Time to tidy up – 1 May 2022

Scamp returns today and that means the kitchen must be returned to its pristine condition. Oh dear.

As it happened, Scamp didn’t return to around 6pm which gave me plenty of leeway to make an even bigger mess of the kitchen by attempting to make a dozen English Muffins as advertised by Simon and Garfunkel in Punky’s Dilemma. Water, sugar, salt, yeast, flour, melted butter. What could go wrong!? Well, the answer was “Not much, actually.” It all went quite well considering how long it is since I’ve done any baking.

With the dough made, I left it to its own devices while I loaded the washing machine with stuff and set it to work. Then I went into the garden and planted some seeds. Teasels and a sort of Cowparsley or Hogweed called Ammi majus. The first is now in the greenhouse and the second is in the raised bed.

Lunch was another of Hazy’s “Crimpits”. This time the filling wasn’t so successful. I used grated cheese, cooked ham and beetroot. Maybe I overloaded it. Maybe it was because I was using white ‘Thins’, rather than wholewheat. Maybe it was because it was Sunday and Sunday should be a fried lunch. Anyway, I’ll try another mixture of fillings later in the week.

The dough was having a lazy Sunday and needed a bit of a talking to, so I gave it a last warning and told it to get rising or it would get kicked out, then I left it to consider its future while I took a camera and a couple of lenses to see what was hiding in St Mo’s woods.

There was a deer hiding there, but it saw me long before I saw it. It was last seen heading in the general direction of Glasgow at a fair rate of knots. PoD was a shot of a larch branch with fresh green needles that had captured some of yesterday’s rain and was holding on to it. I liked that.

Back home the dough was more than doubled in size. It’s amazing what a threat will do. I chopped it up into 12 little 77.33g balls and rolled them until they were smooth, flattened them and dusted them with a mixture of flour and semolina before cooking six of them in the frying pan (without oil),then baking them in the oven. As usual with our gas oven the timing was a bit hit and miss, and more miss than hit in this case. Some worked ok, some were underdone. There are another six in the fridge chilling tonight. Hopefully I’ll be more successful tomorrow. I suppose it doesn’t help that in Scotland we don’t eat many English muffins, so I didn’t really know what the texture should be like.

Halfway through the cooking and baking I got a WhatsApp from Jamie asking if we could do a FaceTime from New York. I explained that Scamp was still on the way home from St Andrews, but I was available. The next thing I knew, I was looking at Jamie with skyscrapers in the background. It felt such a surreal thing to do, to talk to someone I knew, thousands of miles away and in real time. I know this sounds incredibly old fashioned to some folk, but I’ve never had the need to do Face Time over a long distance before. It quite took my breath away. Thank you for that opportunity Jamie. Such a pity Scamp couldn’t have joined in too. And then he was off to catch his train to the airport to fly home. Safe flight home Jamie.

Scamp arrived about half an hour later, with lots of interesting foody things. Duck eggs, Ginger and Leek sausages, an interesting looking quiche, a jar of garlic piccalilli and two sticky cakes that we’re keeping for tomorrow. The sausages and a duck egg with some bacon became my dinner and mixed well with the piccalilli. Scamp said the quiche was ‘just all right’, but the pastry was lovely.

It’s great to have a bit of freedom, but its even better when you’re back home again. Lots of stories still to tell, I’m sure.

Somebody is coming to see us tomorrow to invite us to swab our throats and noses, then ask us those difficult searching questions.

A busy musical day – 11 March 2022

Music rarely has a place in the blog, but it has today.

The day started with Scamp driving us to Tesco. Just a usual Friday shop. Basics and a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, the wine wasn’t for us but for friends we were visiting later.

Back home I started making dough for a loaf. I usually take a loaf to Crawford and Nancy in Larky. Scamp reckoned a small loaf would be enough for four of us and small loaves are easier to hand knead, so that’s what I did.

