Monday 31 January 2011

Lost in Translation!

Note to self:-
Think before you blog!

I've just put Google Translate on my blog.
Great idea! 
Not everyone speaks English.  This will help others around the world share my wise words and wisdom (ahem)!

Except ………………… I've posted a few Burns poems ……………….!

How on earth are they going to be translated!
I also use a few wee Scots expressions … oops, I've done it again …!

Never mind!
Just to add to the confusion …. to all my lovely blog friends …..

Lang may yir lum reek!

Love, Liz

ps - It means something good ..... honest!!!!!!!

Sunday 30 January 2011

Sunday Snooze!

This is a funny little extract from the Book of Scottish Anecdote which I mentioned in a previous post. 

Since today is Sunday, I thought some of you might appreciate it!

Love, Liz

Saturday 29 January 2011

Ellis Island

I've just finished reading Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan, and I really enjoyed it.  It’s the story of Ellie, a young Irish woman and her childhood sweetheart, John. 

Set against the backdrop of rural poverty in 1920s Ireland, it moves to the fast-paced lifestyle of New York where Ellie works for a while.

Its an interesting book and dwells on the themes of love, family and home. 

Worth a read.

Love, Liz

Friday 28 January 2011

What a transformation!

Been busy transforming this week!

This is the result.

It started out as this - colour was OK in last house, but doesn't really fit in anywhere in this house.

Sanded down, new paint colour, and coat of varnish -

I'm really pleased with the result.
What do you think?

Love, Liz

Thursday 27 January 2011

Domestic Service

Having researched my own family history (and many others), I am always interested in the lives of women in the 19th century.  Domestic service played a large part many ordinary women's lives.  My great-grandmother was a servant in "big house" a couple of streets away from where I live now. 

In my own home I still have evidence of the importance of domestic servants - the servants bell - a device which was used to call servants to various parts of the house.

servants bell

Fortunately, it no longer works, but I'm sure it was the bane of some poor girl's life in years gone by.

cleaning windows

Don't try this at home!

I wonder if they really had to do this?

Love, Liz

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Tonight is Burns Night

Its Burns Night tonight so I'm going all out Scottish today!

Here's another wee Burns poem - think you'll like this one, shows that Burns had a sense of humour.

The discrete hint

Lass, when your mither is frae hame,
May I but be sae bauld
As come to your bower window,
And creep in frae the cauld?
As come to your bower window,
And when it's cold and wat,
Warm me in thy fair bosom, -
Sweet lass, may I do that?

Young man gin ye should ba sae kind,
When our gudewife's frae hame
As come to my bower window,
Whare I am laid my lane,
To warm thee in my bosom, -
Tak' tent, I'll tell thee what,
The way to me lies through the kirk, -
Young man, do ye hear that?

That told him!

Wherever in the world you are, if you are off to a Burns Supper tonight - have a great time!

Love, Liz

Monday 24 January 2011

Colourful lorikeets

I came across these photographs recently and thought I’d share this story with you.

lorikeets preening

We spent a couple of weeks on holiday in Brisbane, Australia a couple of years ago and rented a holiday home.  Every morning and evening a group of lovely lorikeets would visit, and every day I said that I must get some photographs of them to take home - and then promptly forgot.  I think that they are beautiful birds. 

On our second last evening, I had a headache so I stayed home while the others went out.  Sitting reading, I heard this tremendous noise – the lorikeets had arrived and were being very vocal.  After a while, I thought I’d better go and see what was happening, as the noise was getting louder and louder.  I thought that a cat had perhaps come into the garden and had attacked one of the birds.  But no!  There, sitting on the veranda was this little bird.  He saw me, but didn’t fly away.  I rushed to get my camera, thinking that by the time I got back he would be gone.  Fortunately he was still there.

I started taking photographs, and it was almost as if he was posing for me – I couldn’t have asked for a better subject.  After I had taken a few photographs, they all flew off.  I really felt that they had put on a show just for me!

