Monthly Archives: March 2016

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Rocking Dog Recreates Cuban Moors And Christians

Rocking Dog's Moors & Christians With Lamb Kofte's, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog’s Moors & Christians With Lamb Kofte’s

Rocking Dog was keen to recreate Cuban Moors and Christians- how lovely it is to get cooking again! I must admit I felt incredibly guilty about the choice, quality and quantity of food on offer to me at the supermarket following our Cuban trip. A Communist country, the Cuban people are still in receipt of rationed food. The system was initially introduced by Minister of Economy, Che Guevara in 1962. Rather like Great Britain in WW2 the main householder has a ration book listing additional family members and their ages together with any dietary/special requirements (i.e… vegetarian or particular health problem). One shop (a Bodega) is allocated for a householder to pick up their rationed goods with each ration book (Libreta) lasting one year. With the average Cuban earning around $20 dollars a month the ration book allows the right to purchase basic foodstuffs for nominal prices. Prior to the Soviet Union stopping financial aid to Cuba in the 1990’s there were many more items which could be bought using the Libreta. Giving you a rough idea of the items currently on the list.. (one persons allocation per month) 5 Eggs, 1/2 lb chicken, 5lb rice, 10oz red beans, 1lb white sugar, 1lb brown sugar, I bread roll (daily), cup of cooking oil. Children until the age of seven together with the elderly are allocated 1 litre of milk a day.

These allocated rationed goods last the average individual about 10 days. To cope with the shortfall the householder needs then to buy food at significantly higher prices than the prescriptive rationed goods. There is a rife black market, especially for milk which is notoriously difficult to purchase.

Staying predominantly in Casas Particulares (a room in a private family home) the families looked after us very well. To buy food to give us for breakfast and on occasions an evening meal, hosts used their family rations together with food bought using income from hosting travellers. I presume tips would also be helpful in keeping things ticking over. Fruit, bread and omelettes commonly featured for breakfast. Evening meals eaten both in the Casa P’s and restaurants almost inevitably included rice (imported generally from China and Vietnam). The rice often included beans, Moors and Christians.

The Moors refers to the black beans whilst the Christians applies to the rice. For seven centuries the Moors and Christians fought each other in Spain and this staple of Cuban cuisine brings the harmony of these two simple ingredients together. There are various versions, some recipes where the beans and rice are bought together towards the end of the cooking and others where the beans and rice are cooked together resulting in a darker looking dish. I served my Moors and Christians with some easily prepared Yotam Ottelenghi lamb Koftes with a tahini sauce. Delicious!

Two Cuban meals really stand out for Andyman and I. On our second last day we went in search of Cafe de los Artistas which was recommended by The Guardian. It was tucked away in a shaded leafy little street in Havana and we ate a delicious bowl of tender octopus together with some roasted vegetables. The other memorable meal was one at San Cristobal, a Paladar (a private home run restaurant) in a rather rundown neighbourhood of Havana. We had been told that the Obama’s had been there a few days earlier for lunch. The surroundings were amazing with Art Nouveau wall tiles, antique clocks, eccentric pictures and posters, chandeliers, wooden toucans etc.. even the bathrooms were worthy of being photographed! We shared battered lobster with aioli, and then went on to have steak with pepper sauce and country style potateoes. Lola’s Cup followed, vanilla ice cream with creme caramel. I wonder who Lola was! The staff were truly lovely and it was a magical way to end our trip to Cuba.

The Bodega, Rocking Dog

The Bodega

Bodega Price List, Rocking Dog

Bodega Price List

Crocodillo's, Rocking Dog

Crocodillo’s

Cuban Snack, Rocking Dog

Cuban Snack

Stairway To Eat, Rocking Dog

Stairway To Eat

Delicious Dish, Rocking Dog

Delicious Dish

Obama's Haunt, Rocking Dog

Obama’s Haunt

San C' Dining, Rocking Dog

San C’ Dining

Lobster To Share, Rocking Dog

Lobster To Share

Rocking Dog’s Amazing Cuban Odyssey!

