Monthly Archives: January 2017

Fairy Light, Burns and Haggis

I can’t believe we are at the end of January already. Where did the month go. I haven’t been around here for a while and so my resolution of a post everyday has had a knock but we will get back on track I promise.

We did not have Haggis on Burns Night because in South Africa butchers don’t make it and we were quoted a price of R900 per KG by one supplier who only does it to order. Now if you know anything about Haggis you will know it is made with lungs, liver, heart, and the offal and stuffed in a sheeps stomach. I did not realise there was such competition for offal. Anyway we survived without it.

A project I have been working on is a Fairy Light. I love the look of these and I have to be honest the older I am getting the more kitsch I am getting. I live in an old house though and it goes with the ambiance. I really love minimalism but it just doesn’t work for me. Anyway these are really easy to make. I am lucky enough to have a Silhouette Cameo printer /cutter and the one design is a fairy sitting on a log with a little bird.

I printed / cut this on the machine and then used a Consul jar for the container. With a napkin as the  cover and modge podge it took minutes to make the white outer layer. I used craft glue to hold the silhouette in place. My candles are two of those small led lights that I bought from Oriental City here in Benoni and I think the finished effect is great.

Our new kit to make costs R100 and the ready made one costs R125. If you don’t like fairies then you can have dragons, butterflies or whatever is your craze.

January 16th

Do you ever just Google to find out what happened on this day in history etc. Well today is Martin Luther King day and January is Oatmeal month. The 16th is also  National Nothing Day and appreciate a Dragon Day. Check them out here.

Anyway I digress today is a lesson on Potato Scones or as the Scots call them tat tie scones. I grew up near to the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow and there was a bakers there called Oliphants and they are situated on The High Street across from a great butcher Anderson’s.

Tattie scones are not hard to make you just need to have a ratio of 75% mash to a maximum of 25% flour and a nob of butter. I even use potato flour if I have any in. That is the recipe, its not difficult to make, just mix together. Here is the Lofty Peak recipe for them.

I always make mine into triangles and just cook by frying in a lightly buttered fry pan or a girdle pan. Above is a traditional one but I often use my crepe pan for making them.

One of my childhood memories though is when we got an electric stove it had a rectangular double hot-plate on one side and here we would make pancakes and tattie scones straight on the plate.

Anyway here are the finished tattie scones which go great with Clootie dumpling and bacon and eggs. The round one has just started to cook.  My husband ate three of them with supper (and not the small ones).

Enjoy and watch out for Clootie Dumpling.


The humble spud, tattie or potato is a great favourite in Scotland and it can come in many different shapes forms etc, but one of my all time favourites is new potatoes with butter and oats. It  may sound strange but it is delicious. The oats add fibre and bulk it out. Actually just thinking a great favourite in Italy is spaghetti with potato so they obviously understand the need for cheep food to feed many people.

Rabbie Burns had 12 children from 4 women and many were illegitimate but the mouth and the belly don’t care about legitimacy just where is the food.

It is very simple to make as you take the baby potatoes and in Scotland Ayrshire Potatoes are favourite. They are the first new potatoes on the shelves as Ayrshire has a much warmer climate due to the Gulf Stream.  A soft, smooth, creamy flavour makes them irresistible and you never peel them as they just need a wash and then either boiled or as I prefer steamed until soft when stabbed with a fork or Sgian Dhu.

visit this web site for a lot more info

Then comes the magic bit. Take your potatoes and add plenty of butter and salt and pepper. Take a good handful of oats or enough to coat the potatoes but not to overpower them. Eat with whatever you want but of course this month it has to be with a good Haggis which has either been boiled or roasted. Just mind it does not burst and of course when cooked make an incision in the top preferably with a Sgian Dhu a traditional knife worn in the right stocking with a kilt if the man is right handed or in the left hand if left handed.  Here is my tartan and clan crest as I was born Sutherland and I am sure some of my ancestors were moved and replaced by sheep. Oh how the Highlands suffered.

