assistant no.2 had red pepper and tomato.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Carrot and parsnip soup with a crusty roll.

Our soups warmed us up, and when they’d been polished off it was time for scones.

There were three options available: plain, fruit, and raspberry. After considerable deliberation I plumped for raspberry, while delightful assistant no.1 chose fruit and delightful assistant no.2 chose plain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My choice of a raspberry scone – I was not in any way disappointed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A fruit-studded scone for delightful assistant no.1.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A beautiful plain scone for delightful assistant no.2.

A delicious jam was delivered with the scones and delightful assistant no.2 felt that his plain scone gave the perfect base for it.

The jam was a new creation by one of Peel Farm’s master jam makers and was a combination of plum and orange. It tasted a bit like marmalade because of the orange, and it had a wonderfully zingy sweet flavour. Delightful assistant no.1 christened it ‘jarmalade’. Here’s a blob of it on my raspberry scone:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Raspberry scone with a blob of jarmalade on it.

I wasn’t too sure how my raspberry scone would fare as a platform for such a sprightly spread, but when I tasted them together I was immediately won over and slathered the rest of my scone with the stuff, enjoying each mouthful with gusto.

When we’d finished our scones and downed our tea and coffee we had a quick look in the Peel Farm craft shop where I spotted the happiest little gingerbread men I think I’ve ever seen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cheery wee chaps on a string.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Utterly delighted to meet you.

We got back into the car and drove to nearby Loch of Lintrathen, which has a level road all round it, virtually devoid of traffic and very pleasant for strolling along.

It was grey and chilly but we walked briskly, enjoying the fresh air and the noise of wind in the trees and on the water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Loch of Lintrathen.

Quite a few branches and twigs lay scattered about after recent high winds; delightful assistant no.2 fashioned one such branch into a walking stick.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistant no.2 taking twigs off the fallen branch of a larch tree.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The old chap making use of his newly acquired walking equipment.

On our walk we passed a well constructed bird hide, and I popped in to see what I could spot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Loch of Lintrathen bird hide – I had it all to myself.

I didn’t see anything particularly unusual, although someone had noted a white tailed sea eagle in the visitor’s book a couple of weeks before.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gateway to the bird hide at Loch of Lintrathen.

After my bit of birding I caught up with the delightful assistants and we scooted on to the nearby town of Kirriemuir to seek out an afternoon snack.

On past visits to Kirriemuir I’ve been unable to find interesting tearooms, so my hopes weren’t terribly high.

We parked in the free cark park and walked towards the town centre.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistants keeping each other upright.

Before we even reached the main street, to my astonishment and delight, we passed this promising looking establishment down a little alleyway:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A side window at The Auld Surgery Tearooms in Kirriemuir.

Just around the corner we found the front door, and swiftly sailed in:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Front entrance to The Auld Surgery Tearooms in Kirriemuir.

The interior had a charmingly rustic farmhouse feel with solid wooden furniture and gifty things dotted about. We perched ourselves at a table for three:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seated comfortably close to the wooden dresser where there was a selection of tasty looking treats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A dresser showing off its cakes and biscuits.

Delightful assistant no.2 was the first to make up his mind and went for a mug of hot chocolate and a mint chocolate traybake, which was enticingly decorated with broken bits of fondant-filled mint thins:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chocolate mints on top of a traybake – a stroke of genius.

Although very fond of mint chocolates, I thought this traybake might be too sweet for my tastes. However, having tasted a piece of the one in the photograph, I would gladly return to Kirriemuir just for a slice of this excellent confection.

As it was, I went for a slice of fruit loaf with butter, downed with a cafetiere of decaf coffee:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistant no.1 also had coffee, but in the solids department she made a traditionally festive selection:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistant no.1′s choice of a mince pie. Such a good girl, she didn’t make a fuss about the lack of cream.

After enjoying our treats we had a quick squiz at a few of the items for sale, some of which were displayed at the bottom of a gracefully curving banister:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One item in particular took the fancy of delightful assistant no.1.

In her youth she remembers having a little wooden rocking horse that rocked very nicely, and when she saw something similar at The Auld Surgery Tearooms she didn’t want to go home without it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Small wooden rocking horse with teacup: a happy ending to a lovely day.

Read Full Post »

Have you ever had a migraine?