Backstreet Che, Rocking Dog

Backstreet Che

Yes, Rocking Dog has buzzed on back having been on an amazing Cuban Odyssey! I am somewhat jet lagged, but relieved to be back from the heat and 86% humidity levels. I just wanted to post a few photo’s to give a flavour of this amazing country. I’d love to do a few posts to give more detail of this complicated country, but in short hand I was expelled from a Salsa lesson, had a gecko adhered to my face in a busy restaurant, Andyman fell in love with ALL the classic American cars and we shared a B&B with some live crocodiles! Oh, and did I mention that we went to the historical Rolling Stones concert. Those boys despite being able to draw their pensions rocked the audience almost non stop for 2 & 1/2 hours in the Havanian night heat…amazing! I have to report that a large number of Cubans had no idea who the Rolling Stones were.

The food i’m afraid will not require numerous blog posts. In fact there was a great deal of Imodium passing hands between the group we travelled with. It’s funny but unlike an American group who were coming to blows on their bus about US politics (I wonder why!) we were very reserved about politics, sex and religion. On the other hand our ablutions were completely another matter! Love to all the fellow Explore travellers who came from all walks of life and ranged through from twenty somethings, to adventurous baby boomers. It was a real pleasure to rub along together ( and very literally, in the Russian truck!) and to share a Mojito with you.

Thank you so much to Explore for a wonderful trip and thank you to Wendy Dowe at Dorchester Travel who valiantly wriggled us out of a posh hotel and all inclusive resort (phew!). Experiencing and seeing the real Cuba with Explore was a true privilege. Thank you also to the Tropicana Penthouse for accommodating us either side of the trek, the sunrises and sunsets on the roof terrace overlooking the sea and Havana were breathtaking.

A bed without a shiny satin cover and lace pillowcases looks seriously appealing, as does a night without cockerels cawing at 1 am onwards!

I hope you’ll allow me to share a few more photo’s over the next couple of days.

Grazias for tuning back in.

Love a cooler (heat-wise) and seriously inspired Rocking Dog x

Cruising Che, Rocking Dog

Cruising Che

Sunrise Over Havana, Rocking Dog

Sunrise Over Havana

Breakfast In A Basket, Rocking Dog

Breakfast In A Basket

One Man's Madness, Rocking Dog

One Man’s Madness

Daily Dose Band, Rocking Dog

Daily Dose Band

Farming Cuban Style, Rocking Dog

Farming Cuban Style

Obama Woz 'Ere!, Rocking Dog

Obama Woz ‘Ere!

Deity, Rocking Dog

Deity

Can You Salsa?!, Rocking Dog

Can You Salsa?!

B&B Crocodile!, Rocking Dog

B&B Crocodile!

The Butchers, Rocking Dog

The Butchers

Banana Bloom, Rocking Dog

Banana Bloom

Buzzing Off For a Wee While!

My New Beautiful Bee. Made by Cleo Mussi, Rocking Dog

My New Beautiful Bee. Made by Cleo Mussi.

Yes the Dog is indeed buzzing off for a wee while. I do hope you’ll remember to hone on in again once the Easter Bunny has disappeared back down to her snuggly burrow.
Have a wonderful Easter break and hope it’s full of family, friends, fun and of course…… lots of chocolate!

Much Love Liz a.k.a Rocking Dog x

PS. Cleo Mussi’s work can be seen at Anthropologie, Kings Road. 17th March- May 8th. Her exhibition is aptly entitled “Rabbit Manufactory”.

Rocking Dog’s Easter Treats

Rocking Dog Easter Tableau, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Easter Tableau

Rocking Dog’s Easter treats are spilling out onto the dining table, creating a lovely seasonal tableau.

