Monday, January 25, 2021

Scotland and Robert Burns Birthday


January 25th is the birthday of the famous Scottish author and poet Robert Burns who was born in 1759.

And loving Scotland and all things Scottish has been famous for years...
 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert loved the Scottish Highlands, and Prince Albert redesigned Balmoral Castle into their Highland retreat.

And Queen Victoria splashed tartans... including several they designed themselves... around the interiors...

Above is a family drawing of a drawing room at Balmoral, that has hardly changed, as Queen Elizabeth II loves it as well...

Her Majesty at the Ghillies Ball in 1971...

Burns is still remembered by many with Burns Night festivities which include poetry, whiskey and haggis...he even wrote a poem to the famous regional dish of Scotland... which I don't like.  

I recently re-read a cozy murder mystery by Canadian author C. C. Benison called Eleven Pipers Piping, where the murder occurs at a very rancorous Burns Night supper. A very fun read! 
  I also love his series featuring transplanted Canadian Jane Bee who finds herself a housemaid at the Royal palaces and sleuthful helper of the Queen. Great fun!

These 2 photos of the Scottish Highlands, some of the most popular posts in the last few years on my Facebook page, may go someway to explaining the beauty and appeal of the highlands...
the above photo is of an unidentified location, and the photo below is of Loch Muick in Aerdeenshire...

Or this of the Cairngorms on the Balmoral estate...

And always a popular theme in decor. Shelley China, England, a marvelous pottery which unfortunately closed in 1966, had a long lived popular pattern called Heather. 
Below is an example of the wonderful Scottish landscape with multicolored heather by what I am sure is a salmon stream in a gorgeous large plate or charger...

So remember to sing For 'Auld Lang Syne of Robert Burns most famous compositions. I won't suggest raising a glass of whiskey...don't like that either! I make a poor Scot... good thing I'm English...I'll have that cup of tea now...

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night! Got your Guy???

Remember, remember... the 5th of November...

Today, Nov. 5th, is Guy Fawkes Day, commemorating the day in 1607 when a plot, led by Guy Fawkes, was foiled as he attempted to blow up Parliament. The day has always been celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and the effigy of Guy Fawkes, lovingly called The Guy, tossed on the flames to much mirth and partying.  The kids get into the spirit of the thing by collecting money for weeks before with the cry "Penney for the Guy" which they use to buy fireworks.  Here are a few historic photos of kids and guys I found....

This first photo with a group of kids looks exactly like one my husband's family have of the neighborhood children and their guy beside the bonfire pile in the late 1940s where he grew up in Lady Wood just outside Stratford-upon-Avon.

This photo of 2 boys collecting "for the guy" is from the website and dates to the early 1950s

This photo is from the 1930s from

This is an illustration by the great Cruikshank from 1827 of the Guy being carried to the bonfire.

The traditional poem is:

Guy Fawkes Day Poem

Traditional British

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;

I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,

'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.

Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip Hoorah !

Hip hip Hoorah !

The tradition that both my family and my Honey's liked best, was the passing around of the potatoes cooked in the coals of the bonfire. I think the older folks liked the cider or beer that was usually circulating, and we all loved the fireworks. The USA's 4th of July is the closest we come, but with a different flavor!

For a great website with some 1940s Guy Fawkes old movies, I found:
Burning Down The House: Dangerous Guy Fawkes Videos  which is quite fun!  PLEASE DO NOT TRY THESE THINGS AT HOME!!!

On a more elegant note, Downton Abbey Cooks... aka Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey... did a great post with great info on their local Guy Fawkes, and some great recipes.
The Yorkshire Parkin, is a favourite of my husband's family, as his father came from Yorkshire. Making it tonight. I even have my tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup at the ready...

Here is the recipe...

ServingsPrep TimeCook Time
Servings: servings
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix together flour and spices.  Stir in the rolled oats.  Gently melt treacle, golden syrup and applesauce over low heat. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in melted ingredients.
  3. Dissolve baking soda in warmed milk and add to mixture, And then add the egg.   Mix to a soft batter and pour into a greased square 9 x 9 pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Your parkin should be an even brown color and have shrunk away slightly from the sides of the pan when properly baked.
  6. Leave to cool on a wire rack.  Although you can eat the cake right away, it gets stickier and more flavourful if you wrap and store it for several days. Stored in an airtight container and it will keep for weeks.
  7. Serve on its own as squares, or as a cake with your favorite whipped topping.  You know me, I love non fat greek yoghurt sweetened with honey.
Recipe Notes
Try using parkin to create an autumnal version of English trifle.
Here is a link to the newsletter:

Have a great time and stay safe celebrating bonfire night!

For antiques and collectibles with an English accent, come and visit me at
Time Was Antiques
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