Happy Burns Night 2020!

If you live in Scotland, are of proud Scottish ancestry, or just love the Scottish people and culture, chances are that tonight you will be celebrating Burns Night. Every year, on January 25, people from Scotland to the Americas to Australia and beyond, come together to commemorate the life and works of Scotland’s beloved poet, Robert Burns. It is an evening of merriment, good food, and good drink.

Sadly, Mr. C and I have to postpone our celebration this year. Poor ol’ Mr. C is ill and I’m pretty sure haggis is the last food on his mind. So, in lieu of our traditional festivities, I am instead spending part of my day enjoying The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns, a wonderful publication by Waverly Books. With a glass of the good stuff, of course. Not altogether a bad way to spend an afternoon.

If you are celebrating tonight, have fun, be safe, and eat a bite of haggis for me.

Slàinte mhath!

Scotland’s Cup of Friendship

Hello and Happy New Year to you! I hope this first day of the bright, shiny new calendar year – holy shiitake, new decade! – finds each of you well (and without too terrible a headache). 🙂

What sorts of celebrations did you engage in last night? Mr. C and I chose to ring in the year quietly at home, just us and our three doggies. Neither of us are big on crowds (though speaking for myself, I might be willing to put that sentiment aside if I ever have the chance to take part in one of the many Hogmanay festivals across Scotland. Stonehaven Fire Festival anyone?) Anyway, just because we stayed in doesn’t mean we didn’t have a great time. Mr. C made delicious Oysters Rockefeller to accompany our other fun, festive foods, we enjoyed a nice bottle of champagne, watched a bit of the Times Square celebration on television, then capped it off at midnight with a cwtch (Welsh word for cuddle) and a whisky toast in our Scottish Quaich. A “kutch” and a “quake“. What more do you need to usher out the old and herald in the new?

So now that you have not one but two new vocabulary words to begin your year, I thought we would take a look at the latter of the two.

Read more

Recipe: Bridies

Hi, friends!

Mr. C and I had some big fun in the kitchen today. We made our first bridies. I must admit, I was a bit intimidated by the endeavor, mainly because I have zero experience in pastry making. I am a capable cook, but Mr. C is the real chef in the family. Thankfully with the efforts of the two of us, they turned out great!

What is a bridie? A bridie (also referred to as a Forfar Bridie because it is said to have originated in Forfar, Angus, Scotland) is a ‘D’ shaped pastry with a savory beef and onion filling. A bridie is similar to an English pasty (short ‘a’), however, it is made sans potatoes and has a lighter, flakier crust.

Introduced in the 1800’s, there are two stories of how bridies came to be. One story claims that they were originally made for weddings (the bride’s meal) and that the ‘D’ or horseshoe shape was meant for good luck. Another story says that they were made by a lady named Margaret Bridie who would sell them at market in Forfar. Either way, they are delicious!

Read more

Kinloss Abbey

It was late afternoon and Mr. C and I were on our way back to our cabin in Farr, tired from a full day of exploring sites in the Moray region of Scotland. We were driving on the B9089 through the village of Kinloss when I suddenly spotted some intriguing looking ruins out my window. I shouldn’t have been surprised – it is Scotland after all. You can’t drive five miles without coming upon some treasure or another (you think I jest). I had Mr. C turn the car around and though we were already worn out from our long day of adventuring, we ended up spending another hour or so happily exploring what turned out to be the amazing ruins of Kinloss Abbey.

Read more

Inchdrewer Castle

Welcome back, friends. Happy Wednesday to you!

It is utterly frigid here in Virginia this morning. With our weather so wintry (and so early in the season!), I thought today would be a great time to revisit the beautiful afternoon this past May when Mr. C and I visited Inchdrewer Castle. I think of all the days of this past year, we must have been there on the most splendid of them all.

Read more

Celebrate Halloween Like a Boss

Hello!

A few of my friends have popped by today to wish you all a happy Halloween! They may look a little frightening but I promise they’re harmless. They are the vault bosses who reside at Elgin Cathedral in Elgin, Scotland.

Elgin Cathedral dates back to 1224.

Never heard of a ‘vault boss’? Yeah, I hadn’t either until I met these guys.

Read more

The Burke and Hare Murders

Greetings, my friends. I hope this day finds you all well.

As I thought about how to begin this blog, my mind kept going back to that hilarious scene in Notting Hill when William (Hugh Grant) and Anna (Julia Roberts) are having a conversation and William’s daffy Welsh roommate Spike enters (“I’m sorry, there’s no excuse for him”, William says), totally oblivious to the famous actress standing at his front door. Spike cruises right on past the two and says…

Read more

Boleskine Cemetery (and a side of witchcraft)

It was a gorgeous Scottish morning, the start of a day that held the promise of adventure and discovery. Mr. C and I were out early, cruising along the B852 (General Wade’s Military Road), on the south side of Loch Ness, when true to the promise, we happened upon a scenic, old cemetery, nestled in between the road and the loch. You know us. We just had to pull over and take a closer look.

Read more