Tag Archive | Black Jack Randall

Outlander: Lallybroch

I debated over to do this as a post or pin it to it’s own page? Obviously the page option won! The reason I’m doing it this way is that I feel Lallybroch along with Fraser’s Ridge are such an important pieces of Outlander that they  well deserves it’s own separate pages. So, when I get to Fraser’s Ridge, I will pin that as it’s own page as well.

 

For those who still refuse to pick up the books and start reading, this is your warning that this page will contain a great number of spoilers and an ongoing discussion of the books as well as the show!

Going Home to Lallybroch

While we wait out the six months until the show’s return, those of us who have read the books at least have the comfort of our memories to dwell on whilst we wait with Jamie in the window watching Jack attack Claire.

Claire in danger of losing even more

 

If that was not painful or brutal enough to have burned on our brains for six months, then we must endure the image of  Jack’s so excited look at the sight of “his” boy, Jamie?

Jack is thrilled to see Jamie

Even worse for many of us is the knowledge of what will come after this! It does not get any better for some time, it only gets worse what with accusations of witchery for Claire, a “burning at the stake” for Gellie Duncan and a mad rush of escape from that same plight for Claire. It’s no wonder that by that time, Jamie is willing to confront his guilt for what he thinks happened to sister Jenny, and head home to the safety of Lallybroch!

Jenny Murray Jenny at the hands of Jack Randall Jenny at lallybroch

 

So, while we wait for Spring, let us all seek out that comfort of happy memories and Lallybroch. For those just watching the show, and okay with spoilers… well of course you’re okay with spoilers- otherwise you would not have read this far, would you? Anyway, you might need some additional insights and information on just how important and intregal  Lallybroch truly is to the ongoing story. Lallybroch is of course, Jamie Fraser’s childhood home, his inheritance, his birthright. It is that one place that he holds so dearly in his heart and tries so hard in the future to protect even if he can not stay there or go back to it.

Just a note here… Diana Gabaldon does such an excellent job of description and details down to even the smallest things, I really think it’s difficult to capture all of it and all of those underlying currents and such on film. The representation of Lallybroch is one instance where I am just not sure about the location/setting they have chosen to represent my beloved Lallybroch? I’ll get to that later, first of all let’s look at where Lallybroch would be located in relation to the description given by Diana. According to the descriptions, Lallybroch is located at a spot on the edge of Fraser lands bordering the MacKenzie ones. It is an important piece of land to both Frasers and MacKenzies.

 

lallybroch2 (2)

 

 

Scottish Clan map with possible Lallybroch location starred

Scottish Clan map with possible Lallybroch location starred

 

As I mentioned, Lallybroch is Jamie’s family home. He was born there, grew up there, always expected and hoped to someday return there to be it’s leader, the Laird of Lallybroch. One of his biggest regrets and guilts in those younger years was that he had failed his family- his Father and his sister Jenny. His Father died while he was on the run with a price on his head, and he assumes that his sister Jenny was raped by Jack, and bore a child to him… this of course is due to some fancy fabrication by Dougal MacKenzie in effort to keep control of Jamie. My personal ongoing confusion with that story is why he chose to do that? It never really made sense to me. I would have thought that Dougal would have wanted Jamie there at lallybroch from the beginning. The only way the MacKenzie could assure themselves of Lallybroch was if Jamie produced an heir to it… if Jamie died without an heir to Lallybroch, it would go back to the Frasers. My personal thought on all of it is that Dougal  and the MacKenzies would have been far better off if they had put more effort into keeping young Jamie happy and alive at Lallybroch from the very beginning! But, as it was, Dougal did realize the importance eventually when he insisted on the marriage of Jamie to Claire.

 

For most of his life, Jamie would carry the guilt and the thought that he was the cause of his Father’s death. Brian Fraser witnessed the initial whipping of  Jamie and collapsed there of what we assume was some sort of stroke?

jamie being flogged

Jamie's Father, Brian Fraser

Jamie’s Father, Brian Fraser

lallybroch1 (2)

 

James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, was born at twilight on the first of May, in the year of our Lord 1721, at the estate of Broch Tuarach, also called Lallybroch, near the small village of Broch Mordha in the Highlands of Scotland, the son of Brian Fraser and Ellen MacGibbon MacKenzie.

The eldest child of Jacob and Anne MacKenzie, Ellen grew up in the Scottish Highlands at Castle Leoch. She was a favorite of her father’s, who wouldn’t force her into a marriage she herself wouldn’t accept, and so she remained unmarried well past the time when a young woman in her position might ordinarily have been settled with a husband. After her father’s death, however, her brothers Colum and Dougal intended to arrange their sister’s marriage to Malcolm Grant in order to ease relations with Clan Grant, but Ellen defied them rather dramatically by saying something to Malcolm Grant that so offended him, he left Leoch without a word to his hosts, and Ellen ran away and eloped with Brian Fraser. 

 

Brian and Ellen Fraser were happy and content on their small estate of Lallybroch, wanting only to left alone and in peace to raise their family. Jamie’s memories of Lallybroch were those of a happy childhood even though his Mother had died at a young age giving birth to a younger brother. For Jamie, Lallybroch and his family was that place in his mind and his heart that could soothe him even in the worst of his pains. He had that sense, that feeling of family to fall back on all of his life. Claire never had that, being raised by her Uncle Lam, traveling around the globe and never having that peace or comfort to go to in her mind before being with Jamie. I think she craved that, and it was probably one reason she married Frank, thinking he could give her that. She did find it at Lallybroch though, and later on she found it at Fraser’s Ridge.

lallybroch7 lallybroch8 lallybroch10 lallybroch11

 

So, Lallybroch became that place to call home to Claire as well, though I think she later came to think of Fraser’s Ridge more in that context than Lallybroch? She knew how deep Jamie’s feelings for Lallybroch went though and how much of his heart was there, would always be there.

The quote from Voyager summed up Jamie’s feelings of family and of Lallybroch.  The original quote is from Robert Frost: Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

Home is where they have to take you in

 

Some other important quotes and references to Lallybroch in the various books:

Seven years in a life, part 4. “It was only as the lights of Lallybroch manor came into view that he felt at last the

mantle of humanity fall upon him, and mind and body joined as one again as he prepared himself to greet his family,” –

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon.

