Sunday, 28 December 2014

which apples?

I've been hunting across tinterweb for the identity of our"crabapples".

Looks like they are malus sylvestris.  In other words plain wild apples, not feral, with something giving them red spots.....
The old road they grow alongside IS very old indeed.  So the trees could be at least three hundred years old...or bird sown descendants of the originals.
Pretty gnarly anyway, and in a rather windswept spot, so rather stunted.

icy walking

 After the first mile we called into the village community stores and cafe for a coffee. The manager was there on her own and was busy cooking!  Usually we have two on duty.  I served in the shop while she cooked.  After coffee and cake, and as the shop quietened down,we carried on with our walk in the winter sun.

Saturday, 27 December 2014


We had a short walk today,  up the road, down an old road,now a track,across a bridge over the burn then, as the track disappeared...
across the field..and despite being up a slope, it was sodden after the amount of rain we have had.

We reached the top of a small hill,where we could then see laid out all the other farms around our home, plus a small farm track hidden in a dip that we hadn't realized was there.

Across a patch of rough ground and we picked up another old track, lined with wizened and gnarled trees.....many bearing fruit......

Crabapples...ripe and ready and still hanging on!!   We filled our pockets with fruit then headed for home as fine rain showers began.
Around another field margin to pick up another old road,now beneath earth, which goes along rather across the main valley, then down the nearest old track to home. We picked up fallen ash and apple branches on our way to keep ourselves warm in the evening.

The tarmacadamed roads now go along the Dyrock valley by us and up over Guiltree Hill from Kirkmichael to Dalrymple.     The old tracks laid with stones go across and up to the latter road from the farms.  I should think that the valley road is relatively new.

Apples!...The pink spots are their natural colouring,quite pretty. 
They are being washed in water with a dash of vinegar, then they will be joined in a preserving jar with vodka, sugar and some Geans ( wild cherries) from the freezer...picked last June.   
They'll be ready for the next Winter Solstice celebrations!!

Thursday, 25 December 2014


I now have my laptop and printers back!

We had Christmas lunch at the local pub...not cheap,but no cooking and no washing up for either of us!! So a nice walk down, a relaxed meal and a longer walk home arriving just before the latest rain shower!

I've been going through emails this afternoon, deleting rubbish and sorting the good stuff! Would you believe I had 85 emails waiting in my website inbox....and 84 were spam!!
I've been work today!!  So I'm planning pot and card photography and postage and packing pricing...then I can hit the ground running again!!

This year's cards were linocut and  handprinted..and I'm definitely going to carry on with that.  I enjoyed it 40 years ago and it is still fun now.

Here is the Elf (Santa Baby?!!) who was the prototype...before the IT problems...

Now to choose the next image for a linocut.  It is too easy to get big ideas and try too complicated images too I must ease back into it and keep it reasonably simple.

We're here eating special treat stroopwaffel, dark chocolate, plums and homemade flapjacks in front of the fire.

Hot water bottles are in order as the temperature is dropping ready for tomorrow's possible snow or freeze.

Work tomorrow!!

late and early

The Pirate wanted to go to the village church for Christmas Night service, so I kept him company. The religion isn't my thing, but the sense of community in the two villages that share our village's vicar is good.

We walked down for 11.30 pm under the stars and after tea and sweeties, walked back under straggling snow clouds with the stars peeking around them.
Then we sat in front of the woodburner with the doors open (and the spark guard up!) opening a few presents.

I used the tablet to show The Pirate a little of the Welsh tradition of Plygain...have a look (sorry no link, but the search engines find it easily) . It sent shivers up his spine!!

Season's Greetings to you all xx

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


We are having day after day of rain and still unseasonably warm weather.
We train indoors on the turbo instead of going out on the is so miserable going out in the wet!!

We have had a heartwarming comment from several people in the village...they enjoy having us living in (well....near!) the village. After two years we are feeling settled here.

We'd still like a workshop....our own garden...another room so that we aren't  so squeezed..but at least we're living in a lovely friendly place!!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


is using this tabket to blog....I can only see the keyboard...and if the cursor it does frequently...

I've also lost some comments on the last post...sorry!  Although it did say comments saved...I can't find them.

Another week, and hipefully normal service....and my laptop...will resume!!

Friday, 5 December 2014


This year cash is no special presents.

Everyone will receive the same...a box containing homemade sweets and biscuits fun to make, good to receive and only costing £15 to make a lot. The main cost will be posting a few of them...

getting mucky!

Last weekend we headed off to near Dunbar to help friends who were riding a cyclocross race. We manned the pits for five riders, cleaning muddy grassy bikes as they changed bikes every lap or so. If you allow mud and grass to build up too much the rear gear mechanism can explode with the clogging, or sieze and end up wrapped around the sprockets at the back.
We stayed overnight at a friend's hose in the Kingdom of Fife, before heading up the road to th Dunfermline Golf club....
my club, Sandy  Wallace Cycle Racing Team were meeting for a ride, followed by dinner.
We went with the slower group, along to Kincardine then retraced at our own pace! The Pirate is riding well, but an hour and a half out on the bike is plenty.

Having showered we all went up the spiral stone staircase to the wooden panelled dining room...all painted and carved. Must look into the history of this fascinating building!

In our club we have three Masters World Track Champions from this one other from 2010..our sponsor presented us with a bottle of Moet et Chandon champagne each!! Now to find a suitable occasion......