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Showing posts from August, 2014

The Bass Rock

Mr Gaucho and I took a trip out to the Bass Rock today.  We went on the Sula II, the 12 noon sailing from North Berwick harbour.  
The sun shone, the sea swell was bearable - I am no sailor.  I love the sea, to be near it, listening to it, looking at it, photographing it, but not on it.  But this was fine.  We had a wonderful outing, safe in the hands of Captain Birdseye.
We waited for a short while with fellow passengers, before we climbed abroad.   We left North Berwick behind as we headed out to sea and the small island of Craigleith.
Craigleith is a favourite nesting place for puffins.  Very sad to say we were over a month late to see them.  They have all left by 20 July (my birthday), so next year we will keep that in mind and go back in May or June, when we will see them with their young ones - pufflings!  Currently they are all bobbing about in the North Sea, where they will remain until next spring.  They stay at sea all winter, which seems like a pretty grim prospect to me, but t…

23 August 2014

Today's date is one which clangs painfully in my head every time it comes round.  It's one of those anniversary dates you can do without, because it is there for all the wrong reasons.  23 August 1988 my brother and I lost our beloved sister, Lucy, in a car crash on the A30 near Bodmin, in Cornwall.  So this morning I went for a walk with the dog, blackberrying, because I know that Lucy would have enjoyed that.  We found loads, and had a peaceful time trawling along the hedgerow, in the sunshine, collecting luscious berries, which are now cooking gently on the stove. 

We walked across one of the fields bordering the chestnut tree avenue, at the start of the drive.
Between the trees I could glimpse North Berwick law.
A couple of fields away there were lots of bramble bushes, basking in the late August sunshine, with plenty of berries waiting to be picked. Bombus lapidarius, the red tailed bumblebee, who was also enjoying the hedgerow and the knapweed in particular.
Blackberry and ap…

Purple haze!

The mob had the dentist this morning and as there are four of them, it took a while.  However, they all passed muster, which is a relief, after all the cajoling to clean teeth and drink water instead of juice.  So, well done boys and girl!

Six monthly dental check up completed, we headed for the hills.  The heather is in full bloom at the moment, and when I refer to purple haze, above, I do not mean a psychedelic Jimi Hendrix-type tinge to the landscape, I mean acres of soft purple, stretching away as far as the eye can see.  
These are the colours of Scotland, the inspiration for Harris tweeds and for a short, but glorious few weeks, the ling and the bell heather work together, inviting the bees to produce the best honey in the world. The green slope in the foreground of the photo below is holding back a flooded valley, Hopes Reservoir.  We walked to the top of the grass, where we sat and had a picnic lunch, the purple hills folding in around us. There is a significant number of juniper …

Happy days!

My UK grandchildren (I have to differentiate there because of my little Aussie princess, who is never far from my mind) have just under a week left of their summer holiday.  They start at a new school in Edinburgh next Wednesday and they have had a wizard time over the past few weeks. Lots of sunshine, plenty of fun activities and so now, during the last few days, it is quite difficult to find different things to do which don't appear to be dull!

To my mind, being a child of the 1950s, there was no better thing to do at the end of summer, than to go blackberrying.  So that's what we did today.  It's early days for the berries, but we walked from home this afternoon and found enough to make my oldest grandson's favourite pudding.  It's a sweet pastry round with berries in the middle.  In early summer I make it with wild raspberries from the wood, or mincemeat and apple (which is the original Good Housekeeping recipe) but today we used the blackberries and a grated Go…

Weekend walking

My eldest grandson and I enjoyed the four and a half mile walk home from North Berwick on Friday.  He is ten years old now, and very good company.  The children still have another week and a half before they start at their new school in Edinburgh, and they will be in our tender care between now and then.  So far they have been having a terrific summer holiday, doing all sorts of good stuff, and entirely UK-based.  They have been away for the last couple of weeks, visiting places like the Harry Potter Experience, Legoland, The Imperial War Museum, a duck tour on the River Thames, rowing a boat on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, the beach at Hayling Island, walking in the more remote areas of the Cotswolds and finally, Cadbury World at Bourneville - so the young man and I had quite a bit of catching up to do.  We were able to chat, chat, chat, all the way home.  Thoroughly enjoyable.

I like this view of North Berwick law.  Note, the Act of Union beech trees are still standing - despite the …