Small Town Living

September 2nd, 2019|109 Comments

Small Town Living About thirty years ago, I was on the Thames teaching kayaking. Speeding water buses, river traffic, huge moored barges, the noise of the city and its people; and then I moved north. [...]

Bioluminescent Plankton

May 3rd, 2019|0 Comments

Phosphorescence. Seven of us left Toward sailing club last night. Paddling under a star-filled sky. Heading up Loch Striven, the sea was flat calm, the only sound the ‘flip flop’ of paddle strokes and the [...]

Time Flies

April 22nd, 2019|115 Comments

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” — Albert Einstein [...]

The Watercolour World

February 1st, 2019|0 Comments

The Watercolour World, Before we all had our smartphones and took pictures of our breakfast, the method of recording an image was usually a watercolour. Travellers would take a small watercolour set with them and [...]

Gift Giving

December 19th, 2018|0 Comments

A few months ago a friend of mine bought me a book of poetry. It was out of the blue, no reason, not my birthday nor in return of a favour I had done them. [...]

Kylie the Clyde Dolphin

September 5th, 2018|0 Comments

Between the Isle of Cumbrae and Fairlie , just south of where I'm based, lives is a lone short-beaked common dolphin. The locals call him Kylie. Dolphin are larger than the local harbour porpoise but [...]

Skipness Seafood Cabin

July 30th, 2018|0 Comments

The sun shone on the Kilbrannan Sound. Under the restaurant table, a chicken and cockerel were being herded by a collie. The restaurant gave out sun hats. A horse came to the field gate and [...]

Boat Addiction

July 16th, 2018|0 Comments

Kayaks, sailing boats and canoes. They can be addictive. They should come with a warning. Recently supermarkets were told to remove surgery sweets from their checkouts. Which is why, we are now offered overpriced packets [...]

How to dress a crab.

July 12th, 2018|0 Comments

Dressed crab, a little lemon, salad, new potatoes and brown bread. Coastal life on a plate. One of the joys of living on the coast is access to seafood. We have a variety of little [...]

Loving The Sea.

July 9th, 2018|0 Comments

The sea shimmers in the morning, catching little puddles of silver. They're the scalloped edges of an invitation. If you're lucky, you'll find yourself afloat, discovering the freedom of a cool breeze, the sound of [...]

The Great British Oyster

June 19th, 2018|0 Comments

Oysters encapsulate everything which is good about the sea in one little shell. They are a fascinating, their history, their symbolism, their status through time in the socio-economic hierarchy and of course, their taste. I [...]

  • The World Ocean

The World Ocean

June 12th, 2018|0 Comments

The World Ocean. The seas we call our own are part of one large body of water.  This World Ocean is made up of the Atlantic, Arctic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern Oceans. These combined oceans [...]

  • Sushi in Scotland


April 8th, 2018|0 Comments

Food fads do come and go; some we embrace and some we deny to even trying. I grew up in the seventies and eighties when the most exciting thing to eat was an avocado. My [...]

Boats on!

March 30th, 2018|0 Comments

Boats on! Last year despite advice from local sailors to take my boat off its mooring in September I left her on the water for the October school holidays. We had some beautiful last sails [...]

Beach Fire

February 1st, 2018|0 Comments

Beach Fire It’s freezing here, and despite my best intentions of aimlessly wandering along the beach, the thought of near frozen toes does occasionally put me off. Nevertheless, when the night is calm,  the beach [...]

Childhood Heros

November 21st, 2017|0 Comments

Childhood Heros Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS ‘Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.’ A friend of mine sent [...]

Oysters Galore!

November 11th, 2017|0 Comments

Oysters Galore! Coming from Whitstable and loving seafood kind of goes hand in hand. I’ve recently been involved with the Loch Fyne Oyster restaurant in Cairndow on the way to Inverary and consequently been painting [...]

Extended sailing season?

October 4th, 2017|0 Comments

Extended sailing season? A few weeks ago at the end of the sailing season, the local sailing club had their boats lifted out the water. My boat ‘Hawkhurst’ is not so big and fits onto [...]

John Muir Trust

August 31st, 2017|0 Comments

John Muir Trust In a former life I used to run an outdoor centre; now I’m an artist who sails. But, on occasion, I’ll get a phone call from a local outdoor centre to ask [...]

