Dovecot – Art Perception

Dovecot Studio
Dovecot Studio – Edinburgh

A little culture this weekend, my mum is in town, and has finally made it since the pandemic. Beating the lottery of rail strikes and our hectic weekends.

There’s an exhibition down at the dovecot studio, an amazing place of both history and creativity. Once a place of exercise and well being, the first public baths to be built in Edinburgh back In 1885 and in use for approximately 100 years. Fated for demolition the dovecot foundation took the building into its concern and opened in 2008 as Dovecot Studies a working venue and events space. Today we are here for the exhibition exploring Scottish Women Artists: 250 years of challenging perception. I’m here as much for the building, the architecture, the working nature of the building as much as the outcome of the art. I get lost in a seven minute film about the Dovecot and how it’s collaborated with some of the artists on show today. I’m able to get up close to the tapestries and just amazed at the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the use of colours.

In other news I’ve been dabbling with substack notes as a way to just write up a few things, a practice/daily habit around writing and posting something that might peak an interest. The freedom of it being a note opens up the ability to just get on and post something.

The main newsletter hasn’t been touched since August and I know I need to tend to it…..first job to tackle for the week coming. Thanks for reading and thanks for coffee.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.


L-Plates on the Fridge

The magnetic L plates arrived yesterday and in an effort of comedy we put them on the fridge!

It’s 6:15pm in the kitchen as I’m making dinner. Excitement bursts through the front door, I’ve got about 5 seconds before the kitchen feels a fire ball of energy, a seventeen year old with more energy than Tigger from Winnie The Pooh. I can’t quite match the enthusiasm, it’s there, I’m committed, I was seventeen once. Deep down though I’m scared, an hour and half of scary moments, tense and a loss of control. This is a big moment so I don’t want to dampen the mood, it’s almost like he’s been counting the seconds to the day.

Dinner is a gathering of left overs, the left over curry sauce from the takeaway that we froze for an easy mid week . Quick and simple stir fry kind of fayre. A small onion diced, softened in oil. chicken breast chopped into chunky bite sized pieces. Mushrooms, sliced. Half courgette that was rolling around in the fridge (don’t ask). They all go in the sauté pan, and just a case of building up the dish. Then a tin of chickpeas and the curry sauce gently bubbling away whilst we get the rice cooked through. The boys get a full on carb hit, whilst we have Cauliflower rice.

So the table is bouncing as we eat, bants thrown across the table. Mamma trying to instill some calm and collected advice. Listen to your dad, remember this is a killing machine. There is a field of energy that this kind of talk just bounces off. As we walk down the road to my brother in laws to pick up the keys. The guard is let down, and he gives me the pep talk! A pause and then I sense this is my moment to reciprocate. It’s received, the acknowledgement between coach and coachee.

We agree that I will drive off first, and take us to a safe place. The car alien to me, it’s probably never had a valet in 10 years. PaPa never seeing the need for such a thing and although the mileage is low it’s been well used. I accelerate too loudly, the brakes are spongy compared to what I’m used to and the clutch interchange very light. The transition between a VW van and a fiesta needs to take place quickly as I hit the main road.

We make it to the university car park and started with the basics, clutch, break, accelerator. This I hear had all been watched through on YouTube previously so the theory only need to be light. The reality though is a little different, pulling off gently, the kangaroo hops and then coming to a stop albeit at 5-10 miles an hour a little different. The sensation of being put through the windscreen as the brakes were applied made it all real. His palms are sweaty, the windows need to go down so he doesn’t get too hot. The lessons have started.

In other news, the sun has really turned on it’s charm this week. I need to get my wife to put the winter duvet on more often! As we were heading into colder climes, it was like someone flicked a switch and said hang on there! There is a little more warmth to be had out of the days. Despite opening the curtains to mist and fog, it’s usually burnt off during the day and it’s been welcome to be out in shorts and t-shirt whereas last week I was starting to think about the gloves.

As a result each morning we’ve been greeted with a humid mist that tends to lift around early morning. An eerie spell cast over the city. An early walk into work and I pass through the old town and I can feel what it must have felt like back in the day.