Pre Easter gifting includes a tray of gooey batch of chocolate brownie, Nigella’s recipe of course! Speckled eggs and a light dusting of icing sugar make a pretty addition to the delectable squares. Chocolate lollipops were quickly run up using white chocolate, miniature eggs and sticks (Lakeland and John Lewis supply these). Once set in the fridge the pretty ‘pops are bedecked with ribbon. Arrange in a lovely vintage jug or group in cellophane bags. An egg plaque (Poundland) with its coating of hundreds and thousands was enhanced with a piped iced message.

A food parcel of luxury hot cross buns, apricot conserve, Easter biscuits and chocolate bunnies are wrapped in cellophane and a band of paper. I am still using up my supply of M&S Adventures in Food magazines. The parcel is completed with twine and hand written luggage label.

Other gifts are simply wrapped in crisp white tissue paper and bedecked with the contents from an Easter photo-booth pack (£3 Sainsbury’s). I love the battery operated egg fairy lights ( a bargainous £1 from Poundland).

Non chocolatey gifts include gorgeous pink tulips bound with a generous swag of polka dot ribbon, and pots of cheery Tete de Tete (69p Lidl). I used squares of vintage green gingham and twine to frou the plastic pots.

It’s not quite time for the Easter bunnies, but Real Live Rocking Dog and his friend Zac enjoyed donning some bunny ears in the hope of receiving a dog friendly Easter treat!

Food Parcel, Rocking Dog

Food Parcel

Gooey Easter Brownie, Rocking Dog

Gooey Easter Brownie

Yum!, Rocking Dog

Yum!

My Boy Lollipop!, Rocking Dog

My Boy Lollipop!

Easter Wrap, Rocking Dog

Easter Wrap

Easter Florals, Rocking Dog

Easter Florals

Party Rings, Rocking Dog

Party Rings

Hundreds & Thousands, Rocking Dog

Hundreds & Thousands

Easter Bunnies!, Rocking Dog

Easter Bunnies!

Dealing With Domesticities In The Rocking Dog Kennel

Hanging Washing Umbrian Style, Rocking Dog

Hanging Washing Umbrian Style

The sun has been shining and I have been dealing with domesticities in the Rocking Dog Kennel! One of my great pleasures in life is to hang out washing, and believe it or not there are a few of us about! I think there is always the promise of sweet smelling wrinkle free laundry after a day on the line. I also love the sound of the pegs clanking into the enamel pail. Where this bucket came from has been lost in the mists of time. Most probably it was picked up at the flea market in the beautiful city of Nijmegen when we were living just over the border in Germany 30 years ago. Dating from the early 1900’s its original purpose was as a vegetable bucket. No fridges, plastic boxes pre-cut, pre-peeled cellophane’d bags for these hardy Dutch folk.

I even like photographing washing on lines whenever I travel. How bizarre to see laundry hung against the mellow walls of an ancient water lapped Venetian palazzo or strung against a brightly coloured fisherman’s house in Burano. I loved the washing hung between gnarled olive trees in the garden at the agriturismo in Orvieto two Novembers ago. Hanging washing in Hambrook doesn’t feel quite so romantic by comparison.

Though I love hanging washing, and get great joy from folding washing I am not the greatest fan of ironing. The paper on our bedroom wall pays homage to ironing, and every morning for the last fifteen years or so I have loved waking up to the domestic images. A can of starch and a good tv drama make the task of ironing somewhat more bearable.

On Friday I had a wonderful man here to sort Beloved Bernina, she certainly wasn’t sewing her best. I can really recommend Mark of Cathedral Sewing Machines. Apparently despite the popularity of sewing there are so few sewing machine service/repair engineers left. We discussed The Great British Sewing Bee and how the programme effects his business. Suddenly people remember a long forgotten Singer treadle machine in the attic, and need it sorted to zig zag, hem, baste and smock. Thankfully beloved Bernina is back on best form and ready to deal with table runners, waiters aprons, wigwam and …. THE wedding coat! There are also some Christmas projects to complete for a pitch. Thank you Mark for weaving your sewing machine magic. Busy times ahead!

