Late - Again! - to Patrice's Chat

I'm late in coming to the party again, Patrice, but this time I have a good reason: our internet was not up and running here in Lewis yesterday.

Not that it affected me or bothered me at all. After all, me and the internet ... well, I can take it or leave it.

Oh yeah.

Let's move on ...

1. How well do you handle change?

Hmmm, good question, Patrice. I think I'm okay with change as long as certain things remain constant. As long as my family are with me, for example, I think I'd be okay with lots of other things changing - in fact, maybe I would even relish the challenge.

And knowing, of course, that my Lord is 'the Lord and He changes not' ... well, that gives a security beyond anything that is in this world could.

2. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Tea and toast. Same thing, every morning. Very boring!

3. What's your favourite kind of nut? (Almond, pecan, peanut, walnut, cashews, macadamia, brazil, etc)

No nuts here, Patrice. I do not have any allergies, but I do not like nuts in any shape nor form.

Present company excluded, of course.

4. Do you have a pumpkin in your house or yard?

Erm ... Nope! Wrong country!

Hey, I'm getting good at these short answers ;)

5. Would you like it if I changed the format of these Chats? What do you think would be good? Would you enjoy fill in the blanks, one big topic to discuss, or something else?

I'm not sure about filling in the blanks ... Erm, how much room would you leave? Could I fit all I have to say in 'the blank'? You know I don't do well with one-word answers, Patrice, despite the brevity of some of today's. I'm not sure filling in blanks was designed with those of us who ramble in mind ... 

Now, if you were closer, Patrice, you could have called in for a cuppa this afternoon. I made this Banana Loaf, but within a couple of hours, this is what was left.

... and the Builder isn't to blame: he wasn't even at home. It would appear we have bred more-of-the-same.

For years, I made a Banana Loaf because the Builder loved it. It certainly wasn't my cup o' tea - it was heavy and ... well, just a bit bleugh. (I mustn't really say that for food, so let's hope none of the kids reads this. After all, we must practice what we preach, eh.) Anyway, what was I saying?

Oh yes, Banana Loaves. So, about a year ago, I discovered a Banana Loaf recipe in the Hummingbird book, and this loaf is so different from what I used to make. Not bleugh at all. Just lovely.

I've also made muffins from the recipe and topped them with a brown sugar crumb topping.

Ohhhhh, yes!

Before I leave you, I'll post a photo of tonight's sunset. It's amazing how far south the sunset is now compared with the summer sunset.

Wherever it sets, though, it's beautiful.


Chatting with Patrice

Great to be with you this week again, Patrice. I just had a lovely chat with Wendell, and he was having a bit of a moan about the lack of attention he's been getting. I did point out that he had a whole blog post to himself the other day, but I realized that when he says he'd like attention, he really means he wants more carrots. Well, we'll begin our chat, but I may nip over to poor Wendell once or twice while I'm here. I don't want him to be feeling left out.

For now though, I've got my cuppa, and so on to your questions.

1. What's the one thing you feel is the biggest waste of your time during an average week?

The hours I spend on the treadmill.

2. When was the last time you baked a pie?

I baked an apple pie a couple of weeks ago, and actually took it to an American couple staying in Ness. I felt a bit bad taking apple pie to an American ... I mean, it's a bit like taking coals to Newcastle, snow to Alaska or sand to the Sahara.

Of all pies, plain ol' apple pie has to be my favourite. 

3. What do you want to spend time doing that you aren't right now?

Two things:

1. Learning the piano.

I don't know if I'll ever get to learn to play the piano, but I would love it so, so much. And so, I've begun spending a tiny amount of time every day on the keyboard. If time were not in such short supply, it would be great to spend more time tinkering on the keys, but for now, a little is better than nothing at all.

2. Spending time on the treadmill.

What? You seriously thought I was being truthful when I answered Question 1? Are you for real?

4. What do you do with old clothes?

Erm ... I wear them!

(That's how my daughters answered this question for me.)

I actually sent a rather large bag of 'old' clothes to charity the other day. I do sometimes throw stuff out ... there are times when clothes reach a stage they are simply unwearable. And if I wouldn't wear them, it's unlikely anyone else would ;)

5. If we were having lunch on the porch today, what would you bring from the potluck styled lunch?

May I bring the aforementioned apple pie?

And now, because I know y'all are desperate to know what our weather has been like, here are a couple of photos Calum and I took down at the machair yesterday.

Take a look at the bottom-right of the photo. See the Wee Guy? Yes, he arrived with his arsenal of weapons at hand. He wasn't fighting the 60mph winds - he barely noticed them. He was fighting the redcoats.

This photo, and the next one, was taken from Swainbost machair - the next village to where we are now, but the village in which I grew up.

Even a wee glimpse of this machair does my heart good.

Have a great week, Patrice. And give Wendell some carrots from me!


From the Lovely Sky to the Altogether Lovely One

The other night, I took this photo from the back door.

I love sunsets with lots of cloud.

The sea was calm, there was little wind, and there was almost no sound when I was out taking these photos.