 

Homer’s Odyssey – when Jamie and Claire first arrive at Lallybroch, Jamie is greeted rapturously by the Lallybroch dogs

and Claire compares this to Odysseus returning from the Trojan War and being recognised by his faithful hound. Jamie

extends the metaphor by comparing himself to Odysseus returning home disguised as a beggar and having to deal with

Penelope and her suitors (Outlander, chapter 26)

 

From THE SCOTTISH PRISONER Copyright 2011 Diana Gabaldon:  It was cold in the loft, and his sleep-mazed mind groped among

the icy drafts after the words still ringing in his mind. “Bonnie lad.” Wind struck the barn and went booming round the

roof. A strong chilly draft with a scent of snow stirred the somnolence, and two or three of the horses shifted below,

grunting and whickering. Helwater. The knowledge of the place settled on him, and the fragments of Scotland and Lallybroch

cracked and flaked away, fragile as a skin of dried mud. Helwater. Straw rustling under him, the ends poking through the

rough ticking, prickling through his shirt. Dark air, alive around him. Bonnie lad… They’d brought down the Yule log to

the house that afternoon, all the household taking part, the women bundled to the eyebrows, the men ruddy, flushed with

the labor, staggering, singing, dragging the monstrous log with ropes, its rough skin packed with snow, a great furrow

left where it passed, the snow plowed

 

Excerpt 1 – An Echo in the Bone

Lallybroch Inverness-shire, Scotland “We are alive,” Brianna MacKenzie repeated, her voice tremulous.  She looked up at

Roger, the paper pressed to her chest with both hands.  Her face streamed with tears, but a glorious light glowed in her

blue eyes.  “Alive!” “Let me see.”  His heart was hammering so hard in his chest that he could barely hear his own words. 

He reached out a hand, and reluctantly, she surrendered the paper to him, coming at once to press herself against him,

clinging to his arm as he read, unable to take her eyes off the bit of ancient paper. It was pleasantly rough under his

fingers, hand-made paper with the ghosts of leaves and flowers pressed into its fibers.  Yellowed with age, but still

tough and surprisingly flexible.  Bree had made it herself–two hundred years before. Roger became aware that his hands

were trembling, the paper shaking so that the sprawling, difficult hand was hard to read, faded as the ink was. December

31, 1776 My darling daughter, As […]
An Echo in the Bone

The seventh–but NOT the last!–novel in the OUTLANDER series, An Echo In The Bone, has four main storylines: Jamie and

Claire Fraser, are now in the midst of the American Revolution; Their daughter Brianna, her husband Roger MacKenzie, and

their two children, settled at Lallybroch in the 1970′s (finding their feet after their return from the past—but are

unaware that that past is just about to leap out at them again); Lord John Grey and his step-son William (Jamie’s

unacknowledged illegitimate son), are embroiled in the Revolution on the British side with William in the army and Lord

John on the clandestine side of intelligence; and Jamie’s nephew Young Ian: his troubled love-life is about to take

another sharp left turn. The US cover design for this book shows a caltrop (and not, as one wit suggested to me, a Celtic

chicken-foot)—an ancient military weapon, designed to stop oncoming cavalry (and still in equally effective use by the

modern Highway Patrol, for stopping cars).   A caltrop resembles a child’s jack, […]

Now it should be very clear how important Lallybroch was and is to so many family members and generations through out the books! For me, it was a sad moment when I read of  Bree and Roger’s finding Lallybroch worn, weary and empty of life. I was so happy when they decided to raise their family there, breathe life back into it… and, I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed when at the end of the most recent episode, My Own Heart’s Blood, they chose to leave it and head back to the past and Fraser’s Ridge. I understood why they made that decision, I’m just not really happy with it! I want them, or someone else who feels the same feelings for Lallybroch to be there, to reclaim it and to live there happily ever after… if that’s at all possible given Diana’s way of story telling!  An added thought to that concern… it not like I only have wait six months to find out either. it’s more like a few years at least! So, be happy with a six month wait for the show to return Jamie and Claire to you!

 

My last thoughts on Lallybroch for now… The difference between what the show provides as representation and what is so set in my mind in relation to Lallybroch! I do trust the show creators to pull this off and set another vision of Lallybroch into our hearts but I don’t think it will ever replace that vision in my mind and my heart of what Lallybroch is? As I have mentioned before, Diana Gabaldon’s amazing ability to paint us a picture with words sets such a detailed vision of  what a place is in each person’s mind that it’s extremely difficult to completely erase or replace that vision in filming. When I saw the previews for Lallybroch, it is not anything close to that image in my mind? When I envision Lallybroch, I do not see any type of Castle, fortress, or really even a fancier manor house type? I see a country working farm estate, white washed as described in the book so well… a place with barns, and fields and sheep, hills and a tower back behind!

lallybroch1 Midhope_Castle_08 lallybroch1 lallybroch5

This image taken from a distance does come a bit closer but still, not really what I see when I close my eyes and think of Lallybroch!

midhope

This is far closer to what I see!

lallybroch3

 

scottish farm house4

 

And, when I imagine Roger and Bree seeing it, I can see this sort of image of a worn and empty home in need of love!

scottish farm house2

 

There is one other very important detail that needs to be included on the property… besides Jenny’s beloved sheep of course? There needs to be a North facing tower at the rear of the land!  During the 1700s it was still standing up well, and Jamie had childhood memories of having to clean that entire tower as one of his punishments! He and Ian recalled that event and Ian made much of the fact that had Jamie kept his mouth shut, they could have just escaped with a whipping rather than the days it took to clean the tower! It was also still standing and somewhat useable during Roger and Bree’s time there as I believe that was where Buck was hiding out at? So, while this image of the North Facing Tower is more rundown than what I would imagine, still there does need to be a North Facing Tower!

north facing tower

 

I do hope this has answered any questions you might have as to why Lallybroch is so important, and why it is holds such a special place in my heart as well!

Now… on to the rest of my project, building my own little piece of Lallybroch! After much self debate, I decided to combine the show’s version with the version stuck in my head. Here is the very basic start to it:

 

Please keep in mind that houses were not as large back then as we often assume them to have been?  Ohhhh and after placing the house, I’ve now realized that I need to move my tower to the other side so it’s in the rear of the house!  I’ve also come to the conclusion that I need to move it to a bigger lot!

lallybroch1 lallybroch2 Screenshot-3 tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Outlander: Both Sides and back to the Stones

Ahhhhh Where to start?  Such an excellent Cliff hanger, leave taking and window waiting finale! First of all, I just want to share this poster that sums a lot up for so many of us who have read the books!

leaving Jamie ing the window

Yes, Jamie will be hanging out in the window until April… and Jack Randall will be excitedly and impatiently awaiting his entrance!

Jack is thrilled to see Jamie

 

Okay, back to the beginning and my thoughts on all of it. The episode went pretty much as I expected it to with some major changes that, while I was not expecting them, worked so well! I know there has been a lot of discussion, debate and some outright disgust at the changes.  There are a number of viewers, who having read the books, think that any changes made to Diana Gabaldon’s words are blasphemy and close to sacri-religious? They can not seem to wrap their minds around the fact that sometimes, change is good! I feel somewhat like the broken record in repeating once again that,  There is absolutely no way that the show can cover every single detail of what is written in the books. This is why I so highly recommend that if you have not read the books, you should! This brings us to the next point… The books are the starting point and the guideline for the show, it does not mean that the show can not make it’s own deviations and turns at times from the hallowed writings of herself, Diana Gabaldon.  Some of the deviations and turns are needed to fit the book to viewing format, and others such as this episode take us down another path that Diana has not taken us on as yet. I am quite happy with this route and seeing a fuller side of Frank Randall!

