Category Archives: Family

Happy 2017! #resolutions #Hogmanay #celebrations

To all my Scottish friends and family…

Happy Hogmanay!

Welcome 2017!

2017!2017!2017!While 2016 sucked in a number of ways – particularly unkind to celebrities – my year turned out okay. No, better than okay – it was GREAT!

High points for me in 2016:

  • Published my book, The Secret of Hillcrest House in April. It’s gone on to sell over kindle 500 copies since it’s release and sells well in paperback at the events I attend.
  • Another trip abroad – England, Wales and Scotland (aka #SEWES2016)
  • Joined the Prescott Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market where I’ve developed a loyal following of readers who are waiting for me to release yet more books.
  • Published the  sequel to A Shadow in the Past – Shadows From Her Past.
  • I should even make a profit this year on my writing. Wow! That will be a first.

Happy 2017!

What are my plans for 2017?

  • Release two books (I know ambitious – insane even) – one in mid-summer, one in late-autumn.
  • Read as much as I can when I’m not writing.
  • Attend as many events as possible.
  • Continue building on the relationships I’ve made with my customers and fellow vendors this year.
  • Travel.

Auld Lang Syne

SHOULD auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.—For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a
weary fit,
Sin’ auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

Robert Burns

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 20 – Market Rasen to Temple Sowerby

#SEWES2016

Sept 20 – Market Rasen to Temple Sowerby

Temple Sowerby was our final destination today. Barring traffic slowdowns due to incidents and/or roadworks, we could make the trip in just over three hours. In reality, that doesn’t happen.

One of my acquisitions yesterday – a companion for “Robbie” Raven. His name is “Phil” Flyer. So far they get along well. A few more days of these close quarters, as in the jute bag, will tell if they’ll remain friendly towards each other.

Sept 20
“Phil” Flyer

The first leg of today’s journey was a short jaunt up the road to visit my cousin and his wife in Dragonby.

Sept 20
Eric and me this year

I first met Eric in 2013. Here’s a picture from that visit…

Sept 20
Eric and me on our first visit in 2013

I think we’re like fine wine… improved with age. What do you think?

We had a lovely visit before it became time to move on to Temple Sowerby and the King’s Arms Hotel.

Sept 20
The King’s Arms Hotel (our window is to the left of “Kings”)
Sept 20
Robbie” Raven and “Phil” Flyer are looking out our room’s window
Sept 20
Our cozy room
Sept 20
Our cozy room

Once we set up hubby’s CPAP machine, returned the bottle of distilled water to the boot of the car (one less thing for tomorrow morning), we went down to the bar for a pint where we chatted with a couple of the locals.

The conversation turned to fishing (one of them brought his newest fishing rod in to show to his friend) and they told us the fishing was bad this year compared to others. The one put it down to the flooding in late 2015/early 2016 (same floods mentioned in my earlier post about Brougham Castle) ruining the river.

Sept 20
Enjoying a glass of wine in the restaurant
Sept 20
Silver serving tray cover

 

Sept 20
Fireplace next to our table in the restaurant

The hotel’s key rings are huge! It seems like they’re made from newel posts. You certainly won’t lose them. I should have used my DSLR to take a picture rather than my phone, but that would have required effort.

Sept 20
Our keys and keyring

 

Our 41st Wedding Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

to my wonderful husband!

 

wedding day photo
June 7, 1975

The wedding photo above was on the front of the invitations I made for our 25th anniversary that we celebrated in Scotland where we renewed our vows in the church at Quarriers Village (the orphanage where my father was raised).

anniversary
Mt. Zion Church in Quarriers Village

We’re headed out tonight for a meal to celebrate. Not sure where yet, but we’re both leaning towards Indian food. And the restaurant where we’ll go for that is well within walking distance of our house.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day

To all of you out there who are mothers, grandmothers and even great-grandmothers, I wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day.

mother's day
Ruth (Neddo) Robertson May 13, 1930 – September 14, 2010

For me, I’ll be partaking in what has become a tradition since losing my mum in the fall of 2012. Now on Mother’s Day, I visit the cemetery and leave flowers at her grave.