According to The Migraine Trust, it’s the most common neurological ailment in the western world.

There are more people suffering from migraine than from diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined, accounting for over 8 million people in the UK alone.

I’ve been getting migraines for the past 16 or so years. I’ve learned to live with them (and luckily don’t get them as badly or as frequently as some people do), and now think of them as part of life.

When I recently visited the Migraine Trust website after a particularly disagreeable migraine, I was very interested to find out about this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of several Travelling Migraine Diaries from The Migraine Trust.

Before, or even after, people are diagnosed with migraine it’s suggested that they keep a migraine diary, to see if there’s any pattern to their occurrence.

Inspired by that idea, and with the aim of encouraging sufferers to share their experiences, the Migraine Trust came up with the idea of a Travelling Diary.

Rather than just using one very large book, they’re sending out a number of blank books all over the UK to people who suffer from migraines, so that each sufferer can contribute their story of how migraines affect them.

I received one of the diaries in the post yesterday and wrote my piece in it this morning:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My entry in one of the Travelling Migraine Diaries.

After my mum’s added a bit about her experience of migraine, the book will be sent back to the Trust so that they can send it on to the next person on their list.

I enjoyed reading the stories of other people who had written in the diary before me, and eventually all of the stories will be available to view online. The Trust are taking photographs of the entries as they receive them and putting them on Flickr during their Diary Campaign, and you can see them here.

If you live in the UK and have ever suffered from a migraine, you might want to consider adding your bit to one of the diaries. You can do that by clicking on this link to the Migraine Trust’s sign up page.

You can also follow the Migraine Trust on Facebook and Twitter @migrainetrust.

I don’t know if humans are the only species in the animal kingdom to suffer from migraines, but I hope so. I wouldn’t like to think of other animals having to cope with migraines.

Here’s a happy horse I saw the other day wearing a natty red coat and looking comfortably headache-free:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

White horse in a red coat.

Read Full Post »

Following on from my last post, after luncheon at Duff House my delightful assistant and I tootled up to have a look at one or two of the small villages that are strung out along the Moray coast.

Our first stop was the attractively named Gardenstown, which was reached via a steep narrow road full of hairpin bends.

We parked in a quiet street just above the harbour and got out to amble through the village and gaze out to sea:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I didn’t realise at first that this smart little building at the harbour was a toilet block. We didn’t make use of the facilities but they looked very well kept from the outside.

Attached to the railing I was leaning on to take the above photos, and at various other points in the town, there were curious little signs:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For those not in the know, there is a department store chain in the UK called BHS, which stands for British Home Stores; I assume it inspired the name of this Gardenstown emporium.

The delightful assistant and I were keen to take a look, and found said shop lurking inside this green wooden building:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside, it had the feel of a thrift shop, being largely stocked with second-hand oddments such as handbags, puzzles, books, clothes, photo frames and ornaments.

There were also a few brand new items, some of which had presumably been made locally, and amongst them were what I can only assume were gnomes. They were unlike any gnomes I’ve ever seen before, however, and I wish I had a photograph to show you. Alas, I didn’t feel able to take pictures under the watchful eyes of the assistants, who sat silent and motionless behind an old wooden counter observing our every move (we were the only customers).

The thing that impressed me most about this peculiar little shop was the high prices. In this tiny out of the way place, haphazardly dangling from the walls and strewn about dusty shelves, everything seemed to be surprisingly expensive. I remember there were a few very small notebooks filled with cheap lined paper that I would expect to cost a maximum of 30p, but which were priced at £1 each. I don’t wish to criticise the owners of this store or to pass judgement on their efforts to run a retail business, but I find it hard to imagine them ever selling anything.

On the plus side, visiting it was certainly an experience.

Back outside the store, I was attracted by this somewhat unusual pair of bollards outside someone’s front door:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On closer inspection they reminded me of chess pieces:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I confess, their purpose wasn’t entirely clear to me but – thanks to the heads on top – I drew the conclusion that they must be for tying your horse up to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By this time the afternoon was drawing on and I wanted to have a peek at the interesting village of Crovie, just along the coast, before we turned round and headed towards home, so we got back into the car and set off up the steep winding streets of Gardenstown to rejoin the main road.