On my cooking journey I expanded out my digital garden, I’m creating a few anchor points to hang my content from. The library, the books I’m going to dip into as I cook over the next few months. The Shed, the base of operations, a bit of a log, the things that will get me through.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Aches and UPFs

Aches and UPFs

Words have been elusive for weeks, I’ve been on a bit of hiatus. Trying to learn more about process, Obsidian and templates. More a huge snake pit of discovery rather than a bunch of rabbit holes.

So I find myself back, Monday morning, 6:20am typing with the aches and pains of a weekend well used. Two Munros on Saturday, a rough 18 miles (Beinn a Chaorainn and & Beinn Bhreac) followed by a cheeky one on the Sunday just under 10 miles (An Socach). On my own I’m afforded the chance of digging into an audible book and some tunes. Which may feel like defeating the purpose of being one with nature.

Believe me when I tell you soaked through to the skin with bubbles forming in my water proof trousers. Boots that had formed their own water ecosystem. I saw enough nature and the point was more my own company, sense of achievement and a chance to dig into something.

The walking guide….from (Beinn a’ Chaorainn & Beinn Bhreac (Walkhighlands)) gives a nod to stage 5 as the vast tablelands of the Moine Bhealaidh which stretch ahead for several kilometres, with Beinn a’Chaorainn visible in the distance.

At no point does this suggest…a scene out of the gloomiest parts of Lord of the rings or the nothing in Neverending Story. A place that goes on forever, with drudgery! I found a river that couldn’t quite decide which direction it was going in. Just bog and wet for miles with nothing to keep me company but my hand and my poles. I could just about see them in front of me. The book to it’s credit does suggest that it might be difficult to navigate in poor visibility. An understatement! Armed with two garmins and an OS map, I ploughed through it!

It didn’t help having the thought of the only guy I passed telling me the weather was going to get really bad and he was going to head to the pub, watch the football with the option of coming back Monday. One there is no pub for miles, two I’ll be back at the grindstone on Monday, so this is it this is my day to conquer these hills.

There is a sense of deep achievement though as I head down the home straight, along the track and back through pine trees of old. Breathing in deep and soaking up the air filtered by the trees. Despite the damp, greens and purples fill the sights with a feeling of things being alive.

It takes me a good half hour back at the van to peel away the waterproofs, ring out my socks, and get some normality back into my fingers and toes. The sun comes out just as I leave the car park! A rainbow and some warmth. A blessing for drying out, that cold beer with fish and chips back at the campsite as I stare into space.

The next day, it’s a different story, almost t-shirt and shorts worthy in comparison! I hear the call of the deer and more importantly I get my egg sandwich in the dry and with a view!

Back to what I was listening to, a little music, some beats interspersed with chapters from:

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert a repeat listen, and for any writer or creative person there are so many pearls of wisdom.

Ultra Processed People: Why do we all eat stuff that isn’t food. Five chapters in I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. An exploration of food and the industrialisation and processing of what we eat and what it means. Really accessible and thought provoking.

A couple of take away points:

  • Whole foods are so important to health, the extraction of the good things combined with all manner of science and industrialisation of meals isn’t progress.
  • Modern foods are designed to make us want and eat more. I give you Pringles, once I start I can’t stop!

A small slice of the topic covered here, with a 6 minute take on UPFs:

I feel like I need to double down on my efforts around cooking and sharing those recipes that are easy to make!

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

That feeling – memento mori

M.C. Escher, Eye (seventh and definitive state), mezzotint, October 1946

M.C. Escher, Eye (seventh and definitive state), mezzotint, October 1946

I know for some of my readers, I’m just a boy and the logic inside me tells me to keep going your doing OK.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln

Yesterday however I got a real sense of feeling that I’m getting old as I spent the day in the office. It didn’t help that someone in passing said to me you won’t have long to go now. He was talking about early retirement, part of the conversation of him turning 40 the day before, and then weeks earlier having his first child. The person next to him, his manager also within a few weeks of turning 40 and part of my managers leadership team. I looked around in those milliseconds where a response in jest is required. I was the oldest by a good 10 years, motivation shot to pieces and had just been reading about the latest organisation restructures. It included someone I went to lunch with a rough 25 years ago. They were moving on to take a break or so the rhetoric implied.

I responded with some glib remark about having a while yet and that I still need to get the boys off the books and how I’ve still got the mortgage. He was envious that I might escape and he didn’t know I’d be writing about the encounter today. For me I wasn’t sure how I’d be feeling about seeing myself in the organisation, the pang of regret that I was stagnating again. It was more the 40 year old beside him, I didn’t know how old he was until then, it didn’t matter until he put a number on it and I’d just seen him as a peer someone who I go into battle with to get things done.