The title of this episode was very appropriately labeled Both Sides. We got to see a more in depth look at the situation from Frank’s perspective and we got to see that other darker side of Frank come to the surface as he fought with traces of what his supposed ancestor, Jack Randall has passed down to future generations… I say supposed here because I have read the books and know the secret, but I will not divulge it here. We also see some other sides of Jamie and Claire emerge, the sides that cause them so many problems when they are unable to control them.

Yes, Jamie and Claire are meant to be together, they quickly discover that intense and fiery physical chemistry that initially draws them to each other and are over come by it. It’s that physical desire and passion that often gets them into trouble in the beginning because they act without thinking. Claire realized that last week when she uttered the comment of “Well there it is.. I’m not only a bigamist, I enjoyed it!”  She continues along this theme this week as she enjoys what little private romantic time she and Jamie can manage. She goes right along with his newly discovered enjoyment of sex and it gets them both in serious trouble!

 

Episode8Preview

Jamie forgets to watch his back

This is what happens when one forgets the number one Cardinal rule of survival… Always be aware of your surroundings and watch your back! Jamie was so intoxicated with the passion of Claire that he paid no attention to that rule, thereby putting Claire and himself in mortal danger.

Unbridled passion interrupted Jamie at gunpoint The results of not watching one's back

 

Not only had he put them in danger, he caused Claire to have to do something that went completely against her deepest beliefs and principles… she had to kill the English Soldier in order to save herself and Jamie. This tore at both of them and would begin the first of their many disagreements but would eventually teach them so much more about their own and each other’s beliefs and values. No, this was not so evident in the show, this is a portion that you should read about in the book to see how deeply this truly affected them both!  For Jamie it was a blow to his pride as a man that he had been so careless and unthinking and unable to protect Claire. I personally think this is the start of his life long need to protect her? He felt he failed her so badly in this instance and he would never let such a thing happen again.  Fortunately for them, this even happened after Claire’s knife lessons!

Jamie tries to comfort Claire 12_lady_lallybroch_00001

 

Before this event we did see some more tender moments between the two and we met Hugh Munroe, who one could not help but like!  He had news of an English deserter by the name of Horrocks who might or maybe not prove Jamie’s innocence? Could Horrocks be trusted? Probably not, but it would be worth a try.  Hugh gave Claire a Wedding present, a beautiful piece of amber with a dragonfly imbedded in it.

OUT_108-20140430-ND_0777.jpg Outlander 2014

 

Dragonfly in Amber… Which of course we all know is the clue to the next book and the next season?!

11_dragonfly_in_amber_00001 Dragon Fly in Amber

 

And, with that clue to the next season came another delightful arrival on the scene! On the other side of time while Frank was struggling with his fear and his inner demons, this precious little lad showed up to make everyone smile. And, Goodness knows by that time we needed a smile!  Many of us who have read the books probably had the same thoughts as I did upon seeing him and being introduced. A gleeful squeal of delight!  This could be one of those moments that actors are warned about… never work with children or animals, they will immediately steal the scene without even trying!  My most immediate thought on seeing him was wanting to reach into the screen, pinch his cheeks and utter this:

Wee Roger sing

Wee Roger arrives

Yes, little Roger made his first appearance as he was introduced to Frank Randall as Reverend Wakefield’s nephew. Of course if you’ve read the Leaf in the Wind of all Hallows, you would know that actually Frank has met the lad before and it was not a momentous occasion for either of them.  Perhaps Roger has some deeply hidden memory of that meeting, hence the look on his face when meeting Frank again?  Roger will show up as an adult in season 2, Dragonfly in Amber, where he will become an important part of the continuing story.  I do just want to add here a thought running through my mind. As we read the books we develop an image of the characters in our minds and it’s difficult to get that set image out of our head when the casting directors begin their process of choosing a person to play each part. I do applaud and appreciate the excellent decisions and choices they have made so far and I will trust their judgement on the casting of Roger… as long as he comes close in some way to the image I already have of the man, which is similar to this?  I know everyone has their own version of characters stuck in their minds, I am just sharing what my version of Roger is! Ohhhh, and the lad does need to be able to sing us a tune or two or three… or more!

Cat-Stevens

 

Now, as long as we’re on that other side of time with Frank, let’s talk about Frank Randall! This is where the episode made the biggest deviation from the book. When you think about it, it makes sense in approaching it in this way. The book is told from Claire’s first person narration of the events and mentions little or nothing of Frank’s actions during this time. Of course it doesn’t, she had no idea what was going on with Frank at that time! I was intrigued with this addition and now want to know so much more about Frank? He has never played a big role in the books and most of what we get even in later are Claire’s somewhat biased thoughts, memories and opinions on Frank and her relationship with him good or bad depending on her frame of mind at the moment she’s thinking of him. In later books we do get glimpses of his inner character and feelings from daughter Bree’s perspective. We also get some of Bree’s thoughts on Claire as well, which are not always in a positive light. Those revelations however are far down the line and do not play into what is going on right now in the show. For now we have to go with what we are being presented with and try not make too many assumptions… extremely difficult for many of us!

What is important in viewing Frank here, and his actions, is to know that he is not just a mild mannered gentle history professor as Claire glosses over and portrays him to be. Frank spent his military years as a part of the British Intellegence Agency as a leader of covert spy operations.   This is a key factor that comes out as he reacts to his wife’s disappearance and how the local police department is treating it. They have had no luck in their search. Having been given a description of some odd looking Scottish highlander roaming about the vicinity during this time, they sum up the disappearance as a runaway wife scenario?

missing posters

Frank is none too happy about this assumption and his anger shows as he insists to the Officer that his wife has not run off with some other man!

F

An angry, frustrated and very emotionally exhausted Frank returns to the Wakefield residence only to hear more highly improbable theories from the Reverend who, grasping at any straws he can dream up imagines his own scenario of what could have happened, involving tumbling downhill into the river and encounters with frogs and such? Frank is not any more amused or agreeable to this notion than he was with the idea that she ran off with a Scottish highlander!

13_wakefield_frogs_00001 14_frank_frogs

Just when he thought things couldn’t get much more bizarre, Mrs. Graham decided that she must in all good faith share her own theory on what happened to Claire? Her theory went so far as to suggest that Claire had somehow been transported through the Stones of crag na dun to some other time!  Really?  Ahhhh he does make some attempt to be polite to her crazed idea but, isn’t this going just a touch too far, he thinks?

