Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Last weekend we flew up to Scotland for a wedding. The bridegroom was our older son's best friend and Oliver was to be the best man. We flew up on Thursday to make the most of our trip and came back on Sunday.

We flew from Bristol airport late on Thursday afternoon, and arrived at Glasgow airport in the dark. We hired a car for the drive to the hotel, which took about an hour in the dark and the rain. I was so thankful that I'd taken my iPad with me, as the map app was invaluable in helping us find our way there.

The hotel was the Forest Hills Hotel in the small village of Kinlochard, on the small lake Loch Ard. The hotel was huge, and full to bursting, which really surprised us for such a small village on a Thursday night.

The outside photographs were taken on Sunday morning, just before we left. And I didn't realise until I uploaded the photographs that I appear to have a finger print right in the middle of the lens, which is SOO annoying.

On Friday we went for a drive around the local area and drove around part of Loch Lomond, finishing up at a pub for a late lunch. It was a wet, chilly day with lots of low lying mist.

On Friday evening we met up with Oliver and his girlfriend for a late dinner. It was lovely to see him since I hadn't seen him since the beginning of August, but rather strange to be meeting in Scotland.

Tomorrow I'll write a little about what we got up to on the Saturday, as well as the lovely wedding.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Craftsy BOM

I've at last finished the twenty blocks for the Craftsy BOM. I signed up at the beginning of the year, but didn't get started until Candace mentioned on her blog that she was about to start the blocks. It was a real motivation to have someone else sewing along, and Candace has been very kind to keep waiting for me to catch up with her. Her blocks are wonderfully wacky and colourful, whilst I have experimented with using a white background for the first time.

I'm not too certain yet what I'll use for sashing and borders - any suggestions as to colours? I don't really want to buy anything new, so will have to use whatever I have enough of, but suggestions for colours would be most welcome.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Cheese making

Last week I went with a group from our Women's Institute to visit a cheese making factory. The family owned business is called Wyke Farms and uses milk from farms in the local area. They sell their cheddar cheese all over the world, so you may have come across it in your local supermarket.

The milk is collected from local farms in tankers. When it arrives at the factory it is tested to ensure it meets safety standards and then decanted into the large tanks you can see on the right.

We had to get dressed in flattering hairnets, paper overcoats and plastic overshoes before we went into the factory, and then wash and sanitise our hands. And no, I'm not showing you the photograph taken of me!

The milk then flows through pipes into these stainless steel tanks and a synthetic rennet is added. They don't use traditional rennet now, so the cheese can be eaten by vegetarians as well.

The rennet sets the cheese into a jelly like substance.

It is then cut into small strips and tossed about so that the whey runs off. Apparently they're investigating ways in which the whey can be used in protein drinks, so that there is even less wastage. Once the whey has run off salt is added to the curds. I tried to take a photograph of that process but it was too steamy.

The cheese, as it has now become, is pushed through more pipes and then down into these five tubes, where it is compressed and pushed into a cuboid shaped mould and then comes out at the bottom, where you can see the man standing holding a plastic bag.

The cheese then goes along a conveyor belt, through a machine which seals the plastic and then goes on its way to the packing room.

The cheese is packed into these wooden boxes and sent to another farm for storage. It's kept for anything from six weeks, for mild cheddar, to eighteen months, for vintage cheddar. Then it is cut into chunks, repackaged and sent off to the shops.

Wyke Farms website is well worth a visit; it has quite a few short videos showing different aspects of the whole cheese making process.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A finished quilt - and it's huge!

I've just finished a quilt which is intended as a wedding gift, and the wedding is this coming Saturday! I don't plan to make too many more quilts of this size as they're so unwieldy. I loved this pattern when I first saw it on Candace's blog (Wraggedypatches). The pattern actually comes from MaDan's site.

I have known the bridegroom since he was two, when his family moved in next door to us and he and my elder son became fast friends and have remained so - in fact, Number One Son is to be his best man.

I just hope it arrives in time.

Craftsy BOM

Here are the blocks I've made so far for the Craftsy BOM. I'm up to July now, so hope to get August, September and October done before the end of the month. I've spent ages trying to make a collage and have given up in disgust!