Friday night I cooked a simple curry for house guests. I was very indecisive regarding a pudding so I arranged strawberries, blueberries, chocolate covered figs, cantucci, cream and crushed praline meringues on a board. I just said “Dive in” and people did… a dessert in moments. What a lazy cook I am becoming!

Whatever the week brings for you I hope there’s the sun and inclination to hang out a little bit of laundry!

The Venetian Way, Rocking Dog

The Venetian Way

Laundry In Burano...Rocking Dog

Laundry In Burano…

..& In Hambrook!, Rocking Dog

..& In Hambrook!

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

Peg Bucket, Rocking Dog

Peg Bucket

Wash Day Wallpaper

Wash Day Wallpaper

Pretty Ironing Pile, Rocking Dog

Pretty Ironing Pile

Beloved Bernina!, Rocking Dog

Beloved Bernina!

Throw Together Pud'!, Rocking Dog

Throw Together Pud’!

Hand Delivered To The New Home Owners- Yippee!

Heirloom Quilt For New Home, Rocking Dog

Heirloom Quilt For New Home

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams” William Arthur Ward

On Wednesday evening I found myself travelling London-bound by train with Andyman and Real Live Rocking Dog. For Andyman a Thursday meeting beckoned, and for me a visit to my two lovely girls and to my sister’s family. We took the recently finished Rocking Dog quilt and Moet to celebrate a “new” house for Sorrel & Pete. London house buying has been an arduous and frustrating year long process for them, and I am so pleased they persevered.

Before the embarkation, there was the small matter of picking wild garlic. I went out on a spying mission along the Frome on Tuesday and found clumps ready to pluck. I made the decision to pick the crop early on Wednesday morning. Wednesday dawned, and with it the realisation that there had been VERY heavy rain overnight. The path was now in places under a foot of water, and hopes of picking the wild garlic were very precariously waterlogged! Not wanting to arrive in London without a crop for recipe testing I persevered on slightly less soggy terra firma. I hope Abel and Cole appreciate the efforts us sub-contracted foragers go to for providing test ingredients!

Today started with a dog walk and coffee and cinnamon buns in Hej Coffee, Bermondsey Square. Lovely to find a place that welcomes dogs through their door, serves great coffee, delicious cake and in a calm creative environment. Real Live Rocking Dog and Dougie Scott thank Hej for the Bonio’s! Real Live Rocking Dog enjoys walking (and eating!) in new places and seems to take the train and Tube very much in his stride. He’s a well travelled boy!

A quick view of the new property in Plumstead followed. Lots to do, but plenty of potential. An exciting but somewhat daunting phase for the couple. There are so many lovely things to go into the little house, but remember Sorrel that “The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it”! Ralph Waldo Emerson. Sorry Liv’, I didn’t quite get the time to see your Hackney pad. Hope there’ll be another opportunity soon. I’ll come and have a cuppa around the kitchen table and enjoy 4x over girly banter!

The remainder of the day was spent somewhat ashamedly at Westfield, Stratford with both girls. Culture will have to wait for another day! Lots of trying on, but not a lot of buying. We all especially liked Cos.

Back home now in this somewhat quieter backwater the Magnolia in the garden really is trying to send out its showy blooms. The brook has receded and I hope that today’s dog walk will be somewhat less watery, especially since it transpires I have very leaky boots!

Have a wonderful weekend and I sincerely hope that the sun shines for you!

London-Bound, Rocking Dog

London-Bound

Yippee!!!, Rocking Dog

Yippee!!!

Sentimental Embroidery, Rocking Dog

Sentimental Embroidery

Leaky Boots, Rocking Dog

Leaky Boots

Well Travelled Boy!, Rocking Dog

Well Travelled Boy!

Magnolia 2015, Rocking Dog

Magnolia 2015

An Archive Post By Default!

It's Hot Cross Bun Time!, Rocking Dog

It’s Hot Cross Bun Time!