Mrs Graham tries to tell Frank Frank is dubious as to Mrs Graham's sanity

 

Well, Mrs. Graham can tell that the man is obviously too overwrought to digest her theory properly so she tries to make amends by offering him tea?

Frank trying to be nice

Hmmmm and perhaps he should have a bite to eat as well? We have some dinner left… a bit of rarebit and some pork sides? Maybe a bite of raspberry tart as well and a nice glass of wine would sooth ye, No?

wpid-20140927_170417.jpg wpid-20140927_180136.jpg
https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/outlanderday-cooking-a-bit-of-rarebit/

 

Frank has had enough of this now… he’s not in a mood for tea, or dinner for that matter, and he in desperate need of something much stronger than tea or wine! He heads off to the local pub to drink his frustrations away in peace…

Frank needs something stronger than tea

Unfortunately he can find no peace there either and his drinking is interrupted by a mysterious young woman named Sally who had just made a grevious error in judgement!

Sally meets Frank

Sally and some friends seem to think Frank an easy mark? She suggests to Frank that she has knowledge of what happened and can take him to those who know? Well, already having heard the most unlikely of theories and not thinking quite as clearly as he should be at the time, Frank agrees and goes along with her? Yes, Frank has been set up by those looking to cash in on the reward…

Frank is set up

Their mistake was in thinking Frank some mild mannered, easy target?

 

A fight ensues and Frank does not fight quite fair?

Frank fights back

Mild mannered history professor Frank Randall keeps black jacks in his pocket!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baton_(law_enforcement)#Blackjack

lethal-blunt-self-defense-weapons-blackjack-billy-club black jack

 

Frank loses his tight control and visions of that ancestor, Black Jack Randall begin to surface as he confronts Miss Sally with a choke hold that is definitely Jack Randall worthy!

Sally is sorry she met Frank Sally gets choked

 

Later, back in the past on the other side, Claire will  encounter  Jack Randall once again. This encounter is entirely her own fault and would not have happened had she listened to Jamie sound advice for her to stay put in the woods where he leaves her to go off to his meeting with Horrocks.

 

Before that encounter with the infamous Black Jack Randall though, there is another very important encounter for both Claire and Frank?

As I mentioned, Jamie finds a safe place to leave Claire while he goes to meet Horrocks. He specifically tells her to stay put and not leave… Claire is still quite shaken by the previous events, so may not be thinking too clearly? But, what that previous event should have burned into her brain was how dangerous it was out there! She was thinking though only of herself, and was angry… more with herself than with Jamie, but she was mad at him too for leaving her. This is another spot where the show varied from the book, but played out just well the way it was presented!  what it came down to was, Jamie and Claire were both on edge and a little angered about their present circumstances.

OUT_108-20140509-ND_0185_900x506_595_slogo outlander-midseason-finale-clip Claire angry

Jamie left Claire with young Willie to stand guard… probably not the best choice? Where were Rupert, Angus or Murtagh when they were really needed! Claire easily escapes Willie’s less than observant watch and starts to wander about. She then realizes just where they are. She spies crag na dun in the distance and she is reminded of her vow to get home to Frank no matter the cost!

Claire realizes where they are craigh na dun

 

All thoughts of Jamie have left her for the moment and her only thought is to reach the stones, and get home to where she thinks she belongs.

zap-outlander-season-1-episode-8-both-sides-no-007

At the same time on the other side of time, Frank recovered from his encounter with Sally and friends… regained control of his dark side, and having no other sound theories to go on, he was compelled to follow Mrs. Graham’s thoughts on the Stones. He makes his way to the Stones and there is a moment frozen in time where it seems that he and Claire meet on each side of the Stones calling to each other and vaguely hearing the other’s callings?  It was moving, chilling and heart wrenching!

Frank at the Stones Frank yelling more

Frank yelling more Frank yelling at the Stones Claire yelling at the Stones Claire reaching out for the stones

 

And in that heart stopping moment where Claire is reaching for the Stones, she is suddenly stopped by English soldiers once more! She is captured and dragged away from the Stones to meet a fateful encounter with Jack Randall…

Claire gets captured Claire captured Claire in the wagon

 

Leaving a deeply disturbed Frank standing on that other side of time and the Stones, unsure of what he heard… was it real or was it just his imagination, his depth of loss playing tricks on his mind?

Frank at the Stones Frank leaving the Stones

 

What we were left with was a brutal meeting with Jack Randall where Claire attempted to out think him and lost the battle royally!

Jack leads her on a bit Jack plays his hand

 

Jack once again led her on, spun his web and caught her in it. He won the hand with a rope in the drawer and Claire came close to losing much more than just her dagger or her clothes.

Jack wins the hand with a rope in the drawer Claire loses the round and her dagger Jack holds all the cards and the dagger Claire in danger of losing even more

So, until April we are left with Jamie waiting in the window announcing to Jack, “I’ll thank you to take your hands off my wife” and Jack being supremely happy to see young Jamie so nicely served up to him!

leaving Jamie ing the window Jack is thrilled to see Jamie

 

 

 

 

Outlander: Both Sides preview

Okay, I’ve been putting this post off only because I am feeling so verra tired! This first season of the show has been a rollercoaster, whirlwind ride and I’m a bit exhausted from all of it. It’s been an amazing adventure so far for me, both with the books- which I just finished as the show began airing, and the show itself. I just want to thank Diana Gabaldon, Starz and Ron Moore as well as all of the writers, actors and everyone else involved in bringing this story to visual life for all of us. This adventure has inspired me in so many ways that I can not even begin to name them all. One of the biggest inspirations it is that it has broadened my horizons and brought me out of my previous little world that so tied me to the computer… I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “Wait a minute, aren’t you tied to your computer now?!”  Well, yes I am still tied to my computer in some ways but, I do think it’s in a better way than I was before! Granted, I have most likely just switched my addictions but at least this one, while still just as consuming, does give more opportunities and reasons to venture out away from my computer screen! I do still enjoy my sims world, but now it is no longer the obsession or addiction that it once was. So, that’s probably a good thing! Now I find myself looking forward to doing other things such as rediscovering my kitchen! It’s been a pleasure to reacquaint myself with it, and with the foods I’ve been exploring and experimenting with thanks to Theresa at Outlanderkitchen.com! I am also learning so much more about a number of subjects as I work on this blog and hopefully am becoming better at it. I find myself wanting to do more of the things I did when I was younger besides just the writing and the cooking, such as sewing and even candle making. I am looking forward to a few of those projects in the future! There, now my gratitude and inspiration covered, we can move on to other subjects such as this week’s episode!

One other reason I probably put this one off a bit is that I feel like I already covered it in my previous discussion and thoughts?

