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Monday 23 February 2009

Mist over Graemsay....

.... which happens to be the name of a tune composed by a local musician, Fran Gray, for us on Graemsay, but also happens to describe the weather today!

Visibility is only a few yards and I've heard the "Hamnavoe" ferry (Stromness-Scrabster run) hooting it's horn every time it approaches and leaves the harbour. In the mist it would be impossible to see even a boat that size and I suppose there may be some small creel boats out working today that don't show up on whatever gizmos they have on board boats these days.

Thankfully Graemsay doesn't have a fog horn attached to its lighthouses. In fact all fog-horns, in Scotland at any rate, have been disconnected as most ships have electronic gadgets that replace the need for fog-horn warnings. However the Graemsay lighthouses were never fitted with them as the island lighthouses are actually "leading lights" to guide the Victorian herring fleet safely into and out of the harbour at Stromess, rather than warning of dangerous rocks. Though it has to be said the channel between Graemsay and Stromness has quite a few "skerries" which appear at low tide (bands of rock), so even small boats need to take heed when navigating the water.

I should have been working today but the cold I developed over the weekend has gone to my chest, and coupled with the fact I have chronic asthma, I've been wheezing like a train and so have been reclining on the sofa feeling sorry for myself all day! However hopefully after a couple of days I will feel better again!

I did mange to make some soup yesterday. This is taken from a recipe I found some time ago in who knows where or when and I adapted.

Carrot and Caraway Soup

1 Tbs (15 ml) olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb (450 g) carrots, chopped
2 tsp (10 ml) caraway seeds, crushed in a
mortar with a pestle
4-6 cups (1-1.5 L) vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, chives, or basil for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over moderate heat and saute the
onion until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots
and caraway seeds and saute 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a
boil. Simmer covered until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes (depends how small you chop them!). Puree the soup in an electric blender or food processor and adjust the
seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot or chilled, garnished with
chopped herbs. Serves 4 to 6.

The caraway seeds take away a little of the sweetness of the carrots and give the soup a slightly nutty flavour. Enjoy!


  1. Think my 1st comment has got lost in the ether! So sorry you are unwell, Sian. Thanks for your lovely email - I will reply at length soon. Going to try your carrot soup recipe as I'm sure we have caraway seeds somewhere in the cupboard - am awash with carrots!Keep warm and cosy and well away from the mist, Jo

  2. I'm sorry you're suffering - hate colds, not quite ill enough to phase out but just enough to feel miserable and incapable. Hope you feel better soon. Cinnamon tea works wonders for me. Has the sun has broken through the mist?

  3. Hi Jo - hope you enjoy the soup. i'm not a huge fan of cooked carrots but this soup has me convinced they are worth entertaining!

    Paula - Cinnamon tea - haven't tried that but it sounds good. I LOVE cinnamon. And yes the sun broke through today for the morning and it was so glorious. Helps me bear the forecast gales again.