Monday, 28 March 2016

Lost Thomson

This Easter Weekend we went down to see family in Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire. We stayed in the Somerton House Hotel. This lovely C19th building claims to be work by super rare, cult architect Alexander Greek Thomson who I am really into. Initially I was doubtful but then I saw this amazing door. It's incredibly Greek. It's fantastic and it's made of the almost extinct Kauri wood from New Zealand and I thought...maybe. Any thoughts welcome.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Beautiful Bird

More Haddo updates! When driving up the very long and beautiful drive of Haddo House I keep seeing these lovely fat, colourful birds. They are the size of a small chicken. A friend identified them for me as red legged partridges. There are also red squirrels and I saw a pair of buzzards circling over the treetops, very dramatic.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Hello Haddo

For anyone who fancied an upgrade from an iron shed, let's go full on stately home. This is the fabulous, enormous (around 100 rooms) glamourous Haddo House near Ellon. I am currently volunteering there on tuesdays. Partly as it is useful for work to see and work with other collections, partly to help a friend and partly because who wouldn't want to spend a day roaming through a stunning house full of art treasures and history.
Haddo is a C18th house with Victorian interiors and once belonged to Lord Aberdeen, the British Prime Minister. It's the sort of place you imagine Darcy living in. It is set in rolling parkland and formal gardens and even has it's own church. You can currently tour the house on Sundays and Mondays, check out the National Trust for Scotland website. 

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Corrugated Cottage

Seen from the road by Westhill. A defiant, derelict corrugated iron cottage amidst a new office park and bypass development.

This is an interesting article about corrugated iron buildings, if liked.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Baking with Veg

My latest cookery project is with the famous/infamous book Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood, a book of fatless cakes. Instead of butter, the recipes use grated vegetables. I was highly sceptical at first, but they actually work. I don't know how this works in terms of food science as a substitution, god knows. You can also use rice flour so they are gluten free if you need to. I am mainly pursuing this because I love baking, but am trying eat healthily. The cakes are dampish and a light sponge, rather than high and buttery.
So far I have tried the banana cake (with grated courgette) and the ginger cake (with grated butternut squash). My next experiment might be the chocolate cake (beetroot). 
Other vegetables used include aubergine, carrot, parsnip, potato (think of potato scones) pumpkin, swede and sweet potato, even turnip!
I think this book may be a work of deranged genius.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Seen from the Train

Seen from the train on our trip from Aberdeen to York. It's a fantastic journey for castle and stately home spotters, I must have seen about twenty, including the spectacular views of Edinburgh and Durham castles, as well as many I am still trying to identify! This is Ayton Castle, you can see it from the coast side of the train. It looks like the most spectacular baronial castle ever, but is actually Victorian. Sadly the castle cannot be visited but you get a great view from the train.
Does anyone else have any favourite train journeys?