Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 6

Today we are in Berwickshire.

"BERWICKSHIRE is of an irregular square form, bounded on the N. by East-Lothian; on the E. by the German Ocean; on the S. by the river Tweed, and the English border; and on the W. by the counties of Roxburgh, Peebles and Mid-Lothian. Its extent in length may be stated at 34 miles, and its breadth 19. This county is nominally divided into 3 districts, viz. Lauderdale, Lammermuir and Merse or March. The first is that opening or valley in the Lammermuir hills, through which the river Leader runs. Lammermuir comprehends the ridge of hills which separate this county from East-Lothian, extending from the head of Leader water to the sea, below the town of Berwick. The Merse or March includes that fertile and populous plain, stretching from the hills, along the banks of the Tweed. Berwickshire contains one royal borough, viz. Lauder; and several large towns and villages, as Dunse, Coldstream, Coldingham, Ayton, Eyemouth. It is divided in to 32 parochial districts: and contains, by the late enumeration in 1801, 30206 inhabitants." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.

Time for our hymn.

The glory of these forty days
We celebrate with songs of praise;
For Christ, by Whom all things were made,
Himself has fasted and has prayed.

Alone and fasting Moses saw
The loving God Who gave the law;
And to Elijah, fasting, came
The steeds and chariots of flame.

So Daniel trained his mystic sight,
Delivered from the lions’ might;
And John, the Bridegroom’s friend, became
The herald of Messiah’s Name.

Then grant us, Lord, like them to be
Full oft in fast and prayer with Thee;
Our spirits strengthen with Thy grace,
And give us joy to see Thy face.

O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
To thee be every prayer addressed,
Who art in threefold Name adored,
From age to age, the only Lord.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 5

Today we are in Banffshire.

"BANFFSHIRE, a maritime county in the NE. of Scotland, stretching about 56 miles between Aberdeenshire and the cos. of Elgin and Inverness, and comprising a small detached section in Aberdeenshire. It is very narrow in proportion to its length, and is broadest along the N., where the coast on the Moray Firth measures about 30 miles. Area, 640.8 sq. m., or 412,258 ac. Pop. 62,736, or 98 persons to each sq. m. The greater part of the S. section (about three-fourths of the entire length) is occupied with lofty mountains, finely wooded hills, and picturesque glens. The N. district is beautifully diversified with low hills, fine valleys, and small tracts of rich plain. The highest mountains, Ben Macdhui (4296 ft.) and Cairn Gorm (4080 ft.), are grouped on the SW. border. The rivers are the Spey, with its affluent the Fiddich; the Deveron, with its affluent the Isla; and the Boyne. There are quarries of slate and marble. The occupations are chiefly pastoral, but great numbers of the people are also employed in the fisheries. The co. comprises 19 pars., with parts of 11 others, the parl. and police burghs of Banff and Cullen (part of the Elgin Burghs), and the police burghs of Dufftown and Macduff. It returns 1 member to Parliament." [Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

The fast, as taught by holy lore,
we keep in solemn course once more;
the fast to all men known, and bound
in forty days of yearly round.

The law and seers that were of old
in diverse ways this Lent foretold,
which Christ, all seasons' King and Guide,
in after ages sanctified.

More sparing therefore let us make
the words we speak, the food we take,
our sleep and mirth,-- and closer barred
be every sense in holy guard.

In prayer together let us fall,
and cry for mercy, one and all,
and weep before the Judge's feet,
and his avenging wrath entreat.

Thy grace have we offended sore,
by sins, O God, which we deplore;
but pour upon us from on high,
O pardoning One, thy clemency.

Remember thou, though frail we be,
that yet thine handiwork are we;
nor let the honour of thy name
be by another put to shame.

Forgive the sin that we have wrought;
increase the good that we have sought;
that we at length, our wanderings o'er,
may please thee here and evermore.

We pray thee, Holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
that we from this our abstinence
may reap the fruits of penitence. Amen.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 4

Today we are in Ayrshire.

