Sunday, 14 June 2009

I stand chastised

I got a gentle row from Isabelle for not having posted for a while and I looked at the blog and hey! what do you know - I haven't posted for a while! There has been a certain amount going on which has kept me busy and interfered with my posting time but not enough to constitute a genuine excuse. (The grass, for example, remains uncut, and since as I am typing this we are having rain and thunder in Edinburgh, it is likely to remain so for a while)

So, what have I been up to? Well, the gym induction went well - the trainer was nice (a bit young but I suspect that is more to do with my age than any lack of experience on his part) and very keen. He put together a couple of really good programmes for me that I am sure I will enoy doing once I have figured them all out again - he wrote down all the moves in some sort of cryptic code: "Double flies" and "Roman leg raises" and the like. Once I go through those, I will either get fit or end up exchanging information with a former KGB agent. The day after my induction my abs were aching. I think they were my abs - it was the bit buried away underneath the capacious stomach and I'm sure that's where I used to keep my abs.

Work has been busy as I have been doing a wee bit of freelance work for Husband's company and have been trying to squeeze that in around all the normal work, laundry, boy-herding and grass-growing.

What else? I had a real craving for bran scones last weekend and decided to try baking them and, well, without being unduly modest, they were FANTASTIC! Even First Born was converted. My second batch is cooling in the kitchen as I type. Since I was making traditional Scottish "fayre" (eurgh, I hate that word) I decided to make macaroon bars too. I don't actually like macaroon bars as, like most Scottish treats, they are tooth-achingly sweet, but Husband loves them and I am an obliging wife when it comes to confectionery. They turned out not too bad and since they seem to be disappearing at a fair rate, I think Husband approves, even if they are less "bars" and more "knobbly coconut-covered sort of macaroon logs".

Incidentally, do you have any idea what goes into a macaroon bar? (I am obviously talking to the Scottish readers here, as I don't think I have ever seen macaroon bars outside our fair country). The chocolate coating dipped in toasted coconut is obvious, and the aforementioned eye-watering sweetness suggests that a bucketload of sugar is a given. But do you know what else goes into that white bit in the middle? Go on, have a guess and I'll tell you next post if you are right. (No cheating and asking Google.) I spent an enjoyable half hour torturing Second Born by offering him £5 if he could guess. I swear smoke was coming out of his ears with the frustration of being unable to secure that fiver. Hee!

Also this last week Husband's aunt sadly died. She had been ill for some time and, whilst we knew her, we weren't that close, as she and her husband lived in Northern Ireland. Husband has however had to make the necessary arrangements to get his father to the funeral which is tomorrow, and has therefore spent today travelling through to Ayrshire to pick up FIL and on to Stranraer by train to catch the ferry to Larne. He had to book tickets for the boat train, which we agreed sounded wonderfully 1930s Agatha Christie - ish. There would be a uniformed porter, we were sure, touching his cap and wishing Husband a pleasant journey.

Sadly Husband returned from Waverley Station with the news that the boat train is no more. The service is now known as "Rail and Sail". Yuck. That just conjures up over-priced and under-filled shrink-wrapped sandwiches and vending machine coffee. Sigh.

Husband therefore had to head off to Ayrshire this weekend and I took the two boys down for a planned visit to their cousins in Cumbria. It was my nephew's birthday, and his idea of the perfect celebration involves my two boys and a lot of shouting. His wish was granted. The weather in Cumbria this weekend was just lovely - sunny and breezy with enough clouds to make the sky interesting without actually raining.

We went walking at Crummock (that's where that photo of FB above was taken) and played hide-and-seek and frisbee and climbed trees (most of us) and fell out of trees (my 40 year old little brother who is old enough to know better but what can you do?) We played cricket with the kids in the back garden (number of grandads hit in the face with a tennis ball by my son:1 ; number of sons hit on the head with cricket bat by other son: 1; number of nieces hit in the stomach by tennis ball hit by nephew: 1; number of times my mum dropped the tennis cricket ball: we lost count). It was great fun. We ate too much, drank just enough and laughed a lot. I'm only sorry Husband had to miss it.

On the drive back up this morning I was puzzled to see a business by the road outside Carlisle with a big sign outside which advertised that it ran a hand car wash and also hired out hot tubs. Fair enough so far. But it also claimed to do teeth whitening. Is it just me or is that an odd selection of services? Maybe I invented it to amuse myself - both boys had fallen asleep in the car at this point and I was a bit bored of my own company.

Anyway, we are home again now and the boys are playing with the Wii Fit (which I have not had a chance to get near yet). Maybe I'll have a go after they are in bed. Or maybe I'll make a cup of tea and catch up on what you lot have been up to on your blogs.


  1. Oh I LOVE macaroon bars! And tablet. YUM! But I have no idea what's in the white bit of macroons and I'm not sure I really want to know as I feel guilty enough already when I eat them.

  2. Other than sugar, or a sugar fondant-type filling, my husband isn't sure what else is in the middle of a macaroon. (I wouldn't know; I'm not big on coconut I'm afraid.)

  3. Ok then, you do seem to have been a bit busy. Glad that you sprang into action at my request, however. I don't find that the world in general does this.

    Holidays coming up for us teachers (smirk). Maybe we could meet for a coffee some time?

  4. What a gorgeous photo. Since I don't like coconut, not caring what is in the middle of the macaroons, but I would love a bran scone recipe.
    On the other hand, I have never mastered soda bread, so maybe I'm not quite ready. Hmm.
    Glad you're back posting; I have to get my act in order too.

  5. I'm betting condensed milk. Because it seems to be in everything that's really really sweet.

    I'm sorry for your family's loss, L.

  6. Wow you have been busy. And I thought it was just me with all these puppies running around!

  7. Cars, teeth, hot tubs - it's all cleaning. I bet they get through a lot of Vim.

  8. I had this argument at work last year about what was in the middle of a macaroon bar, and I'm sad to say that I lost the bet. Suffice to say I did Google it at the time and was astonished to find that was in fact MASHED POTATO!!! IN A SWEETIE!!!!

    They must have been really hard up back in the day to come up with that one.

  9. Mashed potato? What the hell is wrong with you people? Our macaroons are made with egg white, tons of sugar and coconut. But the best thing of all are French "macarons". OMG. No potato involved.