Monday, 3 October 2011


Tonight it's sideways rain and gusting at 50 mph, yuk! No Indian summer here. However, yesterday was one of my favourite kind of days, calm and still, a pottering type of day. You know the kind where you guddle about doing stuff with no real order but it can be productive (to guddle um, another scots word which doesn't translate too well. Hmmmm I found a kind of reference here we're not talking catching fish, we're talking to potter about in an aimless fashion). Thinking of it like that, I'm sure the phrase 'she guddled' could be put on my tombstone, it would be quite apt, again not the catching fish with only your hands kind. Back to the pottering or guddling. Life here is pretty weather dependant, yesterday started with hope and slipped into grey/sunny intervals, therefore a bit of guddly cooking was done by me and my son, we made shortbread and jolly yummy it was too. Before he flies the nest he's learning to cook, bake and sew, as he's due to fly off next year, we thought we'd best get on with it. Today it was shortbread, last week, mince and tatties and then brownies. He's not a bad cook...............
Looks great, we had to try one piece, you know, um, what do they call it, lack of control? No thats not it, its, called quality control. Honest.
The Best Shortbread In the World
Perfect as intended by Jamie Oliver in Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon caster sugar (powdered sugar)
2 scant cups flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
2/3 cup semolina or 1 scant cup cornflour

Preheat the oven to 300  o F, 150o C. Butter a tin. Cream butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until pale, light, and fluffy. Add the flour and semolina or cornflour. Mix lightly until you have a smooth dough.
 Press the dough into your pan, poking it into the corners with your fingers – don’t worry about it having to look perfect. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake in the preheated oven until slightly golden –  50-60 minutes. While warm, sprinkle with a generous dusting of sugar. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into chunky fingers. 
Woo hoo it worked!

 Most of it made it into a tin, well some of it did.
That started the day rather well. Big tick for the boy child.
Next on the pottering list was a bit of outdoors stuff - 4 loads of washing, I won't bore you with photos of my washing, well not today anyway and then the gravel got spread about the yard, 3 tonnes will get those muscles working, who said guddling had to be aimless? The daisies are still flowering, although looking, like the rest of us a bit weather worn, but they're very cheerful greeting us in the yard, even still.
That lot of gravel should stop me getting muddy feet everytime I try and collect the eggs, which hide behind the door on the right. We had a visit from a lovely chum, which meant a sit in the garden and a cup of tea (with shortbread, of course be rude not to have any), only one bit, I'm not a cake fan, but I'm a biscuit monster, so I have to put it behind lock and key, or give it away, so my chum took some home too. Which is just as well, otherwise I would have eaten all of it - it was very yummy.

We've got back into walking everyday if we can, normally in wellies, other footwear is not so lovely or lets face it in our climate, waterproof footwear is essential.
When I say 'we've got back into it' obviously I meant to say Mother Tyrant (thats me, I'm called that alot) has dictated we're all too lazy and require a walk everyday there isn't any sideways rain, so we've got down to the beach at the bottom of our track, twice this weekend on days which have not been gales and sideways rain (unlike today as I type rain is splattering the windows at a force greater than I'd really expect the winow to put up with).
Down from the house, we look over to Hoy in the background and Graemsay in the foreground, where a fellow blogger lives and I'm sure we can wave to each other - I always give her a wave anyway, just in case she's watching. Although I'm sure she has better things to do than watch for me waving!
 We say hello to the horses, on the way down the track, not sure I've mentioned them before, they appear quite friendly...........
 I like this lighthouse I can see two from the house but this one is my favourite. We often sing the 'lighthouse keeper song', you know the one, 'I'm going to marry a lighthouse keeper and live right by the sea.....'. As Mr Flowers is not a light house keeper, we don't want to offend him by tales of marrying someone else, so we don't sing it too seriously, unlessof course he'd like to buy us a light house and we can all live by the sea? Perhaps not.......
 Our shore, not that its 'ours' but we do claim it for our own when we're on it. The beach is a sandy/rocky shoreline, nice and interesting. At this time of year, early evening lights is going faster than I'd like. We walk quickly, gasping in the scenes as they change intermittently between sun and cloud.
 Lots of lovely shells to find and stones to skim, a favourite passtime of Mr Flowers and Mr Cheery it would seem. I've the co-ordination of a fish, (no offence fishes) so I don't tend to skim stones for fear of wounding those around me. I do like to look at shells though and I love these 'Painted Topshells' with their irredescant inner shell revealed, all pearly and silver, we desanded it a bit, just because it was so pretty.
 The cellist spied a feather and took this rather lovely shot, I love the composition of her photos.
Whilst as always, I spied the plants on the beach (well aside the seaweed obviously, which I named as I toddled passed, just cos I like to keep my hand in). This bonnie daisy (Tripeurospermum or Matricaria, depending on which taxonomist you believe.......) was growing through the bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus, I remind myself, if you don't use the names you forget them quickly). Everyone in my family reckons I make them up anyway - so I guess I could call it anything and I'd always be right or wrong!
Anyway after a guddle on the beach, a dander back up the track, its time for tea. Traditionally sundays in our house includes either a roast dinner, or 'frog in a bog' (Toad in the hole) - this week we had delish home made yorkshire batter (the bog/hole) with tomato and pork sausages (the frogs/toad), mash, leek gravey and corn. The boy child makes this dish, using his secret recipe, which is neither his (its austrailian womans weekly recipe), nor very secret (we all know it off by heart - one cup plain flour, one cup milk, two eggs mix to a batter, perfect every time), really hot oven and a tray with 1 tbsp oil heated up in it. Hes great at it and he does make it very well, so we leave him to make it for us. No photos, this meal is always scoffed too quickly!!

