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September 1, 2010 07:11 - September Highland Games and Festivals

September is another great month for festivals and games. Some locations, will have gorgeous autumn colors, others will have just plain gorgeous locations, while the rest will offer you a winter-full of memories.

So, take a look, and skeedaddle to one near you, for that last dose of Scottishness before winter sets in…you can see all those colorful kilts, stuff yourself on Scottish goodies, and listen to those pipes a-skirlin’!

  • September 2 to 5, Portland, Oregon ~ National Gymanfa Gane/Festival of Wales
  • September 3 to 5, Waukesha, Wisconsin ~ Wisconsin Highland Games and Celtic Fling
  • September 3 to 5, Kansas City, Missouri ~ Kansas City Irish Fest
  • September 3 to 6, Heber Valley, Utah ~ Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship and Country Festival, an invitational event featuring top Sheepdogs from 15 countries and 5 continents.

    Competitor at Annual Sheepdog Championship
    courtesy Soldier Hollow Classic

  • September 4, Calgary, Alberta, Canada ~ Calgary Games
  • September 4, Braemar, Scotland

    This event, called The Games by locals, is thought to have begun during the reign of Malcolm III, around 1059, and is still attended by the British Royal Family. Suspended during the 18th century Act of Proscription, the games were reinstated in 1782.

    Two young dancers presenting a bouquet to the Queen Mother ~

    Presenting posies to the Queen Mother
    courtesy Braemar Gathering

  • September 4, Carlisle, Pennsylvania ~ McLain Highland Festival
  • September 4, Wijhe, The Netherlands ~ Keltisch Festival

    2009 Re-enactment courtesy
    Wijhe Keltisch Festival

  • September 4 ro 5, Ringgold, Georgia ~ Appalachian Celtic Festival and Highland Games, previously held in Chickamauga
  • September 4 to 5, Altamont, New York ~ Capital District Scottish Games
  • September 4 to 5, Pleasanton, California ~ Caledonian Club of San Francisco Highland Games
  • September 4 to 5, The Plains, Virginia ~ Virginia Scottish Games

    For British car enthusiasts, there’s even a Classic Car Show

    Vintage British cars courtesy
    Virginia Scottish Games

  • September 4 to 5, Upperville, Virginia ~ Irish Festival
  • September 4 to 6, Newport, Rhode Islandg ~ Newport Waterfront Irish Festival
  • September 5, Blairgowrie, Scotland ~ Blairgowrie & Rattray Highland Games
  • September 5, Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania ~ Brittingham’;s Irish Festival
  • September 5, Canmore, Alberta, Canada ~ Canmore Highland Games
  • September 5, Kingston, New York ~ Hooley on the Hudson
  • September 9 to 11, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ~ Festival of Traditional Irish Music and Dancing
  • September 9 to 12, Estes Park, Colorado ~ Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival
  • September 10 to 11, Trenton, Ontario, Canada ~ Trenton Scottish Irish Festival
  • September 10 to 11, Syracuse, New York ~ Syracuse Irish Festival
  • September 10 to 11, Buffalo, Missouri ~ Southwest Missouri Celtic Heritage Festival and Highland Games
  • September 10 to 12, Jackson, Mississippi ~ CelticFest Mississippi
  • September 10 to 12, Bilzen, Belgium ~ Scottish Weekend, celebrating their 25th anniversary of games.
  • September 10 to 12, Elizabethton, Tennessee ~ Sycamore Shoals Celtic Festival
  • September 10 to 12, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ~ Pittsburgh Irish Fesitval
  • September 10 to 12, West Dundee, Illinois ~ Fox Valley Irish Fest
  • September 10 to 12, Tulla, County Clare, Ireland ~ Tulla Traditional Music Festival
  • September 10 to 12, Irondequoit, New York ~ Rochester Irish Festival
  • September 10 to 12, Green Lane, Pennsylvania ~ The Green Land Scottish Irish Festival and Highland Games
  • September 10 to 17, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada ~ Quebec City Celtic Festival/Festival Celtique de Quebec.

    Celtic Festival Parade courtesy Quebec City Celtic Festival

    As part of the celebration Gaelic football will be introduced on the Plains of Abraham, where a pivotal battle was fought in the French and Indians War in 1759. I think it’s safe to assume many Scotsmen fought and died on the Plains.

    Plains of Abraham Battle Soldier’s Sketch
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • September 11, Buffalo, New York ~ South Buffalo Irish Feis and Expo
  • September 11, Ligonier, Pennsylvania ~ The Ligonier Highland Games
  • September 11, Pitlochry, Scotland ~ Pitlochry Highland Games

    Pitlochry 2010 poster courtesy PItlochry Highland Games

  • September 11 to 12, Annapolis, Maryland ~ Maryland Renaissance Festival - Scottish Celebration
  • September 11 to 12, Columbus, Indiana ~ Columbus Scottish Festival & Highland Games
  • September 11 to 12, Kelso, Washington ~ Kelso Hilander Festival
  • September 11 to 12, Ship Bottom, New Jersey ~ Ship Bottom Irish Festival
  • September 11 to 12, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ~ The Beach Celtic Festival
  • September 12, Augusta, New Jersey ~ Annual Irish Feis
  • September 12, Peebles, Scotland ~ Pebbles Highland Games
  • September 13, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada ~ Owen Sound Celtic Festival
  • September 17 to 18, Ballston Spa, New York ~ Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival. Scheduled to mark the half-way point to St. Patrick’s Day and the premier of Russell Crowe in the new movie, RobinHood
  • September 17 to 19, Lincoln, New Hampshire ~ New Hampshire Highland Games
  • September 17 to 19, Indianapolis, Indiana ~ Indianapolis Irish Festival
  • September 17 to 19, Muskegon, Michigan ~ Michigan Irish Music Festival
  • September 17 to 19, Nelson Bay, New South Wales, Australia ~ Clans on the Coast Festival

    Go to the festival webpage to hear Highland Cathedral, one of my most favorite pipe tunes and very appropriate as wedding music.

