Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Magpie Murders

A big thank you to Nan at Letters from HillFarm for her 2017 book reading list.

In her post I came upon her recommendation of "Magpie Murders" by Anthony Horowitz.  The book sounded like something I'd like to read so I went to my local library website to reserve it.  I got an email the next day because copies were available on the shelf.

When I picked up the book I thought the author was familiar and sure enough I figured out why:  Foyle's War.  He was known to me because we were big fans of that PBS series; a mix of mystery and WW II history.  If you haven't seen it and you love mysteries in historical settings, look for it and start at the beginning.

So back to "Magpie Murders".  A mystery within a mystery.  Or another way - a book within a book. An unlikely detective - the editor.  Lots of red herrings.  Shades of Agatha Christie, in fact her grandson makes an appearance. 

Overall it was a great read and no I didn't figure it out.  But that's okay.  


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Scotland: Edinburgh


[Continuing to post on our Sept-Oct trip to Scotland.  One problem with posting so late after returning is my memory is not serving me well so please excuse my mistakes or lack of labels.]

We took the train from Dunblane to Edinburgh rather than attempting to do the drive and find parking.

Coming out of the train station we had to get our bearings as to which direction to walk to the Museum of Scotland.

First impressions?  What a drab, dark city!


Burning coal for heat has darkened all the facades.





We made it to our destination and I'll post about what we saw another time.


The rooftop of the museum gave us our first look at Edinburgh Castle.  We chose not to visit there because we had had our fill of palaces and castles at this point in our trip.


The dreary day didn't do anything for the drab dark buildings either.



Some of these rooftop photos are just silhouettes.






Notice the grass in the foreground?  Part of the green roof of the museum.


Another view of the castle.


Coming out of the museum I spied Greyfriars Bobby with his shiny nose where tourists have rubbed it.  Do you know the story of this dog?  After his master, an Edinburgh police officer died, the dog maintained a vigil from 1858-1872 over his master's grave.


We passed this landmark on the street too.


A closer view of the castle with the crowds.




Adding to the lackluster look of Edinburgh were the street performers/buskers on every corner and the tourist shops all selling the same things.

I know many people love this city but we were only impressed by the museum.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Scotland - Distillery Tour

[Continuing to post about our two week tour to Scotland in Sept-Oct 2017.]


There are a lot of distilleries in Scotland. We chose to visit one in the next town one morning.  We thought we were arriving early enough for the first tour, but we didn't count upon the bus tours that book tours ahead of time.  It worked out to our benefit because there were only 5 of us on the tour including the guide.


I do not like the taste of Scotch whiskey, but Dan has acquired a taste so we came home with two bottles.


From Wikipedia

Deanston Distillery started life in 1785 as a cotton mill designed by Sir Richard Arkwright, and remained as such for 180 years until it was transformed into a distillery in 1966. The constant supply of pure water from the River Teith contributed to the decision to turn the mill into a distillery and Deanston is now the only distillery in Scotland to be self-sufficient in electricity, with power generated by an on-site hydro-energy facility. Deanston sits in the Highland single malt region of Scotland and produces whisky which is handmade by ten local craftsmen, un-chill filtered, natural colour and bottled at a strength of 46.3% ABV.


The barrels come from the USA of all places.



The River Teith is an incredible source of energy and has been for a long time.



We got to see the processing of the grain.




Here's where it's kegged.


And then stored for years to come.


The tour ended with a tasting.  One sip was enough for me.

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