Clinkers and Drascombes

July 30th, 2017|0 Comments

Clinkers and Drascombes We have a wooden clinker sailing boat. Sounds awful grand except for the fact she is 10ft long and tippy.  When afloat with my son there is a definite tendency towards feelings [...]

Two Geese and Assorted Chickens.

June 14th, 2017|0 Comments

Two Geese and Assorted Chickens. Two geese and four assorted chickens lay melted on the front grass.  It’s hot and they’ve all made dust bowls, flapped around, dusted off and collapsed happily enjoying the heat.  [...]


June 7th, 2017|0 Comments

Oban Last week we drove up the winding road to Oban. the main artery of the West Coast of Scotland. Oban is about a couple of hours north of Cedarbank Studio. Glorious seascapes and heather [...]

Gardening Scotland

May 26th, 2017|0 Comments

Gardening Scotland 3rd – 5th June 2016 I love my garden, and at this time of year, I am getting my plant requirements and questions ready for the Gardening Scotland event at the Royal Highland [...]

Paddling with Herons

May 16th, 2017|0 Comments

Paddling with Herons Paddling a kayak alone at night, hugging the coast, watching as the streetlights extend into the privacy of the darkness can be surreal. Sharing in the safety of the lights and noise [...]

Big Wave Surfing

May 4th, 2017|0 Comments

Big Wave Surfing Have you ever thought about why you love the sea? Is it the smell of the beach, the salty air or the way your skin feels at the end of the day? [...]

The Northern Lights

April 24th, 2017|0 Comments

The Northern Lights Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? A friend of mine downloaded an app, forecasting favourable times of seeing the aurora borealis. He is now (possibly whilst you read this) happily driving [...]


April 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

Woodland Here in Argyll, I would describe my home on the Scottish West Coast as surrounded by the sea; others would emphasise the beauty of the surrounding hills, mountains or forests.  All of us, I’m [...]

Spring Equinox

March 20th, 2017|0 Comments

Spring Equinox The long wait to feel the sun on our faces has come and yet as I drove along the shore road today sleet and hail pelted itself at the windscreen. It didn’t feel [...]


March 13th, 2017|0 Comments

Mussels! If you are looking for a simple meal that sums up everything which is good about being by the coast then you can’t go far wrong with a bowl of mussels. Simple, cheap and [...]

Sea Glass

February 28th, 2017|0 Comments

Sea Glass I went for a walk along the beach today.  Time was spent scanning the horizon interspersed with long moments spent looking down. Someone watching me would have assumed I was deep in thought [...]

Go fly a Kite!

February 21st, 2017|0 Comments

Go fly a Kite! Its great kite flying weather here at the moment; and although we have had rain there have been many wonderfully blue sky windy days which shout out – Kites! My grandfather [...]

A Walk with a Flask

February 1st, 2017|0 Comments

A Walk with a Flask We’re in the deep mid-winter, when we have blue skies above our heads the frost is cracking beneath our feet.  These are my favourite days. When the world invites us [...]

Fog or Mist

January 23rd, 2017|0 Comments

Fog or Mist The foghorn woke me this morning; I listened to the boats sounding out through the mist, before opening the curtains to see a grey cloud hung above the frosty ground. We’d had [...]

Walking the Camera

January 17th, 2017|0 Comments

Walking the Camera When Finn the dog and I go walking I take my digital SLR camera. Someone once told me you would never take a good photograph with the camera sitting in its bag; [...]


January 8th, 2017|0 Comments

Shrimping When my brother and I were children, our parents would take us shrimping off the pier in Deal.  We would spend the day flinging our shrimp nets far from the pier, chatting as we [...]

Cloud Names

December 13th, 2016|0 Comments

Cloud Names Like most people, who would rather have their feet tucked into a pair of wellies than under a desk, I have spent a reasonable amount of time thinking about the weather.  Knowing the [...]

Whitstable Seafood

December 6th, 2016|0 Comments

Originally I come from Whitstable, Kent, a beautiful (now busy) small town on the South East Coast, famous for its oysters.   My father used to love them and would eat them every time we went [...]

Clyde Marine Mammal Project

November 29th, 2016|0 Comments

Clyde Marine Mammal Project I was on the ferry the other day looking out across the water, the way you do whenever you travel on public transport, (not fully conscious) when the small fin of a [...]


