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text 2018-10-28 19:59
The Sunday Post - The Run-Up to Halloween

Happy Sunday!

 

Winter arrived this weekend with the first sprinkling of the white stuff just outside the city boundaries and with a significant drop in temperatures.

 

The weather had changed so much, in fact, that my friends and I had to think of alternative options to our planned trip Glamis yesterday to partake in this year's Halloween event. In the end, we just settled on taking extra layers of clothing and getting on the road a little earlier than last year in case the roads were affected. It turned out that the roads were clear, but it was absolutely freezing, which made our walk around the Bewitched Woods at the castle a rather swift wander. 

 

 

The Bewitched Woods were the same as last year, just with different lighting and new spooky sounds and special effects that set off by motion sensor as you found your way through the wood in the pitch dark soon after we started the trail. And I do mean, pitch dark! It was a lot of fun.

 

 

I still love the wood carvings illustrating the story of Macbeth (Shakespeare's version, that is) that are placed along the trail. All of the sculptures were created using a chainsaw and I am simply amazed by the level of detail that the artists (Neith Art) commissioned to create them put into each sculpture. They really seemed to have read and analysed each scene and character that they chose to create.

 

 

The main event was, as it was last year, a ghost tour of the castle. Again, the inside of the castle had been decorated appropriately with skeletons, cob webs, and very real ghouls and ghosties who would pop out from behind doorways or nooks as we followed our guide through the castle. The usual tour packed with history was adapted again to tell of the more ghostly and ghastly history of the former inhabitants, and it was a lot of fun to see some of the characters "come alive" to converse with the visitors. 

One of the funniest things about this all was that there were some kids on the tour - some of which were really quite scared, and some of which put on a lot of bravado and ended up heckling the ghosts. One rather felt sorry for the ghosts. 

 

Even tho this was the same event as last year, I am glad to say that the people at Glamis castle again lived up to the challenge of creating an event that can be enjoyed on repeat visits. The ghosts and stories were rather different from last year - there was a lot more shrieking (mostly by the "ghosts") and there were a lot more and different "ghosts", too.  All in all, we had another excellent experience that put everyone in the right mood for Halloween. 

 

 

Of course, we ended our visit with a stop in the old castle kitchens again to sample the pumpkin soup before we made our trip back home. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the soup. I did make up for it today, tho, when I made some butter bean, lentil and spinach curry ... which I am counting as a soup as its consistency was rather stew-like.

 

 

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text 2018-09-16 23:16
The Sunday Post ... Lighthouses and Soup

Happy Sunday!

 

I've needed today to just relax and do some over-due household chores...so there was not a lot of excitement today. But, I was also recovering from a very, very windswept day out with friends yesterday.

Just as we had the city's Doors Open Day last week, yesterday and today the Shire held a similar event. 

 

So, a couple of friends and I jumped at the chance of a wee road trip on a gorgeous day to see Tod Head Lighthouse.

 

The lighthouse is one of the later Stevenson ones. It was designed by David Alan Stevenson of the famous family of lighthouse engineers, a cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson (the author), and grandson of Robert Stevenson who pioneered lighthouse engineering around these parts.

Tod Head was built in 1897, much later than the famous lighthouses built by Robert Stevenson (such as the famous Bell Rock built between 1807 and 1810), but it follows the same sort of design as the earlier buildings - and you can pretty much spot a Stevenson lighthouse based on the outline shape. 

 

Tod Head was decommissioned in 2007 and has been private property since. This is why it was such a special event to be able to have look at the lighthouse from up close - it is not one that is open to the public on any other day of the year. 

 

 

We arrived at the lighthouse a few minutes early and spent a few minutes braving the strong wind and communing with the resident rescue chickens, while the owners took the opportunity to grab some late lunch. Apparently they had visitors since 10 am and had been rushed off their feet all day. I believe it. It is a fabulous spot and even tho they had organised a booking system (all free of charge but there is limited parking), people just dropped by in a constant stream. 

Anyway, we had some fun with the chickens. They had a lot character and liked shoe laces. When we got back to the front of the building, one chicken had followed us and managed to completely freak out one of the visitors just by freely roaming in the garden. I don't know, but I felt sorry for the chicken more than I was for the lady who apparently was not expecting animals to roam the property...even tho you had to pass by several farms complete with cows and sheep to get to the lighthouse. It was weird. It was also kinda funny. 

 

This is the chicken that caused so much terror.

 

The funniest thing that happened, however, was that just when people started to leave the lighthouse, a couple of sheep decided to go for a leisurely wander on the single road track that led back to the road. And the lady who had earlier been terrorised by a member of the poultry gang was the second car stuck behind the sheep. Luckily, the first car were a couple of young guys, one of whom got out and tried to drive the sheep along without stressing them out too much. 

 

Now, I don't know about you, but from what I know about sheep, I have a feeling the two were doing this all day long - messing with visitors, popping on the road for a walk down to the other field whenever there was a car in sight. 

 

Anyway, the lighthouse was lovely, but the animals made our day yesterday. 

 

Sunday Soup:

 

As I mentioned, I mainly did some home maintenance today, which also included some cooking. I was in the mood for something light, so tried a variation of this Egg Drop Soup.

