A Lovely Pair

Lovely Pair!

Please. Please. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not encouraging lewd thoughts in male readers. Nor, indeed, any issues for even the most ardent of feminists.

The answer to all your plucking problems … The Game Cart

A lovely pair of PheasantsOn Saturday a pal dropped two pheasants off. This afternoon, when the sun broke through I prepared them for eating. Not for me a payment to some capable pluckers. DIY beckoned.

I skinned, jointed and dressed (gutted) the birds in 30 minutes. Next time I’ll be faster.

Country Life

There are hunters around here in the East Neuk, and, judging by my lovely pair, well fed game to boot. The crowns (breasts) weighed in at 1.5 lbs each, the legs (for confit I think) at 1.5 lbs for the four.

Here, in this beautiful Scottish setting, we benefit from friendship, bright land and seascapes, and wild game. I’m grateful for such wonderful produce.

A gentle soak

A lovely pair, jointed, soak in brineThe jointed birds, my lovely pair, are soaking in brine now.

I find a mild salt solution and Garam Masala works fine. They’ll soak for 24 hours. The GM adds a pleasant scent and a light taste.

If you want to know more, just get in touch.

Mac Logan
©

Yesterday my concern about the greed and corruption burst into flame. Read about it here

A Soda-bread Solution

We spend the first year of a child’s life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

Peaceful coexistence through soda-bread

Bulls and China shopThe boys limbered up with mild conflict. You know, the usual: he said … no I didn’t … he pushed me … I hate you … sort of stuff, accompanied by the occasional bustle of physical engagement.

And there I stood, ready to go. My ingredients lined up, scales at the ready. The lads came through, one nine and the other a big six, just as well I’d positioned myself in the middle.

To conflict or not to conflict?

A year or so back the boys and I started a conversation about cooperation. This happened during an escalating conflict over who got to do what with a domino tipping project: where you line them up in interesting shapes and tip them over.

I persuaded them to cooperate, full of praise when they achieved harmony and a great result.

I reminded them about cooperation and how we couldn’t do our baking without it. ‘You sure you want to make soda-bread?’ The bellowed ‘yeses’ overwhelmed. You sure? ‘I don’t want to interrupt your conflict.’ My eyes bulged with feisty challenge. Uncomfortable mischievous shuffles of feet, pleading eyes and smirks rewarded me. ‘Okay then. Go wash your hands.’

The rush to the washroom thundered like a heard of stampeding Wildebeest on the Serengeti. ‘Make sure your hands are really dry.’ Dryness is achievable (I’ve given up on total cleanliness although towels seem to do a pretty good job of rubbing muck off).

First the dry-mix

The first part involved measuring out the dry ingredients. My job: to show how it was done. My youngest grandson got to do the dry mixing: attentive, engaged and happy. He achieved the best dry-mix ever made in the history of humankind.

The rub

The interest remained as my task came up—rub in the butter. We all agreed it looked pretty boring and, I suppose, that’s what granddads are for. The butter was a bit cold and the task took longer than expected. Still, they were engaged and talking (not always politely) about my technique. Fifteen minutes in and they’re experts … I ask you.

Then the wet

In with the butter milk, and a truly happy older boy enjoyed squidging (our term for squeezing and working) the gloopy mix. His sibling watched. I could see envy and his, my-turn, demand to squidge next time. Scraping the mix from his fingers provided an opportunity for some hilarity.

You may, dear reader, criticise me for not using a fork to speed up the mixing … that isn’t the point, of course.

Bake away

We divided the mixture between two cake tins and, hey presto, an hour later we were slicing hot soda-bread and buttering it. Yum. And a loaf for mum.

Downside?

As the tins rattled into the oven my helpers vanished. Guess who landed the cleaning up? I didn’t make anything of it because …

Upside

They forgot about fighting over things and settled into a comfortable way of playing and being together for quite a while. And that, my friends, offers a moral to my story:

cooperative kids can live in peace and harmony for tens of minutes after doing something useful together (snooze time for granddads)

Might such cooperation work for politicians?

by Mac Logan
©

Want the recipe for a Scots/Irish soda-bread? Contact me.

Noisy People

What’s wrong with noisy people?

Stickler lost interestNothing at all. Usually they’re having fun. And, sometimes in the midst of the uproar, there’s a little, unexpected oasis…

Toddler’s birthday party

The joys,OMG, the joys! Little people rush around, vibrant packages of energy and honest emotion. Love, anger, delight, jealousy … Day-Glo bright on every sleeve.

Then, of course, there are the parents and grandparents. Wine, beer and food, consumed with gusto (this is Scotland after all). Conversations disrupted by tears and needy wee folk. The babble rises and falls like surf on  a beach.

Weight off

There’s an advantage to being a driver for a family event in Scotland — no alcohol. Circulate, catch up, have a few world-to-rights conversations, laugh with some people … and then a quiet seat as life charges on.

There’s a row of four wooden chairs along a wall. I sit. A lively grandson drops by for a chat. He moves on. I relax and talk with someone across the room. Then, I notice a presence.

Peace in the midst

Two seats away a young man. We catch eyes. I raise an eyebrow. He shares a half, almost dreamy smile.

‘Enjoying some peace?’ I say and receive an almost uncertain nod. ‘Nothing wrong with being quiet inside and thinking stuff to yourself.’