After lunch I went out for a walk and a hope for more frog photos, if they were still there. They were, and the photos were taken. They were taken with my big clunky Tamron 70-300mm lens. It was a great lens some years ago when I first bought it for my Nikon D7000, then things started going wrong. The Vibration Control would sometimes take a day off and just refuse to work. Focusing too was a hit and a miss. I got it repaired, and it worked for a while after that, but it really wasn’t to be trusted. Now I’ve got a Sony and a Nikon adapter which allows the lens to work in manual mode only and without VC. I don’t use a long lens very much and this one covers the times when I need a lens that’s longer than 105mm.

By the time I came back the dough had risen quite well and was ready to go into the little cane basket for its second prove as I looked through the photos from today’s shoot. Surprisingly, some were better than I’d expected. In fact one of the m made PoD.

That had given the bread time to puff up a bit and I bunged it in the oven for the required 25 mins. It came out almost as flat as a pancake. I decided we’d try it tomorrow, but there was no way it was going to Larky.

Time was getting on and it was nearly time to drive over to the the Town Behind the Wall. I was taking a ukulele and a steel strung guitar, because Crawford wanted to have a jam session with him playing uke and me playing guitar. I wasn’t looking forward to it all that much, but it was a really great evening. Both instruments were tuned together and we ran through many of his old favourites, but songs I hadn’t expected. I was very rough to start with, but as the night progressed, I started to settle in to the chord sequences. What I did find was that the finger tips of my left hand were painfully tingling. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat for an hour and a half playing a guitar.  While we were singing and playing, the ladies were in the sitting room blethering.

We left just after midnight, so as you will have guessed by now, this is a catch-up. A small glass of rum as a nightcap because I was driving to dance class in the morning, then it was off to bed.

Tomorrow we’re going to the first dance class in about five weeks. Hope we can remember which foot goes first!


A walk in the wilds – 7 March 2022

My first walk in and around Fannyside for a while.

Scamp was out to lunch with The Witches and I was like a knotless thread. It was another beautiful day and I didn’t want to spend it in the house. Nor did I fancy sitting in a car going somewhere, only to find I had half an hour there before driving back home. I chose to go to Fannyside Moor. Lots of big sky and silence. Not total silence, you understand. No, there was the soughing of wind in the pine trees and the distant sound of cars and vans on the single track road across the moor itself. There were sheep bleating somewhere and most joyous of all, I listened to a lark ascending. Not the Vaughan Williams piece, but a real lark, really ascending into a clear blue sky.

I’d parked at my usual place, on a rough bit of earth by a gate, but not blocking the gate and between two stands of Scots Pines. It’s on a ninety degree corner, but off the road. Just as well, because this is a single track road, just wide enough for a van or a tractor, but not nearly wide enough for two cars to pass without one or other losing a wing mirror. My kit for today was Sony A7iii with 105mm macro lens (just in case), kit lens and 18mm super wide. Actually that’s almost all my lenses. I’ve got others, but they are mainly mounted on adapters and that’s more to carry, too much.

I walked roughly east first almost as far as the farm, but not quite. Farms = dogs = trouble. Best avoided if possible. Halfway along the road I met a grumpy looking woman driving what an old Australian pen pal called a Ute. A four wheel drive go anywhere beefed up jeep. A utility vehicle. I climbed the verge to let her through, but she didn’t acknowledge me at all. I think she thought she owned Fannyside. Maybe she did. She slowed right down to have a good look at the Blue car, then drove on for a bit and stopped again. I think now she was checking that I wasn’t dumping rubbish, fly tipping. I hadn’t. I walked on, she drove on. I got some photos of lichen that covered some of the old fence posts. I also took some landscape shots. Then another car came the other way. Another Ute, another woman driver, but this one gave me a cheery wave as she passed. I’d walked as far as I wanted. Took some sheep photos then walked back.