There are more and more moments like this, watching Indiana Jones and the lost ark with my son at the weekend. Harrison Ford was 38 when he made it! Flipping heck, I was barely 10 years old when I saw it and Mr Ford I thought was an old swashbuckler, a professor no less.

With each passing obituary on the news, Sinead O’Connor (56) and the popular British journalist George Alagiah (67) just this week I’m reminded of the seconds counting down. My dad passing at 64 and then my grandad at 98. It’s mind boggling the difference, the lottery and I hope I’m somewhere in the middle.

We have my father-in-law (87) coming over tomorrow, looking for a flat nearby, there has been mention of the big C, possibly manageable. All I can do is provide that shoulder of support to my wife.

It’s not a great post in terms of mood, my thoughts need reframing. 7am, I look out the window, the rain is on…’s time to decide, to run or not to run.

An image of a running route

So I did run, and the sun came out, I took in the smells, and breathed deeply as the tunes bouncing around from my watch to the headphones (isn’t Bluetooth amazing). I noticed the blackberries are on the way. The elderberries camouflaged in green, fully formed and not quite turned. I wonder could I come back nearer the time with my Tupperware box. I take a different turn than normal for this route. It’s painful there is a dip an up hill, another up hill, it’s my walking route in reverse. A metaphor for rewinding my thinking. To face into the challenge and defy the resistance, to change the route means to change the direction I’m going in and be better. I can run up this hill and I can take on the next challenge, there is time.

The weekend has arrived and we are taking the opportunity to try out a fish restaurant, Fin and Grape (that is new to us) this evening, and a way to close the week. 77 reviews and 5 stars, that is something to get excited about. Will let you know how we get on.

For the cookbook lovers out there I thought I’d share a picture of their cookbook shelves from instagram. Loving the sound of the ‘A very serious cookbook’! I spend the next five minutes looking it up and find it’s the story of some of some of the recipes from Contra and Wildair, Lower East Side tasting restaurant in New York. Something for the bucket list!

I’ve worked through some new recipes to keep the boys happy, taken from a fitness magazine and a library book, needed a little reworking for me, my kitchen. I’ll get them up on Cook One Thing soon:

If you cook one thing then it has to be the Tuscan Style Chicken dish, really worked a treat and kept my seventeen year old you busy for a half hour or so!

Underrated and a 12 Week Year!

As a four we struggle to find something we can all watch, last night however we hit a sweet spot with the latest basketball related documentary.

Bit of a tear jerker for me at the end, but nothing from the rest of the crew. Heartless!! Full of inspiration, hard work and determination. A nice take on the game and what feels like a really humble guy compared to the the other star studied documentaries we’ve watched (not that I didn’t enjoy them as well!). The last dance is definitely a must watch if you are into that thing.

Determined to get a coffee share up this week, it’s been a while and I think I’ve mentioned before that summer takes me away from the desktop. There just feels so much to do. This morning the boss is out for a run and I feel I’ve put my strides in so taking a few minutes to check in and say hello.

If we were having coffee I’d let you know that last week was more of a transition week, back into work after a few weeks away camping. Which provided quite a tonic for the mind and soul. I wrote daily with the theory that I could share the journey. It helped with the practice of writing, kept the muscle going. Editing I think is another muscle that needs to be worked on. Facing into that might be hard when the priorities come on thick and fast.

So, back on the grid this week after three weeks away. Monday, getting ready was tough. I was all out of kilter, my memory of things that needed to go in the pannier, what I had in my locker and pulling my lunch together was not very slick! I need to do better 🤪

With being away, my brain was free to think and became full to bursting of things that I wanted to do around creativity, side line activities and distractions.

I’d gone down a rabbit hole of sketch noting the week before we’d left. Sketchnotes at their heart are simply a way of note taking with a flair of creative expression.

My ideas of grandeur, just grew and grew as the days in the mountains peeled back the layers of being stuck at the PC. Either side of the mountains we visited both Strasbourg and the Hague, and I dropped in on a couple of art shops. Wow, like being a child in a candy store. Needless to say I came away with a new journal (because I haven’t got enough of them on the go!) and a few pens that would revolutionise my new ability!

