Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Taking a breath(er)

We’ve had a very busy summer, met lots of lovely guests,

thank you cards and notes from our guest book

 

 

cooked many breakfast and baked a whole lot of cake.

 

 

Now it’s time to take a breath. The season isn’t quite over there are still guests to greet but change is in the air.  Autumn activities are starting on the island, regular classes resuming and the morning walk changes colour every day. We’ve enjoyed a few days of September sunshine (though not today)

 

It’s time to celebrate birthdays, meet up with friends and family, become tourists ourselves. It’s also time for work, maintenance and redecoration where needed. We will be open on request over the Autumn and Winter period and there’s still lots to enjoy, perhaps Oban Winter Festival in November? The weather may get colder (and wetter) but you’ll get a warm welcome at Sheiling.

Caroline x

 

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, Plastic Waste, Uncategorized

No washday blues….

Once  again we had blue skies and sunshine on Monday. This time our day out was not entirely leisure related, we were heading down to Cardross to pick up our bathroom supplies from the lovely Lomond Soap Company,  but more of that later.

Enroute we had a coffee at our regular haunt Brambles,  Inveraray.  The loch was looking particularly beautiful and we had a quick walk around the shops too.

 

Refreshed we continued on to Cardross to pick up shower gel, hand wash and lotion from Corrie at Lomond Soap. I’d been searching for a supplier for a while and researched the company after using their products in a cafe.  All products are palm oil and animal fat free, they don’t dry out your skin and smell yummy too, I chose Citrus and  Rosemary for the Sheiling bathrooms. They will be available in refillable large dispensers to avoid the plastic waste from lots of little bottles.

 

As well as her range of soaps, gels and lotions Corrie has some lovely home and gift products in her shop. It’s on the main street in Cardross and well worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Before heading home we called in to the larger town of Helensburgh, home to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, as well as a good range of shops and cafes. We had a late lunch at Sugar Boat where I’d first been impressed by Lomond Soap. It’s a stylish , friendly cafe/bistro which is also dog friendly in the bar area.

Today it’s raining, but that doesn’t matter as I’ve got some work to do…….

soap

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Monday blues, but not the bad kind

Two weeks ago  we had our trip down to Kintyre, today and last Monday we stayed a little closer to home and enjoyed what our beautiful neighbouring islands have to offer.

Seil has ferry links to two of the other Slate islands, last week we took the “big” ferry (it takes cars) over to  Luing. We weren’t lucky enough to see the dolphins* we’d spotted on our last visit but the view is beautiful even without cetaceans.

at south cuan

We drove up to Cullipool for a walk along the shore and lunch at The Atlantic Islands Centre.  Bramble loves it there, not only is she welcome at the centre but there are sooooooo many stones to chase on the beach.

Today we took the little ferry (passengers only) to Easdale our nearer neighbour. It’s a great place for dog walking as there aren’t any cars. We took the paths around the old quarries and climbed to its highest point  (not that high, around 38 metres). After that it was back to the friendly Puffer Bar and Restaurant for coffee and a scone. Dogs aren’t allowed in the tearoom but are welcome in the bar, there’s also plenty of seating outside, which is where we enjoyed our drinks today.

 

So will we get another “Blue Monday” next week? Fingers crossed.

 

*when I  didn’t have my camera

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, History, Tourism

Enjoying a day out

Even though we escaped the worst of the recent storms and wintry weather we haven’t really travelled very far from home recently. So it was nice to have a little day out yesterday.

We headed south down Loch Fyne to the beautiful Kintyre peninsula. We had a quick stop in Tarbert to stretch our (and Bramble’s) legs and then on along the coast towards Campbeltown.

We stopped short of Campbeltown at Glenbarr where Glenbarr Stores has a  cafe serving delicious locally sourced food, garden centre and farmshop (as well as the Post Office)

 

We even got a look at their lovely B&B rooms, it’s nice to see what other B&Bs are like. It would be a great spot to explore what Kintyre has to offer.

We continued south to Campbeltown where you can find the newly restored Picture House ,  one of the oldest surviving cinemas in the country, next to Campbeltown museum which we’d visited on another trip.  We decide not to indulge our inner Paul Mccartney  by continuing down to the Mull of Kintyre but headed over to the east side taking the sometimes switchback B road to Saddell with its ancient stones and beautiful beach*

We all enjoyed a walk there, but Bramble most of all.

Licky b

Kintyre is a fairly long day out from Sheiling BnB but well worth it;  or maybe spend more of your time exploring beautiful Argyll and take a few days there too.  A road trip to rival the North Coast 500?

 

*park in the village and walk down past Saddell Castle.

Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Mmmmmmmarmalade

We’re just back from a short break in sunny Tenerife where the trees were full of oranges and bananas.

 

It’s been a bit chillier here in Argyll

snowy scene

So I was pleased to find a little reminder of Spanish sunshine in our local deli. *

These.

Seville oranges

Seville oranges, perfect for marmalade. So MrS** has been busy chopping, paring, boiling and generally filling the kitchen with delicious smells.

And lots of jars of this.

Which means there’ll be plenty for our guests to enjoy later on in the year.

As long as I don’t do too much “quality control”

marmalade on toast

Caroline x

*Kitchen Garden, Oban

**MrS(heiling) aka George.

Family history, Food, Uncategorized

The story of those new names; part II

It’s been a long time since part I.  I wrote that back in August when we were at our busiest and haven’t blogged since. So I’ve no excuse now as we are pretty much closed for the season.

Nancy,  my mother, was born in 1935 in the same small village in Wales where I too was born and grew up. Her parents, Gran and Grandpa Salmon hadn’t had such a settled life. Granny Salmon lost both her parents as a little girl and was informally adopted; as a young woman  she moved from Merthyr to work as a housekeeper. Grandpa’s family had travelled from Bristol and Dorset, probably  seeking work in the mines which were booming at the time.

Mam collage

as a toddler, schoolgirl, with my Dad before they were married, a young mother (I’m just out of shot) and in the 1970s

Mam*  hated school, and left as soon as she became fourteen to work in the drapery department of the Co-operative in the next village. It’s long gone now but as a child most of my clothes and footwear were bought there. In Mam’s day the assistants wore dark uniforms with starched white collars and cuffs and woe betide if you let a customer leave empty handed. I owe my neat packing ability to Mam’s demonstrations of the correct way to fold any item of clothing.  Other skills she passed on were the positioning of a brimmed hat (on the front, never the back of the head) and what a “dropping” creamed butter and sugar mix for a sponge cake  should look like. Currently I find the latter most useful  but do have a fondness for a properly angled tifter.

in purple hat

Trying out her Christmas present

 

 

Mam and Dad met as teenagers and courted at the local cinemas and youth club then following Dad’s spell in the RAF for his National Service married in 1957. A small aside here, Dad was always very keen on our education and was proud that we girls  won places at university as he had not had a chance to go. Mam later revealed that his older brother had offered to fund university when Dad returned from service but he hadn’t wanted to wait any longer to get married. Anyway they got married but not in Mam’s home  village, she was too shy for that. Even when I was a child people stood outside their houses to watch brides leaving for church and then waited outside the church for the couple to reappear after the wedding**, and as everyone knew my Grandpa because he was the bin man there was sure to be a big turn out which Mum could not face so they married in Dad’s parish next door.

Mam and Dad settled in her village, first in digs and then in the house I grew up in, where Dad still lives.  With my sister’s birth she gave up work outside the home and then had even more work on her hands when I turned up.  Mam could dress my big sister ready for an outing and leave her to play nicely whilst she had to wait until the very last minute to get me ready or I would end up dirty or torn or both.

Mam wasn’t well travelled, she and Dad spent their honeymoon in Jersey, though that did involve a couple of scary flights in tiny planes and later we had a couple of family holidays abroad and she and Dad visited France on their own after we had left home. Most of all though she loved home and being with her family. She enjoyed meeting our friends too;  she wasn’t at all upset when my sister returned from her 21st birthday drinks with most of her workmates and was actually quite amused when one of them invited her “to make herself at home”. And when I turned up with six hungry university friends, was only perplexed by the question of what the ones studying politics would be “going in for”, feeding them was a doddle.  Her favourite country was Wales, though  Scotland came a close second after I moved here. She really enjoyed her visits to Edinburgh and I’m sad that she never got to visit Seil.

I think she would have liked the room that’s named after her. Coincidentally it’s painted a very similar colour to her own bedroom, the cushions are Welsh tapestry from Melin Tregwynt and I’ve chosen pictures and objects which were her style. Most of all I hope I can bring just a little of her kindness and generosity to our visitors.

And cake, she made marvellous  cake.

 

 

*Growing up we always called her Mam or Mammy, in the Welsh way.

**this wasn’t for the “scramble” of coins, I only once witnessed that, it didn’t seem to be a local tradition.

Food, Uncategorized

Banana bread, blogs and downward dogs*

As I write this the house is filling with the delicious scent of bananas and baking; I’m making a banana loaf ready for our next guests.

 

When I first started baking for guests I made Welshcakes, (though these are  cooked on a griddle not baked) to share a little of my Welsh background. And of course because they’re delicious

 

I also wanted to use Scottish recipes, though I still haven’t perfected shortbread despite having a few favourite family  recipes to choose from.   Oatcakes and butteries have been more successful

finished oatcakes

 

and  bolstered by that experiment with puff pastry I’ve had a go at the French breakfast classic, croissants.

ome made

Following other blogs has opened up a world of recipes for me, I love reading the posts here and made a batch of breakfast cookies last year.

cookies

 

And so back to my banana bread, it’s out of the oven and cooling down. But where did this recipe come from?

 

Well I tasted it first on a picnic last week and asked for the recipe. And this morning after yoga class I was given not just the  recipe but a little bag containing some essential ingredients.

banana bread recipe and ingredients

 

And now to share…

slice on a plate

 

*the yoga pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food, Uncategorized

Work in progress…..

We’ve been away doing our own bit of ancestral tourism and exploring a little of the Western Isles.

uig teapot

..and maybe enjoying the odd cup of tea

Now we’re home it’s all systems go for the summer so I’m back to the baking. Yesterday was Welshcakes and oatcakes, today I’m trying something new.  Croissants.  So far the technique is similar to the one for Aberdeen butteries but more, well, buttery. I don’t have a family or neighbourly recipe for them, I’ve gone back to my trusty Good Housekeeping cookbook.

 

They need to rest in the fridge for half an hour, and that time’s nearly up.

 

 

To be continued……