Unfortunately, our departure coincided with the arrival of a convoy of funeral attendees coming down the hill and looking for places to park on the roadside. We were forced to sit with the handbrake pulled up as far as it would go, on a steep slope next to a sharp bend with another car right behind us, constantly attempting to pull away but being thwarted by ever more vehicles appearing round the bend.

In this country, there is an understanding (it may even be mentioned in the Highway Code, I can’t remember) that traffic coming downhill gives way to that going uphill, but there was none of that in Gardenstown. Mind you, due to hairpin bends and buildings obscuring the view, I expect the downhill drivers didn’t know that there were uphill drivers waiting round the bend, and by the time they swung into view there was no room for them to give way to anyone.

It was not the most comfortable part of our day out, but at least it was summer time and the roads were dry. I shuddered to think what it would be like on ice in the winter, and made a mental note never to relocate to Gardenstown.

A few miles along the main road we saw the sign we were looking for, next to an attractive bus shelter with a not so attractive bin in front of it. The little blue and white anchor on the signpost denotes that Crovie is on the scenic route along the Moray coast:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The single track road leading down to Crovie from the main road:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crovie, like Gardenstown, lies by the sea at the end of a steep road with a few sharp bends in it.

We passed a sign at a car park by the roadside before the village suggesting that any non-locals might like to stop there rather than continue down, but after surviving Gardenstown I wasn’t too put off by that. We did in fact find another place to park a bit further down the road, which was possibly just as well because there wasn’t a lot of land to park on down in the village.

The cars in the distance on the left of this picture were the only ones I saw there:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The west end of Crovie village.

Looking in the other direction there didn’t seem to be enough space for cars, and according to the Undiscovered Scotland website this is in fact the case.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The east end of Crovie village: no room for cars.

It surprised me that people actually chose to live here with it being so close to the sea, although I’ve since found out that quite a few of the houses are now holiday lets occupied only in the summer. On a stormy day at high tide I imagine it could be quite invigorating to stick your head out of the window of one of these houses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For a more professional photograph of Crovie, you might like to have a look at Scott Marshall’s blog, here.

When we’d finished gawping at Crovie, we buzzed off south again and stopped in a most curious place for cream teas.

The location was a castle and apparently photography was forbidden indoors ‘for insurance reasons’ and so, despite having taken a lot of pictures before I was aware of this rule, I’ve decided not to publish them here. This is a pity, particularly as many of them were taken in the tearoom where we enjoyed truly excellent cream teas. I even went to the trouble of conducting an experiment involving a cherry scone, some raspberry jam and a large pot of whipped cream.

The ‘cream tea’ (i.e. a pot of tea served with a scone, jam and cream – traditionally clotted cream, but often whipped double cream is used instead, as it was on this occasion), is said to have originated in the English county of Devon in the 11th Century, but the county nextdoor, Cornwall, also claims the cream tea as its own. I’ve only ever had a cream tea in Cornwall, not having spent any time in Devon, but I have heard that the difference between a Devonshire cream tea and a Cornish cream tea is in the ordering of the jam and cream on the scone.

In Devon they put the cream on first (butter isn’t usually part of a cream tea, unless my delightful assistants happen to be in charge) with the jam on top, and in Cornwall it’s the other way round: jam first, then cream. Here’s an example of what I’m on about (admittedly, this is one of the forbidden pictures, but you’d never know the location from this photo), with Devon on the right and Cornwall on the left:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve observed that in Scotland people tend to follow the Cornish method, with jam first and cream on top, and I think I understand the reason for this.

Whenever I’ve tried it the other way round, with the cream on first, I’ve found it difficult to apply the jam on top of the cream in such a way as to make it look appetising. Usually what happens is the heavier jam sinks into the cream and when an attempt is made to spread the jam, it combines with the cream to create a bit of a delicious mess. Applying the jam first means you lay a good solid foundation for the lighter cream, which when spread atop the jam layer manages to hold its own without mixing in with the jam too much.

When I take a cream tea (which I fear I do far too frequently for the good of my health), I tend to use the Cornish method, simply for neatness. What is a little unfortunate is that when I tested it on the occasion pictured above, I discovered (as I had already known, deep down) that I slightly preferred the taste sensation of the Devonshire method, with the cream underneath the jam.

