Saturday, 17 April 2010

Good Things Ahead

The weather forecast in the West of Scotland was predicted to be not too good today, so we opted to head to Fife. On the itinerary was a visit to a Palace, a farm shop and an antique shop called 'Violins'. We arrived at our first stop and were immediately intrigued by this.
This looks like a 'tombstone', but its actually not. Its a marker encouraging you to take a wander into the forest. Once you walked through the tall pine trees, past these incomplete wig-wams, over a little bridge with a stream running beneath it.
You come what is known in Scotland as 'drystane dykes'. Drystane literally means drystone. Dykes are a characteristic feature of most upland areas and many parts of lowland Scotland. They are a popular feature in Scottish agricultural landscape designed primarily to form field boundaries.
Anyway, whilst walking past this rather attractive mossy dyke. I started noticing something different about this one. Every so often you would come across a stone with 'words' engraved on them.
These are a few that made me smile: dreamin(g); ponderin(g); feelin(g); sharin(g); stumblin(g); and finally bletherin(g). A good Scottish word meaning to talk nonsensically or utter foolishly. It was one of the first Scots slang I learned when I moved up to Scotland. Upon reaching the end, you come across a table with a sign giving you the price of turnips, potatoes and eggs. But how does one pay as there was noone there to take you money. Well a little hole had been had been inserted into the table, where people are trusted to pay for what they take. This is called an 'honesty box'. Now how often do you see that? I would have taken some turnips, but there were none there, so we continued walking towards the Pillars of Hercules, which is the farm shop I wanted to visit anyway.
Some of you may remember we came here last year, but for those of you who don't know. Here's the link.
No sunflowers there at the moment, but still plenty of work going on and lots growing albeit a little slowly. I really wish the first rhubarb had already grown and been harvested, as I really really want to eat some. This is quite unusual for me because I never really liked rhubarb, I used to find it really sharp until of course I started growing my own. Also, now I just appreciate the seasonality of this vegetable, and it is a vegetable not a fruit (so I've been told).
There may not have been any rhubarb in the farm shop, but there was plenty of other vegetables.
I got Swiss Chard including Ruby Swiss Chard, some potatoes
A beautiful January King cabbage. I also got some Curly Kale but not from here. I got it from Cupar Farmshop. According to the the Pillar of Hercules chalked blackboard, the curly kale that they had planted here had been ravished by the pigeons.
Our next stop was Falkland Palace. Last time we only saw the outside of the building and were quite impressed by it. This time however, as members of NTS had the opportunity to explore the inside. Other than admiring the painted ceilings and an intricate four poster bed imported from Indonesia during the reign of James I of England and VI of Scotland. I was personally not that impressed by the Palace. So I am not going to say much about it. Just share a few images that caught my eye.
Why so serious?!
Ah much better.
Overlooking the palace was someone plot. Oh how I envy. One-day.
This was the Palaces orchard. Did you know that in Gaelic apples are called 'Abhalls'. No, well you do know.
A very large game of draughts aka checkers. Do you want to play? After our very brief tour of the Palace, we drove onto a little town called Cupar.
We were welcomed by this Black Grouse - not a real one.
A beautiful angel in the skies.
And then some cakes, lots of them.
Although I wasn't exactly transported back to Paris where I spend my belated honeymoon last year, what this cake filled window managed to do was remind me of my time in Paris, when D and me greedily gorged on many sweet patisseries, cakes and bakes. Of course we had to go inside.
We went in and came out with a treacle scone and a couple of macaroon meringues, which we had as soon as we got home. The macaroon meringues were soft, chewy and sickly sweet! Whoops what will my dentist say?!


  1. What a wonderful post! I like the photos, especially that one that looks like a tomb stone. Oh, I envy plots like that too-I want a farm.

  2. I love to read about your weekend excursions...I get a bit of vicarious travel and enjoy them immensely.

    What truly lovely places. The produce looks gorgeous and that cabbage certainly is very kingly.

  3. What a wonderful trip. I love the buildings and ohhhhhhh those sweets they made my mouth water.

  4. Ahhh..."The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?

    I love these posts. Do another one soon.