  • September 17 to 19, St. Charles, Missouri ~ Missouri River Irish Fest
  • September 17 to 19, Tulsa, Oklahoma ~ Oklahoma Scottish Games and Gathering
  • September 18, Davenport, Iowa ~ Celtic Highland Games of the Quad Cities
  • September 18, Gloucester City, New Jersey ~ Gloucester City Shamrock Festival
  • September 18, Greeley, Nebraska, Greeley Irish Festival
  • September 18, Milford, Connecticut ~ Milford Irish Festival
  • September 18, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina ~ Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering
  • September 18, Sea Girt, New Jersey ~ Irish Festival at the Jersey Shore
    Each year the Festival opens with a mass in the traditional Gaelic language.
  • September 18, Selma, California ~ The Fresno Scottish Festival and Highland Games
  • September 18, Treasure Valley, Idaho ~ Treasure Valley Celtic Festival and Highland Games
  • September 18 to 19, Aberdeen, South Dakota ~ NESD Celtic Faire and Games
  • September 18 to 19, Annapolis, Maryland ~ Maryland Renaissance Festival Irish Weekend
  • September 18 to 19, Coney Island, New York ~ The Great Irish Fair of New York
  • September 18 to 19, Eminence, Kentucky ~ Celtic Fest
  • September 18 to 19, Olcott Beach, New York ~ Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival and Highland Games
  • September 19, Long Island, New York ~ Nassau County Ancient Order of Hibernians Feis
  • September 23 to 26, Gardner, Walsenburg, and La Veta, Colorado ~ Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival
  • September 24 to 25, Kalamazoo, Michigan ~ Irish Fest
  • September 24 to 26, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania ~ Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival
  • September 24 to 26, Danbury, Connecticut ~ The Greater Danbury Irish Festival
  • September 24 to 26, Dandridge, Tennessee ~ Scots-Irish Music Festival
  • September 24 to 26, Sebastopol, California ~ Sebastopol Celtic Festival
  • September 24 to 26, Memphis, Tennessee ~ Evergreen Clanjamfry: A Scottish Festival
  • September 24 to 26, Mineral Point, Wisconsin ~ Cornish Festival and Celtic Celebration
  • September 24 to 26, Wildwood, New Jersey ~ Irish Weekend
  • September 25, Cedar Rapids, Iowa ~ All Things Scottish CelticFest
  • September 25, Fredericksburg, Virginia ~ Fredericksburg Welsh Festival
  • September 25, Hartford, Connecticut ~ Pipes in the Valley
  • September 25 to 26, McPherson, Kansas ~ McPherson Scottish Festival and Highland Games
  • September 25 to 26, Louisville, Kentucky ~ Louisville Irish Fest
  • September 25 to October 3, Kilkenny, Kilkenny County, Ireland ~ Kilkenny Celtic Festival
  • September 30 to October 3, Oulu, Finland ~Irish Festival of Oulu

    Ceilidh Dancing courtesy OuluFestival

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Coming tomorrow, more Scottish beer from Williams Brother Brewery…

September 2, 2010 08:37 - Scottish Beer ~ Part XXVI, Williams Brothers Brewery Continued

  • Harvest Sun, a golden ale.

    Harvest Sun courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Joker IPA, with a complex blend of malt and hops.

    Joker IPA courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Kelpie, a rich chocolate ale brewed with bladder wrack, a seaweed from the Argyll coast, with an aroma of fresh sea breeze and a distinctive flavor of rich malt with a crispy, salty finish. Before 1850 alehouses used malted barley grown on fields fertilized with seaweed, thus imparting the seaweed aroma and flavor.

    Kelpie courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

    Bladderwrack courtesy Wikipedia

    A kelpie is a malevolent water spirit, from Celtic folklore, believed to change from a sea horse to a woman, who haunts the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland. The kelpie is often given credit for drowning, as the legends tell of the kelpie luring children into the water, then drowning them. The name comes from >Cailpeach or Colpach, meaning a heifer or colt.

    Two interpretatons of Kelpies ~

    Kelpie courtesy

    Kelpie courtesy Mysterious Britain

    If you look closely on the Kelpie label, there’s a kelpie in the background.

  • Midnight Sun, a black porter.

    Midnight Sun courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Roison, a tayberry beer that‘s pink, pronounced Rosheen. Originating in the Tay Valley, the berry crosses a raspberry and a blackberry, with a sweeter taste, a bigger berry, and more aroma.

    Roison courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

    Tayberry ~

    Tayberry courtesy Wikipedia

    Tomorrow, the beers of Williams Brothers Brewery will be completed…

  • September 3, 2010 07:40 - Scottish Beer ~ Part XXVII, Williams Brothers Concluded

  • Rooster, a classic Scottish red ale.

    Rooster courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Seven Giraffes, combining 7 malted barley varieties and elder flowers. On the label, notice how the seven forms the giraffe neck and head.

    Seven Giraffes courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Williams Black, a rich dark ale.

    William’s Black courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Williams Ginger, an alcoholic ginger beer, with cane sugar and no hops.

    William’s Ginger Beer courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Williams Gold, a golden ale.

