My Amazon Author Page

Find my Amazon author page via this link

"A Scottish Wind in the Willows on high end skunk."

"I enjoy Kate's stories..."
"A fun and spooky read..."

"The characters are so involving and
loveable that you do want them to really exist. It does read like you've
stumbled across someone's long lost diary from and alternate timeline/universe.
I quickly got into the story and loved every second of reading it...
total gem of a read by an author who deserves a lot more recognition."


Saturday, 28 February 2015

This week's free download

Sea Penguin Part Five - Our Front Door is free to download this weekend, if you're interested.  The story involves the usual Rocky Outcrop characters, black sausage rolls, mutant wasps, and the kiltie twins.

Here's the link, and an extract from the one review.  Who wouldn't want to read more? 'specially if it's free. Don't answer that.

 'Tuppence continues his musical career with a solar powered guitar and although underage, he is drinking tequila mixed with Vimto. The community of the Rocky Outcrop are concerned that the Vimto might rot his teeth.' 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Today's Walk - near home

A short walk before tea, up a hill near my house.  It was cold, but the light was nice.  I often see deer there, but none today.  Red squirrels used to be common there too, but they have become more elusive in recent years.  However,  there were lots of half-eaten pine cones in the woods, which could indicate their presence.
A pair of buzzards called to each other from a field further down, and I saw a sparrowhawk, swooping into the trees.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Today's Walk

Loch Clunie - again.  A very dreich day, and I was tired, so didn't walk round it as I usually do.  I admired the masses of snowdrops, which will be superceded by an even better display of bluebells as Spring progresses.  Unfortunately my present camera is very basic and can't do them justice.
Good views of Castle Hill (flat-topped mound on the far side) and of the island, with the Bishop of Dunkeld's house.  Obviously it doesn't belong to the Bishop of Dunkeld any more - and hasn't for a couple of hundred years, as I remember.  It's a shell now.  What a shame.  It must have been a great place to hole up in on a wild and stormy night...the only access by boat...looking out at the churning black waters of the loch from an upper window, while sipping a glass of best brandy and gnawing a peacock's leg (or your own, if supplies were low), and driftwood smouldered in the stone fireplace...
The house did actually burn down in the 1950s, but I'm unsure why.
Wildlife spotted today included a herd of about a dozen roe deer in a field (unusual to see such a large group in the open), flocks of geese (greylags I think...) and cormorants on the trees on the island.  Mallards and tufted ducks on the loch.  Various small birds such as blackies, robins, coal tits and wrens active in the surrounding woods.
I've written about Loch Clunie several times before.  Please click on the links below if you wish to see the posts.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Fart fart fart &c.., oh - and higher selves...

'No, he's not cured yet.  Put him back in, and give him an extra knee rug,'  I shouted to Geoffrey, through the hole in the wall.  I shouted because I was on the settee, with my feet up, picking my nose and reading the letters page of the 'Daily Bugle', and Geoffrey was Outside, by the Ersatz Sweat Lodge, which we'd built by the Old Midden, from a kit we'd bought from Val Nark's eco-health-shop.
'And turn the dial up to 'red'.'
'And make sure you close the door properly this time.  We don't want any heat to leak out, like it did before.'  Not to mention his tiresome singing, I thought to myself.  But I didn't say it out loud. Which is unusual for me.
'Like it did before, when it was YOUR turn to close it by the way.  Anything else?'
'Pick up a barrel of best brandy, three pounds of baccy, some tea-bags and a bag of jellybabies when you're passing the tunnels.  Oh, and a pint of milk.  Make that two.  And a tin of Campbell's meatballs - I feel like having something different for tea.  I'm going to curry them.'
Anyway.  As you'll have gathered, if you've been following things recently,  Tuppence has been suffering from an intractable fever and pickled onion flavr Monster Munch addiction after his stay in gaol; on the advice of Val Nark we built an Ersatz sweat lodge for him to stay in till he's cured.
So far there's been no change in his condition, except that he keeps singing any Kraftwerk song which includes the word FAHRT,  phonetically, in a heavy and terrible German accent.
We're not sure how long the cure is supposed to take - there was nothing in the instructions and Val was a bit vague time-scale-wise. 'Just till he's better, for God's sake!" she barked.  "Now go away and use your common sense.  I WOULD say consult your 'higher selves' using hazel rod divining twigs, but I know you've not got those.   Higher selves, that is, not the twigs.   The twigs are available to buy in my shop, prices starting from £10.99 per individual twig.  You two idiots, with your persistently oafish refusal to address your vile processed meat, alcohol, salty snax and baccy predilections will probably remain on the basest, crudest and most repulsive level for the rest of your unnatural lives.  Anyway I've sixty pallets of flapjacks to ship to North America and I need to focus.'
'Level?  Level of what?'
'Spiritual development, of course. An ability to commune with your higher selves.  Me and Dave do that all the time, of course, what with us being vegan and having an eco-business and living in yurts and all.  But you two never, ever will.  Be able to, that is.  Now sod off and let me get on.'
Oh dear.  Higher selves though?  I was intrigued...
'Just get me the Monster Munches and I'll be right as rain,'  a thin voice wailed as Geoffrey secured the flaps and thumped the pegs into the ground with a mallet. 'I'm bored in here.  I know it's meant to be hot and dark and sweaty and it's all for my own good but I'm fed up now - please let me out.  And if you don't let me out, rest assured that I'll wreak a horrible know I will....'