November 24th, 2016|0 Comments

Hygge Despite many articles in the media encouraging us to enjoy a minimalist lifestyle,  I find myself standing with the Danish who have embraced the warmth of Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga.’)  Hygge is described as the Danish [...]

Winterising the Worms

November 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

Winterising the Worms As a shepherd brings in the sheep when the snow begins to lay. As the temperature began to drop, I moved the worms into The Potting Shed. If the weather gets really [...]


November 16th, 2016|0 Comments

Podcasts We all have our secrets. Mine is despite appearances whilst working in the garden with my earphones on, I am not listening to music.  I am more than likely listening to a podcast downloaded [...]

Bringing in the Banana’s

November 14th, 2016|0 Comments

Bringing in the Banana’s This time last year I was watching Monty Donn on Gardeners world and appreciating how well his jacket fitted him as he extolled the virtues of owning a banana plant. I [...]

Cedarbank Studio Christmas Cake

November 7th, 2016|0 Comments

Cedarbank Studio Christmas Cake I try not to think about Christmas until December, but unfortunately, if you want a home baked Christmas cake to blow your socks off you’ll need to bake it now. Ingredients [...]

Autumn Days

October 19th, 2016|0 Comments

Autumn Days At this time of year when the weather is crisp and dry, there is nothing better than either a walk along Sandy Beach in Innellan or along the riverside at Benmore. The sunny [...]

Cowalfest 2016

October 1st, 2016|0 Comments

Cowalfest 2016 For the past few years in the October half term, the team at ‘Cowalfest’ has made the holidays something to look forward to. As you possibly know, if you have been reading my [...]

The Joy of Clam Chowder.

September 26th, 2016|0 Comments

The joy of clam chowder. As we feel the cool kiss of Autumn, the days of salads are replaced with a desire for something hot, filling and tasty. You can’t go too wrong in rustling [...]


September 17th, 2016|0 Comments

Lighthouses I live by the sea and we have a few lighthouses and they are all beautiful in their own way. I must admit to a certain fondness for them and I have become aware [...]

The Shipping Forecast

September 13th, 2016|0 Comments

The Shipping Forecast The shipping forecast has evolved. It is something other than the weather/shipping information the Met Office produces and the BBC broadcasts. It has become an iconic, steadfast cornerstone to the Isles of [...]

Rhubarb Crumble

August 20th, 2016|0 Comments

Rhubarb Crumble The garden’s rhubarb has gone berserk.  I have so much of it, I have not only been giving away the stalks but entire plants have been potted on to be adopted by friends. [...]

Scotland Open Garden Days

August 16th, 2016|0 Comments

Scotland Open Garden Days Despite the promise of Summer, our hopeful plans have not born fruit. The weather of Camelot with rain only at night and endless days of sun were only dreams and instead, [...]


August 10th, 2016|0 Comments

Poetry I appreciate that not everyone enjoys poetry. I wonder if that dislike of all poems or verse stems from a bad poetic moment whilst at school, lack of access or possible an overdose of [...]

Mr Fox

August 6th, 2016|0 Comments

Mr Fox We had five chickens.  That in itself is a story, but I should add a sentence to it. Now we have a fox.  Fortunately, two of my chickens did not appeal to the [...]


August 5th, 2016|0 Comments

Storm August was heralded in by one of the best and yet strangest storms I’ve seen for a very long time. It was about 2 am on Wednesday morning; the clammy weather was striving to [...]

Pesto Pasta

July 25th, 2016|0 Comments

Pesto Pasta A good friend of mine spoilt me terribly one evening making me Pesto Pasta with cherry tomatoes served with a steak. It was fantastic.  Since then I have made the pesto pasta and [...]

My Family and other animals

July 21st, 2016|0 Comments

My Family and other animals I read ‘My Family and Other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell when I was a child.  I read it again recently. Remembering the novel had brought to mind the beauty of [...]


July 18th, 2016|0 Comments

Herbs I love using fresh herbs from the garden in my cooking.  I have a bed dedicated to herbs near my back door close to the kitchen and I also various pots of thyme and [...]