On Saturday evening we headed out to the Souk Kitchen, Apsley Road. After parking the car I attempted to shut the car door. After three attempts I realised there could just perhaps be something preventing it closing properly. DOH! it was my camera. The irreparable damage to said camera has made me resort to archive pictures today.

So no pictures of all the delicious food we ate at The Souk i’m afraid. Lovely memories however of eating soft shell crab, flatbreads, taramasalata, Halloumi with mango, Merguez Sausage and houmous. Our party of four skipped main courses, but of course could not resist something sweet. Delicious.

Spring is still trying to desperately struggle through the cheek nipping cold. On Friday I went to blow away the cobwebs on The Downs with Real Live Rocking Dog. This green lung is Bristol’s answer to Central Park. Snow, sun and the wind buffeted me across the green frosty expanse. The views along the Avon Gorge were magnificent, and Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge looked resplendent in the glinting sunshine. Large hawks soared above the gorge enjoying the warming thermals and I briskly moved on, trying to find my own warmth!

In the garden, snowdrops, hellebores and primroses are all peeping through. I am a warm weather gardener and I sadly haven’t yet been tempted to get out there digging.

The cold outside invites thoughts for warming food inside. With generous stashes of Hot Cross Buns in the shops what could be lovelier than a Bread & Butter Pudding using these seasonal buns (click on link for the Rocking Dog recipe). Of course out of season brioche slices or buns could be used, and at Christmas what could be more festive than using Panettone (perhaps with a dollop or two of mincemeat and candied peel).

Tomorrow I am on a mission to walk along part of the Frome Valley Walkway to find wild garlic. It is also known as Bear’s Garlic, Devils Garlic, Gypsy’s Onions, and Stinking Jenny (I wonder who poor Jenny was!) Oldest daughter is recipe testing for Abel & Cole and needs a supply of this pungent leaf. If my mission is successful a large bundle will be making its way by rail on Wednesday evening. The leaves of this seasonal crop are useful for making soups, pesto, and in tarts and casseroles. I can’t say i’m fond of eating it, but I adore seeing it’s pretty starry white flowers in its shaded woodland habitat.

I hope you are enjoying the first glimpses of spring whilst hopefully staying warm and cosy.

Hellebores, Rocking Dog

Hellebores

Primrose Place, Rocking Dog

Primrose Place

Snowdrops, Rocking Dog

Snowdrops

Follow Me For..., Rocking Dog

Follow Me For…

 Wild Garlic, Rocking Dog

Wild Garlic

Cobweb Blowing, Rocking Dog

Cobweb Blowing

A Wee Heartwarming Scottish Tale For The Wee Bairns!

Bronze Bobby, Rocking Dog

Bronze Bobby

It’s a long time since I did a post for the little small things, so here is a wee heartwarming Scottish tale for the wee bairns.

Hello little small things, very soon I want you to sit very comfortably whilst you listen to this tale. If you are very clever you will be reading this yourself. However, I must first warn you that this is definitely not a story for those of you who like fluffy white rabbits, twinkly princesses or cuddly purring pussy-cats!

So are you sitting extraordinarily comfortably? So we’ll begin… please remember to click the links as the story goes on.

Once upon a time, because of course that’s how all good stories begin, there was a man called John Gray. He lived a VERY long time ago, not quite at a time when dinosaurs roamed the planet, but still a very long time ago. John lived in Scotland, as you are very clever you will know that Scotland is famous for the Loch Ness Monster, noisy bagpipes, kilts and haggis. John worked as a gardener and was very poor, so he together with his wife Jess and son John decided to seek their fortune in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a very big city with a castle and a craggy hill called Arthur’s Seat. The cobbled streets in John’s time would have been noisy with people selling things, street performers, pedlars, horses and carts, beggars and children playing.