A great pottering type of a day, I hope your own sunday was grand and full of fun.


  1. Sounds like a perfect Sunday to me!

    And that picture with the feather is absolutely lovely, the stones are gorgeous!

  2. Very evocative photos, Fay.
    There's nothing like having a guddle. I'm in a wee dwam most of the time myself...

  3. The rain almost too much for the window sounds scary, and a lighthouse by the sea, oh yes please!

  4. Oh! It's almost like I'm there! Lovely pics, and a lovely day :)

    You may have noticed that I didn't quite manage the skimming stones thing either..... And I emptied a giant carrier bag of sea glass into a giant colander in the garden today - really must think of something to do with it! xx

  5. Gorgeous pics Fay, and the Shortbread....mmmmmm! Congratulate the cellist on her lovely pic too - as you say beautiful composition and the colours are perfect!

    Jenni - could you use the glass to top off plant pots? Might look good with the right pots?

  6. Anne and Robyn the cellist says thank you. She just told mesh liked it so much as the largestone looks like it's awaiting script written by the feather. Quill and tablet, she explained.she's got quite an eye hasnt she?

    Ta for lovely comments, jenni, you've done that same walk many times, there was so much glass on the beach again polished by the sea, I left it for you.

    Elephants eye it's not pleasant out there, we watched the living room windows bow in and out with it's force tonight. A lighthouse would be very lovely.

    Janet, Orkney is, isn't it! Guddling is much fun.

    Shortbread easy, just mailed the recipe to a chum, had to confess it's one of the few times I've actually made it. Recipe is a Jamie Oliver classic. Worked like charm.

    (and, mr f, there is still some left!) x

  7. Your boy-child is clearly going to be well prepared for the outside world, though I think he might need tips on recognising who is only after his cooking rather than himself! Bravo for getting the household walking, it gets stupidly easy to forget to do those simple things, but when a little light exercise reveals views like that, it should clearly be done! We had a curry feast (two main courses, a veg side dish, rice and flatbread)instead of a roast on Sunday, to celebrate MIL anf FIL retiring - yummy, but I may have to try your batter recipe...

  8. Yup to the short bread. the pics are fabulous. wouldn't be averse to a lighthouse by the sea.

    Mr f

  9. Yum to the shortbread even.

    Mr f

  10. Ooo a lighthouse by the sea, how romantic.

    boychild is going to be adored at Uni by men and women alike if he can cook. Must check out the recipe for shortbread. Will make some for christmas presents I think.

    As always beautiful pictures. I must be on same wavelength as the cellist because my first thought was of a quill and writing musical notes onto the stone. She is obviously very creative.

  11. Janet, very easy to forget o just walk and breathe and yap! Yummy sounding Sunday dinner :) the boy child recognised by biscuit addiction and took a tub to school containing biscuits!

    Mr flowers, how gorgeous to see you. Im excited youve not rule living in a lighthouse out. Yummy shortbread indeed, it's gone now! Photos gorgeous, some of them even my own.....

    Cheri, recipe I can put up if you like, it's brilliant. Jamie Oliver, 'cooking with jamie' bit of irony in that title.......

    The cellist and you are very well tuned :)

  12. hello, what a lovely blog, I felt at home straight away as I too am a potterer and a coastal-dwelling advocate of wind and wellies and, very possibly, a Mother Tyrant!! thanks for making me smile today

  13. Hedge witch, hello! A fellow wellie wearing, herb loving person who lives by the sea. Lovely to meet you. Peeked over to your blog, lovely! Thanks for the comment. Lifes a bit random but fun :) cheers for popping past. Pottering rocks :)

  14. As requested, recipe edited in the main text for Sian and a couple of others :)