"AYRSHIRE, a maritime co. in the SW. of Scotland, adjoining the cos. of Renfrew, Lanark, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Wigtown. It is in the shape of a crescent, with the concave side, measuring about 70 miles, adjacent to the Firth of Clyde. Its greatest breadth, across the middle, is 30 miles. Area, 1128.5 sq. m., or 729,186 ac. Pop. 217,519 or 193 persons to each sq. m. The coast in the S. is rocky and destitute of natural harbours, but becomes low and sandy northwards from Ayr. The lofty islet of Ailsa Craig is comprised in this co. The surface slopes with slight undulations from the landward border, which is hilly in most parts, and is mountainous in the SE. The soil is various, sandy near the coast, of a rich clay in the middle parts, and moor in the uplands. The rivers are the Garnock, Irvine, Ayr, Doon, Girvan, and Stinchar. The largest lake is Loch Doon, on the SE. border. The minerals are coal, iron, limestone, and sandstone, all of which are extensively worked. The co. is famous for dairy produce and a fine breed of cows. The mfrs. are valuable and include woollen, cotton, iron, and earthenware."

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

Be thou my guardian and my guide,
and hear me when I call;
let not my slippery footsteps slide,
and hold me lest I fall.

The world, the flesh, and Satan dwell
around the path I tread;
O save me from the snares of hell,
thou Quickener of the dead.

And if I tempted am to sin,
and outward things are strong,
do thou, O Lord, keep watch within,
and save my soul from wrong.

Still let me ever watch and pray,
and feel that I am frail;
that if the tempter cross my way,
yet he may not prevail.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

1st Sunday of Lent

Today we read about the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness.

Forty days and forty nights
Thou wast fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted, and yet undefiled.

Sunbeams scorching all the day;
Chilly dew-drops nightly shed;
Prowling beasts about Thy way;
Stones Thy pillow; earth Thy bed.

Should not we Thy sorrow share
And from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer,
Strong with Thee to suffer pain?

Then if Satan on us press,
Jesus, Saviour, hear our call!
Victor in the wilderness,
Grant we may not faint nor fall!

So shall we have peace divine:
Holier gladness ours shall be;
Round us, too, shall angels shine,
Such as ministered to Thee.

Keep, O keep us, Saviour dear,
Ever constant by Thy side;
That with Thee we may appear
At the eternal Eastertide.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 3

Today we are in Argyll.

" ... a county on the west coast of Scotland, the second largest in the country, embracing a large tract of country on the mainland and a number of the Hebrides or Western Isles. The mainland portion is bounded N. by Inverness-shire; E. by Perth and Dumbarton, Loch Long and the Firth of Clyde; S. by the North Channel (Irish Sea); and W. by the Atlantic. Its area is 1,990,471 acres or 3110 sq.m. The principal districts are Ardnamurchan on the Atlantic, Ardnamurchan Point being the most westerly headland of Scotland; Morven or Morvern, bounded by Loch Sunart, the Sound of Mull and Loch Linnhe; Appin, on Loch Linnhe, with piers at Ballachulish and Port Appin; Benderloch, lying between Loch Creran and Loch Etive; Lorne, surrounding Loch Etive and giving the title of marquess to the Campbells; Argyll, in the middle of the shire, containing Inveraray Castle and furnishing the titles of earl and duke to the Campbells; Cowall, between Loch Fyne and the Firth of Clyde, in which lie Dunoon and other favorite holiday resorts; Knapdale between the Sound of Jura and Loch Fyne; and Kintyre or Cantyre, a long narrow peninsula (which, at the isthmus of Tarbert, is little more than 1m. wide), the southernmost point of which is known as The Mull, the nearest part of Scotland to the coast of Ireland, only 13m. distant. ... "

Extracted from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. 2, Cambridge, 1910

Time for our hymn.

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
And put your armour on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies,
Through His eternal Son.