A lovely memory of a wonderful holiday.

Love, Liz

Sunday 23 January 2011


Inspired by yesterday's Burns theme,  Here are two new collages.

Images from Graphics Fairy

Love, Liz

Saturday 22 January 2011

Love and Loss

It is Burns Night on Tuesday, but since I'm going to a wee soiree tonight in honour of our national poet, I thought I'd  post this heartbreaking poem.

Highland Mary (Mary Campbell) was the love of Robert Burns life.  They were due to sail away to start a new life in Jamaica.  Before he could meet with her at their port of departure in Greenock, Mary died of a fever in 1786.  She is buried here in Greenock.

Picture from Wikipedia

Highland Mary

Ye banks, and braes, and streams around
The castle o' Montgomery!
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie:
Simmer first unfauld her robes,
And there the langest tarry;
For there I took the last Farewell
O'my sweet Highland Mary.

How sweetly bloom'd the gay, green birk,
How rich the hawthorn's blossom,
As underneath their fragrant shade,
I clasp'd her to my bosom!
The golden Hours on angel wings,
Flew o'er me and my Dearie;
For dear to me, as light and life,
Was my sweet Highland Mary.

Wi' mony a vow, and lock'd embrace,
Our parting was fu' tender;
And, pledging aft to meet again,
We tore oursels asunder;
But oh!
fell Death's untimely frost,
That nipt my Flower sae early!
Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay
That wraps my Highland Mary!

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly!
And clos'd for aye, the sparkling glance
That dwalt on me sae kindly!
And mouldering now in silent dust,
That heart that lo'ed me dearly!
But still within my bosom's core
Shall live my Highland Mary.

Robert Burns

Isn't the last verse just heartbreaking!

Love, Liz

Friday 21 January 2011

Beauty on a Gray Day

Just thought I'd bring a wee bit of sunshine to your day!

This photo was taken in the Winter Gardens of the People's Palace in Glasgow a couple of years ago.  I have no idea what kind of flower it is - I'd love to find out, so leave me a comment if you know what it is.

The weather here has been gray and dull here in Greenock.  Couldn't even see across the river yesterday.  It cleared up in the evening and the moon was full and beautiful, casting a lovely yellow glow on the river, it was as if someone was shining a spotlight down on the water.  Wish I had taken a photo of it.

God's creation in all its beauty.

Love. Liz

Thursday 20 January 2011

Warming Soup

Soup is a wonderfully nutritious, filling and warming food and I love making soup - I just wish I could make soup like my grandmother did!  No soup has ever tasted the same as hers, it was wonderful.  My two boys loved soup when they came home from school for lunch (they still love it, although number 1 son (now married) makes his own)!

I have quite a casual approach to making soup - I just use whatever I've got available.  This week I made ham soup.

Ingredients;  a piece of ham, assorted vegetables and a couple of handfuls of dried pulses (I used dried lentils, barley, peas and butter beans), but you don't have to use them if you don't want to.

Use whatever vegetables you have available.

Method;  soak pulses in cold water.  Put ham and chopped vegetables in large pan, bring to boil and then simmer for a couple of hours (at least two - until ham is cooked).  Remove ham from pot. 

I then have a very untechnical way of making the soup - I squash the vegetables with a potato masher until I get them to the right size.  Drain pulses and add.  Stir well and simmer for a further wee while (until pulses have cooked).  Don't add salt unless you have to, ham can be salty.

I use this method for whatever soup I am making - the all in one, time saving method!

I usually wait and have soup the next day - it has had time for all the flavours to blend together.  It is delicious with warm crusty bread.

We had the piece of ham with boiled potatoes and veg - not very fancy, but delicious.  Having previously cooked the ham with the vegetables for the soup gives it a wonderful flavour.

Soup is great comfort food.  Just right for this time of year.


