|We wish you a berry Christmas!|
|May your days be happy and bright...|
Blink and you'll miss them... That's certainly how the last two weeks of November and first two of December have felt here at the Sparrowholding. So here's a quick compilation of photos of the local flora and fauna (including HunterGatherer!) taken over the past four weeks...
|We love this pretty pink shrub that flowers all winter in
the garden, though sadly we haven't a clue what it's called.
|Loch Leven (seen in the background of the photo above
is just over a mile and a half from our house). Stunning....
|This strawberry was growing in the polytunnel in the
third week of November - not a bad effort :-)
|Same goes for this tomato - we harvested the last of them
in the third week of November, too. The chutney is busy
"ripening" in the jars as I type!
|Yikes! After yielding asparagus, carrots, parsnips, potatoes
grapes, herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, courgettes, spinach
and runner beans, the polytunnel looks exhausted!
HunterGatherer has some digging to do, methinks...
|Mid-November was "tupping time" - Mungo the Magnificent
Shetland ram was looking his best for the occasion.
|Initially most of the girls seemed quite interested...|
|But not everyone was that keen! HunterGatherer's rugby
skills proved advantageous!
|Meanwhile, the postie arrived to find the track blocked
by our rudimentary sheep gates...
|Eventually everyone was where they should be, and
Mungo wasted no time in snatching a quick kiss!
|Couldn't resist photographing this year's wool - the
colours never cease to amaze me. So varied :-)
|Someone was NOT amused at all the attention being
paid to the sheep.
|There's always something needing done outside on the
Sparrowholding. Our wood-burning stove is a hungry
beastie, so HG has been wielding his axe.
|And the result of his hard labour means that we'll stay warm,
come sleet, frost or snow.
|Heavy rain, followed by frost, left a huge skating rink in the
|The colder weather means that mice gravitate towards the house,
so FatCat is kept busy. Only I can't bear to let him kill the poor
wee souls, so I set them free whenever I can! (Supergran tells
me that this slightly defeats the purpose...)
|The Sparrowholding by night during the festive period. The sheep are
slightly bemused. But then that doesn't take much ;-)
|The 50th birthday celebrations continue at The Witchery by the Castle|
|Edinburgh Castle at dusk: as you can see, my poor
Blackberry camera was struggling with the lack of light!
|Looking down the dark alleyway that leads to The Witchery|
We hesitated for a few seconds beneath a historic-looking sign that signalled our proximity to the restaurant, and peered down a dark, narrow alleyway lit at the far end by myriad fairy lights. Any discomfort in my ankle “disapparated” on the spot, as pain was superseded by excited anticipation. Walking into Boswell’s Court felt like stepping into a scene from Harry Potter, an impression which only intensified when we were met at the door by a delightfully eccentric young man, impeccably turned out, who stood behind a podium and ticked our names off his list with a flourish before pointing us down a wooden staircase. Given the extreme popularity of The Witchery, we had booked our table well over a month in advance to secure a Friday evening slot. The moment we reached the bottom of that staircase, it was evident that every minute of our wait had been worthwhile.
|Pigeon breast with pancetta and peas|
|Phantassie Farm vegetable terrine|
The main courses duly arrived and looked just as promising. HunterGatherer had signed up for the Roast Fillet of Limousin Scotch beef, served with blanquette of chard, Scottish girolles (aka chanterelle mushrooms) and rosti potato. He immediately professed the meat to be ‘melt-in-the-mouth perfection’, though (being a Scottish ‘farmer cheil’ at heart) he was heard to ponder sotto voce why it was Limousin (a French breed) rather than Aberdeen Angus beef! My meat choice proved equally rewarding in the flavour department: tender roast loin of Cairngorm venison accompanied by a vegetable selection including celeriac dauphinoise, kale and parsnip purée, plus crisps and chocolate oil. ‘Twas edible heaven.
|Fillet of beef 'meats' with HG's approval|
|The venison vanished quickly!|
It has to be said that the above fuzzy photo in no way does justice to the enticing presentation of this eclectic desert selection. Unfortunately, my trusty Blackberry was failing miserably to cope with the dim lighting in The Witchery, so I rashly asked HunterGatherer to take a photo of his impressive platter of puds. What can I say? Apart from "never send a man to do a woman's job i.e. photograph puddings."
So desperate was my dining companion to dive into his tantalising assortment of delectable desserts that he rushed the shot and blurred what was (in my eyes) the most important photo of the night. Still, at least he didn't make toooo bad a job of the photo of my pudding (and me!), plus he let me sample every single one of the opulent offerings on his plate, so I'll forgive him for his lack of photographic prowess – this time...
|Before leaving, Yours Truly was presented with this trio of Witchery Chocolate
bars. Apparently, being teetotal , I'd not quite used up the whole gift voucher...
|...which meant that I could still enjoy my Witchery experience
long after the actual evening was over!