    William’s Gold courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Williams IPA

    William’s IPA courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

  • Williams Red, a premium red ale.

    William’s Red courtesy Williams Brothers Brewery

    This concludes the listing of Williams Brothers Brewery and the entire posting of Scottish beers, which began on July 21, 2009. The selection of breweries and products is vast, with something for every taste, from the contemporary tongue-in-cheek brews to antique, treasured recipes, with a blending of history in between.

    If you’re interested is serving an ale or beer at your reception, there’s plenty of choices, so have some fun with your selections. If you do go with something historical, do let your guests know what you’re serving and why.

    Monday being a holiday, there will be no blog. Tuesday a series of shorter, varied topics will begin again…

  • September 7, 2010 08:50 - Hurricane Hermine

    Lying in the rain path of Hurricane Hermine, we are busy preparing for surface water run-off flooding. I simply have no time today to complete and post the Newsroom blog.

    Be back tomorrow, possibly wet, but less frantically busy.

    September 8, 2010 06:55 - Ochil Soap Company ~ Part I, Soaps

    This creative soap company is located in Clackmannan, in the shadow of the Ochil Hills, which are the gateway to the Highlands of Scotland. Burns have cut deep ravines, including Dollar Glen, Silver Glen, and Alva Glen, thus the names for two product lines

    Dollar Glen courtesy Friends of the Ochils

    Alva Glen courtesy Friends of the Ochils

    Meaning high, the Ochils have housed Castle Campbell, in Dollar Glen, and Sheriffmuir, the site of a Jacobite rising battle in 1715. The area is also closely associated with Robert the Bruce and his family.

    A view of the Ochil Hills from Stirling Castle.

    Ochil Hills courtesy Wikipedia

    Ochil Soaps are created using a cold process method. Olive, coconut, and avocado oils, along with shea butter, cocoa butter, and evening primrose oil make the soaps long lasting, yet sudsy and luxurious. Earth friendly labels and handmade paper enclose each bar.

    Later this month a new range is being launched, with 4 soaps and 4 soy candles. Named Siabann which is Gaelic for soap, each variety is beautifully packaged with a different tartan.

    Siabann Range courtesy Ochil Soap Company

    Any of the soaps or other products, particularly the gift boxes, would make nice gifts for the ladies in the bridal party, mothers, the lady who serves the cake…

    Handmade Soaps include a variety of fragrances. Some of their more unusual soaps are

  • Lavender & Evening Primrose ~ gently scented
  • Geranium & Clove ~ floral tones with a spicy edge and bits of rooibos for a scrub.

    Rooibus, pronounced roy-bos, is Africaans for red bush. In Dutch it’s spelled rooibosch, with the same pronunciation. Grown on the Western Cape of South Africa, in a small belt called fynbos, meaning fine bush, the tea has been popular for generations.

    Rooibus aspalathus courtesy Wikipedia

    If you have read The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, incidentally written by a Scotsman, or seen the TV movie, Precious and Grace drink rooibus tea daily. I even found a Lipton tea variety of rooibus, along with a rooibus liqueur.

    Rooibus tea and liqueur courtesy Wikipedia

    Among other uses, rooibus is believed to alleviate acne. Every prior bride will tell you, you will have at least one "zit" during the wedding process. So why not have some rooibus infused soap on hand to quell those break-outs. Or drink some quality rooibus tea for it‘s calming effect and give those acne problems a double whammy.

  • St. Clements ~ a mix of orange, lemon, grapefruit, and lemon peel. Someone remembers their childhood. Oranges and Lemons is an English nursery rhyme and singing game about church bells close to London. But that’s a topic for another day soon.

  • Gardner’s Soap ~ spinach for a green color, pumice for grime, and cocoa butter to soften hands.

  • Lavender & Geranium ~ with olive, coconut, and avocado oil.

    Lavender Geranium soap courtesy Ochil Soap Company

  • Chocolate Truffle ~ looks like chocolate, smells like chocolate, without any calories

  • Mandarin & Calendula Soap ~ like a wee ray of sunshine, scented with Mandarin oranges with flashes of golden calendula petals.

    Tomorrow, The Ochil Soap Company product lines continues…

  • September 9, 2010 07:19 - Ochil Soap Company, Part II, Other Products

    The Ochil Soap Company has other products beyond a wonderful line of beauty soaps. All lovely to look at...and delightful to hold...

    Body Treats include scrubs, plus

    • Celtic Massage Bars, warmed with your hands, these gorgeous butters are massaged into your skin. Shaped like a Celtic knot, they come in individual pouches.

      Celtic Massage Bar courtesy Ochil Soap Company

    • Whipped Shea Butter Soufflé, with just the butter of the shea nut, castor oil, and a hint of avocado oil, it’s simple yet effective.

    Gift packages for something a little more...

    • Floral Truffle Box with six cocoa butter truffles coated with flower petals.

      Floral Truffle Mix courtesy Ochil Soap Company

    • Blairlogie Gift Box with a selection of goodies which include 4 little bars of handmade soap, a Celtic massage bar, 4 Floral Truffles and a Wee Kiss Lip Balm.

      Blairlogie is a clachan, which is less than a village, like an English hamlet, containing a church and a cluster of cottages.

    • Dollar Gift Box includes 3 bars of handmade soap, a Celtic massage bar and 3 Floral Bath Truffles.....named for Dollar Glen.

    • Alva Gift Box with 2 bars of handmade soap, 2 Floral Bath Truffles and a Wee Lip Balm...named fro Alva Glen.

    Their line of favors are a perfect size to pop in those "notoriously small handbags" women carry to weddings. These can be personalized with bride and groom’s names and wedding date.

