Sunday, 31 March 2013

A Czech/Scottish Easter

Now 15 years old, these Easter eggs are a reminder in our house of similarly bitterly cold Easter on Speyside.  Our au pair that year, Lenka,  was from the Czech Republic, and was determined that our Easter eggs would be properly decorated in the traditional Czech way.  Having sent home for the necessary transfers and dyes, Lenka then organised an onion-skin gathering trip to the local Tesco for the dye that would give some of the eggs their lovely, mottled brown colouring. I remember that under her guidance we bought one onion and a lot of loose skins - why buy a pound of onions if it's only the skins you need?  Very appealing to Scottish sensibilities. 

The eggs were varnished once cool, and although we rolled the plain dyed ones, we kept those with the beautiful transfers and flower designs.  Amazingly most of them have lasted.  I like to display them in this Swedish dish, handmade from alder and ash.

This design was made by pressing a small flower against the surface of the egg and then tying on a piece of mesh from the sort of bags that oranges come in.

The rolling took place on the same hill that I rolled Easter eggs on as a child - a lovely continuity, and with the added scenic background of a castle dating from the 13th century.   I wondered each year what the original inhabitants of the castle would have made of the egg rolling.


Below, my Easter 'branch' decorated with painted eggs, birds, birds' nests and rabbits.

And outside, brave crocuses and pansies.  We are heading off to the allotment this afternoon despite the cold, to start the Spring Dig.  I'm already looking forward to the hot cross buns we'll have earned when we come back. 

Wishing you a Happy Easter from Scotland.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Skywatch Friday - Prizren, Kosovo

Stepping outside Scotland this week for a sunset over the town of Prizren, in the south of Kosovo.  The shot above was taken from the shell of the castle overlooking the town.

Below, a shot taken in the moment after the sun had dipped below the mountain ridge.  I have never seen a faster-setting sun, leaving me to wonder if the sun is slower in Scotland.  Perhaps it's the cold with us that does it.  

Prizren is a town of mosques and churches - notice the minaret of the mosque on the left, and the church belfrey on the right.

I was in Kosovo recently on a work trip - some more photos to come shortly in a brief deviation from things Scottish.

More skies from around the world are at Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

As the days lengthen...

...the frost strengthens, as the cheerful Scottish saying goes.  And indeed it does.  After a night of freezing temperatures and hail on Sunday I looked out to discover my early daffodils drooping with the frost.  I'm waiting to see how resilient they're going to be.

The quad of Edinburgh University's Old College looks Christmas-cardish in the snow.  And what's that little disturbance slightly to the left of centre?

A mini snow...Martian?

All in all, the snow is an excuse for that savoury Scottish morning pick-me-up - a bacon or sausage roll.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mother's Day - Cairngorms style

If you live beside the Cairngorm mountains, you probably do covet a Mother's Day gift of...climbing thingies.  Perhaps a climber among my readers can tell me exactly what they are.

Today is Mother's Day in the UK, and this was the seasonal decor in the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore yesterday.  The cafe was packed - people queuing up on the stairs to get in - so my photo-framing opportunities were limited.  Still, I brazened it out, to the sound of husbandly eye-rolling.  (For daughterly eye-rolling, see St Andrews jewels)

Friday, 8 March 2013


What a delightful surprise to encounter a shop window where poetry rather than selling is to the fore.  And have you ever seen such beautiful flower names?  

Well done to John Lewis for another artistic window.  If you haven't seen it already, have a look at the Christmas card to Edinburgh.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Last snow of the winter?

For most of the winter we have been in a snow-free bubble in Edinburgh.  The rest of Scotland, and even the rest of the UK, have had dumps of snow.  Traffic-stopping, school-closing snow.  So it was a surprise to travel north through the central Highlands the other weekend and discover the white stuff.  Above, Blair Atholl.  Below, a desolate scene at the Drumochter Pass.

Herds of deer were foraging near the road.  

Blank hillsides - hard to remember that these were vibrant with purple heather a few months ago.

On the lower hillsides of Speyside the snow had all but vanished.  Is it wishful thinking that there is a slight haze of spring buds about the trees?


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