Turned 90º and walked south until the cold north west breeze got a bit of an edge to it and I walked back to the car. Not far from it I spotted what looked like a pebble on a fence post and examination showed it to be a ladybird, a dark brown one with white spots. I remembered seeing one here before. I tried a few shots, but there was nothing to lean on or to give me some support. A walk back to the car brought a tripod. The flexible Benbo. Hated by many, but loved by those who persevere with its idiosyncrasies. It’s a steep learning curve getting the best out of it, but it’s a great bit of kit. Almost rock solid on most surfaces, todays thick matted grass was a challenge. Eventually I used it as a monopod and got the shots.

Back home, Scamp had returned from the lunch. I decided it was time the Blue car had a wash and as the day was still warm out of the wind, I took brush and bucket and got rid of the road muck from the last few weeks. I even gave Scamp’s wee red car a scrub too.

Fired up the computer and got the shots processed. At first I thought I’d captured images of a Cream Spot Ladybird, but then after a bit more investigation it turned out it was. Striped Ladybird (Myzia oblongoguttata). It was more a maroon colour than brown and it’s fairly clear to see that they are indeed stripes and not spots. Something new learned today.

Scamp didn’t need any dinner, but I baked the second Fougasse so she could try it while I had the leftover stew from yesterday. Unfortunately, on her second bite she cracked another part of her damaged tooth. Tomorrow she’s going to bend the truth a bit and get the dentist to fix it. Something he should have done months ago. If he won’t do it, I think we might go private again. It’s the way the country is going these days.

I was quite please with my ladybird photos and it was one of them that made PoD.

Tomorrow after we hopefully resolve the dental problem we may go out for a walk.

The middle way – 6 March 2022

Another beautiful morning that turned into a beautiful day.

It seemed a shame to waste such a beautiful day sitting in the house wondering where to go, or sitting in the car driving to somewhere that would be full of other folk out doing the same thing. The ‘doing the same thing’ wasn’t the problem, it was the sitting in the car that was just another way of wasting a good day. We took the middle way. We drove over to Kilsyth, to Colzium estate and walked round the various paths in this once private estate. So many different areas in what is really quite a small park. Enough steep climbs to make your legs ache and then the gentle descents to the sound of rushing water. Then there were the woods to walk through with their banks of snowdrops just beginning to fade, but with the promise of daffodils to take their place. Just a Sunday morning in the fresh air.

Back home I was planning to wash the car, but that did not come to pass. Instead, after lunch, I did a bit of gentle pruning of some of the rose bushes. It was a first prune with the chance of a more aggressive one after the risk of a late frost is gone. I also cut back the pieris which had been battered in the winds of a couple of weeks ago and become quite ‘leggy’. It seemed a shame to cut it back when it was just coming in to flower, but hopefully some of that energy will go into making new growth later in the year. I went looking for a basin to help with washing yesterday’s mud off my boots and in the process found half a dozen seed potatoes we’d bought weeks ago and forgotten about. They are now chitting on the window ledge of my room. After that, Scamp asked me to make a loaf and as I’d a kit for making a Fougasse which is a fancy French flatbread containing caramelised red onions. Unfortunately, our red onion was a bit smelly, so I substituted a shallot instead and it worked! The kit I had made two, but I only baked one. There’s one waiting in the fridge for tomorrow. With the fougasse dough proving, I got started on the stew for my dinner while Scamp hung out the washing, rejoicing in the fact that the sun had come round fare enough to shine on the sheets on the Whirly! Then she was off with the secateurs to dead head the Spirea. I never did find enough time to wash the car. Maybe tomorrow.

Spoke to Jamie later and found out that it had been more of a restful week than it has of late. That’s good to know. I’m glad they are getting settled into the new house.

Scamp is off to meet the rest of The Witches for lunch tomorrow. I might send out an invitation to the extended Auld Guys to see if anyone is free for coffee. Other than that, nothing much planned, except maybe a bit of splashing on of paint on a canvas, perhaps.  By the way, the Fougasse was delicious

Snow, Rain and Wind – 6 February 2022

Welcome to Scotland. Three seasons in one day. We don’t do Summer.

