Thursday, 28 October 2021


 He is as ready as he will ever be..and looking forward to tomorrow.

Good thing the racing will be indoors..we have just had heavy rain causing flooding and landslides and more forecast over the weekend

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

This morning's view


We have been catted.

This says, You need to rest after yesterday's journey!

A long journey, but with enough breaks.

We started as dawn was breaking, in wind and rain, and that carried on for 150 miles.

Then it was mainly dry until after we arrived. The traffic wasn't too heavy, even going around Shrewsbury at afternoon school traffic time, but we found out when we got here that it is half term time!

Food was on the table for us as we arrived...and a welcome from Woodchip, The Carpenter's daughter (I don't use real names for family on my blog).

Now for hopefully an easy day!

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Getting organised

 Preparing orders to post, more tidying, getting the garden set for winter and aaaargh...the caterpillars are on the brassicas...there is a hole in the brassica cage.

Ho hum. Perhaps I will give up in growing brassicas.

Washing all dry and sorted, now packing bags and trying to restrain Pirate from "packing the kitchen sink".....

We will be on our way to Wales for Pirate to ride two lots of track events on a velodrome there, and to stay with The Carpenter and family as Woodchip will be five in a fortnight!!

Then we will be with my brother for a while...good to see him as he couldn't get to see us here.

Our neighbours will be looking after house and garden, in case we have winds or storms, so all should be safe here. It isn't a well off village as a whole, but they are hanging on to community.

It is exciting to have a trip...but stressful organising it!!

Packing can cause arguments, so it is best for one person to do it...and the other to prepare the contents then stay out of the way!!

This didn't publish last night... here's hoping...

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Bike Day

 We were out reasonably early to head over to Falkirk, where one of the national series of cyclo-cross events was being held, and some of our friends were competing.

It was a fresh and breezy day with bright sunshine, a perfect 'cross day!

The venue was Callander Park, with the finish being right in front of the house for a change, and the course going over and back several times over the Antonine Wall.

We didn't get a chance for a walk around the park this time, but there are some beautiful trees there.

It is free entry to Callander House, where there are exhibitions depicting the history of the area. There was also a travelling exhibition of medal winning wildlife photography.

All this run by the local council.

After lunch in the café in the house we went to park at the Kelpies. An hour's siesta then out on our bikes as the wind rise higher and the sky darkened.

We followed the Sustrans bike routes, on lanes and bike paths, over the Skinflats to the 1936, no longer swinging swingbridge at Kincardine, through the village and over to the new bridge and back over, following the bike path in the direction of Grangemouth a short way before going over the bike path bridge over the end of the motorway to rejoin the lane back over the Skinflats.

A few photos at the Kelpies, before getting back to the car before dusk and before the rain!

Friday, 22 October 2021

The price of things

 Another day for drying, and just a few slight showers...we finish off the drying and airing on a rack by a dehumidifier...I don't want a damp house!

The apple juice had its final pressing in  the morning then stood all day to settle as much of the fine particles as possible.

After lunch we had a couple of errands before buying petrol for the car. Another price rise, nearly £1.40 a litre.  That brought back a memory of buying petrol in New Zealand in early 2013... at $1.42...then returning to Scotland where it was £1.42, twice the price.

So fuel at this price is nothing new.

Prices are creeping up quickly though....I bought a pack of four ripe figs, what they were full price recently.  It isn't a surprise, with what has happened in recent years.  I have always kept an eye on the reduced items, but now even more so. Our pensions may rise...but I get the feeling that many things are rising faster. We are being very careful how we heat the house now, and what power we use at home, even more than usual.

We delivered a birthday card and bunch of flowers to a friend who has her 86th birthday on Sunday. She arrived back from taking a friend's dog for a long walk...and the dog will be 10 on Sunday!

It was good to have a catch up and meet another dog! Her dog died a little while ago and she has found that she cannot live without a dog in her life! Unfortunately the only dogs needing rehoming at the moment are large dogs and young dogs, so she makes do with Archie..who enjoys her company too!

Back home to watch the Track Cycling World Championships on TV, from Roubaix- quite a change from the mud of Paris Roubaix recently!!

Now I have bottled the apple juice, eight bottles, and am processing it so that it will keep. We are still drinking last year's juice and it is still perfect.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Productive Progress

 A dry day today, but cold and windy. At least the washing dried quickly until it caught a shower!