Poor John could not find a job, he was worried that his little family would end up in the workhouse. The workhouse was a really horrid place to be, with horrible food, itchy uniforms and no time to play. In time he was pleased to get a job working as a night watchman, helping the Edinburgh City Police. His job involved walking the streets of the city, making sure that there were no burglars about, and that everyone was safely tucked up in their beds. He would walk the dark streets in snow, fog and rain.

John was accompanied in his lonely job by his little dog Bobby. They loved each other very much and the people of the city used to love to see John and his faithful dog walking the cobbled streets together. John became very ill and there was nothing that could be done to help him, so sadly he died. Bobby followed Johns coffin into the kirkyard (churchyard) at Greyfriars and refused to leave his masters grave.

How long do you think that Bobby stayed by the grave? Have a guess. The little dog stayed there for fourteen years! He only left the kirkyard to go and have food. Each day the castle would fire a large gun at 1 o’clock and when he heard the gun Bobby would scamper off for lunch. After eating he would return to the kirkyard and that’s where he’d stay until the castle’s gun went off again the following day.

At first the graveyard caretaker would try to shoo Bobby away, but in time he realised just how devoted the little dog was to his owner. The caretaker kindly put some sacking between two gravestones to give Bobby shelter from the rain, snow and sun. I wonder if Bobby ever got frightened because the kirkyard is very creepy with lots of carved skulls, tombstones and angels. I certainly wouldn’t like to spend a night there!

In time The Lord Provost, similar to a Lord Mayor, was so touched by Bobby’s devotion that he presented him with a collar (If you are ever in Edinburgh you can see Bobby’s collar in the Museum of Edinburgh). Bobby became a little bit of a celebrity, with people coming especially to see him. I wonder if my great grandfather was one of those people who visited Bobby, because he lived and worked very close by.

Bobby got to be a very old dog, but eventually died in 1872 at the age of sixteen which is VERY old in doggy years! He was buried in a grave very close to his master, just inside the gates of the Greyfriars kirkyard, and I expect everyone was very very sad.

A year after Bobby died a very rich English lady who had heard the story of Bobby asked the council if they would allow her to pay for a water fountain in memory of the little dog. If you go to Candlemaker Row you can see Bobby’s fountain. Bobby is cast from a metal called bronze. Can you see in the photo how gold his nose is from people stroking it? If you are thirsty I don’t think you should drink from the fountain, the water looks very dirty.

In 1981 which isn’t ALL that long ago, a red granite headstone was placed on Bobby’s grave. People come from all over the world to see his grave and sometimes they leave sticks (because dogs simply LOVE running after sticks!), toys and flowers.

Maybe one day you’ll be able to go and stroke Bobby’s nose and see Edinburgh for yourself.

Bobby, Rocking Dog

Bobby

Welcome To Edinburgh, Rocking Dog

Welcome To Edinburgh

Bobby In Print, Rocking Dog

Bobby In Print

Edinburgh Ancestors, Rocking Dog

Edinburgh Ancestors

Creepy Graveyard, Rocking Dog

Creepy Graveyard

Bobby's Grave, Rocking Dog

Bobby’s Grave

250th Blog – Thank you For Being On The Journey!

Celebrating 250 Posts With Cake, Rocking Dog

Celebrating 250 Posts With Cake

250 blogs- thank you from the bottom of my heart for being on the journey with me.

It’s hard to believe that when I did my very first blog on October 12th 2014 I had sleepless nights worrying about embracing technology. My lovely and very patient sister put me on the path of blogging. She sat with me and VERY painfully watched my first tentative steps dealing with WordPress. Exhausted and exasperated she left me sheaths of handwritten instructions to refer to. There were phone calls to her when things went wrong and there was lots of family support to keep me going when I felt overwhelmed. Steadily I made slow progress.