 

The variation was that I used vegetable bouillon and, just because I seem to simply be incapable of following recipes, I added some sweetcorn and peas and half a fresh red chili pepper.

 

No chickens were harmed in making this soup.

 

It was tasty, but not exactly filling. It did go well with with a sandwich on the side, tho.

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text 2018-08-26 22:28
The Sunday Post: The Last of the Fringe and Soup!

Hello,

 

After the rained out weekend at the Edinburgh Festival last week, I needed to go back to it yesterday because there was a show I just could not miss: Simon Callow starring in De Profundis, a performance of Oscar Wilde's letter to "Bosie" (Lord Alfred Douglas) which he wrote while infamously imprisoned in Reading Gaol. 

 

 

I've seen Callow perform before, so I knew this was going to be pretty good. However, this was my first experience of this particular piece and my introduction to De Profundis (which I re-read in full on the train back home), followed by a little research into the letter.

 

All I'm saying is that Bosie was a little shit.

 

Back to the performance...I loved it. It was very moving and while there were the typical Wilde puns, the title of the letter truly reflects the tone of it: Wilde's insights into his past relationship with Bosie as well as his reflections on his own character. A Simon Callow very much managed to release that distressed, angry, and yet loving and forgiving soul that Wilde confined to his own words.    

 

Afterwards I saw one other show and went for a stroll, but I was just too occupied by Wilde's letter to really pay much attention to any of the other performances. And with that, this year's Festival is over for me. It was fun to see that the crowds turned out well for the last Festival weekend, tho. 

 

Seriously, check the number of people in the pictures. This is what I mean by the town being "busy" during the festival period:

 

 

Anyway, today brought a day full of rain and cold weather so I spent most of the day wrapped in a warm jumper and enjoying books and tea...I came across a lovely little collection of Wilde's shorter stories while wandering around the Book Festival yesterday. (It contains The Canterville Ghost which I have now earmarked for the Ghost square on my Halloween Bingo Card!)

 

Oh, yes, and because it has turned quite chilly today, I made some soup. :D Nothing fancy, just some very simple vegetable and pasta and veggie pieces (which would obviously work just as well with chicken).

 

 

Happy Sunday!

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text 2018-04-02 00:04
Soup!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, with or without bunny rabbits and chocolate eggs. 

 

Spring has definitely sprung in these parts and I had the unexplainable urge to tidy my home and do some de-cluttering. It may not sound like the most exciting way to spend the weekend but I needed a relaxing time out before the upcoming week. Also, I will be away for a few days from Friday, so I needed to spend some time planning and organising.

 

Anyway, I passed on the chocolate this weekend but did finally manage to try the soup recipe that's been on my mind for a couple of weeks. 

 

The recipe is for this Sweetcorn Soup with Chili. It turned out well and I am sure I'll make it again some time - preferably with the addition of a dollop of cream and some coriander, which I forgot to buy...again.

 

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text 2018-03-04 19:08
The Sunday Post ... with Soup

Winter returned again last week, with some Siberian blasts that caused heavy snow storms and, because this part of the world doesn't cope well with the white stuff, a lot of chaos. 

People were stuck in places outside of the city limits, and it is only thanks to a lot of effort of volunteering farmers and council gritters that things got moving again by the weekend. Still, I have a friend who's been stuck at an airport in England since Thursday.

 

Despite the many, many news of people being stuck, road traffic accidents, and stupidity of people freaking out (as if no one can read a weather forecast...gaah...), there were also some great things happening during this unusual weather event: 

 

People volunteered a lot of help, especially out in the rural areas, to shovel, plough, and grit to help people out. Some of the responses have been rather awesome and do show that humanity is not doomed, yet.

It also seemed like people who got to go events that hadn't been cancelled, were in a particularly cheerful mood.  

 

I had a full schedule this weekend, starting with a theatre show on Friday night and spending much of Saturday at an event celebrating the centenary of Women's Suffrage in the UK (which rather unexpectedly included a civic reception arranged by the Lord Provost at the Town House),so today was really the first time I had a chance potter about. And as it is Sunday, I celebrated my day of doing bugger all by making some soup.

 

This week's concoction is a Sweet and Sour Chunky Potato Soup:

 

 

It is really simple to make and I love the taste of it. It should be even better tomorrow, when the gherkin juice and vinegar had a chance to permeate the veg. 

 

Recipe:

 

- 3 - 4 Potatoes, chopped into small chunks

- 2 carrots, cut into small pieces

- 1 onion, chopped

- 2 sticks of celery

- 2 tbs vinegar

- 2 tbs flour 

- 2 (veggie) frankfurters, sliced

- stock

- salt, pepper, paprika

- gherkins & the water they come in

- pinch of sugar

 

I added the potatoes, carrots, celery, half of the onion to the stock and boiled until they were halfway done. 

 

Meanwhile, I added the rest of the onion and the frankfurters to a pan and fried them. 

 

Once the veg are softening, I added the gherkins, juice, vinegar, salt/pepper/paprika to taste, and added the browned sausage/onion. 

I mixed the flour with some cold water and added as much as needed to thicken the soup a little. Once the potatoes are boiled, it's done.

 

 

This is definitely a soup I'll make again. And of course there is plenty left for tomorrow.

 

Happy Sunday, All!

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