Strong in the Lord of Hosts,
And in His mighty pow'r,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts
Is more than conqueror.

Stand then in His great might,
With all His strength endued;
And take, to arm you for the fight,
The panoply of God.

Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul,
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole.

From strength to strength go on;
Wrestle, and fight, and pray;
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day:

That, having all things done,
And all your conflicts past,
Ye may o'ercome through Christ alone,
And stand entire at last.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 2

Today we are in Angus - a perfect location for a Lenten fish supper!

"Forfarshire, a maritime county on the east side of Scotland, extending from the river North Esk to the Firth of Tay. It is bounded on the north-west and north by Aberdeenshire; on the north-east by Kincardineshire; on the east and south-east by the North Sea; on the south by the Firth of Tay; and on the south-west and west by Perthshire. In the NW. are the Braes of Angus, a group of spurs of the Grampians, intersected by romantic glens; in the SW., 8 miles from and parallel to the Firth of Tay, are the Sidlaw Hills; between the Braes of Angus and the Sidlaw Hills is the fertile valley of Strathmore (Great Valley) or Howe of Angus; from the Sidlaw Hills to the coast on the E. and S. the land is level and highly cultivated. From Dundee to Arbroath the coast consists of sand; from Arbroath to Lunan Bay it is formed of sandstone cliffs, culminating in the Red Head. The chief rivers are the Isla, a tributary of the Tay, and the North Esk and South Esk, which flow SE. to the North Sea. Its form - with the exception of an indentation on the north-east, another indentation on the south-west, and a projection on the north-west, all about 5 or 6 miles deep - is very nearly circular. The country lies between latitude 56 degrees 27' and 56 degrees 57' north, and between longitude 2 degrees 25' and 3 degrees 25' from the meridian of Greenwich. Its medium extent, from the north to south is 28.5 miles, and from east to west 29 miles, of 69.5 to a degree; its superficial area is 889 square miles or 568,750 acres. The county consists of four parallel and very distinctive districts - the Grampian, the Strathmore, the Sidlaw and the maritime."

Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.

Time for our hymn.

Fight the good fight with all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the Path, and Christ the Prize.

Cast care aside, upon thy Guide,
Lean, and His mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life, and Christ its Love.

Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.

A good job Rob didn't ask me for any requests. He would have been there all night!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 1

There are 33 more weekdays of Lent before the start of Holy Week - and 33 counties in Scotland (according to the 1890-1974 classification which we shall be using). So we shall be visiting a different county each day spreading the Good News!

You may wish to print out this map so as to have a handy reference as we go on our journey.

We shall be visiting these counties in alphabetical order, and so today we start in Aberdeenshire.

"ABERDEENSHIRE, a maritime Co. in the NE. of Scotland; bounded N. and E. by the German Ocean; S. by the counties of Kincardine, Forfar, and Perth; and W. by the counties of Inverness and Banff. Greatest length, NE. and SW., 85 miles; greatest breadth, NW. and SE., 42 miles; coast-line, 60 miles. Area, 1955.4 sq. m., or 1,251,451 ac. Pop. 267,990, or 137 persons to each sq. m. The coast is mostly bold and rocky, and with little indentation. The chief promontories are Kinnaird's Head, Rattray Head, and Buchan Ness, the last being the most easterly point of Scotland. The surface, on the whole, is hilly and mountainous. It is lowest in the districts bordering on the coasts; hilly in the interior, with much moor, but also with many slopes and hollows in a good state of cultivation; and grandly mountainous in the SW., where numerous summits, including Ben Macdhui (4296 ft.), rise above 3000 ft. Much of the country is well-wooded. The chief rivers are the Dee, Don, Ythan, Ugie, and Deveron. Granite is the principal rock, and is extensively quarried for exportation."
[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Let's now sing the pilgrims hymn.

He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound—his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labour night and day to be a pilgrim.