I blame it on being out too late last night, too late for ‘auld yins’ anyway. I also blame it on the little nightcap we shared last night, but for whatever reason, we slept like logs last night. Logs that didn’t want to wake up or get up this morning. We both took one look out the window at the horizontal snow and said “No, not this morning, thank you!”

However, duty calls and there was a lot of work needing to be done today. A lot of blog, needed writing and sketches needing sketched and of course paintings needing colours splashed on them. So it was with a heavy heart that I dragged myself out of bed, just before 10am. Scamp did likewise. A couple of cups of coffee each put us in a better frame of mind and we were soon ready to face breakfast.

After we had fed ourselves we put on boots and coats and heavy jackets and went out to survey the wilderness. The snow had stopped, but the temperature hadn’t risen much above zero and that wind was cutting. Even with my woolly hat and my knockoff Buff, the wind was still finding ways through my armour. Once round the pond was good enough for Scamp, I’m made of sterner stuff and knew I needed some photos to fill the blog and put on Flickr. I NEEDED a PoD after yesterday’s poor carnations.

We walked once round the pond and then Scamp left for the warmth of the house. I went for a walk in the woods, but didn’t find much to photograph. On my way back I found the little weed that made PoD. I think it’s the dried remains of a Yellow Rattle plant. So called, apparently because the flowers are yellow and when the seed pods are ripe, the seeds rattle inside the hard thin skin of the pod. There you are, you learned something today. I didn’t make it up either, it came from Monty Don the gardener who swears by yellow rattle for keeping coarse grass under control.

After I came home, dumped the photos into the computer and satisfied myself that I did have a prospective PoD, I started on yesterday’s sketch which had the prompt Walking On Broken Glass. I’d already decided what my take on that prompt would be and although I overpainted it, it looked like what I had in my head for yesterday’s sketch.

The next thing to do was yesterday’s blog which I wrote and posted. Scamp had claimed the rights to today’s dinner which was to be curry. A special ‘dry’ curry baked in the oven. She busied away in the kitchen making it and there were some delicious smells coming from there soon after. While she was busy with that, I started making a pizza, a Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons). Not a real one, unfortunately, but a painting. Today’s prompt was The Four Seasons. I could have done four paintings of St Mo’s if only the temperature had risen a bit above zero, but as I said at the start, we only had Three Seasons today. I was quite pleased with the painting when it was finished and I learned from my mistakes and didn’t overpaint this one.
In watercolour the important thing is to know when to stop.

Spoke to Jamie in the evening and for once neither of us had much to say.  Heard a bit about their plans and gave him  the latest updates on the cataract op.

In blog writing it’s also important to know when to stop and that’s what I’m going to do now. I’ve had a busy day and I’m going to have an early night. By the way, that curry was the best I’ve had for ages. Really unusual to have a curry without a sauce, but it worked perfectly. I take my hat off to you Scamp. Beautifully executed meal, and totally veggie too!

Tomorrow we have no plans.

A busy day – 21 January 2022

Today we continued with the cooking and baking for tonight’s dinner.

Started early, making the dough for the bread. It was to be a full size loaf, and to save time (and effort), I made it in the mixer. That did most of the work, but the dough still needed more flour to be worked in because it was too wet. Actually I’d have been better making it by hand because you can feel whether the dough is too stiff or too wet and make adjustments as you go. Eventually I was happy with it and left it to prove.

By then it was nearly lunchtime. After that I took some time to get the ingredients organised for the main course. Rice weighed out, onions chopped and likewise cabbage. Scamp already had the fish defrosting.

With the prep done, I went for a walk down to the shops to get some beer for the visitors. I took the camera with me, of course but nothing really caught my eye. My favourite shot, and PoD was of the afternoon light illuminating a hogweed seed head. It wasn’t until I had the shot home and was inspecting it in Lightroom that I noticed the little ladybird tucked neatly in between the branches.