    • Flower Bath Melt ~ small box with a single Cocoa Butter melt and a pressed flower on top.

      Floral Bath Melt courtesy Ochil Soap Company

    • Wee Soap Fingers ~ choice of five varieties, with wrapping, label, and ribbon to compliment your wedding colors. Available in Geranium and Clove, Lavender and Evening Primrose, Mandarin and Calendula, Peppermint, and Rose.

    • Fizzy Bath Hearts ~ two fizzy hearts with rose petals and lavender essential oil that release as you bathe. Available in a voile bag.

    • Wee Lip Balm Kisses ~ with a tag line that reads "Well, it is a wedding after all…kissing should be encouraged!", the flavors are Wee Berry, Wee Minty, and Wee Lemon. The labels can be personalized.

    • The Floral Truffles Gift Box could also be divided into individual favors and dropped into small gift bags or tied in tulle.

    View the entire product line at Ochil Soap Company.

    Tomorrow, the promised story about elderberries…

    September 10, 2010 06:42 - Elderberry Wine

    Elder Blossoms courtesy Wikipedia

    While presenting the vast array of Scottish beers, I promised to share my elderberry story, so here it is.

    First, I must add a preface. I grew up in a simpler time and place. Our home was 3 miles out of town, on what had once been a bigger farm. In the area of Michigan where we lived, the farms had originally been plotted into 80 acre parcels.

    The parcels followed one another along gravel roads, laid out in squares. Some were still complete, others had been broken up into smaller parcels, as had the one where we lived. There was the original farmstead of 40 acres, our of 20 acres, one of 10 acres, then two of 5 acres.

    Woods along the back of these properties had not been cleared, nor from the farms that backed up to ours. In our neighborhood, my father was the only one who did any farming. This was post World War II and men had poured into the Detroit area to work in the automobile plants that were turning out new cars like never before. The men didn’t need to supplement their income with farming. Nor did my Dad, but he wanted his children to experience farming.

    We had chores, livestock to attend, a garden to plant and weed, a lawn to mow. Our parcel included the orchard, so we also had fruit to pick, when in season.

    But overall, we had few restrictions and the freedom to just be. If we were riding our bikes to town, we had to let Mom know. We were to stay out of the quick-sand bogs and not eat the belladonna berries. If we were packing a lunch to go somewhere over the noon hour, we had to tell our mother. That’s it.

    We ran the fields, dug panther traps, tried to find China…through the ground because we knew it was straight below us. None of our bikes were anything fancy and everyone’s parts intermixed. So we often spent a day tearing down our bikes and rebuilding them with one another’s parts.

    On a busy day, after people further out our road had gone to work, there was no traffic. We could go out to the road and dig in the sandy shoulder. We could also sit down to pick and eat elderberries when they came ripe.

    One summer, as we sat there smearing the juice across our hands and faces, soaking up the sun, and just relishing being kids, a car came by. The man stopped and asked us if we were going to be making elderberry wine. We told him we didn’t know how. So he proceeded to tell us.

    As naïve kids, 8 to 11 years old, we barely caught the gist of his instructions. But we proceeded to pick a "big " bunch of elderberries. I don’t remember if we even rinsed the road dust off or not. I also wonder what we did with the abundance of ants commonly crawling all over the plant. But we pulled berries off the stems, stuffed them in 3 Mason jars, added sugar and water and sealed them. Then it was time for lunch, so everyone went home.

    Later in the afternoon, we just knew the wine was ready. Oh, we had snuck the jars and sugar into a neighbor’s basement. We all went back to check on our wine, opened our 3 jars and drank it all.

    We just knew we were drunk and proceeded to slur our speech and stagger around, amid giggles and burps. None of our families drank and we didn’t have television yet, so how we knew what drunks were supposed to do is a mystery I’ve yet to solve.

    But we had ourselves a big drunk that afternoon…on elderberry juice. It might not have been fermented, but it was delicious.

    Elderberries courtesy Wikipedia

    Even today, well over 50 years later, I cannot pass an elderberry bush without remembering that afternoon. I can still feel that dusty sunshine on my face. I can still feel the cool, dampness of the basement. And I can still taste our wonderful elderberry wine.

    To this day, I’ve never tasted elderberry wine, for why ruin a wonderful childhood memory.

    Monday, some elderberry recipes…

    September 13, 2010 10:48 - Elderberry Recipes

    First, and most important, do not use the leaves or bark, they contain toxic compounds used as natural insecticides.

    Only pick the flowers on warm, dry days when they are in full bloom. Select only healthy flowers, discarding any that are damaged or discolored.

    Don’t try to wash the blossoms, just shake to remove insects being careful to not bruise the flower heads.

    • Elderflower Presse

      25 elderflower heads
      Four oranges, sliced
      One lemon, sliced
      4 pounds sugar
      3 oz tartaric acid
      3 pints water, boiled and cooled

      Remove as much of the stalk as possible from the flowers
      Place them in a bucket
      Add enough cold water to just cover the blossoms
      Put a loose-fitting lid on the bucket
      Let stand for two or three days
      Strain the water and flowers through a muslin cloth into a pan
      Measure the volume of liquid, adding 750g of sugar and one tablespoon of tartaric acid per liter
      Heat the pan gently until the sugar has dissolved completely, but don't boil
      Pour the liquid into clean cordial bottles with screw tops.

      To serve, dilute one part of elderflower presse with nine parts of iced water or natural spring water.

      Elder Presse and other recipes are available at BBC.

