2014 - the ones that got away
My blogging rate declined sharply in 2014. I took many more photos than I posted. A combination of factors was to blame - family commitments and illness, pace of work, blogging fatigue. To say goodbye to 2014, here are few of the photos that didn't make it into print.
First, three of my Christmas presents from 2013. Two Nigel Slater recipe collections and the long-awaited third, posthumous volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's 1930s journey on foot from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. I read Nigel Slater's recipe books for pleasure in the same way as novels.
Back in Edinburgh after the holiday, January started with lunch with my daughter at La Barantine in Bruntsfield Place. A gloriously French cafe in every aspect, including the galette des rois and crown (traditional French Twelfth Night cake).
It can seem a long haul until the winter darkness gives way to lighter evenings, and this poster outside an Edinburgh church seemed well-suited to the time of year. 'Sair' in Scots means painful or hurting.
Being lucky enough to live on an island, we have a good supply of fresh fish all year round. We buy our fish from a traditional fishmonger in the Edinburgh 'village' of Stockbridge. In recent years the winter traditional accompaniment to fish of samphire has been growing in popularity, and my eye was caught by the bright green strands on the fishmonger's slab.
There's a big market in tourist day trips from Edinburgh to the Highlands. Every morning minibuses in varying degrees of sophistication leave the city to give visitors at least a glimpse of Scotland. The bright orange minibuses of The Hairy Coo company have a distinctive slogan:
From one mode of transport to another - a duo of mobility scooters outside our village bakery on Speyside.
Controversy has surrounded a new power line from the north of Scotland to the central belt. The Beauly to Denny line runs through the central highlands on larger pylons than are presently there. Protestors have claimed that the line will spoil the landscape. Now that they're in place I have to say that I don't think they are much more intrusive than the pylons they've replaced. Below is one of the new pylons in mid-construction, looking rather symbolically artistic.
In May our son set off to Australia on a year's working visa. Here he is at Glasgow airport, checking in for the first leg of his journey to Dubai. He has just sent us fantastic New Year photos of Sydney Harbour fireworks. We're glad he's having a great time, and we combine that with missing him!
In the Spring our rhubarb came on stream. The most delicious combination is stewed rhubarb with Mackie's honeycomb ice cream.
A peaceful protest in Edinburgh city centre, below, of the Wool Against Weapons project allied to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
On holiday in France in June we discovered a surprising local product. We didn't sample it, being much more attracted by the discovery of the local Gaillac wines.
The Commonwealth Games mascot, Clyde, popped up all over the place in the summer. Below is the home-made version in the same community garden that featured in a recent post with a Christmas theme.
The Scottish independence referendum is inescapable in a retrospective of 2014. All sorts of polls were carried out. The most fun was this one from Cuckoo's Bakery. In the event the gap between 'yes' in favour of independence, and 'no' in favour of remaining in the Union, was closer than this, but was still a decisive 'no'.
Looking back at high summer from 'the year's midnight', it seems incredible that we will return to lush growth and warm sunshine. But come it will, and the slow return of the light is one of the joys of Scottish life.
Further north now, to Gothenburg and our referendum-aftermath escape in September. A slim Swedish lady sets out a high calorie array to tempt Saturday morning shoppers.
Strolling around the city with Swedish friends, at one point they urged us to look up. We would never have noticed this suspended swimming pool otherwise.
For your domestic repairs, whether eroded carvings or pink turrets, you can call on traditional stonemasons.
From the late autumn, a few examples from my garden of the long flowering season we've had this year.
On to pictorial flowers. These are on a tea towel that I bought at the Country Living Christmas Fair in Glasgow. Christine from Writing From Scotland and I made a foray there in the autumn.
We made sure to hang one of the bell ornaments from my childhood on the lowest branch, in memory of my cat who would sit under the tree batting softly with a paw at the tinkling bells.
Wishing you a Happy New Year when it comes!