The last few posts have focused on feasts as they are happening, with no attention paid to how the feast came to be. That changes tonight, with a visit to the Great Kitchen of Stirling Castle. After an extensive refurbishment project, the castle reopened in 2011. My family and I visited it more times than I can count when I was a child, so it was the perfect place in which to celebrate Mum’s birthday after the reopening.
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Despite my continuing to wrack the old brains, I still have not identified the floral feast from an also as yet unremembered childhood tale. Today’s post is nonetheless still redolent of flowers, albeit flowers put to a deadly purpose. May I present Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema‘s The Roses of Heliogabalus? Continue Reading »

For today’s feast, I had a distinctly floral theme in mind. Somewhere, there is a book which describes a meal with food and drink made all of flowers. But I cannot remember what it is, and have given up on identifying it for now, on the basis that there may not otherwise be a post. But if any of you have suggestions, please write in.

I have therefore turned to another of my childhood favourite books, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess (1905). Sara Crewe, a princess in her heart and mind if not in reality, is our hero, and her imagination is the key to her survival in dark times. Today’s feast takes place on one of the worst days in the story, and for a while renews her, before leading to greater despair. But there is always the Magic to make things right. I apologise for the length of this excerpt, but it’s the full story of the feast, and proof that good food by itself is not always enough to make a real banquet.
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I’m one of the officers for the Glasgow branch of Geek Girl Brunch – tagline: Geeking out where mimosas are involved. The theme of our Christmas brunch this year is Christmas films, so I got down to a spot of – ahem – research yesterday by watching A Miracle on 34th Street (1994). This wonderful remake of the 1947 original has been one of my essential Christmas films since I saw it during my first year at university. Not only is it a great story, but it’s beautiful to look at. I would even now happily wear all of young Susan’s wardrobe. More immediately relevant is the fact that it gave me today’s blog post focus.
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Little White Horse

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge – Folio Society edition. Book original published in 1946).

If you know me away from the computer screen, and I have not yet recommended that you read The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, I apologise, and don’t know what I have been thinking. It’s a wonderful book, so consider this a universal recommendation. At the same time, I feel obliged to discourage you all from watching The Secret of Moonacre (Warner Bros, 2009) for any other reason than to enjoy the gorgeous images on the screen. The story is a poor shadow of Goudge’s tale.
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It was a bit of a shock, on the way back from work (yes, I am back at work, despite my stupid ankle), to realise that as today is 1 December, I should already have come up with a theme for December’s 25 days of blogging. Finally, inspired by the theme “Nourish” for this year’s Book Week Scotland (27 November to 2 December), I decided to expand upon the “Food” book display in one of my libraries. Christmas, like most important holidays or events, is marked by feasting. My blogging theme this month will therefore be


The feast chosen each day may come from fiction, a painting, from a recipe book, a poem – it will be as the mood takes me.  Continue Reading »

I seem to have started every blog post in recent years – yes, years; that’s how bad it has been! – with an apology for not having written in so long. Despite all my good intentions, I have not been able to turn things around to start writing more regularly. Life and work are equally busy, and there was no sign that was going to change, until … Continue Reading »