Thursday, January 1, 2015

I've Wander'd Mony A Weary Fit

And maybe I'm getting ready to settle down again ... or maybe not. Who knows what 2015 will bring? Well, I do, in part: more wandering, up to Scotland next week, then across the cold North Sea to Norway and beyond. There are so many things to look forward to: visiting with friends and family, making new friends, learning how to make new varieties of cheese.

Probably no more champagne for a while, which is why I indulged myself (I know, when do I not indulge myself?) with a bottle from Reims for my New Year's toast; it was good, but the one from Epernay might have been better, or maybe I was just missing my champagne-tasting partners. Marks & Spencer had a half-price sale, so the bottle wasn't too outrageously expensive.
And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.
The small haggis was a bargain at £3. Because the label identified it as "Scottish haggis specially made by Macsween of Edinburgh" I assumed it was a traditional recipe, but when I got home and looked more closely I realized that instead of being sheep's liver and lights, it's actually made of pig parts. While I do enjoy a good bit of pork (and consumed my fair share in France) I was looking forward to experiencing a different flavor.

What is haggis, you ask? Or perhaps you're frantically waving your hands and asking me not to go into details. If so, close your eyes for a minute - are they shut? Okay, for everyone else, here's the list of ingredients: pork lung (32%), beef fat (25%), oatmeal (19%), water, pork heart (1.5%), salt, dried onions, ground spices (white pepper, pimentoes, mace, nutmeg, coriander, black pepper). Traditionally stuffed in a sheep's stomach (or pig, I assume now) and boiled, this one came wrapped in thick plastic of some sort, and I wrapped it up in foil and baked it in a water bath for an hour and a half, as instructed. It was actually very good.

You can open your eyes again now.

Instead of the "neeps and tatties" usually served with haggis, I oven-roasted some cherry tomatoes and cubed butternut squash; I'm starting to clear out the refrigerator.
I am just going to miss Burns Night in Scotland, as that's the day I fly from Aberdeen to Stavanger, so it's a good thing I got my haggis fix last night. And today and tomorrow probably; I didn't eat it all (it's quite rich) and so will try it sliced and fried with eggs for breakfast this morning, and perhaps as part of a cold charcuterie plate on Friday, when I'll be too busy cleaning house to cook. And cleaning the litter box. That's one part of housesitting I'm not going to miss. It will also be nice to be around people again, so that I can remember how those word-string mouth things work ... conversations, that's what they're called.

Maybe that's why I woke up this morning with my mind starting to spiral in for a landing - I think I don't want to be so far away for a while. It will be three years by the time I get back, and I'll need at least a year to soak up a new supply of love and hugs from family and friends before I head off again.

I have so many conversations to catch up on.
And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

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