So Monday morning, first thing I unwrapped the new journal, and like a rabbit in headlights wondered where and how to start! The blank page creating a feeling of electricity that just numbs the brain into blankness.

It wasn’t cheap and so along side on a cheapo dot grid I made a rough plan of a plan and then …just bit the bullet and started thinking about the next 12 weeks, treating as a year and what would I like to achieve.

At the same time I attended a webinar for the 12 week year approach. Full of good food for thought. A little disappointed that it was full of upsell on further ways of spending money to make my life great. Key takeaway for me was the concept of my execution system and my brain jumps to the quote:

You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems

James Clear

So this week I’ve been running with the idea on how to bring my culinary thoughts together, push through the resistance and get back into the rhythm of working on the book. I now have a working title ‘Cook One Thing’. It feels like a gift, as suggested by Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert). I find the URL hasn’t been taken, a further sign that this is mine and something to get behind.

I also recently came across the concept of a Digital Garden, and been wondering how I can manage my eco system. I’ve been quiet for a few days, trying to get my head around the best approach to doing this from self hosting through to just pushing the button through Obsidian Publish. I tried the self hosting hosting route using GitHub and Netifly. It worked, and then I felt myself drifting away into the technology side for technology sake. I really need to focus on the content, the book and pushing that forward rather than an endless loop of looking for the best tools for the job. So I pushed the button on Obsidian Publish, at 8$ a month it just cut through a lot of nonsense. I had a post up within 15 mins. The custom domain took a little longer, the instructions are fairly straight forward, I bit that bullet as well and just accepted that Obsidian Publish works with Cloudflare. The cost seemed reasonable at about 9$. Just left me to get my head around the publish interface in Obsidian. A breeze and honestly works really well.

New domain name….CookOneThing, is up and running, I’m keen to set myself a goal around a weekly ship, an update through substack Scribble and Scran (something else that feels like a blank journal on opening!)

The dailies and photo’s from the break are on my mind, as is a new 12 week year and focus.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

BBQ Season and Ben Lui

Monday Morning and the body is sore, evidence of a full weekend. It feels like I should be going into work for a rest!

Out for dinner with friends on Friday, a celebration of them being married for 25 years and our long friendship throughout. We catchup up on the kids, their successes and next steps. We talk through our plans, our holidays our dreams our woes, putting the various wrongs to rights. . It’s a late one, and despite needing the sleep, the natural body clock kicks in and we wake at 6 as per usual!

Saturday and it’s sunny again, the run of good weather is un-heard of. The garden is parched, we’ve not had rain for what feels like weeks and last weekend saw me bring the BBQ back to life. I know I’d put it to bed in a clean state….but after a winter out in the yard it felt like it needed another going over. I hate cleaning the BBQ!

It will be put to good use today, my son has his got his pals coming round at four for a BBQ. Not sure what the lure is over cooking outside, when we’ve got our kitchen right beside us! Maybe it’s a strange primal instinct, perhaps where man needs fire! Something about bellowing smoke and the abandon in which you can cook lots of things at once.

Before that though the messages need to be done, and I need to think of something for my wife and I that isn’t just meat on top of meat. I offer up the Portobello loop, our Saturday cycle, errands included (the butchers and fishmonger on the high street). This time with a flask, a takeaway scone from the beach house. Amazingly the benches are free, the wind is our friend in that moment no one wants to hang about. We watch the waves and the world go by.


We are back for lunch, armed with an Arbroath smokie, which takes me a good 10 mins to remove any trace of bones despite a clean removal of the back spine, a little butter in a pan, a couple of eggs and then the broken fish. Heaven.

The BBQ goes well, I start before they arrive, aubergine, peppers, courgettes, A little mint, honey and goats cheese. I didn’t need to know about that winning combination! I do a little extra for the salads during the week.

I get the boys out the way first, sausages, chicken thighs that have been marinated in a little curry paste and Greek yoghurt. A burger, some sliced cheese. We leave them to it, sit at the bottom of the garden, something cold in hand and a few nuts. The sun is not to be wasted.

A piece of Tuna and a decent Steak which is shared between us. Combined with the grilled veggies, a lemon and herby chermoula. Followed by a bowl of fresh strawberries, we feel blessed for a Saturday evening.

