When Christmas Was Banned In Scotland

Hello my friends!  I hope you are having an extraordinary day.

For today’s post, I would like to share with you about a time in Scotland’s history when Christmas was banned.  Yes, it really was!  And to mix things up a bit, I thought I’d have a little fun and try my hand at writing it as a poem.  Perhaps it will sound a bit familiar to you.  🙂  Enjoy.

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‘Twas the night before Christmas

and all through the land,

not a creature was stirring,

for Christmas was banned.

 

“Why?” you might ask,

when in Scotland of old,

the Yule was indeed

important we’re told.

 

You see, Yule – from the ‘Yuletide’-

was a festival of fun,

a time to laud the solstice

and the return of the sun.

 

Greenery was hung

as a symbol of life,

and the yule log burned warm,

merry, and bright.

 

In the year 1560, though,

something new happened.

The Reformation began –

spirits were dampened.

 

What used to be fun

was now frowned upon.

No more celebrations.

Beloved Yuletide was done.

 

From there it got worse,

more sadness and gloom.

And in 1640,

the Church lowered the boom.

 

Too pagan! Too Catholic!

Not biblical they said.

Go to work, eat your supper,

just be quiet instead.

 

Yuletide was banned,

the festivities finished.

If caught in celebration,

one would certainly be punished!

 

With no games, no gifts,

no more feasts to be had,

the people of Scotland

must have felt sad.

 

Thankfully, though,

cooler heads would prevail.

Nearly fifty years later

the act was repealed.

 

Three centuries more

was the notion suppressed,

though little by little

Christians welcomed the fest.

 

Old traditions and customs

that once had been barred,

were now part of Christmas,

reclaimed and restored.

 

Today Yuletide carols

are sung by a choir,

and Christmas trees sparkle

by the light of a star.

 

This Christmas as you

and your family delight,

I wish a happy Christmas to all

and to all a good night.

 

*Christmas became a public holiday in Scotland in 1958.

 

Enjoy your week, everyone and I’ll see you again soon!

Cheers,

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Bass Rock

Hello, my friends.  How are you guys today?  I’ve missed you.  I have been away on holiday with Mr. C and his parents, off the grid and making memories.  But I’m back now, ready to catch up on all the things you’ve been up to and eager to share some of the best moments from our trip.  For today, though, I’d like to show you a tiny island located in the outer part of Scotland’s Firth of Forth, where the river meets the North Sea.  This island is called Bass Rock and it is a beast of a thing!

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Rising to a height of more than 300 feet, the rocky island is a steep-sided volcanic plug that dates to the Carboniferous Age – arising a whopping 300+ million years ago.  At a distance, the surface of the rock can appear white, almost as if covered in a dusting of snow.  This is because of the presence of the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets.  In fact, in the peak of their nesting season, it is estimated that more than 150,000 of these sea birds call Bass Rock home!

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Recipe: Scotch Eggs

Hey guys.  Welcome back.

Last week I mentioned that this week I would be making Scotch eggs.  I am still going to make them today BUT…I made a discovery about them this past week.  Bummer, they’re not actually Scottish!  Well crap, who knew?

In fact, according to Encyclopedia Britannica,“Scotch egg[s], [are] a traditional British dish consisting of a shelled hard-boiled egg that is wrapped in sausage, covered in breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried or baked until crispy. It is a popular pub and picnic dish and is commonly served cold in Britain. The Scotch egg has competing origin stories. Fortnum & Mason, a London department store known for its food products, maintains that it created Scotch eggs in 1738 for wealthy travelers on carriage rides. Another theory asserts that the dish evolved from northern India’s nargisi kofta (an egg covered in minced meat and served with curry), which returning soldiers and others introduced to England. A third story claims that it was invented by Scottish farmers as an inexpensive dish.”

If that’s not confusing enough, I then read somewhere else that they may have been a North African invention, brought to England by way of France. And still another site stated that their origin is rooted in the coastal Yorkshire town of Whitby.  So your guess is as good as mine, dear reader!