Beer bought, I headed home and helped set up the table. My ‘help’ really only meant I helped pull the table out and lay the table cloth. Then it was time to put the bread in the oven. It had risen well. It was when I was turning it out of the wicker basket on to the baking tray the whole thing deflated. A flat as a pancake loaf is not what I wanted for tonight. In a fit of pique, I bunged it in the bin and started again. If I’d thought about it, I’d have knocked the air out of it completely and set it for another prove. I didn’t stop to think. Too hasty sometimes, that’s me. Anyway, I made a smaller quantity, hand kneaded it this time and set it to prove. That gave me time for a coffee and to make a start on today’s Sudoku.

This time the dough rose much better than last and it went into the oven to bake, it had fallen slightly, but reinflated quickly in the hot oven. It came out fine. I’d just started the main course when the visitors arrived. I left Scamp to do the entertaining while I fried the onions and the rice and veg then added the fish stock and bunged everything into the oven which was just at the right temperature to bake the risotto for 20mins. That gave me a chance to have a beer with Crawford and chat to Nancy. After some time I checked the timer, only to find that I’d set it, but forgotten to start it! I needn’t have worried, my inbuilt clock and Scamp’s hint about “How’s the risotto doing?” saved the day. Basically it all worked fine. Later when Scamp and I discussed the day, we agreed that the combination of a heavy soup and far too much risotto had made the dinner a bit heavy. Her Sticky Toffee pudding and my second loaf had been the stars of the show.

It was early morning before we got to bed after half the dishes had completed their cycle in the dish washer and that’s why this is another catch-up. First one for a while.

Tomorrow we need to be up and out early for the first dance class for a long time.

Another day of swearing – 6 January 2022

Swearing at the printer and the coffee maker, making a loaf, taking a few photos and making the dinner. My day in a nutshell.

The printer was being bad. It was as simple as that. It would print perfectly, then stop, chuck out the next two pages and then put on its red light to show it wasn’t happy. After trying lots of different things that you aren’t interested in hearing, I did what I should have done ages ago and removed it in its entirety from the iMac. Then I reinstalled all the stuff I’d taken off, and it worked perfectly for the rest of the day!

The coffee maker was being bad. I cleaned the portafilter, checked the filter itself and made sure it was clean. I checked the little hole in the filter cup wasn’t clogged. Filled it with coffee and set it to work, except it didn’t. It just held its breath and grumped, not releasing any life-giving coffee. So in true John Cleese fashion I gave it a damn good thrashing. I took the filter cup upstairs and used a nail and a cross pein hammer to enlarge that tiny little hole. No coffee ground is going to get stuck in there now. Maybe a coffee bean might manage to get lodged, but no coffee grounds. It would probably have been better to use a 1mm drill, but I didn’t have any. It worked perfectly after the thrashing.

The loaf knew better than to mess me about. It just worked, perfectly. I let the mixer do the hard kneading work and at the end of the process, a perfectly baked and slightly odd shaped loaf graced the cooling rack. Nice to know that some things just do what they’re told.

Scamp had taken the Wee Red Car out for a spin in the morning, just to make sure its battery was well charged, and also to get some messages. Fruit, veg a half price Christmas Pudding and a packet of tooth brushes were here prizes today. Oh yes, and I can report that the wee red car is looking very pumped up after its run. Pumped up and sparkling, actually, as you can see!.

It had been a very dull, wet and cold day with not a hint of sunshine until about 3pm when the sun broke loose from the clouds and shone on Cumbersheugh! On with the boots, camera in the bag and out looking for photos. I managed to grab a few shots of a couple of Coots before the swans came, demanding to be fed. Tomorrow I’ll take them some of the bread I made on Sunday. They won’t come asking again. They might not even get to the other side of the pond before they have that sinking feeling. It was a heavy loaf.

Dinner was Chicken Curry made with real chicken dated August 2021. Last year’s chicken that had been hiding at the back of the freezer. That poor cooker. It had all its four rings burning brightly. It’s a wonder it didn’t melt! One ring for the curry, one for the rice, one for the flat bread and one for the leftover chicken that couldn’t be re-frozen or put into the fridge while raw, but could go in after it had been cooked. Maybe it was because I couldn’t stand the heat, but I was finding it hard to keep my cool in the kitchen. More swearing ensued. Finish the day as you started it, that’s my motto!