He smiles, nods, doesn’t speak.

‘You we’re somewhere else?’

‘Yes.’

‘Nice?’

Big nod. ‘Yes.’

We smile at each other and sit, hushed, amidst a quietening riot. I reflect, lost within. When awareness returns, he’s gone … back to noisy.

Fond farewell

When they go, he comes to me for a hug. His brother gave a wrestlers, competitive, shouglie  squeeze. He gives me a firm embrace and looks into my eyes with deep, calm warmth. We connect. I rub his back and release him.

Then he’s gone, fading slowly into a warm memory. I know peace.

Mac Logan
©

The Magic is Intact

Magic Intact?

2001: A Space Odyssey2001: A Space Odyssey blew my socks off nearly 50 years ago. The first part of Also Sprach Zarathustra is the music it is often remembered for. Yet the vision from the movie was, of course, supported by Strauss, in waltz time.

Strauss lit me up

Sometimes a little piece of music comes your way and it lights up your imagination. Then decades later, in a different setting, the magic is rediscovered, intact …

Tchaikovsky rekindles the fire

As I say, the magic is intact but … the tune is different. Yet, for all that, I’m transported once more. 2001: A Space Odyssey bounces back into my mind: magnificent waltz, magnificent movie.

Why did the magic reconnect with a different tune? Go figure: one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three …

Mac Logan
©

 

 

Gentle Heart

Gentle HeartGentle heart takes aim …

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” Mahatma Gandhi

Sometimes an emotional experience is overwhelming, especially for a person with a gentle heart. Let me tell you what happened to me the other day.

Point blank

One of my grandsons was playing in our lounge. He and his brother have guns that fire missiles with orange tips. He decided to blast our television from close range. The TV rocked.

I sat beside him with a deep sigh and a grandfatherly frown. The weight of thoughtful wisdom compressed my creaking shoulders. What, I asked him, might I feel if he broke my television and I couldn’t watch it. I asked him to put himself in my shoes.

Thinking time

He sat back, mental cogs whirring away. His lip trembled and he started to cry. My heart ached at his distress. Tears ran down his cheeks and his head hung. He’s a big kid with equally large sobs. I pulled him on to my lap and gave him a hug.

Man to man

Next I stood him in front of me. We faced each other eye to eye. My lightbulb came on. This young human being was crying for me, for the pain he imagined he could cause me, and in grief because he didn’t want to hurt me, ever.

Dry your eyes

I hugged him again, acknowledged his tears and told him how much I valued his love and concern … his gentle heart. His face lightened. We agreed it was never a good idea to shoot TVs, and shared delight that the TV survived without a mark. It wasn’t long before we were laughing and enjoying each others’ company as usual.

The gift

There was a gift in the situation for both of us:

  • For me? I’m filled with gratitude for a young person’s love and sincere intent not to harm me … even if, from time to time, he becomes a thoughtless human wrecking ball.
  • For him? I believe this grows empathy and a developing sense of being loved and respected, even when his behaviour deserves, and gets, a rebuke.

I don’t think he’ll be shooting TVs again any time soon.

More?

The last time I wrote about him (gentle heart) was when he might have died.

© Mac Logan

Touch across time

Across Time

Angus Logan's PaintingThe painting lies face down
Not to hide, nor yet conceal
I’d rather fix its breaking back
The better to reveal
A work of craft and life recalled

Words bare exposed share artist’s thoughts
Expressed in coloured wash and line
Tales of life and family,
Ninety years past, swift align
A lucid glimpse; a world forgot

Now seated, ready, focused – start!
The loosened mess swift falls away
My scalpel slices ageing tape
The words now clear their story say
A mind, a memory here today

I sit, I work, I feel loved hand
Direct the brush and type a word
Create a view and tell a tale
Gestation pure, the artist spurred
Old energy, now mine, goes on

My dear father, passed away
Speaks and shares as now I write
My hands his hands we, join, create
Together share the artists light
Once more connected … happy day

© Mac Logan

See the picture’s words here

A Touch Across Time

Across Time?

Painting OPT
My Dad died some years back. I reconnected with him yesterday… a touch across time. No need to put on your spooky-head and let galacial spiders crawl up your spine. I’d mark this as higher on a warm-happy spectrum than a cold-scary one.

Hanging around

Paintings, actually. We’ve been putting them up around the new house. There was a cluster of Dad’s work and one or two needed fixing. He used to back his paintings with old cardboard and masking tape. One in particular fell apart when I picked it up. Old stuff, old tape, and, previously unnoticed, two typed pages of history attached at the back of the frame.

Past history …

Dad’s words, typos and ink corrections covered the back. Family history and pic. Who needs and iPhone?

Painting Words 1 OPTCraft-knife in hand I started to trim and secure everything.
Painting Words 2 OPTAnd with the touch of the frame and contents …

… Present connection

The last hand to do this work was my Dad’s, maybe twenty-five or thirty years ago. And there, as I removed old tape and re-secured the backing we connected. Not spooky. No fear. We worked together.
I read his words and heard his voice, gazed at the painting and was there as he recalled the 1920s. No I’m not that old, but there I was.

I felt warm, happy, wistful  and proud to know Dad. I remember his passing, I’m not sure he’s gone … go figure.

© Mac Logan