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/outlander-marriage-of-convenience-and-other-things/

Last week, the writers chose to focus on just the Wedding. While at first I was a little frustrated with that decision, after thinking about it, it made excellent sense to do it that way and present this next episode as the mid season finale. It is one of those pivotal turning points in the story where they can leave us with an ending as in an ending of Claire’s old life and dreams, and a beginning of her new life with Jamie.  speaking of endings and beginnings, I just want to put down my thoughts on the recent announcement from Starz that the next half of the season will not air until April?! Upon hearing that, I was panic stricken… What, 6 months to wait??? Then I quickly calmed down and realized that it will probably take them 6 months just to edit the Wentworth Prison scenes. It also gives me six months to prepare myself to watch those scenes play out, they were difficult enough to read, let alone to see them being done!  Panic done… now, I have six months to do some of those other things on my list of want to do’s… and it also means I can devote January to April to my other passion… Vikings! Well, that’s a plan then, I am quite alright with the wait… after all, I got over my needs for instant gratification quite some time ago!

 

Now on to this week’s episode!

 

If you read my previous post on the Wedding aftermath, you know that the happily wedded bliss did not last very long? Damn that real life for always getting in the way of romantic dreams! Claire does get her knife fighting lessons this week even though Murtagh insists that the most appropriate weapon for a woman is poison!

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As I mentioned, their wedded bliss is short lived and Claire will be witness to that other side of Jamie… his hotheaded temper, his stubbornness and the harsh reality and meaning of the fact that he never breaks a vow he’s made to anyone.

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They meet an old friend of Jamie’s who has a wedding gift for Claire…. A Dragonfly in Amber!

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Most her so called honeymoon is spent on the road in the company of the men… not leaving much privacy for any romantic encounters they might be desiring.

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Those are the basics of the preview… but of course we all know there is so much more involved and going on beneath the surface?  And, there is some one else to consider this week as well. I am very interested in seeing how Frank Randall’s circumstances and reactions are presented. The book did not go into what was going on with Frank during this time other than the fact that he was most obviously frantically searching for his missing wife. OUT_108-20140518-EM_0812.jpg

 

In looking at the search items that lead people to my blog, I noticed that someone got here by asking Google why Claire stays with Jamie? I think that is a valid question and deserves some deeper answer than a simple, Because she loves him? For one thing, she didn’t love him right off the start…she didn’t even love him when she married him, and isn’t sure she loves him until this episode and portion of the book.  Great sexual chemistry does not necessarily equate to a love beyond time, or even a serious long term relationship. Claire realizes that, and struggles with the issue of having betrayed the one she did love, made vows to and had remained faithful to until event. She struggles with it for much of her life, even after she admits her feelings for Jamie and commits herself to him.

Two rings two loves

 

 

 

I think what is most compelling about Claire’s situation is that Jamie understood it and accepted it better than she ever did herself? I think maybe that is a turning point for her in her feelings for Jamie, knowing that he accepts her feelings for Frank, supports her and encourages her to talk about it. It does become forever after in many  ways, a three way relationship between them. Jamie accepts it, Claire forever struggles with it and in the future Frank will struggle even more with it.

 

What I find so interesting about this week’s episode is how the writers will present Frank’s side of the story.  I have always found his character intriguing and I think there is so much more to him under that surface that he presents. I hope one day, as in the next book…Diana will expand on some of his history and enlighten us more on his unknown qualities and activities?  The bit of the clip we were given as preview causes me some frustration… I am well aware that he is most likely frantic at that point and not thinking quite rationally so might be duped into some scam? But, really the man is not just a history professor… he may appear on that glossy surface as one who could easily be taken advantage of, but those of us who have read the books know exactly what he did during his military service? Frank Randall was a part of British Intelligence and a rather high up part of it  for that matter.  As with all of Diana’s characters, he is a study in contrasts of behaviors and complex emotions. Personally, I want to know more about his story! I think he knew far more than anyone was aware of… slowly through the books and the novellas, some of his story has come out, but not nearly enough!

He shows up in the Novella, A leaf on the Wind of All Hallows. This short story is set during WWII and tells the story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents. I know that for the television viewers who have not read the books, Roger is an unknown character who will not show up for some time. I am only bringing this story up because it does pertain to Frank Randall during the War years when he was off doing things which he could not discuss with Claire… or anyone else for that matter!

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/short-fiction/a-leaf-on-the-wind/

 

Claire and frank1 claire and frank6

 

Frank Randall

 

How and why does a young, rebellious and free spirited Claire Beauchamp meet and fall in love with an even tempered, well polished, reserved historian Frank Randall? Why does he fall for her as well? Their early beginning aren’t really told in too much detail… this is a brief explanation.

Claire met Frank Randall, a historian, when he came to consult her uncle about his work. They were soon married, and spent a brief two-day honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, followed by only a few months together before the outbreak of World War II. Claire and Frank were separated for most of the war. Frank trained as an officer in MI-6, and Claire as a nurse. Both served their country in their respective roles for the duration of the war. Once the war was over, Claire and Frank, reunited, decided to go on a second honeymoon in Scotland to reestablish their marriage in 1946. They stayed at Mrs. Baird’s bed-and-breakfast in Inverness, a city in the Scottish Highlands situated near an ancient stone circle called Craigh na Dun. 

Outlander 2014 claire and frank2

 

So, what we do know is that Frank, a historian knew her uncle Lambert and met her through that acquaintance… I have found this a curious coincidence throughout the whole story and often wonder just what Uncle Lambert knew? Just how did little Claire come to be an orphan in her Uncle’s care… Yes, Yes… I know, her parents died in a horrific car accident and she conveniently ended up with Lambert? But, after reading some of the other suspicious deaths and orphaned children, it gives me pause to wonder?

 

Okay, we know how they met, had whirlwind romance and quick marriage then both went off to fight the War. So, what we have is a War time romance between two people who probably didn’t know each other quite as well as they thought they did. It happened a lot during those times. But, what is important in the overall picture is that they really didn’t spend all that much time together before, or during their marriage. Claire probably spent more time with Jamie than she actually did with Frank during those early years of her marriage to him.

 

Why would Claire have been drawn to Frank in the first place and was it really that true love that she believed it was? I think Claire as an orphan, raised by Uncle Lambert probably saw Frank as stability and a balance for her? It was one of those cases of opposites attracting for both of them. She thought she wanted that stability, a home a family and acceptance from the world around her. She truly did love Frank, but I think that eventually even had she not went through the stones, they would most likely have drifted apart and gone their separate ways once the war was over and they attempted to settle into a life together. Had they stayed together, there would have been no children to hold them together and I think they both would have parted on some acceptable good terms as friends through life. Either that, or Claire would have just eventually drank herself into oblivion…  It was a whirlwind relationship fueled by the turbulence and passions of War, of heated emotions, partings and brief reunions. Yes, they shared some common interests, but more so on Frank’s part than Claire’s. He was obsessed with history and his own family’s history, she was used to such passionate obsession with history from living with her Uncle but she did not really share that passion. So, after the heated physical passion faded, what would have remained for them?

