Monday, 26 October 2009

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 forward to seeing you on your next trip back to Scotland.

Monday, 12 October 2009

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....?

Saturday, 10 October 2009

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 bottom and yet also in the smallest of places where the lichen and fern surround small mushrooms and autumn flowers. It is where the sea and its inlets merge and fill the base of the land with slate grays and brilliant blues.
You can still find Gaelic speakers in the homes and deer on the front lawns.
What's not to love about those warm colours, those misty days, the chill of autumn just arriving? Who can fail to be touched by the solitude, the grandeur, the power of the natural world? We cant wait to see it in the spring as well, with all the small flowers budding from rocks and earth and the light greens giving a velvet touch to the views.
Watch the post below in the Comments link for perspectives Ina Sunshine may share. Ina, pray tell the Spirits of the places we went to and things you saw. You warmed up yet, Girl?

Inspiration For New Travels
Scotland, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship "Outlandish". Its continuing mission to explore strange old worlds; to seek out old life and old civilizations; to boldly go where few human beings (or other species) have gone before!
Many times during this trip I have turned to Scot and said "We HAVE to take our friends here! Let's organise a tour." He, being a dour Highland Scotsman, mumbles things about "market research, customer led tour design, " yada yada.
As you might have gathered from the Jamie and Claire Tour website, the tours develop from a wish list, building each tour to our inspired travel dreams and desires. So what I'm putting out there now is a question, nay a Challenge! Who would like to come to Scotland's more remote and most beautiful places, and have a hand in the creation of a unique adventure? Outlandish Spirits step forward!
Some basic ideas, many from Ina, to begin with:
~The tour would need to be about 8 days long, so we have time to reach these remote places.
~It can be for a regular budget, staying in 3-4 star B&B's or or limited budget, staying in hostel / bunkhouse accommodation.
~The tour would NOT take place in the summer (the least interesting season in Scotland, as Scot calls it), but rather spring or autumn, depending on the choices of those involved.
~The vibe of this tour would be Solitude, Contemplation, Awe, Connection to the Land, W-i-i-i-i-i-i-de Vistas, ancient sacred sites, BIG skyes, Mist.

Want to create and be a part?
Email me through the J&C website, link above, and we'll start to create it. (Only those wishing to make the journey please.)

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 (?!)