 Pirate had a good ride on his bike outside in the sunshine.. keeping moving to keep warm!! On his ride he saw nine persons...and eight had dog/dogs!

I carried on at home, getting home a bit tidier and cleaner. Then cooking..a good way to keep nice and warm.

The apple pulp got sieved...time consuming!! And made into apple butter, and of course it caught the bottom of the pan...just. Isn't that how you know that it is ready?!!

Clear the kitchen again, then making more mess, juicing two trays of apples. They have been making the living room smell good, but the job needed doing. Now we are steadily pressing the pulp to extract as much juice as possible.

Pirate is busy tidying his Man Cave , sorting all the bike stuff that we will no longer need.

Eventually it will be a room for two turbos and a place to set up a spare bed for a visitor, but there is a lot of work to do first, including decoration.

Now it is getting towards 10pm, it is cold and windy outside...and the moon us beautiful.


 Still working through the list... fleabay holiday set, one sale posted.

Crabapple and rosehip jelly made, pulp being sieved. One batch of apple juice to be done.

So many things to do and some I haven't even touched yet...

I planted the garlic and red onions...might leave the brown onions until Spring when there should be more room.

The weather is playing yo-yo, warm and wet one day then frosty and dry the next, but we should expect that, living on the edge of a continent as we do!

We had a spectacular sunset the other night with breathtaking colours.

I should be going out on the bike with Pirate...but if I do, nothing will get done , or things will get done rushed and spoiled. 

Hopefully life will be a little easier when he has done with racing and we can just ride our bikes to enjoy the countryside and for doing errands like shopping and posting.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Wet but productive

 Still working on the 7am start...I don't like using an alarm, but it is a way of setting a pattern.

Today's main job has been chutney! Steadily tidying the greenhouse, sorting the green tomatoes, weighing them and adding other ingredients to the right proportions...windfall apples and homegrown onions to start with, then a mango that needed using, a handful of yellow sultanas to empty the jar, cayenne pepper, salt, four large chilli peppers from Carpenter's allotment, a large chunk of fresh ginger, golden granulated sugar and cider vinegar.

Work on this was paused while other tidying was done, neighbour called over, lunch, pirate rode the turbo as it kept on and on raining.....and then after his siesta we caught a short break in the weather.

I already have a bag of rosehips ready to use, now was the time to get some crabapples from a nearby field hedgerow...and we found pears this year too!

Ripe enough to pick, they are now in a shallow cardboard tray to ripen enough to use for juicing.

We saw some blue sky!!

Just after we arrived home, with damp trousers and jackets from the grass in the field and drops from tree rained again!!

No chutney process photos... too busy stirring!!

The four pounds of green tomatoes ended up as nine pounds of fruit ingredients!!

All the fresh fruit and half the vinegar cooked gently until soft, then the dried spices, sugar and the rest of the vinegar was added for the final cooking as the jars were warned in the oven.

Supposedly fifteen minutes according to the recipe, but actually half an hour, a quick five minutes resting then into hot jars, covered with waxed circles and two teaspoons of melted candlewax before the lids were shut.

It was satisfying eating supper, hearing the lids go pop as they cooled and the contents contracted!

Saturday, 16 October 2021

A steady day

 An early start. I was up at six and up and running by half past when our favourite radio programme starts..Out of Doors on Radio starts with the mystery bird sound, which turned out to be a waxwing this week.  Which reminds me to pick Rowan berries before the waxwings strip the trees!

 After breakfast I started bottling and processing the latest batch of apple juice. Ten bottles this time. The bottle rack is gradually filling up,  but we need to go foraging again for apples to make enough to last the year.

Pirate took himself out for a ride on his bigger circuit, as the clouds lifted, getting himself ready for upcoming events. 

After our neighbour came for his morning cuppa and chat I got busy clearing a space for the tender plants to come in to the kitchen. The only place we have with enough space and light for them to survive. By the time Pirate returned after a good ride and a couple of stops to talk to folk, the plants were in, the kitchen clean, the living room a little tidier!!

The good thing about starting early is that you can have a little down time to relax after lunch and recharge batteries! 