I say it’s unfortunate but that’s like saying that a good solid 10 hour sleep is better than a sleep of 9 hours 55 minutes, i.e. there’s not much in it and I really can’t complain about the minimal difference in the end result.

Read Full Post »

Here’s a little game for you.

A few years ago a small stowaway hopped onboard a ship with me in Shetland, and has been my travelling companion on a number of offshore trips since.

I haven’t been offshore for over a year now and my small companion has mysteriously vanished. I think she got tired of waiting for me to go anywhere exciting and has galloped off on her own little adventure.  I could probably lure her back by leaving a trail of Maltesers in the garden.

Agnieszka at the Maltesers

She’s in all of these photos. Can you spot her in each one?

(Some of them are quite tricky, but she’s there all right wearing her little horse blanket, knitted especially for her by a lovely Polish surveyor called Anna).

07012008353

07012008355

07012008356

07012008357

07012008358

07012008359

07012008360

07012008361

07012008362

07012008363

07012008364

07012008365

07012008366

I spent Christmas 2007 on a boat in Hammerfest, way up in the north of Norway, and my mischievous little chum got herself right in amongst the festivities.

07012008354

A very merry Christmas one and all, 

and many good things to come in 2013!

Read Full Post »

The small Perthshire town of Blairgowrie sits among rolling hills and farmland in the Vale of Strathmore.

The streets of the town slope upwards towards the north-west, and if you continue walking in this direction beyond the limit of houses, you soon reach the top of a small grassy hill called The Knockie.

The Knockie, being only a few minutes’ trot from where I live, provides an easily accesible bit of fresh air and exercise for someone who spends far too much time sitting at a desk. I try to get out for a little walk most days of the week and yesterday, thinking it was too long since I last did it, I felt inspired to go and look at the views from The Knockie.

The track up the hill is often very muddy, but is apparently being upgraded and will soon be covered in stones. I think it has a nicely old-fashioned look, bounded by lovely dry stone walls covered in moss:

When you reach the top of the hill, you can read a ghost story on a board:

The story concerns a Lady Jean Drummond, who lived at nearby Newton Castle around the 13th century. She fell in love with a chap from a neighbouring castle, but the two families were at war with one another over land rights, and any sort of romance was out of the question. Heartbroken, Lady Jean is said to have wandered out into the marshes, never to return. Her ghost, dressed in green silk, currently divides her time betwen the two castles, ever pining for her lost love.

A wooden seat has been thoughtfully provided so that you can sit and contemplate this tragic tale:

Yesterday was not the brightest of days, but on the other side of the hill from Blairgowrie there are good views of the surrounding countryside, and the distant Grampian mountains:

The track on the other side of the hill has a much better surface, being covered in tarmac for some of the way, and there are more mossy walls:

We’ve had a fair bit of stormy weather here lately, and I passed some trees that had not only been uprooted, but had taken the ground with them. I thought it looked as if a giant had come along and lifted up the carpet:

As I rounded The Knockie, the setting sun broke through the clouds casting a warm glow on the hillside to the east:

Over towards the west, the sky seemed to be on fire:

The atmosphere was hazy, but the lighting created this silhouette of a horse on the horizon:

By the time I got home, I felt I’d earned a small snackerel:

Read Full Post »

There is a small town on the Fife coast that has, for years, been home to award winning fish and chips. Despite having visited this little place on a number of occasions, up until recently I had completely failed to sample the famous food.

I am delighted to say I have now rectified the situation. True vegetarians or vegans look away now:

It was amongst the best fish I’ve ever tasted, very fresh and cooked to perfection:

The town that supplied this fish is called Anstruther, and it was originally a fishing village. It’s home to another award winning business, also connected with fish – the Scottish Fisheries Museum:

On my next trip to Anstruther I would very much like to visit the museum and, as if an extra lure were needed, it boasts a tearoom.

The fish and chips above appeared on a glorious summer’s day a few weeks ago, when my delightful assistant and I were moseying around the Fife coast lapping up a bit of holiday atmosphere. If you want to feel in the thick of things on a sunny afternoon in Fife, Anstruther is the place to be. It always seems to be buzzing with life and the queues for fish suppers (aka fish and chips, I don’t know if this is a Scottish or British expression) never seem to dwindle.

