Saturday, 27 April 2013

A wintery mix

On my travels I occasionally drive up a wee bit of the Ayrshire coast, where you get a good view of the Isle of Arran. The Arran hills, the tallest of which is Goat Fell at 2866 feet, are often called the Sleeping Warrior due to the way they appeared from the mainland and when I passed in march they looked good with their dusting of snow. The last remnants of Winter I thought.

It seems that I was quite wrong about that one. Winter returned with avengeance a few weeks later. I was at work at the time but I was sent these pictures of Kirkcudbright in the snow - I've never seen anything like this much snow there before. 

Amongst the ferries and fishing boats and other sorts of marine vessels that are to be found on the Clyde, these sinister little beasties are often to be spotted sneeking through.

I had a wander out to the 13th century Glenluce Abbey one rather drippy afternoon with a view to waving my Historic Scotland pass about and wandering in, unfortunately I was still a couple of weeks away from opening time so here's a few shots from outside the perimeter.

My little Galloway tour of closed places (I had already admired the locked gates of the Newton Stewart Museum before Glenluce Abbey) then led me to Port William where I spotted some pigs in a backyard. Not common and certainly worth stopping for.

Turns out that these pigs at the Killantrae Burn cottages aren't made from bacon at all, but from oak and carved with a chainsaw.

In celebration of it's history as village piggery, butcher and that rather unpleasant inbetween stage we try to pretend doesn't exist, the cottages have this little fellow hanging outside it.

Port William has a statue, known locally as The Man by Andrew Brown

Mr Brown has some photographs on his website of the making of the sculpture here.

The statue has a plaque which quotes the famous lines, "What is this life, if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?" . To me the fellow is wringing his hands and looks distinctly worried.

It is actually not the original statue, which was made of ferroconcrete and didn't survive very well so a new one was made on bronze. The old statue, also by Andrew Brown (as far as I can see), has been refurbished and is now owned by a local person - a picture of it appears on Wikipedia and it certainly looks a bit more relaxed.

Meanwhile in Castle Douglas, an old unused shop front has been subject to a little decoration.

In my quarter of a century as a chemist, it is still find it is the alchemy of the kitchen which produces the finest results. I'm far from an expert, though I can find my way into a tin of beans and produce a passable jam sandwich (not at the same time). I gathered these ingredients together in a moment of ambition.


It's not the greatest ambition a chap could have but I'm really rather fond of macaroni and cheese and this is about the best one I've made (by a country mile - previous attempts at cheese sauce have been quite disastrous).

I shall leave you with a sunset shot of Carlingwark Loch in Castle Douglas.


The Glebe Blog said...

A very entertaining post Sandy.
Aye, the Stewartry and Wigtownshire are usually quietly forgotten areas of the nation, but we made the national news when the blizzards arrived. At one point there wasn't a road in either of the counties open to traffic. It'll be another fifty years before we make the news again.
I knew about the original 'Man' in Port William, but I didn't know he still existed.
I must pay another visit soon to Carlingwark, I wonder if the otters are still about. There's a clip on Youtube by a local man. Everytime I see an otter they scarper, it's as if they can smell me.

Shundo said...

Honestly, I go away for a week and there is so much to catch up on. Very glad you have fired this up again; congrats on a tasty looking mac'n'cheese - I think it is an admirable ambition to have realised, and good food for the cold weather.
My dad's place in Cornwall has a lean-to shed next to the kitchen door which is referred to as the 'pig shed', and around the corner is the calf shed, so it must have been both noisy and fragrant back in the day.

Sandy's witterings said...

Jim, Anther 50 years :) I should get that bit of news in before I'm 100 (just)
I still mean to go otter hunting at carlingwark someday - I just see if I can find them on Youtube in the mean time.

Shundo, A good country smell as my father would say but perhaps not as close to the kitchen as that.

Poppy (aka Val) said...

You know I love Abbeys and things like that so loved those pics, and the ones of the pigs, they are just great!! I also love macaroni cheese, and yours looked delicious, I bet I make one myself later this week :)

Sandy's witterings said...

Val - I'm sure the Abbey here will get another visit over the Summer - it's really quite close by.
The mac and cheese wasn't too bad (I'm frequently presented with some wolrd class macaroni so I'll settle for not bad). Enjoy yours when you make it :)

billy bagwash said...

I see your summers over too ours was on a Wednesday this year, saw your cooking blogg (nice one) was cooking a quiche at the time (ok the saying goes real men don’t eat quiche, let alone cook them) try a splash of Worcestershire sauce in your cheese sauce next time you’ll love it “ good god sandy we’ll have you cooking saag aloo before you know it ( the secret is sweet potato’s not spud’s)

Good to see you back all the best mate.

Sandy's witterings said...

Billy, I'm told we had a day of Summer when I was at see last and there was quite a nice day on Thursday (that could have been the Indian summer) Jersey back on now for the duration.
We sometimes have quiche on the oil rig - and somebody eats it (occasionally even me)so it definately fine bloke food.