The Sutherland Crest

Ancient Hunting Sutherland

Tatties, Neeps, Haggis and Rabbie Burns

This is Burns month with 25th January being the anniversary of this much celebrated and adored poets. Here I have posted the poem “For a’ That” which is also known as  “A Man’s A Man”. Written in broad Scots, not Gaelic, it is the tongue of the common Lowlander rather than Highlander. Written in 1795 after the Jacobites were crushed and Scotland put under the English yolk it really says no matter what medals, rank or potion you hold it does not make you a man, it is character rather that makes you.

Portrait by Alexander Nasmyth in 1787

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an’ a’ that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodden grey, an’ a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man’s a Man for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that:
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that:
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.
A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that;
But an honest man’s abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Their dignities an’ a’ that;
The pith o’ sense, an’ pride o’ worth,
Are higher rank than a’ that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.

Burns night shall soon be here and so I am going to post some traditional recipes over the next few days. Cloetie dumpling, Tattie Scones, Neeps, Cranachan, Cock-a-Leekie soup and a look at square sausage and deep fried mars bars. In fact in Scotland there is a great love of all things deep fried although that is changing but still the tradition goes on among too many.

Remember to come and check them out.

Cathartic Experience

Do you ever feel trapped like a hamster on a wheel just doing the same routine every day and you are tired and your body and soul are stressed? I know I do.

I have a blog that I follow by Michelle Schroeder-Gardener called Making Sense of Cents ( Michelle and her family sold up, donated or gave away most of their possessions so that they could enjoy travelling and living a simpler life. This may seem very idealistic and many will say yah but we could never do that. Michelle now lives in an RV and spends her life viewing America and writing on line courses and blogging. She is happy to show her balance sheet and has made I believe around $100,000 in a year.

For many this is just too big a leap but hubby, myself and youngest daughter got rid of furniture , belongings and most worldly possessions and went to live in Scotland for 5 years. We flew back there with 3 suitcases and within 1 year we had everything we could want, except being close to our grandchildren.

My point is that when we got rid of the material things my back was not so bent nor were we homeless, depressed or feeling sorry for ourselves. only thing was home sickness for the family we left here.

A simple life does not have to be a hovel or extreme anything just learning to want less is the biggest thing. Don’t get me wrong I love to shop but I have now got to a stage, I hope, where I ask myself do I need it is it just a case of retail gratification?

One thing I would change if I could was when we went back, we felt we had to have suburbia and materialism. I wish we had the courage to live a totally different lifestyle as going to an office 5 days a week and only having weekends and holidays to call ours was just not good.

We are back in South Africa and now Sarah and I are self employed and husband has retired. I am also looking at a few interesting options to earn extra cash and I will let you know about these in the near future. I know we all have to live and eat and have a roof over our heads but must it be one that your friends are amazed by or must it just be where you are happy and unstressed?

For me it is what makes you happy and what you can afford. If I ever move again I want to be close to the sea. Where I can smell the salt air and see the horizon where sea and sky meet. Go find what makes you happy and enjoy life cause it ain’t that long.

Life Along the Way

I always think it is funny how nothing really changes between generations. When I was a child – many moons ago – I would never have entertained the idea of your parents having sex or seeing your grandma naked. Yes I was brought up in Scotland and things like that were never spoken about or thought about.

This is a picture of my parents Jessie Allan Sutherland and James Russell Sutherland. He was born on 26th February 1915 and she on 17th October 1920. 

They both had children from previous relationships and I was the only child of there union. I have 4 step sisters and 3 step brothers.



My dad had Mary, Elizabeth, Jim (James), and Catherine whose mom died when she was tiny and a cousin adopted her on the proviso that she never know my father was her real dad.

My mom had Margaret, John and Hughie. Unfortunately due to moving and changing continents we are not as close as we once were. Margaret and Betty have died and my father died way back in 1971. Mom in 2003.