Sunday and we are up early and out the door by 6am. We are hitting the mountains in the hope the dry weather means the river is low. The Munro we’d marked down for bagging has mention of the river that needs to be forded and something that should not be done in spate. The irony of the motorway signs on the way up mentioning a yellow warning, with heavy rain being due is not lost on us!

We arrive in the carpark around 8.30, there are spare boots left here and there, a sign of previous fording perhaps. The road had followed the river up valley and my mind is in the space that it can’t be that bad. Fortunately it’s about 100m from the car par and although we’ve brought our wellies, a five minute check, the river is clearly parched and an easy call to make that we don’t need the extra footwear. Breakfast done, it’s time to get going. The crossing was a breeze, and the tunnel aside for needing to get low for my rucksack also not a problem. A steady climb from then on in. Through the trees, the air full of fresh pine and bright green new shoots.

Ben Lui, from the River Crossing

It feels a little odd to drive 2 hours and then to put oneself through such physical hard ship, the climb, the screaming on the muscles due to the steepness. It’s here though where I realise, I put demons to bed and square off that we are not here long, the mountains have been here a while and will be for a little longer.

Ben Lui – Climb
Compulsory Selfie in the Clouds – Made it
It’s neighbor Beinn a Chleibh – Lunch awaits at the top

It’s not too sunny, with lots of cloud and although not a great view, it’s atmospheric and perhaps a good thing we can’t see the drop. Add to that it’s not too hot. As we come down the other side we catch people sweating buckets, as the cloud cover disappears. The cost of starting late, and getting the views. Just one of those typical weather days in the Scottish Mountains. We got our picnic on the 2nd summit dry and in good spirits. Another two in the bag.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Coffee Menorca

Ensaimada with Nutella

Cuatro Por favor, is how the day has started over the last few days. Followed by a becoming arm that says no problem, follow me, promptly leading us to a free table. This guys job is solely to get folk seated, returning to the door promptly for the next set of guests. It’s a conveyor belt!

The coffee is strong and viscose, the first thing to be put on the table as we arrive into the dining hall. A mark of territory to the busy staff, someone has claimed table, don’t sit anyone else there given the guests the opportunity to hunt down the killer breakfast from the buffet. Thank fully there is a tea pot with just hot water, supposedly for those who want tea. In this case for me it’s a chance to bring the coffee up to something more than tepid at the same time as watering down the treacle like substance. It becomes reasonably drinkable and is welcome to go along side today’s offering of a freshly cooked omelette.

This week my coffee share is from an island in the Balearic sea, Menorca. The first couple of days the weather is changeable, warm rain, a little breeze, enough to give us some blue skies. Despite the cloud cover, my eldest caught the sun and a warning for the rest of the week as the cloud disappeared to constant blue skies.

A change of scene. No talk of databases, build cycles or deadlines. It’s there at the back of the mind, however it gradually dissipates. I’ve left a great team to push on, to keep going. I feel bad for leaving in a peak of craziness. There is never a good time though, the world of IT keeps giving! A chance to escape and a chance to de-stress.

I’ve wrestled the American gods by Neil Gaiman into submission and enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve succumbed to afternoon naps, an ice cream and a beer in the sun. Even a dip in the sea. I’ve kept the running up, more to keep the all you can eat buffets at bay. For someone who likes their food a battle of wills at every sitting. Trying to stay away from the carbs (apart form the desserts), and the ensaimada with Nutella. I’ve stuck to the proteins, taking that chance to try different sea foods although I’m sure they are a little overcooked as the resort caters for the masses rather than quality.

We explored a tiny bit of the southern tip of the island, running together. I’d got several routes in mind from google maps, however we were thwarted by the rocky terrain of the paths. No problem for hikers walking the cami de cavalls trail around the island or trail runners who never cease to amaze me. I however like a sure footing and definitely not keen to twist an ankle! So we kept to the streets and explored the other direction.

We did walk a tiny bit of the trail, and found a lovely cove that beckoned me back for another trip, this time with my trunks and a towel. I leave with the memory of the turquoise blue sea, our family in harmony as we came and went with the flow of the day and a break from the norm.