  5. your fab photos and retelling of your day out are almost as good as being there myself. So thanks for giving me a stroll through Fife. I feel much better for all that fresh air and beautiful scenery :o)

  6. Yet another part of Scotland to add to my list!
    those cakes look scrummy and I love any forest walks especially quirky ones with natural sculptures etc.
    thanks for the pics

  7. I envy that plot of land too! Beautiful pictures.

  8. Thank you Stella.
    Ah Thank you for sharing my envy of the plots. I'd be happy with a small plot of land, enough to have some chickens and grow fruit and veg for a small family, and even a small dog running around. AAAAAhhh for now I'll keep dreaming.

    Thank you so much Rose.
    I am pleased to read that your enjoying my weekend excursions, as much as I am. So far the weather has been kind.
    Now that I have this rather kingly cabbage, the question is what to do with it. I'm sure I will come up with something.

    Thank you Catsngrams.
    There were so many cakes to choose from too. I'm actually quite surprised that we eneded up just buying two varieties.

    I see that you remember your Shakespeare Ribbit. You know the answer to this question!
    I've been told that Macbeth is known as the Scottish play.

    Thank you Frugal Life UK.
    We were fortunate too, as it didn't rain down on us.

    Hello dear Nic,

    I'm so pleased you enjoyed my stroll through Fife. I do hope your feeling much better too :o)

    Hi Jane aka Chicken lover,
    I'm so pleased I've enticed you. If I could (work permitting) I would def. move to Fife. It really is a beautiful part of Scotland. I love the fact that so much of Scottish produce is grown in this part of the world too!

    Hi Missy AKA Little Messy Missy.
    I know exactly how you feel :D
    One-day that day will come.

  9. I am so thoroughly charmed by your pictures of Scotland. Darlin husband and I would like to visit Scotland soon and your pictures only make me want to visit SOONER!

  10. Thank you Ginny.
    If you ever do plan to come this way, please do let me know.

  11. It's so important going on little excursions every now and then. You've taken really nice pictures.

    I know what your dentist will say. "Next time you go to that sweets shop, can you bring me back a couple macaroon meringues?" haha

  12. love hearing about your weekend jaunts and love that drystane dyke - blether is a favorite scots slang of mine too (yes I can blether with the best of them) and I am glad you have a taste for rhubarb - I love it too and have been enjoying it lately

  13. Thanks Eve.
    We're getting better with the pictures. Practice, practice, practice.
    I have a dental appointment in a few weeks. Lets see what my dentist will really say!

    Thank you Johanna.
    Blether, blether, blether.
    I'm envious that you've already been enjoying rhubarb, as you know I am waiting - rather patiently too :P

  14. It looks like a perfect day! Thank you for sharing the pictures. That pastry shop looks so tempting... I am very impressed that you came out with just a little treat! I am trying to learn to eat more like you - lots of veg, just a wee bit of sweet. :)

  15. Your so welcome Shannon. I am glad you enjoyed the photos. And Thank you so much for your lovely words.
    I'm impressed too that I came out with what I did too ;D

  16. You always show me that Scotland is indeed a lovely place to visit, so maybe one day I'll come up for a visit.

  17. Kella,
    Scotlands like anywhere really, it has its pretty spots, but also its rough spots. But tourists don't often see that, and bloggers like me try not to focus on that side of it too much.

    Whenever you do decide to come up, I do hope Scotland welcomes you, she does have a tendency to rain on people :D

    PS If you should ever come up this way, do let me know - younever know we may just be able to meet up :D

  18. Hi Mangocheeks its the rain I'm wary of :)

    And I'll be sure to let you know well in advance if I'm coming your way, it would be lovely to meet up.

  19. Kella,
    I'm so used to the rain now :D
    Be nice to meet one-day.

  20. Sounds like a great day despite the Palace failing to live up to expectations. The only thing I knew about Fife until today is the Fife diet. Loved the stone walls with inscriptions.

  21. Choclette,
    Fife is truly beautiful. I can see why the Fife Diet is possible, for vegans and vegetarians. But I would have a stumbling block, as a worldly child with roots in the Indian sub-continent, there is so much imported food that is part of my identity: rice - lentils and spices. I actually wrote a little about this to which Mike of the Fife diet responded. You may be intererested to read this.


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