I'm afraid that Rob Charles appears to be unaware of the restrictions placed on the use of the organ during Lent. It's a good job the organ doesn't have a tuba stop!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ash Wednesday

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

To thee, Redeemer, on thy throne of glory:
lift we our weeping eyes in holy pleadings:
listen, O Jesu, to our supplications.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

O thou chief cornerstone, right hand of the Father:
way of salvation, gate of life celestial:
cleanse thou our sinful souls from all defilement.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

God, we implore thee, in thy glory seated:
bow down and hearken to thy weeping children:
pity and pardon all our grievous trespasses.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Sins oft committed, now we lay before thee:
with true contrition, now no more we veil them:
grant us, Redeemer, loving absolution.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Innocent captive, taken unresisting:
falsely accused, and for us sinners sentenced,
save us, we pray thee, Jesu, our Redeemer.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

With a voice of singing!

With a voice of singing
Declare ye this, and let it be heard, Alleluia.
Declare ye this, and let it be heard, Alleluia.

Utter it even unto the ends of the earth.
The Lord hath delivered his people, Alleluia.
The Lord hath delivered his people, Alleluia.

O be joyful in God, all ye lands,
O sing praises to the honour of his name,
Make his praise to be glorious.

With a voice of singing
Declare ye this, and let it be heard, Alleluia.
Declare ye this, and let it be heard, Alleluia.
Alleluia, Declare ye this, and let it be heard, Alleluia!

Should you hear this song during the next 46 days, you may safely assume you have made it to heaven!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 25

Before the rigours of the Lenten Fast, I thought you would enjoy watching a video featuring Bill Dean. In anticipation of all the extra interest that will result from being featured in my blog, Dean's have opened a fantastic new Visitor's Centre.

They hope to attract many visitors from the States - where a high proportion of the visitors to this blog live. Be sure to visit the cafe and bistro. Did you know, Dean's Shortbread is now routinely served to VIP visitors to The Pentagon?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

7th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the gospel today we hear Jesus say to the paralytic, 'Get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.' When Jesus forgives our sins, he too lifts us up.

Stand up and bless the Lord
Ye people of His choice;
Stand up and bless the Lord your God
With heart and soul and voice.

Though high above all praise,
Above all blessing high,
Who would not fear His holy Name,
And laud and magnify?

O for the living flame
From His own altar brought,
To touch our lips, our minds inspire,
And wing to heaven our thought!

God is our Strength and Song,
And His salvation ours;
Then be His love in Christ proclaimed
With all our ransomed powers.

Stand up and bless the Lord;
The Lord your God adore;
Stand up and bless His glorious Name;
Henceforth forevermore.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 24

Dean's also make some fantastic oatcakes - why not serve them with smoked mackerel pate?

You may well be thinking - how do I make smoked mackerel pate? The following video shows you how!

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Dean's have just been awarded the ultimate accolade. No, not a Royal Warrant, but rather inclusion in my list of favourite blogs! This should boost their sales no end.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 23

Dean's of Huntly do not just bake shortbread - their oat biscuits are also delicious!

They bake five different varieties:


Coconut and Treacle

Apple and cranberry

Stem ginger

Sultana and heather honey

If you cannot decide which to buy, why not consider purchasing a selection box?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 22

Here we see the shortbread being trimmed and packed by hand.

Now for some amazing statistics from the Dean's bakery:

We use 1000 tonnes of flour a year!

1400 dairy cattle are dedicated to producing the amount of butter we need annually.

We bake 69 million biscuits a year.

If placed end to end the number of shortbread fingers we produce in a year could stretch from Land's End to John o'Groats and back -

With the advent of modern bridges, the shortest route is around 814 miles (1,310 km). This route, using minor roads in numerous places, roughly follows: Land's End, Okehampton, Tiverton, Bridgwater, M5 Avon Bridge, M48 Severn Bridge, Monmouth, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Tarporley, St Helens, Preston, Carlisle, Beattock, Carstairs, Whitburn, Falkirk, Stirling, Crieff, Kenmore, Dalchalloch, A9, Inverness, A9 (Kessock Bridge, Cromarty Bridge, Dornoch Firth Bridge), Latheron, Wick, John o'Groats.