It’s our last full day as I type this up and I’ll be glad to get to our own menu’s, our own coffee. It’s possible we’ll be returning to warm weather and the start of summer. Three weeks to go for the 10k and a whole bunch of project work waiting for me.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Munro Kershaw

Heading into NoWhere, tunes in my head

Last weekend I was taken back, what feels like yesterday to me, maybe forty years on paper.

Originally it was meant to be a small village in the highlands just minutes from my fravourite campsite. The chip shop that owns a marquee at the back, hosting events, local gigs for the surrounding scottish bands. In this case, I’m not sure how I first heard, it might have been the flyer in the chip shop. It might have been the feed in facebook, and at first I couldn’t believe it. An 80’s pop icon, not just any though, he was my 80’s pop icon. My first album on cassette, maybe even my 2nd album on vinyl. I couldn’t believe it, Nik Kershaw, with his band an intimate gig At Blair Athol.

Oddly enough I couldn’t get anyone else interested! So I came up with my own plan, I’d camp literally 5 minutes away, enjoy the evening and then bag a couple of Munro’s by myself. This feels like 3 years ago. The whole pandemic thing kicked in and played it’s part. Then it was supposed to be last year. I still followed through on the camping and got the Munro’s in. Amazingly though, it still stayed postponed, a new date arranged and then disaster the venue changed. No longer a 5 minute walk from the campsite, a different place some 20 minutes down the road. The Pitlochry town hall. On the plus side, still going ahead on the downside new accommodation plans required. Pitlochry full of guest houses, B&Bs and hotels not a problem. Even a YHA which I opted for in order to keep the price down. Option of taking my own food, great kitchen a dining area. An 8 minute walk to the town hall. In the end no biggy.

So in the end in the strangest of places, I got to a concert for an artist whose album I purchased some forty years ago using a record token my uncle had given me for my 11th birthday. An amazing couple of hours, a remarkable experience that bridged the passage of time, connecting me with my cherished musical memories. Even playing the song that started off that first album, transporting me back to that long since gone record store in Kendal high street where you could listen to an album before you bought it.

I hung around for little bit and even got to meet him, he could have been any guy, but having seen him perform some of those cherished songs for 2 hours it was a night to remember.

The day after I was up bright an early in order to tackle the 2 out of the six Munro’s I couldn’t quite face after completing 4 from the year before. I’m glad I hadn’t tackled them, bit of a beast of a day. A quintessential day in the mountains, starting all moody and misty where it gradually disappeared and I was rewarded with a mixture of wind and sun. A 15k cycle in, followed by a 16k hike that took in the mighty Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil.

Food wise, I was armed with mackerel sandwiches, all kinds of mountain bars and a soup for good measure. I made it back to the campsite, that id originally booked for the weekend and made a really simple beef bourguignon with rice from one of those pre-cooked pouches.

I did have big plans for the write up of this adventure, and I don’t feel I’ve done it justice. I came back with so many aches and pains. A week at work, that saw 10+ hour days as we brought a project close to fruition, and with that we are already on to the next weekend adventure…….

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

May Sun – Coffee Share

Arthurs Seat

Athur’s Seat, The warmth arrives

6:15am and I start the day going through the comments on my blog, the comments I made on someone else’s blogs. Easy wins on the road to feeling like I’m making progress. It’s better than checking the news and scrolling aimlessly. I enjoy the connections I’m making, a friendly jibe about small talk. A comrade in arms in the technology space relating to my predicament on a technology project. The gardener and the writer all stepping out their personal projects. Friends from across the globe and a nice way to great the day.

I’m gearing up, trying to wake my body and get ready for Thursdays run. I never feel like the run on Thursday goes that well. Tired from the meetings and constant conversations, and as I write this the feeling of bailing on the run is conquered by knowing I need this runners rush to get through another day of dealing with the machine.

The sun is shining so I’m keen to the route up by Arthur’s seat and down the innocent railway, a circular route that keeps me motivated most the way. Still a nip to the air, but the first time without gloves and the extra layer. I can’t resist taking a few shots as I reach the park.

Arthurs Seat a Runners View

A runners view

On reflection as I write, can’t help thinking this exercise routine is helping me keep grounded, to enjoy the light and how it changes. Today the world feels green and lush, it’s fresh the puddles of rain still to dry up and this little part of the world is alive and ready for the rays.