    • Elderflower Fritters is adapted from a recipe published in The Guardian, June 10, 2006

      Tempura Batter:
      1 egg
      225 ml iced water
      140 g flour
      Pinch of salt

      For the fritters:
      16 elderflower heads
      Vegetable oil
      Caster sugar

      Beat the egg
      Add the water, which must be iced
      Slowly sift the flour and salt into the egg mix
      Whisk to smooth any lumps
      Fill a wide, deepish pan with vegetable oil, 2 to 3 cm deep, heat almost to smoking point
      Dip the elderflower heads into the batter and fry, a few at a time, until golden-brown
      Drain on a paper towel
      Sprinkle with sugar and serve while still hot

      Serves 4

    Elderberries courtesy Wild Man Steve Brill

    Green Footsteps also has a variety of Elderberry recipes.

    Tomorrow, Oranges and Lemons, a rhyme about the church bells in London…

    September 14, 2010 09:36 - Oranges & Lemons ~ Part I, The Rhyme

    First mentioned in the September 8, 2010 blog about The Ochil Soap Company, they have a soap named St. Clement’s. The fragrance combining oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.

    As promised, an explanation follows ~

    Oranges and Lemons is an English nursery rhyme and singing game about church bells close to London. This was also a square-four-eight dance, first published in the Dancing Master in 1665.

    Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement's

    You owe me five farthings, Say the bells of St. Martin's

    When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.

    When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.

    When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.

    I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow.

    Here comes a candle to light you to bed

    And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

    Chip chop, chip chop, the last man's dead.

    Each church or location had significant meaning when first sung. Some are lost in time, others are still known, which is the topic of tomorrow’s blog ~

    September 15, 2010 10:12 - Oranges & Lemons ~ Part II, Meanings Within the Rhyme

    Each church, it’s location, or it’s bells had significant meaning when first sung. Some are lost in time, others are still known ~

    • Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement's

      [either St Clement Danes, which was a 12th century church for the local Danes, that no long exists, or St Clement Eastcheap, which was destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666 and rebuilt in the 1680’s.

      St Clement’s courtesy Wikipedia

      Both locations are near the wharves where merchantmen landed citrus fruits. Legend says the church bells were rung when a cargo arrived]

    • You owe me five farthings, Say the bells of St. Martin's

      [St. Martin’s Lane housed the money lenders. St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields has references from 1222. It survived the 1666 fire, but was replaced in 1721.]

      St Martin-in-the-Fields courtesy Wikipedia

    • When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.

      [St. Sepulchre-without-Newgate, opposite Old Bailey criminal court, was near Fleet Prison where debtors were held. Built in the 12th century, it was gutted by the Great Fire and restored in 1878, then survived the London Bombings of WWII. The bells were rung on the days of public executions.]

      St Sepulchre’s courtesy Wikipedia

    • When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.

      [St. Leonard’s, just outside the old city walls was once known as Fleetditch, an area known for great poverty. Known in 1577, rebuilt in 1730‘s.

      St Leonard’s Shoreditch courtesy Wikipedia

      Bell at St Leonard’s Shoreditch courtesy Wikipedia

      St. Bride’s sits on Fleet Street, long associated with journalists and newspapers. Known to be the site of 7th century service‘s when known as St. Bridget‘s. Destroyed in the 1666 fire, one of 61 rebuilt by Christopher Wren, with the spire was added in the 18th century. Gutted by the Luftwaffe in WWII, the journalists on Fleet Street contributed the money to rebuild it.]

      St Bride’s courtesy Wikipedia

    • I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow

      [St. Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside, where every true Cockney was birthed within sound of her bells. Traditionally mileage from London is measured from the London Stone in Cannon Street, but on the road from London to Lewes, mileage is measured from the St. Mary-le-Bow church door. The mileage posts depict a bow and 4 bells.

      St Mary-le-Bow Mile Marker at Nutley courtesy Wikipedia

      Dating back to the Saxon period, the 11t century church as destroyed by a tornado. It was burned in the 1666 fire, then rebuilt in the 1670’s. Greatly destroyed during World War II and reconsecrated in 1964.]

      St Mary le Bow’s courtesy Wikipedia

      Other verses in older versions dating back to 1744 include

    • Two Sticks and Apple, Ring ye Bells at Whitechapple

      [location of the famous Bell Foundry, with records back to 1570. The American Liberty Bell and its replacements, The Washington DC National Cathedral and Big Ben bells were all cast here.]

    • Maids in White Aprons, Ring ye Bells a St. Catherines

      [St. Catherine Cree in Bishopgate, where the women, wearing 17th century white aprons, sold meat, game, poultry, and fish in the nearby Leadenhall Market. A church existed here in 1108, with the current structure built in 1631. It survived the Great London Fire and the London Blitz.]

      St Katherine Cree’s courtesy Wikipedia

    Played somewhat like London Bridge is Falling Down, with the players passing under the clasped arms of two players. Where London Bridge falls down on the last line "My fair ladies", in Oranges & Lemons, the same arch is formed, with the hands coming down with "chop off your head". The couple caught join the arch, which extends each round, making it more difficult to clear the arch before the last line.

    The last lines about chopping off heads was added in 1840.

    An audio version can be heard at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of Childhood. This game is another possibility to entertain children at your reception.

    Other drinks have been named St Clements, including a half-and-half mixture of orange juice and bitter-lemon soda water is known as a "St Clements", as seen in this photo.

    A recipe with serving ideas for a St. Clements Mocktail can be found at Drink Recipes.

    Like the game, it could be served to the children attending the reception or as a punch for everyone at the reception, rehearsal dinner, or a shower.