Tomorrow there is snow forecast. In fact as I look out the window, it’s arriving early. We might manage a walk tomorrow, it depends if we get snowed in or not!

The first day of a new year – 1 January 2022

A day when some people make resolutions they have no intention of keeping. I’ll cut out the middle man by not making any resolutions in the first place.

The day dawned quite bright then lost some of its early brightness. But then, surprise surprise, the brightness returned. Would we? Wouldn’t we go out for a walk? I said wait and see if it lasts, Scamp prowled round the living room like a caged beast and I eventually gave in and put my boots on. The irresistible force always beats the immovable object.

We walked over towards Broadwood Loch where we played our usual game of each taking turns at choosing a direction to go when there was an actual choice. Scamp chose first and her’s was an easy choice. Right would have meant a short walk and we weren’t doing short walks today because the sun was still shining and the day looked set for fair. Left it was and all the way along the side of the loch. She cheated a bit and made the second choice for me by declaring that the winding path through the woods would probably be waterlogged today, so we went right and around to the other side of the loch. I got the feeling that clockwise was the wrong way today as everyone seemed to be meeting us face on, rather than overtaking us, or us overtaking them. However, there are no rules at Broadwood, so we marched on. My choice next was a left turn to extend the walk past the exercise machines and a joint decision for the last choice was to go right and pass between the stadium and the BMX track and from there the decisions were made for us to find our way home.

All in all, it was about 4 miles of undulating track with some chances for photos. My favourite, and PoD was two joggers crossing paths over Broadwood Dam. I reduced it to mono because there was very little colour in it.

Spoke to Hazy in the afternoon and heard how her med reduction is going  and also how others in the family are fairing in these Omicron days, and how percieved protections aren’t to be relied upon!  Speaking about Omicron, I noticed a pair of Omnicron sunglasses for sale in Boots the other week.  They were reduced.  I’d imagine they weren’t selling all that well, even with that extra ‘n’ in their name!

Posh dinner tonight with three courses seated at the table. Starter was Prawn Cocktail. Main was Trout Fillet and sweetcorn for Scamp, Rump Steak and mushrooms for me. Both served with roast potatoes. I pan fried my steak in the fancy grill pan that gets blindingly hot if you don’t use the silicone handles which Scamp forgot to put on before she moved it, resulting in an ice pack for her right index finger and thumb. It meant I had to do the serving or the Apple Crumble with Custard for pudding. Scamp had made it with our the last of our own apples that had been in the freezer since early autumn. They tasted just as good as fresh ones.

Scamp managed to elicit sympathy at every possible juncture tonight and I have to admit it was a good act. Let’s hope the burn is healing by tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we have no real plans, but the temperature is set to take a drop over this coming week, so we might manage another walk if it stays dry. Possibly having Shona over for dinner.

The last one this year – 31 December 2021

Sometimes you just have to drag yourself out to take the last photo of the year.

This was the last day of 2021. A day for thinking back to those warm sunny summer days, both of them. When the rain didn’t fall incessantly and you could ignore the weatherproofing of the camera and lens combination. When the wind doesn’t blow the flowers around just as you’re about to press the shutter button. Alas, the reality was another dull, dreary grey day. However I did go out dressed for the weather and took some photos, just like most of the other 364.

That was later in the day. Earlier a parcel had arrived that was bound for my old pal Fred who turned 70 on Christmas Day. I parcelled up the tee shirt and drove up to his house which, luckily, is only about ten minutes by car. It’s nearer an hour if you’re walking, but today wasn’t a day for walking. It was tipping it down. Torrential rain in the early morning had given way to just rain by midday. I caught Fred just as he was coming out of his car and handed over the parcel. I was going to head back via Tesco, but Fred told me there was a queue to get in to the carpark that started at the roundabout about 100m away from the actual carpark. I decided to drive home instead. There wasn’t anything on my list that was essential.