This is truly amazing! Just remember, the Dean's story began in 1975 at the heart of Helen Dean's kitchen, in the small town of Huntly, North East Scotland.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 21

Today at Dean's our hand-baking process is just the same as Helen's but on a larger scale. Here’s how it's done.

We follow Helen’s original home recipe using only the finest ingredients - most of which come from the same suppliers we have always used.

The ingredients are sieved and mixed to exact quantities in, what is literally, a scaled up mixing bowl. Once the dough is of a soft, creamed and light consistency, it is transferred onto baking trays, where it is hand-pricked with a ‘prickle docker’ and is ready for a slow oven-bake. The trays are hand-racked and placed in the oven, where the shortbread is judged by eye to ensure the bake is just right - a real skill! When ready, the racks are lifted out with oven gloves, and while still warm, the shortbread is hand-cut with a knife and dusted with sugar using a sieve.

The biscuits are primarily left to cool naturally (just like Helen used to do), which allows the smell to permeate through the town. Once cool, the product is trimmed and packed by hand as quickly as possible to keep all that freshness in.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 20

The origins of shortbread can be traced back to about the 12th Century when butter or lard was added to bread dough, thus the name shortbread. It was not until the 17th Century when sugar was introduced to the UK that it became more of a sweet biscuit, as we know it today. It probably had the same derivations as the American ‘shortnin bread’ or ‘shortcake’, which uses fat or shortening in the recipe.

Early shortbreads had decorations added to them such as caraway seeds, lemon peel and nuts. These decorations appear to have died out in today’s shortbreads and it is the flavour of the butter and its cooking methods that give the product its distinctive characteristics.

Shortbread in the past was used mainly for festive occasions* such as weddings and at Hogmanay, (New Year) where they were made into large round bannocks or rectangles, then broken into even chunks and served on a plate.

It was once a “brides cake” baked by the brides mother. A tradition with the shortbread was to break it over the head of the bride, as she crossed the threshold of her new home – if it broke into small pieces, the marriage would be fruitful.

The shape of the frills on the dresses of the Edinburgh ladies who were having shortbread for their court afternoon teas, that the name petticoat tails was derived.

Shortbread today is as popular as ever, with the demand coming not only from its use as an everyday delight with a cup of tea or coffee, but as a gift from Scotland for the ever hungry tourists who buy the product each year by the thousands of tons.

* It is questionable whether it is appropriate to eat shortbread during Lent. To put the record straight, I do not abstain from the product during the solemn season - but I am not a good example when it comes to penance!

Dean's Shortbread would make a most suitable gift for Valentine's Day!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 19

We now turn our attention to Scottish shortbread. The firm in question is Dean's of Huntly.

The Dean's story begins in 1975 at the heart of Helen Dean's kitchen, in the small town of Huntly, North East Scotland.

It was here that Helen first created her delicious traditional shortbread. First baking for friends and family who loved the ‘melt in the mouth’ sensation. Her husband Bill, a Drum Major, thought it was so delicious he decided to use Helen’s baking to help raise funds for the local Huntly pipe band. Their touring helped to spread her shortbread's fame far and wide. Soon the aroma of home baking would fill the town as Helen established her own small bakery to meet demand.

So popular was the light and crumbly shortbread that in 1992, Dean's moved to a new purpose built bakery on the outskirts of Huntly.

Today Dean's is still a family run business priding itself on using time honoured handcrafted baking methods, while striving to develop fresh new ideas. The finest ingredients combined with traditional recipes create a wide variety of premium quality products which are now exported all over the world.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the gospel today we hear the wonderful words of Our Lord to the leper: 'Of course I want to! Be cured!' We are all afflicted by the leprosy of sin, but when we plead to Jesus for mercy he utters the same words of love to us. We know that we are ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven. Alleluia!

