One does find the most peculiar things while doing research into historical periods:
It’s good to know the monks at St. Andrews and the Isle of Iona had such, er, comforts.
Stop by Toilets of the World and you too can be privy to all the details.
I just love words.
At one point in The Silver Casket, the heroine Rinette faces off against Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, soon to be Mary Queen of Scots’ second husband. Now Darnley may have been tall, blond and good-looking, but Queen Mary’s own uncle the Cardinal of Lorraine described him scathingly as un gentil huteaudeau, which pretty much means “a pleasant nitwit.” Heh. The male Paris Hilton of the 1560s. Huteaudeau appears to have been an idiom along the lines of what today we might call “a dumb cluck,” because in the sixteenth century it also literally meant “young chicken” or “pullet.”
The word is preserved not only in the Cardinal’s disparagement of Darnley, but in a traditional Scottish dish called “Howtowdie,” a chicken stuffed with skirlie (savory sautéed oats with onions), roasted (or boiled) and served on a bed of spinach with “drappit eggs” (poached eggs). Intrigued? Here’s a link to a lovely authentic recipe:
I’m not sure about the poached eggs, but the skirlie sounds pretty yummy. I love cooking from the periods I write about and I think I will have to try this!
Remember last January when I wrote about the two new rose bushes we’d ordered? Well, after some uncertain moments during our cold, wet spring, little “Scentimental” has come through with flying colors. Here’s its very first bloom:
Incredibly fragrant, as one would expect from its name. Heh. Of course I couldn’t help expecting the scent of peppermint, but what it is, for me at least, is an intense, classic old-fashioned “rose” scent. Heavenly.
And I will end this series of back-yard adventures with this:
…because whenever one is in our back yard, there’s always a beagle observing!
It’s a good year for roses, it seems, in east Texas. Here are some more rose pictures from our back forty:
These are what we call the “Pink Peggies.” They were a wedding gift from my dear mother Miss Peggie, and meant to be white—but when the bare-root bushes were planted and nurtured and started to bloom that first year, lo and behold they were pink. Much correspondence with David Austin Roses ensued. The true identity of the pink roses was never ascertained, which is how they came to be called the Pink Peggies.
The following year we received a trio of replacement plants, and these were indeed the beautiful white “Winchester Cathedral” variety Miss Peggie had originally chosen. At the moment they are just quivering on the cusp of blossoming—look at those dozens and dozens of buds! Later on I’ll post some pictures of the actual blooms.
Now back to sixteenth-century Scotland, and the flowers there…
Today is the Broadcasting Legend™’s and my anniversary. At our wedding ceremony I carried a glorious bouquet of Peace roses from the bush in our own back yard, and so of course every spring the new blooms seem to be saying, “Hello again! Happy anniversary!”
We described our wedding day as “Babies, Beagles and Roses.” Well, the babies have grown up and sadly one of the beagles, my dearest Raffles, is gone—but the roses continue to bloom. May that particular Peace bush thrive for many more years!