This evening, I took a wander down to the machair, not only to admire the setting sun, but to savour the roar of the Atlantic.

The sound is simply music to my ears.

The lovely sheep are oblivious to all the beauty around them, and it reminded me

of how often I read of the Saviour in the past, and heard of Him, but to me there was 'no beauty in Him that I would desire Him'.

Truly, we are, by nature, like sheep that have gone astray. 

The colours in the sky, the deep music of the sea - nature's beauty which calls to us to look, not at it, but to the Altogether Lovely One who created it all.

"Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else." Isaiah 45:22


A Road Trip with the Girls, and a Chat on Patrice's Porch

 Hi, Patrice. I've missed a number of your weekly chats - you can tell Wendell I've missed him the most. ;)

Those of you who are on Homeschool on the Croft's Facebook page will know I've been away since I sat on your porch. By 'away', I mean I've been on the mainland. Yes, me an' my girls went to Inverness for a couple of days.

Us three heading to Inverness meant:

- lots of driving
- lots of blethering
- a fair bit of shopping.

Here we are, having arrived in Inverness. Catherine was driving, I was wearing a pair of Katie's sunglasses that look like they were made for someone with a somewhat larger head than mine, and Katie was photographing. Such fun.

We all, of course, like to try new things, experience previously unknown, er, experiences, and so the girls dragged me along to McDonald's.

Yes, you read that correctly: I had never been to McDonald's before. Catherine shooed me off to a table and herself and Katie got our order. I'd only read half a page of my book when they were with me, food an' all. When we'd removed our stuff from the trays, I asked (stupidly, it turned out), 'Did you forget a glass?'.

A glass! Oh, the hilarity ... The Smooth-no-bits orange juice was to be drunk out of the bottle.

Hey, it was fine. I managed. And the Chicken Burger with Spicy Salsa was actually delicious. I was impressed with the speed of service, the chips (Catherine's, but I stole some), the burger and the roll. 

Next time, I'll remember to bring my own glass.

And now, Patrice, onto your questions for this week.

1. Did you ever take piano lessons, as a child or adult?

No, Patrice, I didn't and if I could add anything into my childhood, it would be piano lessons. I absolutely love listening to the piano being played, and still dream of playing it myself one day.

2. How many times do you eat out each month?

We don't eat out, on average, even once a month. We ate out last week to celebrate Katie's beginning college, and the Builder and I ate out when we were away at a wedding over the summer. Before that .... ummm, I can't really remember when we ate out last. Because it's such a rare thing, eating out is a real treat for me.

This was my pudding from our eating out experience in summer. There's a bit of a story behind it, but suffice to say we had the most amazing meal at the Drumossie Hotel, outside of Inverness. The whole meal was simply exquisite, and this dessert was the perfect ending to a perfect evening. 

A lemon pudding with a thyme foam, raspberry sorbet on a bed of crushed nuts, and two shortcake rounds.

Ohhhhh boy .... 

3. If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about your appearance, what would that be? (Temporary or permanent)

Hmm, I'm not sure I'll draw attention to all my defects, Patrice.

But I do think that we often see ourselves differently from the way others look at us. I remember when I was about seventeen (aka a lifetime ago), I was at college in Inverness and this guy was telling me he had been talking about me to another fellow, and was trying to describe me ... I assume his description began with, 'You know the really, really small one....'

Having tried to describe me for a while, the other guy eventually said, 'Oh, you mean the one with the mole beneath her nose!'

'Umm ... I don't know. Does she?'

Well, I had many issues then with my appearance - I was seventeen! - but the tiny wee mole on my upper lip? I have to be honest and say it never kept me awake at night. In fact, I'd hardly ever noticed it, yet this fella associated me with this MOLE! 

Not my height. Not the gap between my teeth. Not - well, not a hundred other things. Only that wee mole!

To really answer your question, Patrice ... yes, there are things I'd change, but all that stuff I'm not happy with - they're just externals. They don't really matter. Eternal matters - they matter. Our looks? Not so much.

4. Do you like looking at art or photography? Do you go to any places that displays them?

I do love looking at photos others have taken, and love to admire the talented eye some photographers have. 

If you go to the site, Digital Overdose, you will see some fabulous photos from our neck o' the woods. I love photos that make me feel as well as admire, and so many of his photos do just that. They speak to my heart as well as to my eye. Does that make sense?

This photographer also shared this timelapse video with me today:

It was taken from his own home, but shows our house 'on the hill'. The video gives you some idea of why I am known to go on and on (and on ...and on) about 'our sunsets'.

5. Do you have new things for your fall/winter wardrobe?

As you know, Patrice, our Summers do not behave like your Summers. And our Autumns do not behave like yours either. Our seasons mean that my wardrobe doesn't change around too much from month to month, or season to season. And because I spend most of my time at home, and especially now that we have our wonderful little stove, my beloved cut-offs will be with me all winter. 

Much to my daughters' joy. 

"Isn't that right, girls?"

No response, came the stern reply.

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