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Claire was pulled from the relationship before either of them could settle upon the notion that theirs was not necessarily a match made in Heaven. They both shared traits of stubbornness, determination and loyalty. For those reasons alone Frank would not have given up on his search for Claire… and possibly if he had the slightest suspicion that something else might have happened to her, such as with the disappearance of a certain pilot during his war years, he would have been determined to find some clue or answer.

 

For Claire is was at first a matter of not giving up on those vows she had made to Frank, no matter what. When she was finally faced with the opportunity to get back to him though, she had to come face to face with the reality of her truest feelings. Jamie was willing to take her back to the Stones and give her up for her own safety and for her own peace of conscience and heart. She had to make the difficult choice of which vows to betray, of which man held not just her heart but her soul, the decision of who needed her more, who and what she needed more than anything else.

Outlander 2014 Outlander 2014

 

My one last thought on Claire’s dilemma at that time, and later when she did return through the Stones to Frank is, How incredibly difficult would it have been to look into Frank’s eyes everyday and not see Black Jack Randall? How to get past that inner feeling, and knowledge of the coldest, cruelest man imaginable, knowing and seeing those nightmarish images of what the man had done to someone you cared so deeply for each time you looked at someone you loved? I would think that in itself would have caused a huge divide in her emotions towards Frank without her even meaning for it to happen. Relationships have fallen apart for far lesser reasons than that one. “I’m so sorry Dearest but every time I look at you, I see the ghost of  the cruelest man I know, so no I am not really in the mood to be romantic with you?”

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Knowing what she knew,  having those images burned into her mind and her heart… could she ever really trust herself with any sharp instrument near Frank? All it would take is one flashback and she would be guilty of murder and insanity…

Outlander-Claire-Frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outlander: Marriage of Convenience and other things…

Previous Outlander post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/outlander-garrison-commander-just-give-tobias-his-emmy-now/

 

Ok, I know that everyone is all excited about the upcoming wedding… well, not everyone exactly? Claire for one, is none too excited about the prospect… and will need even more than her usual consumption of alcohol to get through it!  In my preparation for this wedding, I decided to go back and re-read the Wedding and aftermath portion of the book. Not so much to compare it in any way to what Starz and Ron Moore do with the event, but to remind myself that it wasn’t nearly so romantic, nor would it really have been considered the Wedding of the Century? Yes, it did have it’s moments but overall, it and the aftermath were pretty much a mess except for the fact that Claire realized just how fine looking Jamie was, and how long it had been since she’d had any sex! Once those realizations and another few glasses of wine hit her, she decided to do her duty, oblige Dougal’s demand that the marriage be legally binding and consummate it. She then discovered that being a Virgin was not necessarily a bad thing for men?!  Of course, it did help that Jamie was such a quick and energetic learner! There was a slight bit of minor misunderstanding on his part of just how the act should be carried out but Claire quickly cleared that up. Jamie was still interested in experimenting however, and there a lengthy debate on the various farm and wild animal versions of the act, of which Jamie was highly knowledgeable on.  During this discussion, Jamie made much comment on the fact that Claire was now his wife and must obey and oblige him… she really should have listened much more closely during that discussion, it might have saved her some pain later on?  As per her usual behavior though, she was not taking the conversation or the concept quite seriously enough? She was far more interested in the current events taking place at that time… I can’t really say that I could blame her too much on that one! It did turn out that there was one animal  whose procreation habits  Jamie was not quite familiar with? How does a Hedgehog make love? Verra Carefully!  Alright, they did have a few days in which to enjoy their newly wedded status before things started to downhill rather quickly.  Those few days at the Inn were of course supervised the men of the Clan who took their role as witnesses quite seriously.  After all it was their duty to ensure that the couple fulfilled their obligation to be wedded and bedded, and the fact that they were drinking on Dougal’s time and money did not hurt either!

 

 

Now, while it was a lovely Wedding, though quite small… and rather uncomfortable for Claire, seeing as she was suffering from over indulging the night before as well as discovering that it was the same church she had married Frank in!

 

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Outlander 2014

Outlander 2014

Outlander 2014

Jamie did try to make it as nice as possible for her by insisting they be married in a Kirk,  and that she have a decent dress to wear for the occasion. Those were a few of his demands to Dougal in going along with the Wedding, which we found out later was more than just save Claire from Black Jack Randall. Dougal always has ulterior motives and this was no exception. He was hedging his bets, covering all his bases on the matter of Jamie’s inheritance of his property, LallyBroch. Ahhh but that’s another long mess for later! Let’s just say here that Dougal did not do this all out of the kindness of his heart for Claire or Jamie!

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While Murtaugh isn’t really all that fond of Claire and doesn’t trust her, he trusts Dougal even less!

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As I mentioned, the Wedding was small but memorable, with Claire and Jamie coming to the realization and understanding that they were in this together and at least they have each other? After all, it could have been worse, she could have been stuck with Rupert?!

Much of the Wedding ceremony was familiar to Claire as it has not changed that much over the centuries. The part that she was not expecting was the ancient Gaelic/Pagan ritual of the Blood vow which included the slicing of their wrists and binding them together while reciting the vows.

Ladies of Lallybroch Jamie and Claire’s Blood Vow

http://www.lallybroch.com/LOL/blood-vow.html

 

“You are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone. I give you my body, that we two might be one. I give you my spirit, till our life shall be done.”

 

After the wedding and those few days of bliss, things deteriorated quickly. A few things had slipped Jamie’s mind in the chaos of dealing with Jack Randall and the excitement of this new sexual freedom? One of those being that while he had given Claire a knife to protect herself, he never bothered to show her how to use it! Even Ned Gowan was shocked at that. She was quickly taught how to use a knife by Rupert of all people, who turned out to be an excellent teacher!  There was much debate on which sort of knife she should be equipped with for her safety and protection?

 

For obvious reasons, the Claymore was not an option

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Nor was the Broadsword!

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This left the Dirk and it’s smaller counterpart, the sgain-dubh

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Following the knife lessons, there was what Claire perceived as a rather female demeaning attitude towards the use of a gun and why a woman would not be using one in the first place? Jamie had to explain to her that even for him the kick back was furious and, “While I like your smile fine, I like it much better with teeth!” She let that argument die and did not pursue the gun training!

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Ummmm it’s a good thing that Rupert was an excellent teacher… Left on their own for a bit of time, both Jamie and Claire got carried away with that newlywed pass time and were set upon by wandering English Soldiers while involved in that pass time. A nasty fight ensued and Claire was forced to use her newly honed knife skills on the Soldier who was raping her while the other held Jamie at gunpoint.  As I said, the honeymoon quickly went downhill!  As if that was not enough, Claire decided to pick this time to head back to the Stones. So much for her passionate love with Jamie? Ohhh, she did have some guilt and remorse about the decision, I will credit her for that. Her rationale however, was that she would disappear into the woods where he told her to stay put and he would assume she was eaten by bears or some such thing?