Red Squirrels

July 11th, 2016|0 Comments

My father would take my brother and me to Greenwich Park to feed the grey squirrels. The squirrels would practically fight each other to get at the proffered little bags of nuts. Both parties in [...]

Oatie Biscuits

July 3rd, 2016|0 Comments

Our teenage son often gives the impression he is ill-fed. He can be found lingering around the fridge, often asks the same question repeatedly, “What time are we having dinner?’ and seems to become more [...]

The Old Man and the Sea

June 28th, 2016|0 Comments

The Old Man and the Sea Whether it is Ernest Hemingway’s writing style, the well known story of his life or his rugged and adventurous personality which makes ‘The old man and the sea’ so [...]

Pistachio Biscotti

June 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

Pistachio Biscotti Earl Grey is my constant companion, but I can be lured away with aromatic coffee and a Pistachio Biscotti. (It doesn’t take a lot..) Pistachio Biscotti 175g Plain flour ½ tsp baking powder [...]

Swallows and Amazon

June 20th, 2016|0 Comments

Swallows and Amazons Swallows and Amazons written by Arthur Ransome in the 1930’s is about a group of children who find independence and adventure on the water in the Lake District. Ransome managed to capture [...]

Porpoise in the Clyde

June 16th, 2016|0 Comments

Porpoise in the Clyde Porpoise in the Clyde It’s something special when you find yourself standing on a beach looking out over the water and out of the blue you spot a little movement. All [...]

Benmore Botanical Garden

June 13th, 2016|0 Comments

Benmore Botanical Garden Just a few miles down the road from us on the Cowal Peninsula and in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is the Benmore Botanic Garden. We walk there all [...]

Whales, porpoise and seals

June 8th, 2016|0 Comments

Whales, porpoise and seals Clyde Marine Mammal Project I have a terrible habit of constantly looking across the water. It is not a conscious habit.  I suppose it comes of living and working by the [...]

The Wind in the Willows

June 8th, 2016|0 Comments

The Wind in the Willows Our little patch of Scotland called my garden has felt like the South of France for the past few weeks.  Job lists have been abandoned as free-flowing days of ‘pottering’ [...]

Banana Cake

May 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

Banana Cake Like the Glorious Apple Muffin cakes, I believe you cannot put too many bananas into this cake.  The original recipe required two. I routinely use three but if there are four available, don’t’ [...]

The Productive Wormery

May 19th, 2016|0 Comments

The Productive Wormery Our compost bins give us our annual harvest of ‘Black Gold;’ the magic dust, which we scatter over our raised beds in the hope of better and bigger plants.  Our soil has [...]

The New Potting Shed

May 17th, 2016|0 Comments

The New Potting Shed The new potting shed is superb, especially as all the materials were upcycled and the total cost of the shed was £17. My plan is to replace the sides with upcycled [...]

Sea Fever

May 12th, 2016|0 Comments

Sea Fever I appreciate this poem has been around the block a few times. However, I have always loved it, and I thought I would remind you of its lines.   Sea Fever BY JOHN [...]

Aunty Vicky’s Cheesecake

May 9th, 2016|0 Comments

Aunty Vicky’s Cheesecake As children, my brother and I would sit in the back of the car, in the front passenger seat our grandmother would while away the journey telling stories as our mother drove [...]

Chicken Confusion

May 5th, 2016|0 Comments

Chicken Confusion As you may know, I moved the chickens down to the bottom garden, and although I initially enclosed them, they have emerged confused about where they should lay their eggs. I have found [...]

LIVE Cinema Season

May 3rd, 2016|0 Comments

LIVE Cinema Season We live in a remote area, and unless we want to drive around the hills, we need to take a boat to get to the mainland.  This does cause occasional cultural inconveniences [...]

Roast Dinner

May 1st, 2016|0 Comments

Roast Dinner Sundays at home always includes a roast dinner. Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrots and beans or spinach. My husband’s contribution is the gravy, the recipe passed down from father to son, [...]

Escargot Hatchlings

April 20th, 2016|0 Comments

Escargot Hatchlings I was out paddling a canoe last week and was delighted to feel the warmth of the sun on my face. That first touch, a promise of favourable weather to come is blissful [...]

Bedtime Reading

April 18th, 2016|0 Comments

Bedtime Reading With the advent of Smartphones, my bedtime reading routine has dramatically changed, gone are the nights of guilty reading with the bedtime light on. Gripped by a storyline, but aware of my partners [...]

