St. Talorgan’s (a.k.a. Old Fordyce Church) – Fordyce, Scotland

Hey, friends! A few weeks ago, I wrote about Fordyce, Scotland, and the sixteenth-century fairy tale castle that graces the center of that charming village. Mr. C and I were so delighted to come across the castle on our visit and were equally thrilled when we saw St. Talorgan’s, the old medieval church ruins and cemetery right next door. Of course, we just had to wander over for a closer look.

Old Fordyce Church sign.
A stone wall and a celtic cross in front of Fordyce Castle.
Standing in the kirkyard looking toward Fordyce Castle.

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Fordyce, Scotland and Its Fairy Tale Castle

Hey, everyone. How are you today? I hope you all are staying well.

What sorts of things have been occupying your days? I have been teaching myself how to bake bread – along with the rest of the world, it seems -ha! I’m getting pretty good at it if I may say so myself!

Today, I’d like to give you a quick peek at Fordyce, Scotland, and the fairy tale castle that graces the center of the village. This utterly charming and (as locals would say) “chocolate box” town is located in Aberdeenshire, in the northeast section of the country, set among scenic rolling hills and only about a mile from the sea.

Google Maps image of Scotland.

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Culloden House and the Bonnie Prince Charlie Connection

Hello, friends! I hope you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy during this crazy pandemic. How is everyone weathering the quarantine? Has the place where you live begun to reopen?

Today I would like to show you Culloden House, a stately Georgian-style mansion set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Last year, Mr. C and I visited for afternoon tea, before exploring the house and grounds and then heading over to see nearby Clava Cairns.

Front view of Culloden House. Green Virginia Creeper growing all over the  front of the mansion.

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Ballindalloch Castle: Scotland’s “Pearl of the North”

It’s cold. It’s gloomy. It’s the time of year when cabin fever starts to become a very real thing; although, I just realized the official start to spring is only 31 days away! Woop! Anyway, to cheer myself up on this gray Monday (well, this, and maybe watching a few episodes of “The Great British Baking Show”), I am going to take you guys to Scotland’s “Pearl of the North”; the BEAUTIFUL, the GORGEOUS, the OH-SO-STUNNING Ballindalloch Castle.

A tree lined gravel path leading to Ballindalloch Castle.

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The Centre of Scotland-A Surprising Find

Aside from soaking up buckets of gorgeous scenery, one of the best parts of motoring around Scotland are the surprises. It was an afternoon in May, and Mr. C and I were out for a leisurely drive through the Highlands. We were about four miles east of Laggan, having randomly diverged off of General Wade’s Military Road onto an itty bitty single-track road with a sign that pointed towards Glentruim (near the village of Newtonmore).

Google Maps image of General Wade's Military Road near Laggan, Scotland.

We were casually cruising along, lost in thought when we suddenly spotted a massive boulder with a yellow plaque. Curious, we pulled over to take a look.

A large boulder with the Centre of Scotland sign tacked onto it.

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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 Burns Night tonight, have fun, be safe, and eat a bite of haggis for me.

A glass of Scotch on a book of poems and songs by Robert Burns.

Slàinte mhath!

Scottish Cup of Friendship-The Quaich

Hello, and Happy New Year to you! I hope this first day of the bright, shiny new calendar year – holy shiitake, a 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, and we enjoyed a nice bottle of champagne while watching a bit of the Times Square celebration on television. Then we capped it off at midnight with a cwtch (the Welsh word for cuddle) and a whisky toast in our Scottish Cup of Friendship, or 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.

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Bridie Recipe-A Traditional Scottish Pastry

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.

Bridies were introduced in the 1800s, and there are two stories of how they 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 the market in Forfar. Either way, they are delicious!

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