I Saw the Piggies First!

My maternal grandmother never learned to drive, so in her later years whenever we were in the car together I would generally be driving, with my eyes clearly on the road ahead. At particular times of the year along the road between my grandmother’s home and mine – or my mum’s for that matter – we would often pass fields of farrowing pigs (mummy pigs giving birth to baby piglets).

One of my grandmother’s favourite silly games during the journey was for whoever saw the pigs in the field first to shout out ‘I see the piggies first!’. Of course, being the passenger in the front seat, she generally always saw the piggies first, but nevertheless the game was played by all in the family with great alacrity.

Roll forward a decade or so since we lost my grandmother, and I recently found myself a passenger in my daughter’s car, driving along that same road on the way to visit my parents (who still live in the same house), and to my delight, although it was foggy I managed to capture a couple of shots of pigs in a field next to the road! Woo-hoo! Finally after all these years I have actual photographic proof that this time, I saw the piggies first! 🙂

Weekly Smile

Accommodate

One of the huge differences in living in a three bedroom house rather than a one bedroom first floor flat is having the space to accommodate multiple people at one time! Not necessarily for sleeping over just yet but definitely for socialising. We sleep in the master bedroom, the second bedroom is used as a computer room/study, and what will eventually be the guest room is currently a storage room (until we replace the old minimal loft insulation with thicker, better quality stuff, put down a section of safe flooring and store our excess boxes and bits and pieces up in the roof space).

We have a lovely square living room at the front of the house, and an open plan kitchen/ dining room across the full width of the back of the house, with a small conservatory leading off from the dining room. The conservatory is currently closed off for the winter months (and is still full of packing materials from our move that we haven’t quite got rid of completely yet) but in the summer it will hopefully be an extra social space to spend time in – and we can even overflow into the back garden!

But even without using the conservatory or garden for now it’s lovely that when people come round – especially our growing family – we have ample space to accommodate everyone without feeling claustrophobic and overcrowded. And we don’t have to worry about being too noisy and disturbing any next door party wall or above or below neighbours in the building either, because there’s only us living in a whole detached house all on our own – woo-hoo! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Accommodate

Weekly Smile: 30 Dec 2019

Things that have made me smile this week include:

Having my son come to stay with us for Christmas – he arrived on Monday 23rd and stayed with us until Friday 27th…

Visiting my parents for the whole afternoon on Christmas Eve…

Seeing both daughters (and partners!) and five out of six grandchildren on Boxing Day (eldest grandson is 18 and now lives and works with his dad in a different part of the country)…

And later today my sister (who also lives in a different part of the country) and her partner are coming up to visit us for the first time in our new home!

So I suppose I could just say that this week, spending quality time with my family has made me smile… 🙂 ❤

Weekly Smile

Leek and Tattie Soup

So here I am on a typically damp and dismal Scottish Saturday morning, with a pot of leek and tattie soup simmering away.

I’ve always loved cooking, but since moving back to the North of Scotland from the South of England four months ago I’ve been finding myself drawn back to the practical and economical dishes of my youth, traditional tastes of the past all suddenly clamouring for attention again in the creative culinary section of my middle-aged memory banks.

Mind you, living with my parents for the first ten weeks we were back in Scotland meant inevitably cooking only the sort of meals my dad can eat – he’s 83, with mobility issues after four strokes and memory issues with ongoing vascular demetia, so keeping to an easily-recognisable-to-him menu is an important part of his ongoing care. And at least he still has a good appetite and enjoys his food!

So I cooked (and we ate) a lot of soup – lentil, leek and tattie, Scotch broth – and variations on a theme of mince and tatties or stew and tatties, and stovies, often with fruit crumbles and custard or bread and butter pudding for afters – yum! And now we’re here in our own house, with a big enough kitchen to cook in comfortably, I’m continuing in the same vein a lot of the time, sticking to the heart-warming farmhouse cooking I grew up with.

It makes me smile to be hearing my paternal grandmother’s satisfied voice so loud and clear in my head ‘Aye, that’s fine soup – gings roon yer hert like a hairy wurrum’ (Goes round your heart like a hairy worm). She was a typical North-East-Coast farmer’s wife, and much of my knowledge of traditional cooking and baking has come from spending quality time with her as I was growing up.