For this endeavor, I chose to use Jamie Oliver’s recipe as my guide.  His recipe is for eight servings, however, I chose to half this since that is a little much for just me and Mr. C.  I made a few modifications to the wording of the recipe, but otherwise it is essentially the same as Mr. Oliver’s. Oh, and here’s a shoutout to my sweet Mr. C who helped a great deal with these last night. And who persevered even whent the first balls nearly burned and I got mad at him.  He’s a keeper.

Ready? Alright, then let’s start cooking our British-but-not-Scottish dish!

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Croft Moraig Stone Circle

Greetings to you on this fine Tuesday.  I hope your week got off to a great start.  I am currently outside on my deck, bundled up in the November chill – a fleece to warm my body and a cup of tea to warm my soul.  The autumn trees are lovely and I am happy.

Today I would like to take you up into the beautiful Scottish Highlands to a site located about four miles southwest of Aberfeldy, right off of A827.  Our destination occupies a portion of a farmer’s field, actually, so you may want to grab your wellies in case it’s muddy.  Ready?  Great, then let’s be off!

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Don’t fret that the site sits on private property.  Scotland’s laws allow individuals “freedom to roam”.  Just be respectful and be sure to close the gate so the farmer’s wee sheep don’t escape!

If I were to ask you about stone circles (those mysterious, prehistoric, man-made rock formations commonly found across Northern Europe and Great Britain), I’d wager that the image that would come to your mind would be Stonehenge.  It is one of Britain’s most iconic sites – and of course, the location of one of the Griswold Family’s hilarious misadventures.

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Who can forget the moment the affable Clark W. Griswold toppled one of the world’s most famous sites in the 1985 classic movie “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”.

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Halloween Turnip Carving Fun

Boo!  

Hey Friends!  Happy Halloween!

In the spirit of the old Irish/Scottish tradition of carving turnip lanterns to ward off evil spirits, today I thought it would be fun to tackle this twist on the pumpkin Jack O’ Lanterns that I grew up with as a child.  And since my sweet sister is here on holiday, what better way for two sisters to have a little Halloween giggle!

Here’s what you do.

Step 1:  Decide how you want your turnip to be oriented.  Which end would make the best top and bottom? Which sides do you want to make the front and back?  Are there any scars, warty, or hairy spots that could give character to your Jack O’ Lantern’s face?

Step 2:  With a sharp knife, cut a small amount off of the bottom of the turnip so that it creates a flat base.

Step 3:  Slice off the top of the turnip, leaving plenty of room to carve the face.  Save the lid.

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Don’t forget the festive snacks!

Step 4:  Use your knife to score around the inside edge to loosen up the meat of the turnip.

Step 5:  Use a spoon, melon baller, ice cream scooper, or any other implement to scoop out the inside of the turnip. You will find that this step requires a bit of effort, but the end result will be so worth it.

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Step 6:  Draw a face on your turnip with a pencil.

Step 7:  Use a small kitchen or crafter’s knife to carve out the face.

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Step 8:  Light a tea light and enjoy your special Halloween creation!

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Cheers!

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Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Autumn Fires

by Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson

 

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

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Ardross Farm Shop – Elie, Scotland

Hi, Readers.  Thanks for popping in!

To piggy-back on my recent post about Elie, Scotland, today I want to make mention of a splendid farm shop located about a mile outside of the village, right off of A917.  It was so splendid, in fact, that we made the hour and ten minute journey from Edinburgh two additional times!

Ardross Farm Shop.

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When Mr. C and I travel, our basic routine is to eat the majority of lunches out, as we often spend our days driving and exploring.  We prefer to cook breakfasts and dinners in (one of many reasons we always rent a home rather than stay in a hotel).  Truthfully, it’s Mr. C who does most (okay, all) of the cooking, although I’m pretty good at drinking wine and cheering him along.  We enjoy dining at home when we travel for a few reasons.

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