The cemetery celebrations started the day we buried my mum’s ashes. We sent her off with a song by her favourite singer – Vince Gill, and her favourite tipple – champagne. For the last few years of her life, I spent a lot of time out home doing as I called it “mother-sitting”. She introduced me to everyone who came into the house as “This is my daughter, Melanie. She’s writing a book.” So when I was offered my contract, it seemed right that I should celebrate there with her and my dad.

mother's day
Celebrating with my contract, manuscript and champagne

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

 

 

Out with the old…

out with the old

Out with the old…

Another year has come and gone. Where did the time go? It doesn’t seem possible that 365 days have passed since 31st December 2014. But they have. Wow!

Any resolutions for 2016?

Does your city, town or village do anything to send off the old year? If you live in or near Edinburgh, they put on a fantastic night of entertainment/. And yes, the Scots call New Year’s Eve Hogmanay. That’s a fun word. Hogmanay.

Santa Claus Comes Tonight

It’s Christmas Eve…

Santa Claus comes tonight!

 

Santa Claus

The lists have been made. The shopping is done. Perhaps a wrapping marathon is in your future tonight? And there’s always the assembly of bicycles and other toys so that everything will be perfect in the morning.

Did you know you can track Santa’s progress as he makes his way around the world? NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense) has a website dedicated to following the jolly old soul’s whereabouts. 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) tracking Santa’s flight. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Tracking Santa is a fun activity for everyone, not to mention it keeps the little ones occupied when you’re trying to clean up after your Christmas Eve supper. You can follow Santa at the Official NORAD Santa Tracker site.

And in keeping with Santa coming tonight, enjoy this video.

 

Christmas baking ~ Treats I grew up with…

Christmas baking

When I was growing up the Christmas baking started before Halloween to ensure there was enough to get us through from Christmas Eve to after New Years.

My mum had a set of metal Christmas themed cookie cutters – Christmas tree, bell, holly leave and Santa with his bag of toys on his back.

Christmas baking
By No machine-readable author provided. AdinaB-O’B assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mum’s shortbread recipe:

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

Once these were out of the oven and cooled, they were put in special cookie tins that were only used this time of year.

Another treat that was made for Christmas was chocolate fudge.

My mum used the Carnation 5 minute fudge recipe. Easy to make and did it ever taste good!

Christmas baking
By theilr (originally posted to Flickr as fudge) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I loved being home when this was made because I got to lick the wooden spoon that was used in the making of it and have the scrapings from the pot.

The fudge was stored in a waxed-paper lined tin with sheets of the paper between the layers of candy to keep them from sticking to each other.

Mum also made mincemeat and cranberry tarts which she froze. Now we didn’t have a big freezer and the tiny one in the top corner of our fridge was barely big enough for a brick of ice cream.  Being the resourceful person she was, all the tarts were individually wrapped in foil and placed in one of her large roast pans and buried in the snow outside the backdoor.

They were brought in as and when needed and warmed in the oven.

I always knew when I came home from school at lunch time and my grandmother was perched on the stool at the end of the counter that it was fruitcake making day. She always came to help.

During the Christmas baking season our house always smelled so good with the aromas of the various holiday treats. Thinking back to these days, I’m getting hungry.

What seasonal treats did you have when you were young?

 

MEMORIES OF CHRISTMASES PAST

memories

MEMORIES OF CHRISTMASES PAST

For Minnie (1892-1971) and my Dad (1913-1969)

As a child, spending time at my Grandmother Minnie’s farmhouse east of Athens was something I always looked forward to. Christmas Day was even more special because all the aunts, uncles and cousins were there, too. No matter how horrendous the weather or long the journey, everyone always made it. Without fail, the Petawawa faction was always last to arrive, leaving the rest of us chomping at the bit so that Christmas could begin!

You have to picture the scene – nine kids, six parents, Minnie and my Uncle Winston cheek and jowl in the two rooms downstairs and without benefit of indoor plumbing until 1970. Dishes were washed and rinsed in two large galvanized washtubs that were hauled up onto the table and filled with hot water from the kettle on the woodstove and cold from the buckets on the counter brought over from the well on the other side of the road. And if you had to go, it was either make the long trek to the outhouse or use the thunder-mug upstairs in Minnie’s room or the one on the stairs.

My love of reading began during those Christmases at Minnie’s. My cousin from Toronto gave me a book every year from the time I turned ten.

1970 was the last year for family Christmas at Minnie’s and the first with indoor plumbing. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but to us it was. With how commercial the holidays have become, I long for those simpler times.

I still have most of those books (I think I only ever parted with one – a book of fairy tales).

What are some of your favourite Christmas memories?