dear diary :: homeward bound

Nothing much happened yesterday other than a trip into the local town of Stranraer – but for me that is quite a pleasant event.  We decided to put the final portion of the tomato soup in a flask, make a sandwich and take lunch with us.  All was calm weather wise and the sun came out so we stopped in the pretty village of Ardwell further up the coast and watched gulls bobbing about on the sea whilst lunching.  The two cottages facing out onto the bay are my very favourite on this coast – much more sheltered than we are.

Would you believe it though, as we turned off the main road into the picnic area by the shore the car beeped and a fault message suddenly flashed on the dashboard screen ‘automatic parking brake fault’ and the service light came on?   Usually when we stop the car when parking the handbrake automatically engages as there is no handbrake to pull on and luckily even if the automatic parking brake doesn’t work you can operate the brake manually with a lever – but it is yet another problem to add to the list.  When we arrived back at the caravan later all messages had disappeared from the screen and the car’s automatic brake came on – so maybe it has corrected itself…who knows!

After lunch we took a quick brisk walk along the beach looking for beach finds then headed off into town – it was bitterly cold so we kept dodging into shops just to keep warm.  I got mum’s card and a lovely one that opens out into a train for Freddie’s 1st birthday.  I had to write mum’s card in the local café to get it in the post – I slipped in a book token for her – as she cannot get out much now reading is quite important to her but this means buying a lot more books.

After a trip to the post office we went round to my favourite hardware shop which is more like a mini department store.  Here you can still buy something as basic as a steel fire basket for your coal fire or some of those old varieties of seed potatoes ….and sure enough they had jam pot covers –there was even a choice and I opted for the mixed pack of waxed circles with the cellophane covers.

It is one of those shops where you feel you can buy anything and coming across a pile of cloths between the dishcloths and floor cloths marked ‘udder cloths’ was no surprise.  They are quite nice – like stiff muslin (maybe you had one Pat on your farm?)  I am sure they might be quite useful for something other than udders – but I couldn’t think what so I put it back.

A lot of the shelves were quite bare having cleared away all signs of the decorations, artificial trees and lights that they have on display at Christmas to the delight of the local children (it is their only Santa Grotto for miles).  The assistants were busy having a bit of a change around as shops do now and just starting to put out their new stock.  It is a struggle for these independent shops to keep going – a lot are family owned and when they retire they are lost and gone for ever leaving increasingly empty gaps like on most high streets.   I always try to buy things when we are up here to help keep them going.

We had a bit of a shock in Tesco though – it is not a big store but bigger than one of their Express stores.  A few years ago they removed the instore bakery but have continued to sell a range of freshly baked bread and Danish pastries; now the section selling the freshly baked bread and rolls has halved in size to one small fitment and they have stopped selling wholemeal loaves altogether unless you want the wrapped steam baked Warburton’s type which I don’t like (too squishy for me). 

What made it worse is the fact that they have now expanded the sugary cakes and doughnuts section to fill the space.  This feels like a big step backwards to me especially in a region that is known to have a pretty bad diet of high fat and sugar foods anyway.  Are people substituting cakes for bread I wonder?  The Tesco assistant said this was not the only store to remove the wholemeal loaves.

When we come here for any length of time we are going to be quite stuck for bread now – we can bring some with us but obviously not for a whole week or longer – I like my bread on the dry side but stale is another thing!

We bought the haggis, a few wee scotch pies (the men love these), macaroni for the vegetarians and some after dinner treats….Tunnock’s of course. There is no way to make haggis look appetising in a photo but here it is.

So today we are homeward bound – car allowing, stopping in Castle Douglas another fine market town full of little independent shops, a huge Wilkos and the best craft shop ever.  Oh and did I mention they have an award winning chip shop – so a bag of freshly cooked chips is a must.

I just need one more turn around the garden to say goodbye until next time.

Have a wonderful weekend. x

PS. The tomato soup recipe is now in the recipe section – click on the tab above the header. Hope you enjoy it Wendy x

18 Replies to “dear diary :: homeward bound”

  1. Hope you have a safe journey home and the car doesn’t show up any more faults. It sounds and looks like your cottage is in a lovely part of the country. We lived in Cranwell for a few months when I was little with one small village store. I’ve had a hankering ever since to live in the country, but the older I get the more I worry about facilities.

    It’s disappointing that Tesco have enlarged their cake and doughnut stand and even more disappointing that it must be financially viable. I love a Tunnocks Teacake, it’s one of my favourite treats. Not sure about the haggis though. I’ve never tried it and somehow don’t think I ever will!

    Hope your Mum and Freddie enjoy their birthdays. xx


    1. There is still one village store in our village in Scotland. The butcher, baker, general store and post office all closed now though the post office is run in the village store that remains. It is 15 miles from any shops so should keep going.


  2. dear vivien, thank you for a lovely post once again. I do enjoy following your writings. and your photos are just beautiful to enjoy. as i sit here in london, ontario in the middle of a snow storm it is a joy to see the landscapes of your travels. cheers and best of the new year my dear lady.


  3. I hope you’ve had a safe and uneventful journey home.
    You do realise I will need to buy some Tunnock’s now? Caramel wafers I think. 😆


    1. DH is never without a pack of caramel wafers – I have to hide them – he is only supposed to eat them if we are out and about or for a tea break if we are working in the garden in Scotland but not snack on them at home.


  4. The bread supply will be an issue. How sad! For you and for all those people obviously eating more sweet treats than bread.

    I profess to not being sure what your jam covers, let alone an udder cloth.


    1. I must say I had never heard of an udder cloth but then I don’t keep cows! The jam pot covers are little round discs of waxed paper to put on the top of homemade curds or jam before you seal the jam jars. Most people use the metal lids now on jam jars but I prefer the old fashioned way of using the round cellophane covers held on with a rubber band. These two items keep the jam sealed to prevent mould occuring.


  5. What a pain to have to add another thing to the list. I’m felieved that it doesn’t seem too serious at the moment though.
    Have a safe journey home and thank you for the beautiful photos.


  6. Oh I do hope that car has fixed itself, what a pain! That is truly awful about Tesco’s, so sad for people who rely on that for that main shop. I have never tried Haggis and being veggie never will, hope you have a good burns night.


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