Love, Liz

Tuesday 18 January 2011


Here's my latest creation.
Before - two nondescript frames with rather insipid pictures.

I took them apart then sanded and painted the frames. 
I then made two little collages.

Thanks to Karen at Graphics Fairy for dancers.

Then I put the whole thing back together.

I'm really pleased with the result.
What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Love, Liz

Monday 17 January 2011

Glasgow Green

Spent the afternoon in Glasgow yesterday. 

The Glasgow Green area contains so much of Glasgow's history.  Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) rallied his Jacobite troops there in 1745 - a wee snippet of history for you!

The former Templeton Carpet Factory is an amazing building!  It was a bit of a dull day yesterday, so my photograph doesn't really do it justice.  The building was designed by Sir William Leiper and completed in 1892.

I also took some photos of the Doulton Fountain - an amazing piece of sculpture - the details are incredible.

Didn't visit the People's Palace, saving that for another day - went to the Barras instead!

Don't forget that if you want to see the photos in more detail, click on them
and then click on the wee plus sign.

Love, Liz

Sunday 16 January 2011

Tressy is back!

She's back - and not in a particularly good mood!
Found the knitting pattern for two gorgeous outfits for Tressy.  Get the needles and wool out girls!  Actually remember knitting the coat and hat in blue with dark blue trim.  Also found some other doll patterns from the People's Friend - Mum used to get that every week.

Somehow, I don't think Tressy is too impressed with these ensembles!

Love, Liz

PS - If anyone wants the knitting instructions, let me know, and I'll send them to you.

Saturday 15 January 2011

My Kitchen Dresser

Just a wee, quick post today.
Some of my favourite things displayed on my kitchen dresser.

Love, Liz

Friday 14 January 2011

Good Reads!

If you are looking for a good read, The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry is the book for you.  It tells the story of Roseanne, a patient in a mental hospital who is approaching her hundredth birthday.  She was placed in the hospital as a young woman, her records have been lost, and no one knows why she is really there.  A psychiatrist, Dr Grene is trying to find out her story as the hospital is about to shut down and Roseanne has to be placed elsewhere.  Meanwhile we also hear Roseanne's own story against the backdrop of twentieth century Irish history.
it’s a real page turner, as you impatiently try to understand why Roseanne was incarcerated - there's a interesting twist at the end.

This book reminded me of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell.  It’s a similar tale of an older woman who has been incarcerated for many years, the hospital is closing down and she needs to be placed somewhere.  Set in Scotland, it is a fascinating story of moral attitudes in the mid twentieth century and the plight of many, not just women, who were "put away" because they did not conform to society's view of correct behaviour or were just caught up in the system and forgotten about.

Both of these books are thought-provoking reads and I would recommend them if you like books which are more than a fluffy tale.

If you think these stories are pure fiction - check out this BBC News story from 2007!
(Hope link works - let me know - fingers crossed!)

Love, Liz

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Queensland Floods

It is really difficult to watch the news reports of the flooding in Queensland.  My heart goes out to those who have lost so much.  Listening to the news, it was reported that the floods would not subside until the weekend - how awful to know that the worst is not over yet.  Then comes the clean up and the realisation of just what has been lost.
Here's a picture of the beautiful Brisbane River in more tranquil times.

Please remember the people of Queensland in your prayers.

Love, Liz

Tuesday 11 January 2011


Girls, this is one post you will really thank me for - if you haven't tried them already, then you must try -
Raffaello chocolates!

They are wonderful!  If you like creamy white chocolate, nuts and coconut, you'll love these.
They are made by the people who make Ferrero Rocher chocs, but are ten times nicer, in my opinion.  They come in a lovely red and white box.  Hubby got me a box for Christmas, and these are all that are left - I limit myself to a few a day, although I could easily eat them all!

Try them …. go on …. you know you want to ….!!!!!