A one finger keyboard bod’ I still am, but posts are put together more quickly even if it’s sometimes 1am when I start a post! I have found blogging tremendously useful for the equalibrium of my mental health. At various points in my life I have suffered from depression. One particularly tough patch about seven years ago rendered communicating incredibly difficult. It was physically and mentally painful to talk. Furthermore, I found it almost impossible to write, physically holding a pen and using a computer keyboard were so indescribably difficult. Even signing a card was sometimes beyond me, and creative writing was unthinkable. With a consistently supportive GP, appropriate medication and online counselling together with support from fantastic family and friends the year long fog gradually lifted. Having to walk Real Life Rocking Dog twice a day was also so vital in my recovery.

Blogging acts like a safety mechanism. If I can write I am well. It gives me a focus, and of course if people are enjoying my mutterings that is an absolute bonus. So now that I have rather bared my soul, perhaps i’ll share the posts that I have enjoyed writing over the last 18 months or so. Please share with me the ones you have liked.

Opening my almost daily post must be rather like opening a box of chocolates- you never quite know what you’ll get. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix. I often conjure up topics to write about whilst i’m out walking RLR Dog. I always carry my camera, a Smart Phone hasn’t quite entered my world yet. The posts that I treasure are generally the ones that are very personal to me. I have the hope that they are records of ancestry or moments in history that my children and their offspring can retrieve in cyberspace forever more. To this end, The Day I Met A Holocaust Survivor (Jan 28th 2015) is probably one of the posts of which I am most proud, as I finally made time to write about a never to be forgotten meeting. Before very long there will be no Holocaust survivors left (or for that matter their captors). It is vital therefore to capitalise on first hand accounts to pass down to future generations.

Another poignant post special to me is Postcards From The Front To The Sanitorium (April 15th 2015). I wrote this post as a result of reading a batch of WW1 postcards from my great uncles and aunt serving in France and Gallipoli to their young sister. My grandmother Emily was in a Scottish sanitorium suffering from TB.

On a lighter note Rocking Dog food posts seem to have been popular, Iced Fabulous Flamingo’s Strutting Their Stuff (May 8th 2015) certainly tested my sugar craft skills! There have been lots of sewing makes along the way, quilts, crooked hearts, stockings etc.. etc.. I always love a Something From Nothing (July 3rd 2015) project be it sewing or wrapping a present, Rocking Dog Loves Manuscript Paper (Nov 16th 2015)

Travels have bought great excuses to share the experience. Sometimes you do not need to travel far to appreciate a new landscape and new micro-culture. If You’re Fond Of Sand Dunes…(April 27th 2015) and Weekend Postcard From Devon (June 29th 2015) were really enjoyable breaks. Further afield, my favourite ever blog photo’s have to be the ones posted for Arriverderci Italy- Missing You Too Much Already (Nov 12th 2015). Sometimes a day trip can feel like a holiday and this was certainly the case when I headed to my first ever Chelsea Flower Show (May 22nd 2015). I ADORED It.

Christmas always gives me plenty to gas about and there are a whole host of posts to chose from, perhaps this one sums me up…A Little Reminder From Toby & Mrs Mac

It’s great to daydream about a move to a lobster shack by the sea (and yes there really was an idyllic one to buy), but I do love My Bristol- Honest It’s A Great City (March 30th 2015) and I do love my crumbly old house –Rocking Dog Home Making Tips (March 5th 2015). So a year from now i’ll probably still be muttering on, still one finger typing and the Russian Velvet walls won’t have changed.

I still don’t quite “get” inviting friends, or sharing or retweeting or encouraging followers etc.. so I sincerely hope I haven’t made anyone feel abandoned. A blogging entrepreneur I will never be, but hopefully a semi-sane blogger with fingers crossed something interesting to chatter on about.

Thank You again, and I hope you’ll continue dipping in and out of Rocking Dog in the months ahead

Love Liz x

Heartfelt, Rocking Dog

Heartfelt

Therapeutic Dog, Rocking Dog

Therapeutic Dog

My Bristol, Rocking Dog

My Bristol

It's A Wrap!, Rocking Dog

It’s A Wrap!

