Showing posts from 2009


Hi Everyone! I've jumped on the bandwagon to cut my (negative) impact on this fantastically beautiful planet! So I'm asking each of you to do the same, since it is the season to BE THANKFUL & SPREAD THE CHEER. I will try to be creative and I will try to make it as easy as possible for each of you. So here is my first idea for you. Click on the 3/50 Project:
(not to be confused with - which is great too!)
The premise of the 3/50 Project is this:
Since it's the gift giving season, what better time to do this?

As the 3/50 site says:
3: What three INDEPENDENTLY OWNED BUSINESSES would you miss if they disappeared? Stop in. Say Hello. Pick up something that brings a smile (and is hopefully useful).…

Happy Halloween & Celtic New Year Blessings

Thanks to Hamish Burgess of Maui Celtic for the following:
The Celtic New Year on the eve of November 1st, SAMHAIN (pronounced 'sha-ven' or 'sow-en' depending where you were), the Celtic Feast of the Dead, or the feast to the dying sun, marked the beginning of Winter, with the harvesting finished and the (photo of my three pumkins, sam)start of stockpiling fuel and produce. Bonfires were lit, and household fires extinguished to be rekindled later from the ceremonial fires, to welcome returning souls of the dead. The ancient Druids believed the Lord of Death, Saman, gathered together evil souls, and so the Irish called this evening Oiche Samhna (The Vigil of Saman). The goddess Bride or Brigit, ended her ruling season, and her straw crosses were put up to proect family and livestock. In Scotland, Cailleach Bheur, goddess of winter, began her reign. (3 pumpkins gazing up at the moon)For myself, Samantha, the celebration is extra special, because my mom and dad met at a d…

Celts in the New World

Feasgar math and Aloha! If you followed the blog, you'll have seen bits about Hamish Burgess whom we met up with at Crainesmuir one day. Hamish is a Celt, living in Hawaii. He is a piper, an artist, an historian and basically a Renaissance Celtic Man - or would that be a Celtic Renaissance Man? Here's a bit of his work and his Maui Celtic web site:

He has everything from designed t-shirts to beautiful pieces like this:
You can also hear him every Sunday morning as a host for great Celtic music on Mana'o Radio at 8am Hawaii Time:
This is public radio with no commercials - please do donate even just a couple of dollars to the station if you can - it really is supported by people and is so much nicer than stations playing 'corporate list pop music' and trying to sell things to teenagers!

So you can take the boy out of the motherland, but..........

Mahalo Hamish! We look f…

We grew a....POTATO or two!

Things to inspire: Harvest time. As blog followers will perhaps know, we have only lived a year in our house. This is the first time we have had land and time to grow things. Yesterday we lifted the last of our massive potato harvest.
Pictured is my husband, who is INORDINATELY proud of a few spuds that HE grew. (What no pladdie laddie?!)
Few things satisfy a Highlander more than the prospect of a winter of eating potatoes, self grown.

Also starring in the picture are Arran Victory 1918, a heritage variety. They are shown to their fullest effect, outshining the lad, only just, from top to bottom as, "just harvested", "stored" and "washed". The latter displaying their luscious pinky purple hew.
The Arrans were just one of five varieties, amounting to some 100lb / 50kg that we will be making our way through this winter and spring.
Now where did I put that potato recipe book....?

Ina - loanspirit

Ina's Return and the Starship "Outlandish"
This last week has been spent in the company of my Sunshine sista, Ina. As I write, she wings her way back to Hawai'i. Under the heading of "Things to Inspire", which is after all a main focus of this blog, Ina left the comfort of 80+ degrees to make her second visit to Scotland! We are mustering all of 45-55 degrees currently in mid-October. (Pic: Ina & Scot basking in a sunny window during high tea in a castle hotel).

She came to enjoy Scotland in perhaps its most "grand" season, the Autumn. As blog followers might recall, we had intended to make Ina's trip into a reconnaissance for a tour of the amazing Outer Isles, but time was limited, so we went as far as a remote area of the west coast which we hope to take our traveling companions to in the future on our way to the outer isles - the Hebrides.

This is a land of mountains where the colors of autumn were painted in grandness from top to bo…

Welcome to Scotland

As an American living in Scotland, as a tour guide for other visitors, married to a Scot... Billy Connolly - "Welcome to Scotland". An Eejit's guide to Scotland. Brilliant! Contains Strong language. Also explains why all my rented kitchens prior to this one were carpeted (?!)