 

Well, no such luck on that front! No, it was not lions, tigers or bears that found her, just the English Army once again! Another terrifying encounter with Black Jack Randall ensued and Jamie had to rescue her again. By this point his patience with her behavior has hit it’s breaking point and he has to take some rather drastic measures to ensure that she understands the seriousness of the situation that they are in and the danger she puts everyone else in with her actions. It’s a matter of justice, he points out later as he explains that if any man in their group had put them all in such peril with such carelessness, they would have lost an ear or at least some fingers. Jamie deems that a lesson she will not forget is necessary and reminds her of his earlier warning of if she left the hiding place where he left her, he would beat her bare ass with a strap. He advises her that he was serious and he is not one to go back on his vows.  Claire learns the realities of the 18th century world and endures a painful and humiliating lashing with the strap from Jamie.  He does spend much time later explaining his reasons and comforting her.

 

I bring this event up because I truly hope that it is played out in the coming episodes. I think that while it was quite graphic and what we would consider abusive in this day and age, it was an important event in the book and in their life together. It was a much more powerful and meaningful experience than the sex was.  It clearly opened Claire’s eyes and her mind to how her actions affected everyone around her and it brought home the fact that this relationship of theirs goes  beyond just a physical, sexual attraction and is far more complex than that.  She understand just how deep Jamie’s feelings, his emotions and his loyalties are engrained within him.

Outlander 2014

So with all of that in mind, Yes I am looking forward to the Wedding… but more so I am looking forward to the aftermath of it!

 

 

 

 

 

Outlanderday Cooking: Comfort food!

Previous Outlander post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/outlander-musings-and-preview-of-episode-6/

 

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Tonight’s episode, The Garrison Commander, brings us the evil that lurks within men’s souls and the darkness of Black Jack Randall’s heart and mind. In order to get through this episode, you will most likely need much strong spirits and some soothing comfort food to ease your own heart and soul!

 

The British feast on fine dining fare while others would have no appetite while wondering what their personal fates might be?

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Because I am anxiously awaiting this episode with much trepidation and some fear, I am going with some food that I am sure will comfort me.  I have not planned some awesome or elegant feast for this evening but rather have decided on a simple dish of comfort food that gives me a fond memory of home and childhood. I grew up in Minnesota, which some consider the original home of the Hotdish and potluck… Green bean casserole and Tater Tot Hot dish!  Well, fortunately for us, the Scots and the Sassenachs did have a form of this comfort food.  Sheperd’s Pie or Cottage Pie was it.  Of course, during early years, while the Sassenachs may have had potatoes, many of the Highlanders might not have had them. They might have used the usual replacement fare of mashed turnips instead, or put a pastry crust atop of it?  For our purposes, we do have access to potatoes so we will use them!  The difference between Sheperd’s Pie and Cottage Pie is the meat used for the dish. Sheperd’s pie uses minced lamb while Cottage Pie uses beef for the filling. 

 

 

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I am trying to keep note of what they may or may not have had available during this early time period when researching recipes. I have found a number of recipes for the Sheperd’s or Cottage Pie and need to note here that these recipes all use a few items that probably would not have been used during the 1740’s. They most likely would have had some form of this dish but one ingredient listed in the recipes would not have been used by the majority of common folk.

History of the tomato in Britain

Tomatoes were not grown in England until the 1590s.  One of the earliest cultivators was John Gerard, a barber-surgeon.   Gerard’s Herbal, published in 1597, and largely plagiarized from continental sources,  is also one of the earliest discussions of the tomato in England. Gerard knew the tomato was eaten in Spain and Italy.  Nonetheless, he believed it was poisonous (in fact, the plant and raw fruit do have low levels of tomatine, but are not generally dangerous). Gerard’s views were influential, and the tomato was considered unfit for eating (though not necessarily poisonous) for many years in Britain and its North American colonies.   By the mid-18th century, tomatoes were widely eaten in Britain, and before the end of that century, the Encyclopædia Britannica stated the tomato was “in daily use” in soups, broths, and as a garnish. They were not part of the average person’s diet, however, and though by 1820 they were described as “to be seen in great abundance in all our vegetable markets” and to be “used by all our best cooks”, reference was made to their cultivation in gardens still “for the singularity of their appearance”, while their use in cooking was associated with Italian or Jewish cuisine.

 

With that little fact of the tomato noted, I will still use the bit of tomato paste called for in the recipes. If you wanted to omit the tomato, you could leave it out and go with more of a meat gravy option instead?  I am providing you with two versions of the recipe that I’ve found. The first, of course, is the one from Outlanderkitchen.com! Sheperd’s Pie from Echo in the Bone: http://outlanderkitchen.com/2012/04/16/shepherds-pie-from-an-echo-in-the-bone/. 

 

The other recipe is from Traditional  Scottish Recipes: http://www.rampantscotland.com/recipes/blrecipe_shepherd.htm

Shepherd’s Pie

In a land where sheep were a main food supply, it is not surprising that mutton and lamb form the basis of many Scottish dishes. Here is the traditional “Shepherd’s Pie” – the variant based on beef is usually called “Cottage Pie”.


Ingredients:
Minced lamb – 450g (1 lb)
Potatoes – 700g (1½ lb)
Large onion
Mushrooms – 50g (2 oz)
Bay leaf
2 Carrots
Plain flour – 25g (1 oz)
Tomato puree – 1 tbsp
Butter – 25g (1 oz)
Milk – 4 tbsp
Lamb or beef stock – 300ml (½ pint)
Cheese – 50g (2 oz)

Method:
Dry fry the lamb with the chopped onion, bay leaf, sliced mushrooms and diced carrots for 8-10 minutes. Add the flour and stir for a minute. Slowly blend in the stock and tomato puree. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and boils. Cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Remove the bayleaf and place in a 1.7 litre (3 pint) ovenproof serving dish.

At the same time, cook the potatoes in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender. Drain well, mash with the butter and milk and mix well. Spread on top of the mince mixture and sprinkle over with the grated cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200C/400F (Gas Mark 6). Serve hot with green vegetables.

 

I am going to use the ground beef as lamb is far too expensive for my limited budget!  As I already mentioned, I will use the tomato paste, and I am going to use the parmesan cheese  potato topping that Theresa suggests, courtesy of Chef Gordon Ramsay… I will just cross my fingers and be glad that he won’t be inspecting my version and evicting me from his kitchen! No, they would not have used parmesan cheese either, but it sounds delicious and I do love Parmesan cheese so we will splurge on this luxury! One slight change to the recipe is that I will add some peas to the filling because that is the way we are used to having our Cottage Pie! Hmmmm is Gordon already cringing at my hotdish?!  Acchhh Gordon, just be happy that I’ve not chosen to top it with Tater Tots!

