Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Post No 100, time for a party

There are now 100 posts here, ranging from short demented jottings to my attempts to record some serious bits of boating and yachting history, anecdotes and other stuff that shouldn't be allowed to disappear. I'm going to have a wee party, with some nice  lemonade and orange biscuits straight from the stove, in tune with the music from newly health-conscious Scotland (update - the recipe can be found below among the comments).

For anyone who started visiting here recently I should point out that most of my efforts are not time-specific and some of the more useful historical pieces appear early on, such as the Juni expedition and the story of the Ralli II, although I've also recorded events that seemed significant as they occurred, such as the stranding of the HMS Astute, surely now one of the most unlucky and certainly the most inappropriately named ship in the Royal Navy of all time (astute- shrewd, sagacious, wily). Personally I hate these things and think that the World would be a better place if they all got stuck, but preferably not in the Kyles. As for aircraft carriers with or without planes for them, don't start me.

Thinking about names reminds me of my late dear friend John Gardner explaining the origin of La Belle Poule. Apparently there was a tradition in the French navy to allow the commander of a new ship to supply her name and in this case he had provided "La Belle Pauline" after his wife, but something went wrong with Admiralty communications and the result had rather a special meaning around the coastal towns.

John Gardner has inspired a lot of what I've posted here and his images have resulted in numerous hits. I intend to do what I can to keep his memory alive and share his images. Being of a generous disposition his family do not seek compensation for the non-commercial use of his images, but if anyone who appreciates his work would like to send me a message I'll pass it on.

Blogging is an odd activity, which of course no-one had heard of until recently. Indeed I remember when I got the first computer in my office back in 1985, a huge ugly expensive box of tricks installed by so-called experts, but who in a previous incarnation would have sold second-hand cars or insurance policies. My old secretary was sure that the lines of gaudy green text glaring out at her like messages from Outer Space would affect her fertility (she was then about fifty and unmarried) so she turned the screen towards the window and continued touch-typing as before, with interesting results. I never imagined for an instant that we were seeing the start of perhaps the greatest development in letters since 1450.
Herr Gutenberg

Scottishboating started as a spin-off from my scottishislandsclass blog, which in turn was started to record the history of those lovely yachts with the general intention to produce a book in due course, which is still an ambition. It's grown to produce a nice little cyber-community with 35 followers and about 41,000 page views to date. I'm sufficiently realistic to understand that most of them probably come here by mistake, but there's a good solid nucleus of readers who sometimes email me with information, occasional guest posts or just encouragement, so I'll keep going.

better with a little dark chocolate
Now I'm off to the party. Cheers!


  1. I come here often and have read every word. So count me as one of the privileged. (surely for that, I deserve to share your cookies?)

    Keep up the good work!


  2. Hi Michael

    they're very good and easy to do, so I'll dig out the recipe and post it here tomorrow. I don't think they'd go too well through the post.

    Best wishes


  3. Michael, that's a bit reminiscent of the old Scottish welcome, "Ye'll have had your tea?". More of a statement than a question really.
    "You'll have made your own biscuits then?"
    I'll look forward to the recipe though.

    Ewan, keep up the good work its always a pleasure to read your posts.

  4. Actually, Graham, that welcome is more an Edinburgh thing, matters are a bit different on the West coast. Here is the receipt:-

    Ingredients:- zest from one orange (or lemon, lime, whatever), 100 grams (3 ½ oz) softened butter, 50 grams (2 oz) caster sugar, 150 grams (5 oz) self-raising flour.

    Oven about 180 C/160 fan

    Combine the zest, butter and sugar in a large bowl, then beat in the flour. Knead between the hands to form a large glob of sticky dough (excellent for removal of fillers, paint residues, anti-fouling etc from fingers).

    Divide into sixteen portions, roll each into a little ball, place these on buttered baking tray, flatten with a wet fork and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until light golden colour. Added touch – drizzle a little melted plain chocolate over the biscuits when cooled down.

    My apologies to Mary Berry

  5. OK I admit it is a bit of an Edinburgh thing and may divulge my roots as being more east coast than west. For those unfamiliar with the term Edinburgh English, try saying "There will be a cup of tea and a hot pie at twenty five past five" without moving your lower jaw.

    I may have a go at your hand cleaning recipe, sounds delicious.

  6. Ewan,
    reading your blog has made the adiction to scottish waters sing all the time I did it.
    Keep your wonderful work!

    Thomas - from the North of Germany ( if not on Seil...)

  7. Thanks for the recipe, Ewan. What does it say that I get the joke, Graham? No Scottish in my family, that I know of.

    My Mary says I will not be making any cookies in the near future. I think the reference to bottom paint residue made her ill.


The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water