Jamie and Claire Tour September 2009

September is the time to see the purple on the heather, but this year, it has been outshone by the rich crop of Rowan berries. I have named this tour “The Rowan tour”.On it, we have Glenn and Jeana, a couple from New England, and Denise and Debbie, two friends since their childhood, coming to Scotland for the first time. They are also celebrating their birthdays.
(Pic: Debbie, Denise, Samantha, Glenn, Jeana)
We set off from Edinburgh this morning and an exclusive little, hidden accommodation that our guests have been mightly impressed with. As we travel along we have been practicing our GĂ idhlig. We started with the word Fraoch. The name for Heather Ale. Which led us onto ale at lunch. Our pronunciations are varying from Fraych to Frach, but generally getting in the right vacinity (which of course, cannot be rendered here in English). Looks like we'll have to practice with a bottle or two to aid the vocal chords. Jeana, a natural linguist, cannot apparently get her tongue arou…

What is this?

The September 2009 Jamie and Claire Tour is in progress. I thought I'd whet your appetite with this image, mid tour. All will be explained in the full blog, next week. At least I hope I can explain this...

September Inspires

Things to inspire....
Despite the sudden, but yet somehow quite typical, downpour that August has become, we are inspired by our lovely garden of wildflowers. I have been out of a night talking with the owls, who talk back of course. This expands the former early evening soiree of "singing to cows".
"The boys" as I call them live over the road and saunter up to the field head each night. Sometimes they even sing back.

Anyway, to the matter in hand: Outlandish Spirit, Ina. As you may remember, Little Miss Ina Sunshine was on the May Jamie and Claire Tour. So inspired was she by Scotland's beauty that she is coming back. Very soon.

She picked up on the existence of Calanais when here. I mentioned that I was thinking about offering a tour to these remote and remarkable standing stones as a further, off-book adventure to Outlandish Spirits, perhaps ones that had been on the Jamie and Clarie Tour and wanted to explore the Western Isles, which of course, Jamie and…

The July Jamie and Claire Tour

Blog of July 2009 Jamie and Claire Tour with Conny and her Mutter, Iris.
Pic: Scottish Bluebells in July
Day 1The next Outlandish Adventure begins! The Homecoming Gathering finished in Edinburgh yesterday and my tour was timed to allow our Outlandish Spirits to attend and meet Diana. So Conny was very pleased by that. Poor Diana, all those signatures in books... Having stopped off to gather sixteen bottles of good Scottish ale (for those picnics in the heather) we have drifted into the mist of the Highlands, leaving behind our friend Hamish, a piping Celt living in Hawai'i who is over here on a brief visit for the Homecoming Gathering. We shared some time with him in Cranesmuir, nibbling on the herbs in the kitchen garden, always mindful of witches. “The garden was perfect after the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh; it was so calm.” opines Conny. No witch burnings today, come back after the next session of the Scottish Parliament.Pic: Cranesmuir today.
The ladies went to exper…

New interviews with Diana G.

In May and June 2009, Scottish Memories magazine ran two articles on Diana Gabaldon, written by Jean Britain. Scot and I contributed to the second.
Jean has given me permission to publish them for those of you who don't get Scottish Memories. These are the unedited versions, so longer than the published ones. I have also included the FULL interview with Jean and myself.
Click for PDF versions of articles

Jamie and Claire Tour - May 2009

So we have roared straight through Belteine, not even pausing to really welcome the start of the Light Half of the year because I have been so busy putting the final touches to the first Jamie and Claire Tour. The day has finally arrived! The Jamie and Claire Tour (May) has begun and this entry will be the blog of our week on the Highland trail, with insights, images of the land and of course, Matters of Great Import regarding the journey of Claire, Jamie and Clannsmen through the Highlands. Day 1 – into the HighlandsWe have two Outlandish Spirits with us, Hannah and Ina. More from them later when they have recovered from the adventure of their International Flights. After months of anticipation, the first explorers have come to see what Inspirations 18th Century Scotland has in store to fire their souls.

We hope many.Our visit to “Cranesmuir” (two pics) did not involve being nailed to the pillory, or being burned as a witch (despite the company of the tour), but we did explore th…