Yule Log Cake and the History Behind This Christmas Tradition

Hello, my dears!

I can’t believe it is only five days until Christmas! Even less if you are reading this from the other side of the world. How are your Christmas preparations coming along? The holidays undoubtedly look very different for much of the world this year, but I would love to know what sorts of things you have planned. What are some of the traditions you and your family keep?

I hope that everyone who reached out about receiving a homemade Christmas card has received theirs. I mailed them on the last day of November, but as swamped as the postal service is this year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of them take a while to reach their destinations. Please do let me know if you don’t get yours. I love making cards and I love you – my awesome online community.

So. I had this great idea, that I would make a Yule log cake (also called a Bûche de Noël if you want to sound fancy), share the recipe with you today before the winter solstice, and tell you about the history behind the tradition. In my fantasy, my cake would taste better than Mary Berry’s and look more beautiful than Paul Hollywood! But, alas, after two disastrously failed attempts which resulted in the wasting of food, the wasting of my time, and a wound to my pride, I decided to just buy the damn thing. This situation reminds me of the line in the cute movie “Calendar Girls” when Chris (Helen Mirren) wins the baking contest and gives the following advice on how she achieved such a light sponge: “Line the bowl with butter. Always use a warm spoon. And if it’s a special event, get it at Marks & Spencer’s.” Well, we don’t have a Marks & Spencer’s here, but we do have The Fresh Market, and it turns out they make a bloody good cake!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A Quiet Moment

For this week’s challenge, I am sharing a photo that I took near Farr, Scotland. It was one of those sweet, precious, quiet moments where all you can think is, “Be still my heart.”

I haven’t posted much lately, as I’ve been crazy busy planning and overseeing home renovations. But, I promise you an article on Corse Castle sometime this week! Have a fantastic day, friends.

A Prayer for True Justice

Hi friends. Wow, I hardly know what to write. It has been a difficult couple of weeks in America (the world), to say the least. Shoot, it’s been a difficult four months! Who could have ever in a million years predicted that this new decade would look as it does?

I think we all recognize that our world is not the same as it was at the start of the year. Our world is not even the same as it was two weeks ago. In the blink of an eye, everything is different. Life is different.

We are different.

I am different.

My emotions (and likely yours) have run the full gamut – everything from fear, sadness, anger, despair, and disbelief, to feelings of encouragement and hope.

Hope. Let us never lose hope.

Even though I am a Christian believer, I don’t like to get preachy on here. This is a blog about my love for Scotland, after all, and I respect that not everyone shares my beliefs. But sometimes, a person just has to express what’s on their heart.

YouVersion is an online mobile Bible platform that I sometimes use to read Scripture. Today, they published a ‘prayer for true justice’ that resonated with me. I hope they won’t mind that I am republishing this. I hope that you won’t mind that I am sharing this with you.

For all of the George Floyd’s of this world, for the marginalized, the trivialized, the overlooked, the unloved, for the despised and hated and persecuted people everywhere, I pray this prayer.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Delicate Colours

I love this week’s Photo Challenge. Ann-Christine has asked for photos with delicate colors.

One of my favorite things about Scotland’s scenery is the way it looks in the ever-changing light. There is something so magical and lovely about it. Sometimes everything is bright, crisp, and clear. Often, it’s moody. And sometimes the light casts the land in perfect, soft, almost pastel hues.

Here are three selections I chose from my archives for today’s challenge.

The ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel in Edinburgh, Scotland.

After the rain: the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel, located in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.

A rugged coastal hill and the Stonehaven War Memorial in Scotland.

Stonehaven War Memorial as viewed from Dunnottar Castle near the town of Stonehaven.

A stone wall, green grass, and the Firth of Forth.

Looking at the Firth of Forth from inside the grounds at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh.

Have a great Sunday!

Canceled Plans

Sadness permeates my heart this morning as I sit in my den, sipping my coffee in the quiet and the dark. Mr. C and I were supposed to be on our way to Washington D.C. in a few hours where we were to have caught an evening flight to London and then another to Glasgow. This time tomorrow, we would have been in our little rental car, traveling north on the A9, our stomachs fluttering with the excitement and anticipation of arriving at Muckrach Castle, our very own Highland home-away-from-home for two full weeks.

Instead, like most of you, my day will be spent at my own home – just another day in the Great Pandemic of 2020.

We are extremely fortunate that we didn’t lose any money in this whole situation. Savills, the agent that represents the castle, was kind enough to let us push our reservation out a year. Our travel insurance company gave us a voucher, and after two calls and (only) about two and a half hours of phone time, I was able to secure a full refund from British Airways.

Still, here it is. Friday, May 15. The day I have looked forward to for a year. I can’t help it if I feel a bit melancholy.

So to console myself, I think that later today I will spend some time in my garden. Drink a little whisky. Maybe listen to some Celtic tunes. And dream of next spring, when I will once again be free to be back in the place that I love.

Cheers,