What else has gone on this week:

We watched the final of race around the world last night as it was broadcast, unusual for us in itself to watch live tv. We were that engrossed. Couples competing (two brothers, 2 pairs of father daughters, a married couple and two friends) across Canada with back packs, no phone, limited funds, and 8 or so check points they need to make 52 days. Awe inspiring stuff, moving to tears and a sense of achievement.

BBC One – Race Across the World, Series 3, The Final

I’m also hooked on Slow Horses on apple TV, a back stabbing spy drama. Clever, whitty, plot turns.

On the cooking front:
I was in the Portobello fishmongers on Saturday, looking for inspiration for tea as well as buying a couple fillets of Hake. At the same time, I couldn’t resist picking up an Arbroath Smokie. A hot smoked haddock, didn’t need cooking on the day in order to stay fresh as it had already been cook. The smokie, a renowned Scottish delicacy originating from Auchmithie, a small fishing village 3 miles from Arbroath.

My first encounter of having an Arbroath smokie was attending the highland show at Blair Athol Campsite. One of the concession stalls had set up shop by rigging up a smokery and making these beauties on site. Wrapped in a brown paper, on a damp day after camping, it was just the ticket for an elevenses snack.

So armed with a smoked haddock, I had no idea what I was going to do with it! Until the pressure of being given tea duty on Tuesday night.

Omelette ala ready steady cook:

4 Eggs lightly beaten
Knob of butter
Arbroath Smokie, flesh removed from the bone, broken into pieces
Double Cream – 50ml or so
Hard cheese – 50g or so grated (Parmesan/Gruyere)
Bread Crumbs – 50g or so

Using a pan that suitable for the grill in the oven.
Turn the grill onto a high heat

All whist on the hob:
Bring the butter to a bubble on a gentle heat
Add the eggs, and cook for a minute flat, forming a little layer
Add the fish, scattered evenly
pour over the cream, slowly, not looking to over power the eggs
scatter the bread crumbs.
A little shuggle, then place under the grill

Will be fairly quick so keep an eye on the bread crumbs as they begin to toast (5 mins or less)

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Six Week Running Update

With six weeks to go before the Glasgow 10k, it’s time for a running update.  Sunday comes around quickly which means the long one!  It’s about being able to run for a set amount of time rather than completing a certain distance.  That said the longer the time, the obvious distance takes care of itself. 

Rewinding back to the start of the month, Monday and we had blue skies.  The start of some warmth that brought a little joy to the start of the week.  Then the last couple of days have been driech and it feels like the haar is full throttle today.  It looks like it’s in the distance, however in reality it’s like running through an invisible mist that absorbs heat.  However, the plan says Sunday is run day.   So come rain or shine, the shoes get put on and we go for it one foot in front of the other.

Slow start, steady pace, I’ve decided to head to the Castle today which meant facing into some gradient.  Again, slow, and steady, passed through the meadows and up past Greyfriars.  Arrived at the Castle within 25 mins, just over 3k.  I was hoping to get a couple of eerie pictures in the mist.  However, the esplanade seemed to be locked off.  Don’t know if there’d been an event yesterday for the Coronation or this was the start of the build out of the stadium for the summer events. 

Down the steps and by the side you can get the full on feel of the scale and ingenuity of building something on the rock.

The run home, no escape, I’d run too far not to do 5k, however I needed to run a bit further to clock up the minutes.  Which then meant, I managed to cover 8k in 50 minutes.  The watch seemed happy, a new record, longest distance.

How am I feeling as I write this…..the legs are tired, and I’m slowly stiffening up.  It’s a good 4 hours after getting back and I’m feeling that after glow sensation, when you know you’ve put your body to use. 

The process is working, Tuesday and Thursday two short runs.  Sunday the big one, don’t tell anyone but I think I’m enjoying it!

I’ve been busy in the kitchen, but not full on with the camera. The pictures pile up, and no words are forth coming.   A sign that the weeks are full on and the idea of spending more time at the PC doesn’t feel right for my mental state of mind. 

That said there are a couple of lamb shanks in the oven, for tonight’s tea as I write this.  Lightly fried to begin with in the big Dutch oven.  Two onions diced and softened, 2 carrots peeled and diced, softened, a tablespoon of curry powder, two tins of tomatoes and the usual overnight soaked beans technique that are simmered for 10 mins before adding.  Three hours or so and we have something to keep the wolf from the door.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.