Even earlier, just as we were getting up and admiring the beautiful rain, we got a message from Jamie and then from DHL to say that a parcel would be delivered in about half an hour. We quickly dressed and unlocked the front door luckily just in time to collect the big box the man had left on the step. He looked soaked as he waved and got back in his van. The box contained a lovely hamper hand-made from willow and inside was a great selection of chocolates, biscuits jams and wine. Thank you both. That was a lovely surprise on the last day of the year.

I suggested pizza for dinner. Home made pizza. Scamp seemed happy with that. It used to be a tradition, pizza for dinner on Friday. I made the dough with plenty of time to spare for it to rise then cleaned the downstairs toilet, hoovered the downstairs rooms and then went to look at today’s photos. They were a mixed bunch. Some good, some not so good, but one stood out for me. A little dried out weed whose flowers and seeds had gone but the skeleton of the plant remained. It looked just like a Japanese pagoda to me, and that’s what I called it. The Pagoda Plant. It was PoD. The last PoD of 2021.

The pizza was exceptional. By far the best I’ve made for a long, long time. Scamp had Tuna and Sweetcorn I had Anchovies and Tuna. Both were finished with only crumbs left behind.

It’s been another strange year. Lockdowns, vaccinations, boosters and the constant threat of Covid, but it’s the holidays that will stick in my memory for a long time. Especially the first one in July when all three families came together in Cumbria. I’ll also remember climbing the Nine Standards with Jamie, Simonne, Sheila and Vixen. That was a tough one, but I did make it to the top and it was worth it. You were right, Jamie, it was a lot easier going down.

Tomorrow we have no plans. The weather looks like it might be better than today, so maybe a traditional New Year’s Day walk.

Tonight at 4pm Scamp noticed that it wasn’t quite dark outside. There was a little bit of light in the sky. The days ARE getting longer, we’re coming out of the dark.

Baking – 23 November 2021

Get Set … Bake!

Tonight was the final of the Great British Bake Off and to celebrate I was making Multigrain Rolls.

I had a few of the Bakedin boxes that I hadn’t had time to start, so today was the day. For what were basically rolls with porridge oats on top it was a complicated recipe. Grated Linseed, Wholemeal flour, Oat bran, Milk and Eggs were some of the ingredients. It really was the stickiest dough I’ve kneaded in a long time, but they did come out looking and tasting like Multigrain Rolls, which made all that faffing about with baking trays and ”Shaping a claw with your hand and rolling a 90g piece of dough in a circular motion” worthwhile. They tasted good too, although I’d have added a bit more salt.  I might apply for next year’s Bakeoff! Aye Right!!

That was the overarching work of the day, but in between the proving and forming and kneading I made some ‘Just Soup’ which looked like it was going to end up being a vegetable stew, but with help from Scamp it turned out ok, just ok. That was dinner today along with Rice ’n’ prunes for dinner, made by Scamp.

Something happened to the NAS drive yesterday and it seems to have blocked itself. I can’t quite figure it out yet, but I do know it’s something to do with the installation of a new version of Lightroom. I’ve tried looking for help from the Synology website, but it’s the most user unfriendly ‘help’ site I’ve ever used. There are almost no simple instructions there for a newbie user like me. Everything seems to be aimed at those with a degree in Computer Science. Maybe I need to look for the Topsy and Tim version of Synology.

I also managed to squeeze in a drive down to Auchinstarry with just enough time to scramble up the steep path to Croy to record a lovely stripe of golden light on the lower slopes of the Campsie Fells. That made PoD which was lucky, because I hadn’t taken any more photos today. To be honest, I couldn’t be bothered taking photos today, there are just too many things going on just now and not enough daylight time to fit things in. I must take my own advice again and get some photos taken earlier in the day.

We made our first foray into private health care and are in the process of getting a referral from our optician for a consultation at The Nuffield. Let’s hope they are more help than the NHS at Hairmyres were.

I think Scamp has booked Annette for tea and a natter tomorrow morning, so that might give me a chance to go and get some photos if the weather is behaving itself.