Love, Liz

Monday 10 January 2011

Swapping Scraps

Ok - looks like this blog is becoming a bit of a nostalgia-fest!

Do you remember these?  Scraps - although we used to call them mottoes.  These are my original ones - found them in an old Yardley's Red Roses Soap box. 
We would put our mottoes in an old book, take them to school and swap them at playtime.  If I remember correctly, you put the ones you wanted to swap up to the top of the page, slightly sticking out and exchanged books with your friends to decide which ones you wanted.
Do you remember trying to collect sets - like some in the picture, you could get different sizes and having one of each size was amazing - I'd never swap those!
My most favourite one is the little girl with the red hat and basket of flowers - I really loved her and would never in a million years swap her.  The rather tattered baby was also a favourite.
Ah …. the simple pleasures of youth!

Love, Liz

Sunday 9 January 2011


We had a very thought-provoking sermon at church today, about questions for 2011 - personal, local, national and as a church.  It is good sometimes to take stock, particularly at this time when we are just into a new year and are optimistic about the possibilities for what lies ahead.
A verse from hymn 583 of CH4 written by Andrew Reed really made me think, and that's what I want to share with you today.

Saturday 8 January 2011


Went for a walk along the prom at Gourock today, just for a breath of fresh air.  There was still a fair bit of snow around.  Took some photos, it was possible to see the weather closing in from the north west.  Despite the weather, there were quite a few people out and about.  It was good to get some exercise - burn off some of those extra calories!

Friday 7 January 2011

Old Book of Scottish Anecdotes

Went to the Scottish Antique and Arts Centre near Doune yesterday - what an amazing place!  Its full of little antique stalls selling a wonderful variety of bits and pieces. 
Of course I was more interested in the books and bought this one - Hislop's Book of Scottish Anecdote which was published in 1875.  Its full of interesting little stories and tales.  I'll perhaps post some later.

Tuesday 4 January 2011


Look what I found!
While tidying (rummaging) today I came across -
Do you remember her from the mid 60s?
Wow - I loved this doll, I particularly love the dress she is wearing, it was my favourite outfit for her, apart from the red satin full length halterneck I made for her!  (Isn't it funny how memories come flooding back?)

Tressy's hair actually grew!
Well, she had a button on her tummy which you pressed and pulled a tuft of hair to whichever length you wanted, then there was a little key which you used on her back which rewound it back in. 

On closer look, she has quite a petulant face - funny, never noticed that before!

Love, Liz

Monday 3 January 2011

Ice Cream Float

Oh joy!!
What a treat – ice cream from the Esplanade Cafe in Greenock – the best in the west!
Made an ice cream float with Barr’s cream soda – enjoy it with Barr’s ginger beer as well.
Then had snowball and ice – ice cream with Lee’s snowballs – wonderful.
These are usually a summer treat, but taste just as magical in winter.

Love, Liz

Sunday 2 January 2011


At church today we sang a hymn, the tune of which was very familiar - Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny Doon.  The words are very apt for this time of year, when we reflect on the past and make decisions about the future:-

The pain that will not go away,
the guilt that clings from things long past,
the fear of what the future holds,
are present as if meant to last.
But present too is love which tends
the hurt we never hoped to find,
the private agonies inside,
the memories that haunt the mind.

(Hymn 718, CH4, J Bell and G Maule)

I'm posting a photo of Ely Cathedral - isn't the architecture amazing?!

Love, Liz

Saturday 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone - may 2011 bring all you wish for!

Didn't even stay up for the Bells - went to bed about 10.30 and just about had a heart attack when the fireworks started at midnight!  But managed to sleep through the rest of the night.

Today I'm just chilling and listening to music (at the moment its Devil's Arcade by Bruce Springsteen) - what a way to spend an afternoon.  My other half is making dinner later - lamb, not the customary Scottish new year favourite - steak pie.  We'll have that tomorrow when number 2 son arrives back.

Have a great day.

Love, Liz