Monday, January 30, 2012

Burns Night!

Our lovely table setting.

Rachel addressing the haggis - and doing a very good job of it too!

The lovely haggis!

Haggis, neeps & tatties! Yum!!!

Everyone busily eating!

The address to the lassies. Elder Stowers gave a moving speech about his grandmother, his mother, and his wife. It was really beautiful.


I made another Clootie Dumpling this year!

Ian enjoying his clootie dumpling - with hot custard!

Last year, Rachel & I organised a Burns supper for the YSA group. We prepared far more food than was necessary, and Rachel & I were eating haggis, neeps & tatties for weeks afterwards. Using our past knowledge, we thought we'd attempt another Burns supper, and this one was far more relaxed and successful.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chinese New Year - in Glasgow!

So, it came to light that Glasgow was planning a Chinese New Year party as well! Of course, Rachel & I went. And I am proud to say, that I think it was even better than the Edinburgh show! We had the same dancers (Mongolian chopsticks & all!) BUT we also had games, activities & workshops: Chinese writing, dumplings, sweet rice balls, etc. And it was a much more relaxed, familial atmosphere.

There were lots of darling Chinese children there (I'll have more of these)

The infamous Jim (quite a character) dressed up as a Chinese god (?)

Again, with Elder Miller

Some Chinese sweets.

Chinese writing.

Aw, cute little Chinese girls!

Some Glaswegian kids! The fellow on the left (Nathan) is eight. He's a tiny fellow who talks like he's forty.  I love this kid!

Tony & Jennifer (Jennifer is from Edinburgh ward) announcing the festivities!

I'm not the only one taking pictures of cute Chinese children!

Aw, look at this wee lad!

The Chinese (plus chinese elders) singing a song. Tony is in the checked shirt, next to Elder Miller, who is next to Carlos, who is next to Elder Lee. The girl in the red sweater is Han, and she's next to Annie (who does the dancing and whose husband owns a Chinese restaurant that provided the food), who is next to Jennifer. Those are the ones I know!

After the Chinese rain dance, two of the dancers played their violins -and they played Scottish tunes!

Rachel and myself.

Jennifer holding a wee Chinese baby.

A bit more of Celtic Connections~

The last number that Askolenn performed is the one where some of the girls from uni joined them at the end. I didn't have enough space on my camera to record the whole song, but I tried to get good bits of it. I think this is my favourite song of theirs. They said it is a hymn to the patron St. Anne, queen of the ocean.

Ok, sorry. They won't let me load the first (longest) clip! No!!! It must be too long. I'll put a link of their performance of the same song last year at Celtic connections, that'll have to do.

Celtic Connections: the university & Askolenn

Well, every year in Glasgow there is an amazing music festival called Celtic Connections, and this year the Gaelic learners/speakers at the uni became involved. We put together a program of songs and instrumentals, and a small group of girls joined the band Askolenn at the end of their performance. Askolenn is a Breton band, and their name is "thistle" in Breton. There are six members of the band: fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bodhran and two singers. Their music is really beautiful. I am very intrigued by the Celtic connection - no pun intended! - that we have with Brittany. I recorded a few video clips of their songs. I'm trying to transfer an audio clip from my phone, but I don't know if that will work or not!

Enjoy! I sincerely hope you do!

There are more video clips I want to upload, but for now I'll post these. The last song, was, I believe, about women singing for their husbands and brothers out at sea. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year!

The Chinese members in Edinburgh put on a big Chinese New Year celebration, and invited people from all over Scotland. Some of Rachel's friends from Aberdeen even drove down! It was really a delightful evening, with delicious food and interesting entertainment. It was nice to see Jennifer, one of the Chinese members, and Elder Neser, who baptised Winnie!

Aberdeen friends, left to right: Heather, Laura, ? and Richard.

The lovely Chinese food!

The elders singing "I am a child of God" in Chinese. Elder Neser (on the left) is the one who baptised Winnie.

Mongolian Chopstick Dance!

Chinese rain dance.

Iain (who was baptised recently), Rachel & myself.

With the Stowers

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Artist

When I first heard about "The Artist" it was from my friend Kevin Brownlow, who saw it at the Bologna film festival and said, "don't miss the brand-new silent." This was in July. I've heard about it since - and have discussed it with my siblings. I went to a film with Rachel in November or December (I think it was...) and saw a trailer for it, and fairly exploded with excitement!

I've seen silent films on the big screen, of course I have. It wasn't that. It was that I was in a regular cinema with regular folks (not silent film enthusiasts) watching regular films, that thrilled me so much. Often in the past when I've watched silent films, I've imagined what it was like for people when, oh, say The Thief of Bagdad, or Flesh & the Devil or The Gold Rush were brand new, and you were going to the cinema to see them for the first time. And here was such an opportunity - seeing a new silent film in the big theatre! I was delighted by the prospect.

So, on Tuesday the 10th, Rachel & I decided we'd go. In honour of seeing a silent film, I dressed up in one of my 20's dresses (I used to have so many, and the truth is, I only actually have one with me here in Glasgow!). I put make-up on 'n everythin'!