Although sadly she’s long gone, it speaks volumes to her quiet, steady influence on me that not only do I still use today the culinary skills developed years ago by her side, but also I’ve taught my children those same skills, and now my grown-up children are teaching my grandchildren in their turn. Too many people are unable to cook from scratch these days, and I’m proud that generations of my family can make a meal out of traditional ingredients, then, now and on into the future… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Loud

Where's the Map?

We’re a weird family at times, with weird word-usage within our ranks. For example, whenever as a family we received a box of chocolates, or one of those collections of assorted biscuits you often get around Christmas time, a common question when offered to choose from the box would be ‘Where’s the map?’.

I do appreciate people usually associate maps with complex roads and other topographical features showing distances and directions between one place and another but in our family a map, when reduced to its simplest form, is basically a piece of paper that shows you the way to something. Road map, treasure map, food map…

So for example in a box of chocolates, if you want to avoid the random Forrest Gump approach (‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get’) to know exactly where the scrumptious coffee cream or silky dairy fudge nestles within, you consult the map provided within the box to find out.

Or alternatively, you may wish to take pot-luck with your choice apart from the nutty ones (me), or the soft-centres (my husband) so you would need to be aware of those particular chocolates to which to give a wide berth to avoid confectionary disappointment. Mind you, if you do happen to choose one you don’t like, it’s always a good excuse to have another ‘just to take the bad taste away…!’

PS Hmmm… Having just finished writing this post a quote has sprung to mind from TV programme ‘Endeavour’ – in my head I can clearly hear the voice of Oxford City policeman Detective Inspector Fred Thursday say dryly of rival police force Oxford County ‘County couldn’t find their arse with two hands and a map’ – ha ha ha ha… the imagery still makes me smile! 😀

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Map

Lost Youth

Sometimes I really enjoy being thoroughly middle-aged – these days I find when I’m out in public I’m almost invisible most of the time, a regular menopausal fat and frumpy fifty-something Mrs A N Other with poorly-styled hair and unfashionable but always-comfortable clothes.

I mean, no-one checks me out or pays me any attention any more when I’m walking down the street – no annoying wolf whistles or cat-calling from men, no sidelong judgemental glances from other women – surely that freedom to just be myself without comment or criticism has to be a good thing…?

And yet…

At other times part of me bemoans my long-lost youth. My previously voluptuous curves have lost their ample firmness and fallen foul of gravity, my skin has sagged, wrinkled and dulled, my blonde hair faded to grey. Menopause has in many ways left me feeling as flat as my failing female hormone levels. I feel a little lost, in limbo, emotionally entangled in an existential identity crisis I didn’t even know existed until it hit me…

And yet…

My three amazing children are now all adults, well into their 30s – in fact my son turns 37 tomorrow – and I have six beautiful grandchildren helping to turn my on-off middle-aged misery into myriad magical moments. Nothing can possibly beat this fantastic family feeling, and I know that without doubt my lost youth is ultimately someting to celebrate, not mourn… ❤

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Youth

Heady Mix

Right now I’m filled with a heady mix of excitement, exhilaration, and exhaustion. My brain feels frazzled but fizzing with fun ideas.

We moved into our new house in Inverness just over a week ago and it’s been pretty much non-stop for us ever since, unpacking and sorting out previously stored belongings; sourcing and arranging utilities; researching potential new furniture, soft furnishings, wallpaper and paint in anticipation of future changes… and in between, a constant conveyor belt of household shopping and cooking and washing clothes and living everyday normal life to the full.

Both daughters (who live close by) have already visited with their partners and young children, and thankfully everyone loves the house as much as we do! Son (who lives in Paisley, not far from Glasgow) is due to visit us closer towards the end of the year. My husband and I wake up every morning amazed that we actually own this house – it looks far from perfect on the surface at the moment, with someone else’s carpets and curtains and wallpaper – but we know what we want to do with it and can’t wait to get started on changing that!

Our to-do list is growing as fast along the bottom as we can tick things off from the top, at the moment it feels a little like we’re constantly running to stand still, but we know this frenetic time will pass soon enough and we can slowly settle in to life in our new home, comfortably calm at last 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Heady