Sunday, November 3, 2013

Home Again, Home Again....

Jet Lag.  The longer trip, this fall’s trip was forty days in Scotland, has led to more and deeper jet lag.  Our body clocks are having the devil’s own time of adjusting to PDT time--and now we have to switch to PST.  Because our trip was longer than normal it is taking longer than normal to adjust back--for several days one or both of us would be up at 2, 3, or 4 AM, and both of us were ready for bed by about 8 PM.  I would have thought that after 24 European trips in 13 years I’d be getting more used to the time change, but research actually shows that the affects of jet lag increase with age--the body becomes less able to deal with it as we get older.  At least Anne and I are both more bothered by east to west travel (coming home) than west to east (going)--it would be awful for one to be dragging one way while the other is ready to go.  
Autumn in the Highlands

All this discussion of jet lag is in explanation of why it has taken so long to get this post ready to go.  Blame it on jet lag.  Now, to an End of Trip Summary and an Homage to Food at Merlindale B&B.

End of the Trip Summary:

In forty days in Scotland we drove our rented Ford Focus (from Arnold Clark Rentals ( a little over 2400 miles.  
This is the car we would have liked, except there's no room for our gear.  Our Focus was fine.

At 30 mpg that was 80 gallons @ £1.30 per liter (about $9.36 per gallon).  You do the maths from there.

Aboyne GC, near Aberdeen.

19 18-hole rounds on 17 courses, four of which were new to us.
Downfield GC, near Dundee.

4 9-hole rounds on two courses, one new to us.
St Fillans GC where we're members.

378 holes of golf.
Strathmore GC, near Blairgowrie, near Alyth, near Forfar, not far from Carnoustie.

105 miles walked on golf courses, though Anne did take a buggy a few times because of a            sore back and injured ankle.


More than 50 visited (castles, churches, cathedrals, historic or ancient sites, cultural attractions, gardens, etc.).
Bridge at Spittal of Glenshee.

Kilconquhar Parish Church.

Most were historic/ancient, religious, or picturesque, 15 were new to us.
Sunhoney Stone Circle.
Drummond Castle Gardens, near Crieff, central Scotland.


We visited Restaurants (10),
the Watermill Tea Room and Bookstore, Aberfeldy.

Tea rooms, coffee shops, cafes (18),
Moulin Inn, one of our favorite pubs, near Pitlochry.

Pubs (9), and 13 were new to us.

   Days of rain or weather bad enough to make us change our plans: 2, only 2!
Fourteen miles of single-track road through Glen Lyon.

A fantastic trip, highlighted by the next part of this post.

Homage to Meals at Merlindale B&B

One of the advantages of rooming in a B&B in the UK is that the meals, breakfast and sometimes dinner, are better than you’d get eating out.  This is certainly true at Merlindale B&B in Crieff, our Scottish home.  Since we are family [I think there’s a song in there somewhere.] we not only get the great Scottish B&B breakfasts but we also have some fantastic family dinners--and yes, we do our share of the cooking and the cleaning.  This fall's trip turned out to be exceptional for food.
One night when special guests were expected, Jacky, a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, prepared a seafood and chicken mixed Paella, a Valencian rice dish often referred to as the Spanish national dish.  

The pan, at least three feet across, had to be smuggled from Spain in Jacky’s suitcase, and the grill ring gas unit smuggled in separately.  I often wondered what the Xray security technician thought.  The Paella takes several hours to prepare and not nearly that long to consume.  It turned out that the special guests didn’t arrive until the next day which meant more Paella for the rest of us.
When the ladies from Canada arrived at the B&B a special formal dinner was prepared for them.  Jacky fixed mustard coated pork chops, boiled potatoes, and salad; Anne added steamed broccoli; and I prepared a hot pasta and veg dish.  
A special B&B dinner at Merlindale.
The ten of us made short work of the table full of food.  Anne and I did our share of cooking during the time we spent at Merlindale.  Besides the veggie pasta, one day for breakfast we fixed Tolovana muffins, a broiled toasted English muffin (in Scotland they are simply called “toasting muffins” for obvious anti-English reasons) coated with a deviled ham and cheese spread mixture--the original recipe comes from the Tolovana Inn in Cannon Beach, Oregon..  One day I put together a seafood pasta dish using calamari, salmon, and brown crab claws.   And at the request of Jonathan, John and Jacky’s 23-year-old son who was heading off to Mexico as a tour guide, we made our version of Southern fried chicken and refried bean dip with crisps (taco chips)--it’s Jonathan’s go to meal.
The most special meal during our stay was not cooked by Jacky or ourselves.  Instead, Zoe and Eddie (who is chef at an upscale Chinese restaurant in Llandudno, Wales, took over the kitchen and whipped up
Jacky looks on while Eddie and Zoe cook.

--pans flying, flames shooting, mess everywhere--a lovely Asian repast for ten of us.  On the menu were two preps of chicken wings, fried aubergine (eggplant), pan seared sea bass,
I hate it when dinner stares back at you.
sweet and sour pork, and enough rice to feed Portland’s Chinatown.  
Dinner is served in the B&B kitchen.
Lovely dinner and all we had to do was clean up.
I do have a running food joke with Jacky.  When nobody is looking I draw faces or pictures on several of the eggs which are always left out on the kitchen counter. This brings up the question: why do we always refrigerate our eggs and the Scots never do? Jacky knows who does the “art” but never knows quite what she will find on the breakfast eggs.  

On our last morning before flying home, my breakfast plate came complete with decorated shell. As much as Anne and I relish our meals in the tea rooms, pubs, and restaurants of Scotland, most special are the great feedings at Merlindale B&B, our Scottish home.  
A view of Mt Hood says we're close to home.

We haven't missed the fall colors at our house in Canby.