Chelsea Holiday, Rocking Dog

Chelsea Holiday

Home & Away, Rocking Dog

Home & Away

Home Making, Rocking Dog

Home Making

Christmas Stash, Rocking Dog

Christmas Stash

Fave Photo, Rocking Dog

Fave Photo

Gatecrashing A Lads Trip To Auld Reekie!

Edinburgh Airport Giant Thistle, Rocking Dog

Edinburgh Airport Giant Thistle

I took the early morning flight yesterday to Auld Reekie with Andyman and the boy, what a gatecrasher I am! Auld Reekie is of course an affectionate name for the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Thankfully, with the Clean Air Act the city no longer really deserves the Auld Reekie title. It literally means “Old Smokey” and harks back to a time when the population of Edinburgh were tightly crammed into a dense area lining the Royal Mile. Fires for heating and cooking would create a choking smog. The Reekie could also pertain to the habit of buckets of human excrement/dirty water being thrown out of windows and doors. The foul effluent would run down the street and into N’or Loch (North Lake). On a warm day the pungent fumes would rise up and add to the smokey smog. This open sewer would in addition sometimes be used for the practice of witch dunking. In the 16th & 17th century suspected witches would be tried by dunking them in water. If innocent they would sink and if guilty, float!

Anyway enough of this unpleasantness! I had a wonderful time in Edinburgh and the weather was by all accounts much more affable than Tuesday in Bristol. The boys travelled north for a final fitting of kilt jackets and waistcoats for the wedding. Very smart. Scottish dress allows so much choice that it ends up feeling like a very bloated Chinese restaurant menu! Tartans, sock colour, tie colour, sporran type, etc… etc… So many brain boggling decisions to make.

After an hour or two of talking tartan and ties I decided to go off piste and let the boys try and figure things out. I headed for my favourite haunt “Ragamuffin”. Lovely clothes, wools, and accessories. The colours and textures are almost edible. I came out with a bag containing a dress which could be a wedding contender. I better get on and make my coat… time is rattling away.

I then headed to Victoria Street, where my Great Grandfather, Robert Cresser had a brush shop. Now very much a boys toys emporium, it still has some of the original fittings which graced the shop when it was established in 1873. My dad used to go and watch the brushes being made upstairs in the shop. I feel so nostalgic about my Scottish heritage and this beautiful historic street.

From No 40, Victoria Street I headed off to reacquaint myself with Greyfriars Bobby, but that’s a story for another day! I had a great stroll around the Greyfriars Kirkyard close by. Truly amazing tombs and inscriptions. I certainly wouldn’t like to be there when darkness falls, i’m sure it would be incredibly eerie.

I did a little browsing in Princes Street and parallel roads before meeting the boys. The sparkly new and efficient tram took us to the airport. It was time to say goodbye to this glorious city, sometimes known as the Athens of the North.

If you haven’t ever been to Edinburgh here in a nutshell is some of it’s great credentials. It has the trams to take you directly from the airport to the centre of town in 1/2 an hour (£8 return). If travelling by train, Waverley station is located literally on Princes Street. It is a city of amazing buildings, statues, galleries, eateries and shops. There is also the famous castle and of course in August the city hosts its amazing Tattoo and Festival. And….contrary to common belief it doesn’t always rain in Scotland!

I enjoyed gatecrashing, but so wish the gatecrashing had lasted longer.

Favourite Haunt!, Rocking Dog

Favourite Haunt!

Linens & Silks, Rocking Dog

Linens & Silks

Embellished Wall, Rocking Dog

Embellished Wall

The Fair City, Rocking Dog

The Fair City

Gt Grandfather's Footsteps, Rocking Dog

Gt Grandfather’s Footsteps

Gt Grandfather Cresser, Rocking Dog

Gt Grandfather Cresser

Curiosity Cabinet, Rocking Dog

Curiosity Cabinet

Then......, Rocking Dog

Then…….

& Now, Rocking Dog

& Now