No sadness here though because my memories are fairly happy ones with memories of days out in the car my dad managed to buy. Camping holidays in the highlands of Scotland. There was not a lot of money and the dishwasher was the kids. The washing machine was a tub with a wash board for stubborn marks, a wringer above it and we bathed once a week on Sundays. Oh I can hear the shouts of horror but that was the norm in those days among working class families. I even the remember the old ‘back to back’ range where the food was cooked on a stove in the kitchen but in the living room there was a fireplace and a tank which heated water. the stove and fire were ‘back to back’ hence the name. We also had the luxury of an indoor toilet in our home. It was a council house and my parents never owned their home but they lived in the same village from about 1956 to 2002. My mom moved about a year before she died. That is another story though. ( Check this one out

When I was four my father had a terrible bus accident – he drove them for a living. it was February and there was blizzard but the buses still had to run between Edinburgh and Stirling. At Turnhouse Airport two buses collided head on. This was the Airforce base in the area and today it is Edinburgh Airport. Here is the link to information on the early years. (

My father was seriously injured and walked with a limp from then on but he was in hospital or of work for two years as he had a heart attack after he came out of hospital from the accident. when I went to see him after the accident he had about 56 stitches in his face alone and I famously thew up at the seise of the bed.

This meant that there were seven of us in the house with not many breadwinners. I only realised when I was married, with kids of my own that I ate dripping on toast as a child as it was cheap and fed us all. I never remember feeling hungry or deprived. In those days though we played in the streets and my sweeties were a poke of sugar with a stick of rhubarb. Early version of chip and dip? The kids went out in the morning and were only home again when it was getting dark. I remember going into the farmers fields and nicking a turnip and cleaning the earth of it and eating it raw. It was delicious.

No I don’t want to go back to those days but they are a sharp contrast to our life now. We wanted more for our kids than we had and we did it but I am concerned that we concentrate on material wealth rather than happiness. We seem to confuse the two a bit.

Beautiful South Africa

South Africa is an amazing country. Sure we have crime but we also have some amazing people and places. We have high mountain ranges, desert like the Karoo, Loweld which is subtropical, the Garden route which is beautiful and runs from Cape Town to Knysna. Of course there is the mother City of Cape Town and the Jakaranda city of Pretoria. This country is so diverse and amazing that anyone who comes to visit or lives here is spoilt for choice.

My daughter and family have just been on holiday to Plettenberg Bay and did the right thing by making the drive back part of the holiday. They went to Oudtshoorn which is famous for its Ostriches. she sent this picture of the cutest ever baby bird.

Their next stop is Gariep Dam National Park then the final day is home via Bloemfontein (which in English is flower fountain).

Here is quick facts about SA

South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent, marked by several distinct ecosystems. Inland safari destination Kruger National Park is populated by big game. The Western Cape offers beaches, lush winelands around Stellenbosch and Paarl, craggy cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, forest and lagoons along the Garden Route, and the city of Cape Town, beneath flat-topped Table Mountain.
Capitals: Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein
Currency: South African rand


The Sunshine After The Storm

Yesterday we had a terrible storm with rain, thunder, lightning and high winds. This is not unusual here in summer but following one of the worst droughts in living memory we need this cooling and life giving dump of water. Today it is a beautiful day but it looks like more is on the way.

This picture was actually from one of the storms last week.

The reason I am mentioning this is that Sam our dog is terrified of them and we usually have a hard time with no sleep for any of us. Last night I resorted to giving him ‘rescue’ tablets which are a herbal anxiety remedy. He had a great sleep and was no problem whatsoever.

But I think we only appreciate sunshine after rain and rain after a drought. A peaceful night after a sleepless one.

Have a fantastic day and God bless



New Day being Day two of 2017

Well I decided to take a break at Bonomanzi which is on the edge of Bronkhorstspruit dam. We are in the Veld here or countryside and recently there have been a few snakes around. I believe they have been night adders which are venomous but not aggressive. This has caused a bit of disagreement about kill or move.

My feeling is that we are in their territory and need to void them. Thing that gets me is the spiders. There are so many at our place as it piders, snis under the trees with much insect life round.

Anyway before I go to bed I will check out who is in it.

Have a great evening and I hope you have as great a view as I do.



Well it is the 1st of January 2017 and we had a very quiet New Years eve except for all the fireworks around us. It is illegal but do the people care? NO. We spent the whole night with Sam Bam and Rosie, as they were petrified and really not enjoying it. Sam is always a problem with thunder and fireworks but Rosie is usually ok. We still love them though. Sleep is over rated isn’t it?

The man who hates fireworks and thunder

Not complaining as it is new Year so hope you all have a great time today and I think we are going to make our first Braai of the year.