    Tomorrow Oranges & Lemons continues with the London Ley Lines…

    September 16, 2010 08:30 - Oranges & Lemons ~ Part III, London’s Ley Lines

    In 1921, Alfred Watkins noted that a network of crisscrossed lines marked commonly traveled pathways. He concluded they were navigation points, tied to prominent features of the landscape. He named them "ley" lines because the letters "ley" were in so many of the location names.

    Some accepted his conclusions. Others poo-poed him, replacing his logic with magical and mystical meanings.

    At any rate, such a line runs through London with St. Paul’s playing a key position in the line. The churches from Oranges & Lemons, plus some other key London buildings, lie along the London Ley Line.

    The line with the churches referenced can be seen at Google maps running from Bayswater to St. Dunstan‘s in Stepney.

    As well as Ley lines, there are also Ley tunnels, said to link country houses, castles, churches, and monuments. Others attribute the tunnels to the Knight’s Templar prior to the 12th century. Still others believe they were devised for the free movement of monks, abbots, and ecclesiastics during periods of unrest.

    There are many in Scotland, but that’s a topic for tomorrow…

    September 17, 2010 13:15 - Scottish Ley Tunnels

    Legends of the ley tunnels of Scotland are told of in castles and homes, abbeys and caves, with the exits coming out under bridges, on shorelines, and in other castles.

    The Scottish list includes ~

    • Ardoch Roman Fort, in Perth, had a subterranean passage running from the fort, under the River Tay, to the fort on Grinnin Hill.

      Kinnoull Hill on the River Tay courtesy Wikipedia

      There’s even a rhyme about the treasure it holds ~

      From the Camp of Ardoch,
      To the Grinnin Hill of Keir,
      Are nine Kings rents,
      For seven hundred year.

    • Ashintully Castle, in Strathadle and Glenshee is supposed to have a tunnel linking it to it’s predecessor, Whitefield Castle.

      Ashintully Castle courtesy Ashintully

    • Old Auchans claimed a link to Dundonald Castle.

      Old Auchans courtesy Wikipedia

      Dundonald Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    • Blackness Castle in Lothian is believed to link the castle with the House of Binns, about three kilometers away.

      Blackness Castle courtesy Wikipedia

      The Bins, Lothian courtesy Wikipedia

    • Brodick Castle, on the Isle of Arran, had a tunnel running down to the shore in Brodick Bay.

      Brodick Castle Isle of Arran courtesy Wikipedia

      Brodick Bay steamer courtesy Wikipedia

    • Caitloch House, in Dumfries and Galloway, is supposedly connected to a tunnel from under Caitloch bridge on Dalwhat Water. Covenanters used the tunnel to evade the King’s Dragoons.

    Monday, the Ley Tunnels of Scotland continues…

    September 20, 2010 08:44 - Scottish Ley Tunnels ~ Part II

  • Caldwell House in East Renfrewshire claimed a tunnel that ran under the Lugton Water to the old Lugton Inn. No signs of it have been found.

    Caldwell House courtesy Wikipedia

    Lugton Water Dike courtesy Wikipedia

    Lugton Water - River Garnock Confluence courtesy Wikipedia

  • Carmunnock Church, near Glasgow, was reported to have a tunnel running to the dwellings of the monks on Busby Road.

    Carmunnock Church courtesy Wikipedia

  • Coupar Angus Abbey revealed a secret tunnel in the 19th century. A woman went in and never returned. In 1982 a local mason found the entrance and went in as far as a cave in. It’s believed the tunnel ran a further two and one-half miles to an underground dwelling at Pitcur.

    Coupar Angus Abbey Ruins courtesy Wikipedia

  • Craufurdland Castle has a tunnel running one and a half miles to Dean Castle in Ayrshire. It was used to provision Dean Castle when besieged for months during the reign of Edward I. The entrance was blocked in the 1800‘s.

    Craufurdland Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • In a tunnel beneath Culross Abbey, in Fife, legend claims a man sits in a golden chair waiting to give treasures to anyone who finds him.

    Culross Abbey courtesy Wikipedia

    A blind piper entered the tunnel, along with his dog and pipes, at Newgate. He could be heard playing his pipes as far away as the West Kirk, 3/4th a mile away. The dog emerged, but the piper was never found or heard again.

  • A second tunnel s recorded as running from Dean Castle to the Kilmarnock Water, near old Begbie’s Tavern. It was converted into a public sewer.

    Dean Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    Dean Ford on the Kilmarnock Water courtesy Wikipedia

    Dean Suspension Bridge on the Kilmarnock Water courtesy Wikipedia

    Tomorrow the Ley Tunnels of Scotland continues…

  • September 21, 2010 06:34 - Scottish Lay Tunnels ~ Part III

  • Long ruined ice houses, often built into ha-ha walls, basements, woodland banks, and open fields, have also led to legends of ley tunnels, such as this one at Eglinton Castle. Stories are also told of the wee folk who build or inhabit these structures. Ha-ha walls will be discussed next week.

    The Guid Wee Green Folk

    Doon by the Lugton,
    In Eglinton Woods,
    In blue-bell and foxglove,
    In the faulded up buds,
    It's there whaur they bide,
    It's there whaur they troke,
    It's there whaur they hide -
    The guid wee green folk.

    Eglinton Ice House courtesy Wikipedia

    Another tunnel is claimed to run from Eglinton Castle, under the River Garnock, to Kilwinning Abbey.

    River Garnock at Eglinton courtesy Wikipedia

    Eglinton Castle 1876 courtesy Wikipedia

    Kilwinning Abbey courtesy Wikipedia

  • The nunnery at Elcho, in Perth, was connected to the hospital of Seggieden, under the River Tay.

