Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Little Update

It was my sister's birthday a couple of weeks ago, so she came up to Edinburgh during the day so we could indulge and celebrate before heading south to our parents' home to a family party. We went to The Chocolate Tree in Bruntsfield. I'd passed it a few times as I walked through Morningside, through Bruntsfield and across The Meadows into town. It was totally amazing. The choice of cakes (all chocolate) was impressive, and they also had a cabinet of individual chocolates to buy, and bars of chocolate on the shelves. And, I was pleased to find, the coffee was pretty good too. I was sorry not to be able to sit inside as it is fairly small and all the tables were taken, as I wanted to photograph the cabinet discreetly. But also, I much prefer sitting inside cafes to sitting outside. My coffee stays warm for longer, and I just really like the cafe atmosphere and warmth. Jacqueline and I both had a chocolate tart with raspberries and cream.
Before Hagos went on tour we paid a visit to Edina Home Brew and bought a cider/wine making kit. We got the cider tub to begin with. It was good fun concocting it, but it hadn't stopped fermenting before Hagos went on tour, so I had to sit with the syphon tube and syphon it into the barrel once it was ready. I got a little bit drunk doing this. The cider will be ready when Hagos returns from tour in two weeks and five days' time (not that I'm counting). I tried some on Saturday morning and I thought it was grand!

The two men who ran the shop were right characters. Almost like a Two Ronnies sketch with their stories, ladders, and dishing out whiskey to all the customers.
On Saturday morning it was such glorious weather that I decided to take a drive south of Edinburgh and see what I could discover. I drove out to Peebles, and wasn't very impressed with that town, but on a different route out I rounded a corner and discovered the most breathtaking castle, Neidpath Castle. I didn't realise I had my camera in my bag or I would've taken a photo. I was so astonished I turned back on the road and returned to get a better look at it. Sadly, it isn't open to the general public, though my neighbour said he was taken there twice on tours when he was at school. They seem to hire it out for weddings and events, and it looks like they accept tours too. Maybe I should try to get a gang together and make enquiries.

The other place I discovered on the way home (after driving through amazing, rolling, sunny hills) was Whitmuir Farm, an organic farm with a cafe, a shop and a few walking routes. I'm sorry to say the cappuccino wasn't so great, but the ambience of the whole place was amazing. Maybe I'll try a different type of coffee next time I go. I bought a bag of organic plums and apples from there and yesterday I made an early batch of my famous Plum and Apple Jam. It tastes totally delicious.
And finally, I finished my bee jumper. I don't remember if I blogged about this project before. I unraveled my bolero, keeping the sleeves intact, bought some extra black wool and honey-coloured wool (both Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply) and knitted them all into the body of a TV jumper from Sarah Dallas's Vintage Knits. The bolero had come from that book too, but because the band was sewn on afterwards and not knitted on to the bolero, it never quite sat right. It was the first time I'd knitted a band separately and I think I made it too long, and so it didn't have the tautness once it was in place. I wore the bolero a few times, and loved the wool (the long ago discontinued Jaeger 4-ply, which I still yearn for) but the way it sat always bothered me. I absolutely love the finished result. It looks good on and is really snug.

That's all for now. I have other knitting projects that I'm making my way through with great success. When Hagos is on tour I knit in the evening while I watch an hour of telly. I'll photograph and update my next two jumpers soon!