The Potting Shed

April 13th, 2016|0 Comments

The Potting Shed Now the chicken coup has been moved and the chickens are settling in.  I have an area of ground already paved which is crying out to be filled. I have a small [...]

Walnut and Fig Loaf

April 9th, 2016|0 Comments

Walnut and Fig Loaf A couple of years ago I came across this recipe on the back of the Allinson Country Grain Flour packet.  I appreciate I sound like I should be sponsored by Allinson. [...]

The Chicken Move

April 4th, 2016|0 Comments

The Chicken Move Our little chickens are free rangers and despite onerous warnings from Monty Donn they have not decimated the garden.  Plants thrive and the lawn, come the spring seems all the better for [...]

Blairmore Gallery Opening

March 31st, 2016|0 Comments

Blairmore Gallery Opening Fantastic news for the local community to have the gallery opening again. It should be a fabulous evening and I’m very happy to have the Blairmore Gallery as our friends. I hope [...]

The Glorious Apple Muffin

March 28th, 2016|0 Comments

The Glorious Apple Muffin Years ago I discovered an apple muffin recipe.  It was not bad.  The evolution of The Glorious Apple Muffin recipe took place and now they are great.  There is so much [...]

Cluck and the Chicken Crew

March 24th, 2016|0 Comments

Cluck and the Chicken Crew When my lifestyle changed for the better, I had dreams of having a smallholding. I saw myself dressed in flowing smocks, carrying baskets filled with flowers, eggs and freshly harvested [...]

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

March 21st, 2016|0 Comments

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow From time to time I tweet about a piece of poetry which has caught my imagination.  We all have our favourites and one of mine is Longfellow. These two verses are a particular [...]

‘Bob’ the Escargots.

March 10th, 2016|0 Comments

‘Bob’ the Escargots. With the promise of warmer weather coming soon, my thoughts have turned again to my escargot.  I don’t have just the one; I have a friendly few. Several years ago I was [...]

Western Ferries

February 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

Western Ferries Our little boat gets us home Today as I listened to Hurricane Henry raging,  I took a moment to reflect on how great our local ferry service is. We would be lost without [...]

Guilt-free Afternoons

January 16th, 2016|0 Comments

Guilt-free Afternoons It snowed today right outside the door. When it’s up on the hills it’s beautiful and romantic. Right outside the door means something entirely different. It’s Wellies, sledges, dog walks, ‘making the most [...]

Snow on the hills

January 12th, 2016|0 Comments

Snow on the hills While taking my dog for a walk, the morning sun lit up the lighthouse at Toward. What a beautiful place to stay with the snow topped hills of Arran in the [...]

Paints please!

January 4th, 2016|0 Comments

Paints please! Of course, I could get paints and other art supplies delivered, but occasionally the lure of bigger shops and some window shopping pulls me across to the mainland and Glasgow. A boat trip [...]

Some Introductions…

January 3rd, 2016|0 Comments

Some Introductions… Sophia the little Princess. Refuses to help out in the garden; she is far too nice a chicken for dirty work. Speckeldy’s bottom to the right of photo. (Better looking from the front.) [...]

Happy New Year

January 1st, 2016|0 Comments

Happy New Year 2016. Said aloud; “it’s like a crisp, clean page or blank canvas”, it’s strange to think that it takes the changing of a year to make us rethink what we are doing [...]

Annual Re-branding?

January 1st, 2016|0 Comments

Surrounded by friends and family who tell us they are going to start a diet, stop smoking, start exercising, stop overeating, start a new life… I can’t keep but feel we are somehow missing the [...]

Stormy Christmas Eve’s Eve

December 23rd, 2015|0 Comments

Stormy Christmas Eve’s Eve December 23, 2015 The wind is roaring its way along the coast; white horses races atop the grey sea. Perfect weather for painting in the studio, drinking tea and listening to [...]

Bonita Ellmore

December 20th, 2015|0 Comments

Born in Kent, the Garden of England, and raised with a love of the outdoors, Bonita spent much of her childhood and early adult life playing in ancient woodlands and boats on the North Kent [...]

 ‘The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea.’

Vladimir Nabokov

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