Sunday, 18 September 2016

Now that's what I call a fireplace!

This is the beautiful fireplace which can be seen in Castlemilk Stables in Glasgow.  We went there on a Doors Open Day visit yesterday.  The stables are all that remain of Castlemilk House and have been converted for use as a community hub - Cassiltoun Trust.



The 19th century fireplace was once in Castlemilk House, but the house was demolished in the 1970s.  Thank goodness this was retained.  It depicts the Siege of Orleans, 1429.



Depicted in the carving are Sir William Stewart or Stuart of Castlemilk and his brother Sir John both of whom were killed in battle against Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years War .  They were fighting for the Dauphin of France, later became Charles VII .

Castlemilk House
Glasgow Corporation bought the Castlemilk House in 1938 from the last Stuart laird, and served some time as a children's home before being demolished.


The stables conversion is absolutely beautiful - useful while retaining the original feel of their former use with a central cobbled courtyard.


We had a great visit and enjoyed a cup of tea with a local lady who gave us lots of information about the area.  The staff at the Stables were extremely knowledgeable and were a pleasure to talk to.


Another wonderful Doors Open Day visit.

Love, Liz

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Provan Hall - a great old house

It's Glasgow Doors Open Weekend so hubby and I paid a visit to Provan Hall in Auckinlea Park, Easterhouse in Glasgow.  It is a fascinating place with lots of character and is perhaps one of the oldest houses in Glasgow.
 


There are two old buildings dating from the 16th or early 17th century with an enclosed courtyard.  There are also some beautiful gardens.  Provan Hall is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and managed by Glasgow City Council (great information on this website).  It has some wonderful architectural details which you can read about at Canmore.


However, imagine my surprise when I discovered that part of the building had appeared in Outlander - they had filmed at Provan Hall earlier this year!  Wow - I was so excited at that news.  There were photographs of how the place looked when they were there and if you are an Outlander fan then you can see the results in Series 2, Episode 12.  The building appears as McGilvrey's Boarding House where Claire goes with Mary Hawkins to try to help Alex Randall and runs into Black Jack Randall!

The sign for McGilvreys Boarding House from Outlander.

Outlander locations aside, the interior of the buildings contained an assortment of bits and pieces from various eras - here's a wee selection.  Love the photograph of the old dresser filled with plates.


There were some lovely people helping out at Provan Hall and there were activities planned for later in the day.


If you have ever visited "The Fort" shopping centre in Glasgow, then Provan Hall is just nearby. Please check out opening times on their website as it is only open on certain days.


Drawing of the archway showing date of 1647.
That was one lucky Doors Open Days visit for me!

Love, Liz


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

No bigger than a powder-puff!

I came across this old Bestway knitting and crochet leaflet (603).  It has some quaint little bits and pieces to knit and crochet.


How about a bag to save on those 5p plastic ones?


Or some covers for coat hangers - great idea - love the little posies.



Wonder when this pattern dates from.  Does anyone out there have any idea?

Love, Liz

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

I didn't know there was a word for that!

Mondegreen.  Strange word isn't it?


In my last post I mentioned the Scots ballad The Bonnie Earl O'Moray.  In the first verse are the lines - "they have slain the Earl O'Moray and laid him on the green".  Sylvia Wright, an American author coined the term in 1954 after she discovered she had misheard the lyric to the ballad. She thought the words were - "they have slain the Earl O'Moray and Lady Mondegreen."!  The term Mondegreen has been in use ever since.


I know that this has happened to me - I recently saw the actual words for a song I thought knew well and realised that I had been singing the wrong lyrics for years.  It was Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way".  I thought part of the lyrics were "you can call it thunder along the way" - actually its just "you can call it another lonely day"!
What lyrics have you got wrong?  Talking of Fleetwood Mac here's a link to an amazing song - Landslide.  It's just Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.  Grab a coffee and prepare for a few emotional moments.  I've been playing it a lot recently, it is so beautiful.  Enjoy!

Love, Liz

Monday, 12 September 2016

Three surprising facts about Doune Castle

I learned three new things about Doune Castle on a recent visit.


The first is that the old Scottish ballad "The Bonnie Earl O'Moray" refers to a Lord of Doune.

Ye Hielands and ye Lowlands,
O, whaur hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl o' Moray,
And laid him on the green.
He was a braw gallant,
And he rode at the ring,
And the bonny Earl o' Moray,
He might hae been a king.
O lang will his lady
Look frae the Castle Doune
Ere she see the Earl o' Moray
Come soundin' through the toun.

Now wae be to ye, Huntly,
And wherefore did ye say?
I bade ye bring him wi' ye,
And forbade ye him to slay.
He was a braw gallant,
And he played at the glove;
And the bonny Earl o' Moray,
He was the Queen's true love.
O lang will his lady
Look frae the Castle Doune
Ere she see the Earl o' Moray
Come soundin' through the toun.