We headed over to a farm run by the son and grandson of a friend of our neighbour.....and came back with four doors!! Grandson is a joiner and had been replacing doors in a house...very good doors! We came home carefully with four...two will be part of the workshop verandah construction, two will replace tired doors in the house. We will return for another to replace the bathroom door that has been falling apart since before we moved here!! As these would probably just be burnt , this is a timely find!!

I am looking at fleabay and thinking perhaps I might try selling elsewhere. It would be far easier if the regular cycle jumbles were still going...but most are not at the moment.

So changing to another online place would be possibly a good idea. Fleabay has slowed down and they seem to be asking for more and more detail and re-requesting detail despite the detailed description and box filling I did to post the items. 

Plus hints to reduce the already reasonable prices!

Now it has gone dark, and cold...I am glad that the plants are indoors.

Friday, 15 October 2021

First frost

 For the first time this year the car was well frosted..just when we needed to be on time for pirate's dentist appointment!!

Then we took a doll's House to a charity shop , indulged in a cuppa and cookie in our favourite bookshop cafe, before collecting my work from the Gallery in Ayr high street. Next week the space will be beds and bedding! 

There is a possibility of another exhibition before christmas, and hopefully we can get the group of artists involved in this one.

Then a walk on the Lang Scots Mile with some foraging for rosehips..there are plenty of Rosa Rugosa growing on the dunes and they are easy to use to make cordial

This afternoon I cleared away the pea haulms and prepared the bed ready for the onion sets that we bought on the way home.

After this morning's frost the sun was beautifully warm and brought out a butterfly to sun itself on the shed.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Followed by a quiet day at home

 Bottling eight x 75cl bottles of apple juice and processing them...just cooling now and waiting for the tops to be dipped in wax.

I have almost finished juicing and pressing the next batch, and there are more ripening gently.

Today's weather is certainly doing what it said on the tin!! High winds and heavy showers. So dull that we have had the lights on all day!

Cropping is slowing down but still carrying on. All the tomatoes are in, the chilli plant is on the windowsill and all the squashes are in bar one last variety.

The butternut squash is definitely a first time success for me, and I think most things need starting earlier. Now we have the greenhouse up and running, that should be possible.

Pirate caught up with his phone calls this morning, after riding his bike on the look outside decided that!

Now it is teatime, and it is still dull, grey, wet and windy outside. Tomorrow we are forecast dry...but chilly! At least today's washing will be out on the line early to dry.

Dundee awayday

 We were off bright and early...well ok, was still dark at 7am!!

Our Thursday track session brought forward a day after all concerned looked at the weather forecast!!  In the end, after driving through drizzly and cloudy, and before Perth rather windy, we had a lovely time in bright sunshine and a light breeze under blue sky.

It looks like this could be our last time this year, as the weather slides damply through Autumn towards Winter. 

We sold a vintage frame there, saving me time and hassle advertising it,  then headed South over the Tay road bridge , looking for a decent lay-by for lunch.

Picnic lunch was eaten with the entertainment of watching a huge machine lifting potatoes and loading them into one ton tattie boxes...ten on a lorry trailer pulled by a large tractor, and a relay of several tractor and trailers shuttling it to a barn that we had passed half a mile beforehand.

Then on to Fife to make two visits to friends, to chat and drink tea and do business before returning home.

A long day again, but worth it!

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Apple juice and relaxing

 A good 7am start, and straight after breakfast the apple juicing started. I have four different types of apple, the Hannahston windfalls, probably a tree grown from a thrown apple core. Apples from Auld Byre hedgerow, wild apples we think..but they grew bigger this year..probably because fewer fruit set.  A red apple which looks very much like Kidd's orange red..only a small carrier bagful this year instead of three big bags and more last year and a large carrier bag of apples from a friend.scabby but good for juice.

With breaks to let the juicer cool is about twelve years old!....and pressing the pulp from the the end of the day I had a maslin pan full of juice.

That is just under half of the apples done!! I am aiming to make more than last year as we have almost finished last year's pressing, having been using it sparingly over the last month or two.

The juice has now gone through the muslin again and is sitting in a lidded tub to settle out the fine apple pulp that is still suspended in it. Bottling tomorrow evening.

This afternoon we both had reiki treatment followed by a chip supper, eaten as we watched the street lights begin to come on over the water on the Isle of Arran.

Nice and relaxed...and no cooking or washing up!!

Working round from nearly south to northish!