My ticket!
It was a fabulous film. I loved every minute of it, and was touched by the pathos in the story. The leading man, George Valentin (a nod, I suppose, at Rudolf Valentino) really reminded me of John Gilbert (an old favourite of mine) with a dash of Douglas Fairbanks thrown in. I think they even made an oblique reference to Greta Garbo, when the female lead uses the line "I want to be alone." I was on a happy buzz the rest of the evening - I always forget how silent films affect me!

Some stills from the film.

Jean Dujardin as George Valentin

Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller
When we got home, I asked Rachel if I could show her a few clips (from Youtube) of John Gilbert. She very kindly humoured me. I chose a couple scenes from Flesh & the Devil with Greta Garbo, as that is such a thrilling example - I think!
The famous kissing scene

John Gilbert

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


So, a friend of Rachel's came up from England (a fellow named David) to spend the New Years with us. We also met up with an acquaintance of Rachel's, a girl named Aurelie from the south of France. The four of us then got the train to Airdrie, where some friends of ours picked us up and we went to the church where they were having a ceilidh. Last year Glasgow had a ceilidh, but as New Years Day was on a Sunday, they decided not to. I think this was a silly decision for them to make. In any case, we had a lovely time in Airdrie, so it's all right.
Isn't this brilliant?! This was in the train station.

Rachel & I at the dance.
They played a couple of Proclaimers songs (twice, actually) and, of course, that put me right at ease. Having grown up with the Proclaimers, I quite like them, and so when our DJ urged us all to sing along, I did so, quite lustily! There was also ceilidh dancing - hurray! Strip the Willow (one of the best dances!), the Virginia Reel & the Gay Gordons.
David, Rachel & Janine (a fellow YSA who had come for the festivities)

Getting home was quite an adventure as well. Rachel called a taxi and they were supposed to get us at 12:45. We went outside to wait, and they weren't there. After a few minutes, Rachel called them and they said they'd be there in ten minutes. At quarter past 1:00 they weren't there, though they said they were! The bishop of the Airdrie ward drove back (as it had begun to rain quite heavily) and urged us into his car, telling us he'd give us as lift. I was thrilled at the prospect, and I, and everyone else for that matter, urged Rachel to cancel the taxi. She did so, and the taxi company was so angry they banned her number from calling them again! But, I confess, it was nice to be getting home at last, warm and dry!

David was staying with us, and I don't know that he was the first one through the door in our flat, but he *does* have dark hair, so I like to think he was, and that we had a traditional "First Footer" (even if he was from England!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day!

On Christmas Eve, I went into the city centre - I wanted to find where the missionaries were singing carols. I thought it was at Buchanan Galleries (a shopping mall) but they weren't there, so I tried Princes Square (another shopping mall) without luck. So I walked down to St Enoch Centre (a third shopping mall - all within 5 minutes of each other!) and no missionaries! So, I wandered around, did a bit of shopping, and went home.

Once home, I got a bee in my bonnet, and spent hours in the kitchen. I made some lambswool (pressed apple juice, cinnamon sticks, ginger, nutmeg & a dash of brown sugar) *and* I made eggnog! It's my favourite beverage at Christmas time (I dilute mine with milk. Others of my family dilute theirs with ginger ale!) but you can't buy it here. So I followed this recipe: (only I just used milk instead of alcohol) and it turned out *very* well, if I do say so myself!

I didn't stop there - but made cookies as well (I had some dough I had frozen & thought I should make more Xmas cookies with it). When mother & daddy called me on Skype (I had my laptop in the kitchen with me, as the eggnog recipe was online) I was very surprised that it was 9:30! I'd spent the better part of 5 hours in the kitchen.

Also, for my Christmas dinner, I made Latkes. Yum! So, Christmas Eve was a very busy, exciting day.
latkes with applesauce & sour cream!

My eggnog

Xmas cookies!

Christmas day, on the other hand, was nice and relaxed. No work, for one! I opened some gifts in the morning with my mother - via Skype! That was jolly. I then went to church at noon (we only had sacrament meeting) and then I went home and did some Christmas things - watched "A Child's Christmas in Wales" and other such things. Then at 6:30 Scott Roy (Patsy's husband) and Lydia & Phillipa picked me up to go hang out with them for awhile. It was so lovely, just being with a family! We didn't do much (the elders were over to use their Skype for calling home), just talked and admired the girls' Christmas gifts. It was very nice. At about 10:00 or so, Patsy drove me home. It was quite a  wonderful Christmas Day.

the elf at the top of my Christmas tree.

A real Christmas pudding!!! It was delicious. I found an obliging holly bush on Hillhead Street and cut off a wee sprig.

Some of my Xmas gifts

Every time I walk down Great Western Road (to church, or work, for example) I see this old Santa fellow in the window at the Shelter Charity shop.

This too I see: and I love the creepy look to this Christmas Carol poster!