1 Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To his feet your tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me, his praise should sing?
Praise him, praise him,
Praise him, praise him,
Praise the everlasting King.

2 Praise him for his grace and favour
To our fathers in distress;
Praise him still the same for ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless;
Praise him, praise him,
Praise him, praise him,
Glorious in his faithfulness.

3 Father-like, he tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame he knows;
In his hands he gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes;
Praise him, praise him,
Praise him, praise him,
Widely as his mercy goes.

4 Angels, help us to adore him;
Ye behold him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Praise him, praise him,
Praise him, praise him,
Praise with us the God of grace.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 18

Our traditional Scottish curds are enjoyed by all ages. Made with eggs and butter, our curds are great on toast or as fillings for cakes and tarts.

Of course the lemons and limes are not grown in Scotland...at present; but with global warming who knows how long it will be before we are able to walk amongst lemon and lime groves in these hills of the north?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 17

In addition to marmalade, Mackays make some amazing preserves. I have no doubt that this one uses fruit grown in Scotland...

...but rather suspect that the next one is made using fruit (or more correctly a vegetable) from my native West Yorkshire!

All our strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants are sourced from the berry fields of central Scotland, where the soft fruits are considered to be some of the best in the world. The temperate climate in Scotland allows for the fruit to be grown for longer, resulting in stronger flavours. We only ever use whole berries in our preserves, for a great tasting product.

Mackays are one of the very few companies in the world today that still uses the traditional ‘open pan’ slow boiling method of jam making which gives the preserves and marmalades their distinct homemade taste and flavour.

The steam heated copper pans use a rolling boil method: The fruit and sugar is slowly boiled allowing the flavours to be released before gradually setting. It takes a great deal of care and attention to judge exactly when the product is ready, for the perfect home-cooked flavour.If you have ever tried in your own kitchen with a supply of chilled saucers, watching and testing for this magic moment, you will appreciate the skill involved in judging it precisely!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 16

These two marmalades are not suitable for consumption during Lent - so buy some now and tuck in, or else put them away in your store cupboard until Easter!

Should you want a treat during Lent, then I suppose the following marmalade would just about be OK.

Personally, I shall be sticking with the ordinary Dundee Orange Marmalade! Let's now hear from the current owners.

We are a British family owned company, based in Scotland, proud of our heritage and authentic products. Founded in 1938 by the Mackay brothers, the business was bought over in 1995 by the Grant family.

Today the company is run by father and son team Paul and Martin Grant. Since 1995 we have continued the quality and ethos of our family-run roots to achieve the highest standards for our customers. Our products are now found on supermarket shelves across the UK and we supply to over 50 countries worldwide.

We are proud to be one of the few remaining preserve and marmalade manufacturers in the world to still use the traditional copper pan method of jam-making which gives our preserves and marmalades their delicious ‘homemade’ taste.

Mackays Ltd. | James Chalmers Road, Arbroath DD11 3LR | Tel: +44 (0)1241 432 500 | Email:info@mackays.com

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Taste of Scotland - 15

We now consider Dundee Marmalade. The main manufacturer is Mackays, located on James Chalmers Road in Arbroath. Their Dundee Marmalade graces my own breakfast table.

I invite you now to sit back and enjoy an excellent video which considers the history of and manufacture of this excellent product.

Note: The whisky marmalade is not suitable for consumption during Lent!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Queen's Accession of 1952

Below you are able to watch a most moving video showing the events of 6, 7 and 8 February 1952.

How things have changed in the past 60 years - but today we can still say:


Monday, 6 February 2012

60th Anniversary of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty has requested that today be kept in a sober way, and of course this blog respects her wish. There will be plenty of opportunity during the coming months to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with festal joy and triumph.

This blog will be providing extensive coverage of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee tour of the United Kingdom later in the year.

Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, will mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a series of regional visits and engagements throughout the United Kingdom during 2012.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, supported by other members of the Royal Family, will be travelling as widely as possible across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Details of the programme will include:

29th March North London
26th - 27th April Wales
1st - 2nd May South West England
15th May South London
16th - 17th May North West England
2nd - 5th June Central Weekend
13th - 14th June East Midlands and East Anglia
25th June and 25th July South East England
2nd - 6th July Scotland (Holyrood Week)
11th - 12th July West Midlands
18th - 19th July North East England

Here we see Queen Elizabeth about to step foot on British soil for the first time as our new Queen. She is greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Upon the intimation that our late Most Gracious Sovereign King George the Sixth had died in his sleep at Sandringham in the early hours of this morning the Lords of the Privy Council assembled this day at St. James's Palace, and gave orders for proclaiming Her present Majesty.

WHEREAS it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lord King George the Sixth of Blessed and Glorious memory, by whose Decease the Crown is solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary:

WE, therefore, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm, being here assisted with these His late Majesty's Privy Council, with representatives of other Members of the Commonwealth, with other Principal Gentlemen of Quality, with the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of London, do now hereby with one voice and Consent of Tongue and Heart publish and proclaim that the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of all Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom Her lieges do acknowledge all Faith and constant Obedience with hearty and humble Affection, beseeching God by whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy Years to reign over us.

Given at St. James's Palace this Sixth Day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty-two.

Zadok the Priest, and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.
And all the people rejoiced, and said:
God save the King! Long live the King!
May the King live for ever,
Amen, Alleluia!

Let us pray:

ALMIGHTY God, who rulest over all the kingdoms of the world, and dost order them according to thy good pleasure: We yield thee unfeigned thanks, for that thou wast pleased, as on this day, to set thy Servant our Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH, upon the Throne of this Realm. Let thy wisdom be her guide, and let thine arm strengthen her; let truth and justice, holiness and righteousness, peace and charity, abound in her days; direct all her counsels and endeavours to thy glory, and the welfare of her subjects; give us grace to obey her cheerfully for conscience sake, and let her always possess the hearts of her people; let her reign be long and prosperous, and crown her with everlasting life in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Sunday, 5 February 2012

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the gospel today we hear of Jesus healing the sick.

Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old,
was strong to heal and save;
It triumphed o’er disease and death,
o’er darkness and the grave.
To Thee they went, the blind, the dumb,
the palsied and the lame,
The leper with his tainted life,
the sick with fevered frame.

And lo! Thy touch brought life and health,
gave speech, and strength and sight;
And youth renewed and fear relieved
owned Thee, the Lord of light;
And now, O Lord, be near to bless,
Almighty as of yore,
In crowded street, by restless couch,
as by Gennesaret’s shore.

Be Thou our great Deliverer still,
Thou Lord of life and death;
Restore and quicken, soothe and bless,
with Thine almighty breath.
To hands that work and eyes that see,
give wisdom’s heavenly lore,
That whole and sick, and weak and strong,
may praise Thee evermore.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

King George VI - 3

6 February 1952: King George VI dies in his sleep

His Majesty, King George VI, has died peacefully in his sleep at Sandringham House.

The official announcement from Sandringham, given at 1045 GMT, said the King retired in his usual health, but passed away in his sleep and was found dead in bed at 0730 GMT by a servant.

He was 56, and was known to have been suffering from a worsening lung condition.

Princess Elizabeth, who is at the Royal hunting lodge in Kenya, immediately becomes Queen at the age of 25.

She has been informed of her father's death, and is preparing to return to London, but a thunderstorm has delayed the departure of her plane.

She is expected back tomorrow afternoon, when she will take the Royal Oath which will seal her accession to the throne.

The body of King George is to lie in state in Westminster Hall from next Monday, 11 February, until the funeral.

Friday, 3 February 2012

King George VI - 2

On 20 January 1936, King George V died and Prince Edward ascended the throne as Edward VIII. In the Vigil of the Princes, Prince Albert and his three brothers took a shift standing guard over their father's body as it lay in state, in a closed casket, in Westminster Hall.