I remember having to learn this by heart when I was young.  The Earl of Moray (pronounced Murray) in the ballad is James Stewart (2nd Lord Doune and 2nd Earl of Moray reported to have been very handsome, who was murdered by George Gordon, Earl of Huntly in 1592.  The Stewarts owned Doune Castle and in the Castle you can see a picture commissioned by Moray's mother, Margaret Campbell as evidence of the injuries received by her son.


You can see the sword slashes on his body, especially his face.  It is said that as he was dying, he said to Huntly - "You have spoiled a better face than your own."!



The second new fact is that much of the furniture in the duke's hall, including this wondeful chair was made from wood from the gallows tree which grew just outside the castle and blown down in a gale in 1878.  The decoration on the chair shows the family crest - a pelican in her nest feeding her young and their motto - salus per christum redemptorem (salvation through Christ the redeemer).


Thirdly - Mary Queen of Scots visited  Doune Castle in 1563 and slept in the room above the kitchens which is believed to have been kept for special guests.


Would have been lovely and warm and had its own latrine - surely an essential commodity for a Queen!  Find out more about Doune Castle at Historic Environment Scotland.

The huge fireplace and serving hatches in the kitchen at Doune.
Of course Doune is becoming better known now because of its association with Outlander, the Starz TV series of the books by Diana Gabaldon.  It is the setting for Castle Leoch and it you watch Episodes 2, 3 and 4 of Series 1, you'll get some great views of Doune.



Love, Liz


Friday, 9 September 2016

A lot of tea cosies!

A lot of my knitted tea cosies to show you today - I've been busy!


I love putting different colours together and seeing how they turn out.



I especially like this yarn which has little flecks of different colours through it - just adds a little bit of  texture and interest.


Which is your favourite colour combination?



Which would go best with your kitchen?


Love, Liz

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Kelpies

It is not until you get up close to the Kelpies that you realise just how massive they are (about 30 metres).  Look how tiny the people are in this pic!


The sculptures are by Andy Scott and based on Clydesdale horses Duke and Baron.  Horses were an important part of the transport system of the Forth and Clyde Canal and to industry generally.  I've always admired the Kelpies, but only in passing or in photographs, so it was great to have the opportunity to visit them at the  Helix Park near Falkirk recently.


Got a great tour of the Kelpies which included going inside one of the hugh beasts!  The view inside is no less impressive than the outside one.  There's a great site where you can find out lots of fabulous information about the Kelpies at The Helix.


Kelpies in Scottish mythology are shape-changing water creatures who inhabit lochs and streams usually in the shape of a horse.  They are said to lure people onto their backs, but anyone who dared to ride a Kelpie would be taken deep down into the water where they would drown.  So beware!

Looks like this one is eating the tree!
Love, Liz

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Helensburgh

I was in Helensburgh (across the River Clyde from Greenock) last weekend, just taking photos as I usually do.  A wee lady came up to me and said that if I wanted photographs of an interesting building then I should have a look at the architecture above the shop M&Co on Sinclair Street in the town as it was thought to be by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  That certainly got my attention, so I had a good look - and what an amazing building it is. 


The red sandstone building has a wealth of interesting architectural details.  Here's St Andrew, Scotland's patron saint.


It was once Helensburgh Conservative Club and designed by Honeyman and Keppie.  Mackintosh worked there in the 1890s.  You can read details of his association with the building at the University of Glasgow, Mackintosh Architecture site here - it has a wealth of information (with all the architectural jargon) as well as some pictures of the inside of the building which is just as interesting.


Mackintosh's Hill House (National Trust for Scotland) is also in Helensburgh.  Must visit there some day.

 


So, many thanks to the lady who pointed out this building to me - just shows that it pays to look up - you never know what you'll discover!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Elizabeth Blackwell's Curious Herbal


Herbals are books describing plants and their uses - whether for medicine of cookery.  Elizabeth (Blachrie) Blackwell's herbal was issued between 1737 and 1739 and contains many of her own beautiful drawings of plants.  



Elizabeth was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1700 and married Alexander Blackwell, a printer.  It was in order to get money to have him released from debtors prison that she published her work.  He was released and promptly left for Sweden without his wife.  He was hanged there for treason in 1748.  



Elizabeth died in 1758.  You can read more about Elizabeth Blackwell at the British Library site.



Throughout the Outlander series of books we learn of Clair's love of and fascination for medicinal plants and natural remedies.  In Dragonfly in Amber Clair studies a herbal she was given as a gift by Brother Ambrose when she and Jamie left the Abbey.  That got me curious to find out what they were.  This one is just beautiful.  


So Mullein is good for toothache - must have been useful in the days before modern dentistry!

Love, Liz