    Elcho Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    Kinnoull Hill on the River Tay courtesy Wikipedia

    Tomorrow, the Ley Tunnels of Scotland continues…

  • September 22, 2010 09:40 - Scottish Ley Tunnels ~ Part IV

  • Elfhouse, or Elfhame, at Cleeves Cove cave in North Ayrshire, with many believing the elves has made it their home.

    Cleeves Cove cave entrance courtesy Wikipedia

    The Laird of Auchenskeich’s collie dog entered the cave at its entrance above the Dusk Water and came out at Loudoun Hill near Darvel, many miles away. Loudoun Hill is a 1296 battle site where William Wallace ambushed and defeated the English. The end of the Cleeves Cove system has never been found.

    Dusk Water courtesy Wikipedia

    Loudoun Hill courtesy Wikipedia

  • Fingask Castle had underground passages, still open in 1766, that ran to Kinnaird Castle, two kilometers away.

    Fingask Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    Kinnaird Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • Giffin Castle had a tunnel that ran to a farm on the Bank of Giffen. Children have claimed to have made their way safely through the tunnel some years ago.

    Giffen Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    Bank of Giffen Farm ruins courtesy Wikipedia

  • A short escape tunnel at Loudoun Castle in Ayrshire, leading from the old kitchens to a bridge over the Hag Burn.

    Loudoun Castle courtesy Photos by Eleanor

    Hag Burn at Loudoun courtesy Wikipedia

  • Another claims to run from Loudoun Castle, under the River Irvine, to Cessnock Castle in East Ayrshire.

    Cessnock Castle courtesy Photos by Eleanor

    River Irvine at Irvine courtesy Wikipedia

    Tomorrow the Ley Tunnels of Scotland concludes…

  • September 23, 2010 06:40 - Scottish Lay Tunnels ~ Part V

  • Mauchline Castle is said to be linked to Kingencleugh Castle by a tunnel.

    Mauchline Castle 1790 courtesy Wikipedia

  • Monzievaird Castle, in Strathearn, with a ley tunnel supposedly running to the Turret Burn.

  • Newton Castle, in Blairgowrie, claims a tunnel running to Ardblair Castle.

    Newton Castle courtesy Medieval Castle

    Ardblair Castle courtesy Photos by Eleanor

  • Ravenscraig Castle is said to have a tunnel running down to the Annick Water near Lainshaw Castle.

    Ravenscraig Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    Annick Weir near Lainshaw courtesy Wikipedia

    A weir is a low dam, used to create a mill pond.

    Lainshaw Castle 1779 courtesy Wikipedia

  • St. David’s Well, in Weem, is said to have a cave beneath it connecting to another cave at Loch Glassie, two kilometers away.

  • Stanecastle, near Irvine, claims a tunnel ran to Seagate Castle in Irvine. Another is said to run from the castle to Dundonald, where a subterranean passage was found by workmen in the 19th century.

    Stanecastle courtesy Wikipedia

    Seagate Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    Dundonald Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • Strathaven Castle, in South Lanarkshire, has a tradition of a tunnel running to the Sweetie’s Brae, Mill Brae, and the Tower.

    Strathaven Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    This concludes the known lay tunnels in Scotland. Tomorrow, these Ha-ha’s aren‘t funny…

  • September 24, 2010 06:29 - Ha Ha’s

    As me dear sainted mother used to say, "tain’t funny McGee!" Instead, this ha-ha is a fancy ditch.

    In landscape gardening, fences are sometimes considered an eyesore, obstructing a view someone has worked very hard to create. Yet a physical barrier is needed, at least in one direction, to turn back livestock and wildlife.

    Usually the side nearest the landscaped garden is vertical and faced with stonework. In effect this is a retaining wall. The far side is sloped and covered with turf, making a trench.

    In less formal terms, this is called a deer leap. But commoners simply call them a ha-ha. This name sprung from people out on a walk, when suddenly there is a trench, unseen as they approached, that‘s blocking their way.

    One such fence was designed by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. It can still be seen today.

    The usual ha-ha is 2 to 9 feet deep and across.

    Though also found in older Chinese gardens, the European version was developed independently by Charles Bridgeman, Royal Gardener to Queen Anne, c. 1700. William Kent and Capability Brown, two other English landscape gardeners, followed his lead in using ha-ha’s.

    This example is found at Horton Hall, the home of the first British Prime Minister Horace Walpole, designed by Charles Bridgeman.

    Horton House Ha Ha courtesy Wikipedia

    Next week, no more fences and tunnels, but how about a ride on the Hogwart’s Express?

    September 27, 2010 15:47 - Travel the Hogwart’s Express with the West Coast Railways

    Hogwart’s Logo courtesy West Coast Railways

    It was planned to use the Hogwart’s Express engine to haul cars on the Scarborough Spa Express. Unfortunately, the rail gauge doesn’t line up. So the railway line is looking for another route where the track will align with the engine gauge.

    Hogwart’s Express Train courtesy West Coast Railways

    Meanwhile, the Hogwart’s Express engine is on display in York at the Great Hall of the National Railway Museum.

    But there are other tours available in Scotland. The West Highland Steam is a three-day autumn trip through the Highlands, from various departure points out to Fort William, through scenery including waterfalls, burns, lochs and mountains.

    If you‘re planning to elope, the train passes through Gretna Green. Then on past Glasgow, along the banks of Clyde, then passing Loch Long and Loch Lomond. The train traverses Rannoch Moor, passes Ben Nevis, and follows the shoreline of Loch Eil into the high mountains.