As Edward was unmarried and had no children, Albert was the heir presumptive to the throne. George V had severe reservations about Edward, saying, "I pray God that my eldest son will never marry and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne." Less than a year later, on 11 December 1936, Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry his mistress, Wallis Simpson, who was divorced from her first husband and divorcing her second. Edward had been advised by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he could not remain King and marry a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands. Edward chose abdication in preference to abandoning his marriage plans. Thus Albert became king, a position he was reluctant to accept. The day before the abdication, he went to London to see his mother, Queen Mary. He wrote in his diary, "When I told her what had happened, I broke down and sobbed like a child."

On the day of the abdication, the parliament of the Irish Free State removed all mention of the monarch from the Irish constitution. The next day, it passed the External Relations Act, which appointed the monarch only as its representative in foreign affairs. The two acts essentially made the Irish Free State a republic without removing its links to the Commonwealth.

Courtier and journalist Dermot Morrah alleged that there was brief speculation as to the desirability of bypassing Albert (and his children) and his brother, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, in favour of their younger brother Prince George, Duke of Kent. This seems to have been suggested on the grounds that Prince George was at that time the only brother with a son.

Albert assumed the regnal name "George VI" to emphasise continuity with his father and restore confidence in the monarchy.The beginning of George VI's reign was taken up by questions surrounding his predecessor and brother, whose titles, style and position were uncertain. He had been introduced as "His Royal Highness Prince Edward" for the Abdication broadcast, but George VI felt that by abdicating and renouncing the succession Edward had lost the right to bear Royal titles, including "Royal Highness".

In settling the issue, George's first act as King was to confer upon his brother the title HRH The Duke of Windsor, but the Letters Patent creating the dukedom prevented any wife or children from bearing royal styles. George VI was also forced to buy from Edward the royal residences of Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House, as these were private properties and did not pass to George VI automatically. Three days after his accession, on his 41st birthday, he invested his wife, the new queen consort, with the Order of the Garter.

George VI's coronation took place on 12 May 1937, the date previously intended for Edward's coronation. In a break with tradition, Queen Mary attended the ceremony as a show of support for her son.

In the middle of the photograph we see the 11 year old Princess Elizabeth.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Today is 40 days since Christmas Day, and so we celebrate the day on which Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple.

When to the temple Mary went,
And brought the holy child,
Him did the aged Simeon see,
As it had been revealed.
He took up Jesus in his arms
And blessing God he said:
In peace I now depart, my Saviour having seen,
The hope of Israel, the light of men.

Help now thy servants, gracious Lord,
That we may ever be
As once the faithful Simeon was,
Rejoicing but in thee;
And when we must from earth departure take,
May gently fall asleep and with thee wake.

This year,
on 2 February,
Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
Fr Michael Mary celebrates the
40th anniversary
of his entry into Religion and the service of God.

Fr Michael Mary is the Superior of the Transalpine Redemptorists who live on Papa Stronsay (Orkney Islands) Scotland.

Below is Fr Michael's New Year message. How interesting that he refers to King George VI in this video.

This blog sends warm greetings to Fr Michael Mary on the occasion of his Ruby Jubilee and asks for the prayers of all visitors for his future ministry.

Happy Feast!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

King George VI - 1

Next Monday will be the 60th Anniversary of the death of King George VI.

Name: King George VI
Full Name: Albert Frederick Arthur George
Born: December 14, 1895 at Sandringham, Norfolk
Parents: George V and Mary of Teck
Relation to Elizabeth II: father
House of: Windsor
Ascended to the throne: Dec 11, 1936 aged 40 years
Crowned: May 12, 1937 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Children: Two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret
Died: February 6, 1952 at Sandringham, Norfolk, aged 56 years, 1 month, and 22 days
Buried at: Windsor
Reigned for: 15 years, 1 month, and 25 days
Succeeded by: his daughter Elizabeth II