Part of the reason I hadn’t partaken of this excellent fish before was due to offputting queues on previous visits. I suppose there must be a saturation point and some quiet periods, but going by what I’ve observed it would seem that the punters just can’t get enough fish suppers in Anstruther at any time of day, on any day of the week. Providing fish suppers to the people of Fife is, quite obviously, a thriving and profitable business.

As well as excellent fish, Anstruther has a harbour full of lovely boats, including this beautiful lady:

The elegant 70ft long Reaper is what’s known as a herring drifter. She was built in 1902 and spent many years at sea, mainly around the Shetland Islands, picking up herring. She also did a bit of work for the Admiralty in the south of England during the war years, and in 1979 she was purchased by the Scottish Fisheries Museum. She’s been featured in films and on TV, and if you fancy calling her your home for a few hours, you can rent her out for events.

Curving around the harbour are some pretty buildings, many featuring the distinctive red pantiles associated with much of the Fife coast:

It was an unusually warm day for Scotland, with a cloudless blue sky (not all that common on Scotland’s east coast). At least I could remove my outer layers, unlike this fluffy fellow taking respite in a shady spot:

When Anstruther got too much for us with its busyness and bustle, we popped into the car and drove off to a quiet hillside for a little amble. If you’ve seen my Capture the Colour post, you might recognise the subject of this next picture:

The foxgloves on top of the little hill we climbed had a fine view over fields to the sea. I was unreasonably proud of myself for managing to snap some without being stampeded by savage equine beasts (my apologies to any horse fanciers, my terror-induced language belies my admiration of the fine creatures):

Read Full Post »

The delightful Meg of Meg Travels has provided me with a little challenge, via the website Travel Supermarket.

Travel Supermarket have launched a competition and are offering prizes to bloggers who share photos that ‘Capture the Colour’. In their own words “We’re looking for bloggers to publish a blog post with a photo that captures the following 5 colours – Blue, Green, Yellow, White and Red.”

To enter the challenge you ideally publish 5 photographs (you can publish fewer and not be entered for the top prize), one for each colour category, and then nominate 5 bloggers who might like to take part themselves. You are also encouraged to state where the picture was taken and add any other information that might add something of interest, including links to any posts you might have done about the places featured.

Up first is the colour blue and I’ve chosen rather a fine fellow whose blue feathers dazzled me earlier this year in Galloway, Scotland:

A splendid resident of Glenwhan Gardens keeping a beady eye on the punters, Dumfries and Galloway, April 2012

For green I’ve picked what more than one person I’ve shown it to thought was grass. It is, in fact, water seen a long way down from a very tall building in Dubai:

A lake of pea soup in amongst Dubai’s newly built skyscrapers, as viewed from the city’s second tallest building in July 2010

My yellow picture was taken last month in the astonishingly well preserved old village of Culross in Fife, Scotland.  This building is part of Culross Palace, originally built in the late 16th-early 17th century, which makes this wall about 400 years old. The paint’s looking pretty fresh but I suspect it’s been touched up a few times over the centuries.

Three little windows in a very old and very yellow wall of Culross Palace, Fife, in July 2012

I risked life and limb for the white photo and I chose to feature it, not because there’s all that much white in it but because the white stands out so much against the background. I greatly admire, but am also allergic to, and terrified of, horses so it was with some trepidation that I got this close to one without a fence between me and it. However, it was kind enough not to maim or kill me, both of which I was worried it might well do, and in grateful thanks to it and in celebration of my survival I am posting this picture:

Giant white beast considering whether or not to bite me or trample me to death, eventually deciding not to bother with either, near Anstruther, Fife, August 2012

My final picture is the red one, a photo I published once before in a post called Auchtermuchty. Auchtermuchty is a village in Fife (I’m surprised by how many of these photos originate in Fife, it seems to be a most colourful place) that has several claims to fame. I won’t bore you with them here, but if you’re at all interested you can click on the link above and read all about it.

Cross-eyed lion door knocker in Auchtermuchty, Fife, February 2012, possibly given this disturbringly insane look to make travelling salesmen/Jehovah’s Witnesses think twice about bothering the inhabitants.

The 5 blogs I’m nominating for this challenge are:

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Writing from Scotland

Girl in a food frenzy

Rigmover

Moments Clicked

If you’d like to find out more about the challenge, and perhaps even take part, please visit travelsupermarket.com.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,741 other followers

%d bloggers like this: