Friday, August 18, 2006

Mussels on Mull

I thought it might be nice to give you an occasional flavour of life in Scotland and this picture does just that. We have just spent four glorious day staying with friends on Mull, one of the largest islands off the west coast. The west coast is unbelievably beautiful, with its mountains, rivers, beaches and wildlife, and somehow it doesn't matter if the weather is lousy (which is was while we were there) - we all just got on and did the things we would have done anyway, just with the addition of waterproofs!

We ate fish that we had caught in a local loch, we sat on white beaches and searched for shells, we bicycled for miles and, almost the best thing for me, we picked mussels from a local beach and ate them that evening for supper. Unbelievably delicious - even with the crunch of the tiny little pearls in each of them. This picture shows our mussels being washed ready for cooking - which was as Moules Mariniere - just onions, white wine, cream and fresh parsley. There is nothing better than good food and good company - and we had both!

Back in the office now and we have just had a great day doing a big photo-shoot for the launch of the website, so we are all waiting to see the results with huge anticipation. Hopefully the photos will be ready very shortly.

Best wishes


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Vive la France!

I had a wonderful 10 days in France - which was partly a holiday and partly a scavenge for Twice. We were based in the Ardeche which is a truly beautiful and comparatively empty part of the South of France. Days were spent exploring mountain rivers, where we discovered the deepest, clearest rock pools, some bigger than a normal swimming pool. Absolute bliss!

On the scavenging side, I had some success too. I managed to find lots of old mattress tickings, which is what we use to line our leather tote bags. They are now back at the workshop, where we have been unpicking seams sewn in string that must have been hand-sewn 70 or 80 years ago. These tickings are great for us - they are basically one long piece of fabric that was then folded over end to end to cover traditional horsehair mattresses. The covers are now sold by dealers without their filling and we grab them and then unpick them - ending up with nearly 4 metres of fabric each time. They are washed and ironed in our laundry and then go off to Glasgow to line our bags. One of the things I love about these tickings is their integrity - they are strong, simple and have had a genuine working past.

Back in Scotland, we are enjoying this gorgeous weather and also the fruits of the garden - courgettes, beans, beetroot, spinach, peaches and cherries - delicious! As I write, the children are out picking raspberries for the freezer - and probably quite alot for their tummies! As one said last week - "Ten for me, one for the basket!".

Best wishes