    At Glenfinnan, you’ll cross the viaduct and Loch Shiel, both seen in the flying car scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie. The trip ends at Mallaig, a fishing village, then returns to Fort William and continues on up Great Glen and Monessie Gorge, passing Orchy Falls.

    Returning to Harry Potter information, as a small aside referencing back to the Elderberry blogs in August, the most powerful wand in the world of wizardry, the Elder Wand, is made of sambucus, commonly known as Elderberry.

    September 28, 2010 11:12 - Scottish Recipes from South Australia ~ Royal Fondant Hearts

    The Royal Caledonian Society of South Australia has a nice selection of recipes, from breakfast pancakes, soups and main entrees to cakes, candies, other desserts, and beverages. Plus a few pages of tips and humor.

    Some of the recipes are in grams and milliliters and will take some conversion for those of us in the U.S., while others call for ingredients not commonly found.

    One such is caster sugar. And, no, it doesn’t come from castor beans.

    • Chocolate Fondant Hearts, a simple yet elegant addition to any of your pre-wedding parties or the reception.

      4 Tbsp liquid glucose
      2 oz. plain dark chocolate, broken into squares
      2 oz. white chocolate, broken into squares
      1 egg white, slightly beaten
      1 lb. icing sugar, sifted
      Melted plain dark and white chocolate for decorating

      Divide glucose into 2 heat-proof bowls
      Place each bowl over hot water, heat gently
      Add dark chocolate to one bowl and white chocolate to the other
      Let bowls heat until chocolate is melted
      Remove bowls from heat, and cool slightly
      Divide egg white between bowls
      Divide icing sugar and add to bowls, mixing well to combine
      Knead each mixture with your hands until smooth and pliable
      Lightly dust rolling surface with icing sugar
      Brush surface of dark chocolate fondant with
      Separately roll out both mixtures to ¼ inch thick
      Brush surface of dark chocolate with egg white
      Place white chocolate over dark chocolate fondant
      Roll gently with rolling pin to press piece together
      With a small heart shaped cutter, stamp out about 50 hearts from the fondant
      Drizzle the melted dark chocolate and white chocolate over each heart
      Let sit until firm

    I’ll be publishing more of their recipes over the next few days, but if you can’t wait, go to The Olde Scots Kitchen.

    September 29, 2010 07:34 - Scottish Recipes from South Australia ~ Paradise Cake

    A nice, easy yet elegant cake for many of the pre-wedding parties from The Olde Scots Kitchen.

    • Paradise Cake

      8 oz. shortcrust pastry
      Raspberry jam
      4 oz. butter
      4 oz. caster sugar or 4 rounded Tbsp granulated sugar
      1 egg, beaten
      2 Tbsp. chopped glace cherries
      2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
      2 Tbsp. ground almonds
      Vanilla extract
      Caster or granulated sugar for dusting

      Roll out pastry on a floured surface, place in a greased 7" x 11" baking sheet
      Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes
      Spread raspberry jam over pastry crust
      Cream butter and sugar
      Mix beaten egg, cherries, walnuts, and almonds and add to creamed sugar
      Spoon in and spread mixture over the jam
      Bake for 30 to 35 minutes
      Remove from oven, sprinkle with sugar
      Cool in baking sheet, cut into squares and serve,/ul.

      Coming tomorrow, Tweed Kettle, a salmon casserole that’s again elegant yet easy…

    September 30, 2010 08:20 - Scottish Recipes from South Australia ~ Tweed Kettle

    In Australia, Tweedshire is a governmental area in New South Wales. There’s also the Tweed River. The mountainsides of the Tweed Volcano including Mount Warning, it’s volcanic plug, feed the Tweed River.

    From Rosin‘s Lookout to Mount Warning courtesy Wikipedia

    So is the dish named after the many geological Tweeds in Australia, or did Scottish settlers bring the recipe with them when they immigrated?

    Going back to Scotland, the River Tweed flows through The Borders. It’s origins are near Tweedsmuir at Tweed’s Well. In the same area the rivers Clyde and Annan also arise. A Border saying is, "Annan, Tweed, and Clyde rise oot the ae hillside", ae meaning same.

    Another traditional Tweed saying,

    Says Tweed tae Till
    "What gars ye rin sae still?"
    Says Till tae Tweed
    "Though you rin wi’ speed,
    An I rin slaw,
    Whaur ye droon ae man,
    I Droon twa."

    A few words of interpretation
    Gar ~ cause, force, compel
    Rin ~ run
    Sae ~ so
    Slaw ~ slow
    Droon ~ drown
    Ae ~ one
    Twa ~ two

    With the Tweed being one of the premier salmon fishing rivers of Scotland, I’m guessing the immigrants to Australia brought a love of salmon and the recipe with them.

    And now for today’s recipe.

    • Tweed Kettle

      2 lbs. fresh salmon, preferably from the tail end
      ¼ pint water
      Pinch of ground mace
      2 shallots, chopped, or 1 Tbsp. chopped chives
      ¼ pint dry white wine
      4 oz. chopped mushrooms
      1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

      Place salmon in a pan, just covering with water
      Bring to boil, simmer gently for 5 minutes
      Remove salmon, keeping the stock
      Skin, debone, and cut salmon into 2 inch squares
      Season with salt, pepper, and mace
      Place in cooking dish, adding reserved stock, wine, and shallots or chives
      Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes
      Meanwhile, heat butter and saute mushrooms to soften
      Drain mushrooms and add to salmon, heating for 5 minutes
      Serve with chopped parsley

    Tomorrow, October Highland Games and Events…

    August 2010 «  » October 2010


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