Next time....Tuppence finally gets out of the sweat lodge, and Geoffrey and I run away from him and his wrath, on the pretext of setting off to find our higher selves.....

Monday, 16 February 2015

Today's Walk.....

I think I'm suffering from a severe late winter slump.  Tottered to the local park (which is not a very nice place really) and was cheered slightly by these beautiful swans.
I hope to feel better soon.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Today's Walk

Today - or, rather, yesterday's walk.  A rather dull one, close to home, on an overcast and generally miserable day, with that depressing fag-end of winter feel.  Unremitting gloom, mud and awfulness, really, but I suppose on some level (as yet unclear to me) it will have done me good.  
The paths had thawed sufficiently to leave a horridly unpleasant and slimy surface layer of mud over deeper layers of hard-packed and still frozen ground. As I plodded round the loch I kept thinking of prehistoric swamps,  the Somme, and Zola's Germinal, which I remember as being one of the gloomiest books ever, almost on a par with 1984.  Mud, black bread and coalmines are all that come to mind when I think of it.
Not the nicest of walks, and not much wildlife to mention, except for two noisy buzzards, a flock of gulls following a plough, a few quiet swans close in by the reed beds, some mallards, and a couple of goldeneye.
I know I should be thankful for my health, at my age, and so I am.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Jock Mckay Aka Jack Mckay (1930)

My late father had a habit of saying 'Aye aye, Jock Mackay' during lulls in conversation.  I'd no idea that there really ever was a Jock Mackay, but good grief here he is on Youtube, in the 'flesh', and wearing a delightful 'double tartan' outfit that I can imagine might appeal to the Tupfinder General.  Someone kind on Twitter pointed it out to me.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Today's Walk - Lintrathen and Reekie Linn

A walk part of the way round Lintrathen loch (and reservoir), 22 miles from Dundee.  Beautiful day with clear blue skies and a sense despite the cold that Spring is not too far away.  Lintrathen and Backwater reservoirs have provided water for the city and probably most of the surrounding villages and towns for many years.  Lintrathen dates back to the Victorian era and has been extended twice since, due to demand from an expanding population.  It has a nice Victorian dam and wall and the hamlet of Bridgend of Lintrathen is very pretty .  Backwater - which I've blogged before - was constructed post-WW2, and despite its dramatic setting it is in my view much less attractive structurally. It reminds me of Pitlochry dam, which I've also blogged (click on the links below this post to find it, among my other 'walks').
Lintrathen loch was almost entirely frozen over today, but as we walked round we saw large numbers of geese far out in the open stretches.  Too far out for me to get a really good look even with binoculars.  We went into the Scottish Wildlife Trust hide at the western edge but there was nothing much to see from there, due to the extent of the ice.
We then drove round the short distance to Bridge of Craigisla and Reekie Linn car park and walked to the viewpoint to see the falls.  I believe there's to be a hydro electric scheme further up the river (Isla) and this, in time, is likely to affect the volume of water.  Make the most of it while you can.
I believe also that two wind-farms are at the planning stage - I'll be objecting to both.  There are quite enough turbines spoiling the landscape in that area already.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cheese and Oatmeal Scone Recipe

Cheese and Oatmeal scones
Someone asked about this, so here it is....normal service will resume eventually.....

4 oz. self-raising flour, (or 4 oz. plain flour plus 1 tsp. cream of tartar and half a tsp. bicarb.)
4 oz. oatmeal (I use Hamlyns oatmeal - the same kind I have for porridge.  DON'T use porridge oats)
1 oz. butter, marg., or lard
2 oz. mature cheddar cheese, grated - or a bit more if liked

Rub the fat into the flour in the usual way (till it resembles breadcrumbs).  Add the oatmeal and cheese.  Add a small amount of milk and mix with your hands till the mixture comes together, adding more milk as necessary.  Keep the milk to a minimum - don't let the mixture become sticky.  Knead lightly and roll out into a circle about an inch thick.  Cut it into four sections (or six if you want a smaller scone) and bake in a hot oven for about ten to fifteen minutes - maybe twenty - at any rate keep an eye on them after ten good minutes.
They are quite heavy in  texture and they don't rise much.

Adapted from a recipe in the Yorkshire Television Complete Farmhouse Kitchen cookbook.