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Ahhhh Now, our main meal is set, an all in one easy to accomplish hearty dish that will make us feel warm and full of love in contrast to the cold hatred of Black Jack Randall! One other thing that is a true comfort food for many is the traditional Apple pie. Theresa at Outlanderkitchen.com has an excellent recipe for it here, Governor Tryon’s Humble Crumble Pie:  http://outlanderkitchen.com/2012/08/29/governor-tryons-humble-crumble-apple-pie/

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I am in agreement with Theresa on preferring  crumble topping rather than the two crust pie. I am going to make a slight variation on her recipe though as I am not really fond of the nuts in the topping. So, I will leave those out and replace them with some toasted oatmeal sprinkles instead.  I am going to top it with some fresh whipped cream instead of Ice Cream.

 

Since our dinner for tonight is fairly simple and does not require a great deal of advance preparation, I had time this morning to make a trip to my favorite place to shop.  Normally, grocery stores and grocery shopping are pretty low on my list of enjoyable activities… but one exception is a visit to my favorite market, Berkeley Bowl! 

http://www.berkeleybowl.com/

Berkeley Bowl Market Berkeley Bowl

 

This is one market place that I truly find enjoyable, even if I have little cash or don’t really need much!  I love just wandering through there and seeing the glorious wide variety of food stuffs that they offer, at fairly reasonable prices too. It’s one of those places that you can find just about anything you might need from any culture or region of the world… the only down side is of course, you always seem to find something that you realize you must have or try once seeing it there! It has a homey, comfortable feel to it and the staff is always helpful and friendly.  The majority of their fresh produce, meats and dairy products are all local so it makes you feel good about your purchases too.  They offer everything from fresh organic produce, an on site Butcher- though the ground lamb was still a bit too expensive for me to consider it this time, a great dairy section where I can find such things as the fresh cream… or even simpler, a jar of Clotted Cream. For those who are not quite so adventurous in their cooking skills or their time limits, they have a fantastic Deli with wide selections of pre-packaged meals and foods. What I love the most about them is the fact that their selections of food items are wide enough to enable one to do all of their shopping there even on a limited budget. This is in contrast to say, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s where it ends up extremely expensive for a family on any sort tight budget do all of their shopping at that store.

 

I always find a few extra splurges to try on my trips there and today was no exception to that! Today’s splurges were:

Organic butter with sea salt in a nice ceramic crock for future uses! McClelland’s Dairy is a local dairy here.

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Some fresh made scones from a local Bakery, SconeHenge. Yes, I could have baked my own… but sometimes it’s just a treat to get the pre-made ones and these are soooo good! Along with these, I also picked up an Artisan flat load of herb bread which tastes wonderful with the fresh butter and a little spread of herbed goat cheese which I also picked up today!

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The scones taste delightful with these two additions!  The clotted cream is a British import but the fruit spread is from a local grower!

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The last splurge for the day was my daughter’s idea.  She and my son enjoyed the Cider I bought a while ago so much that she decided to try another one!

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Now, it’s time to go enjoy the afternoon and get ready for the evening’s viewing. We’re all prepared now for what ever depravity and darkness Black Jack Randall throws at us tonight. We will survive and console ourselves with the comfort food!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the kitchen today and the shopping excursion!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outlander musings and preview of episode 6.

Before I get into any preview of this week’s coming episode, I just want to put down some thoughts on the Outlander Experience as it relates to me?  I am a late comer to the Outlander Experience, having just discovered it this summer.  My initial thoughts after reading the first book a few months ago were, “How did I miss this when it first came out all of those years ago!” My daughter asked me the same question and I had to sit down for a bit and think about how or why I might have missed out on the book at that time.

In order to answer that, I had to travel my thoughts back to what might have kept me from enjoying the first book and the future ones as they made their way into the bookstores and libraries. So, what was I so busy with back then that prevented me from noticing this book, which by all rights should have immediately caught my attention by way of the fact that it hit all of my target book reading genres? Well, first of all let’s look at what I was doing in 1991 when the first book was released.  I was a single Mom of two small children , one of whom had some serious learning difficulties at the time, I was going to school full time, working part time so let’s conclude that I was extremely busy juggling balls in the air and didn’t have much free time to browse, shop for, or read big fat books unless of course they were text books! I also had little spare cash to spend on those big fat books at the time.  I did make a few occasional exceptions in cases where I already knew an author and their previous works… such as the case of  Jane m Auel and her Clan of the Cave Bear series. Those books were my one exception to the ‘No Big Fat Books that we have no time for ‘ rule.  In all honesty, when I think back to that particular time, most of my reading as pleasure time was spent reading what ever my children were interested in. In fact, I believe that might have been the summer that I spent re-reading the entire Little House on the Prairie series along with my daughter.  Fortunately for me, my daughter was and is a voracious reader and was reading at much higher reading levels than most 10 year olds. She also had an all consuming passion for anything historical from her earliest years. We quickly moved on from the Little House books to much weightier novels and biographies.  My son was never much of a reader when he was young but did enjoy being read to and he also enjoyed the history with some fantasy thrown in. We devoured the Indian in the Cupboard- still a favorite of mine, I have to admit! We also progressed to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and spent a lot time with Beatrix Potter as well. It was during that year too, that we wandered into poetry and prose with Robert Lois Stevenson and then headed into the darkness with the Brothers Grimms Fairy tales.  So, while yes… I was reading and enjoying it, Diana Gabaldon and Outlander were most likely not anywhere close on my book radar screen at that time!

One other reason that I might overlooked the book, as if the first ones were not enough?  On the few occasions that I did indulge in the luxury of browsing for and buying a book just for me, one that I could escape into some adult fantasy realm for a few hours… one that I would have to hide away because I knew that my daughter’s hands and eyes would quickly find it? On those few rare occasions, I would head for the historical romance section and search for some steamy adult reading content- yes, you know, the ones with a ravished woman and a conquering hero on the cover.  Well, hmmm did Outlander have such a cover to entice me? No, it did not… If you were a busy stressed out Mom on a hectic schedule with just a very limited amount of time to sneak into the Romance section and find yourself some romantic escape rather quickly, would this book have called out to you? I think not!  I deeply regret that now of course, but Hey, I had a lot going on back then and didn’t have a lot of extra time to search in depth!

Outlander-blue-cover

For an interesting perspective on the length of time passed and what was involved in the initial writing of the first book, you can read Diana Gabaldon’s perspective here: http://www.dianagabaldon.com/2014/03/26-years-ago-today/

 

Now that I look back on it, I am glad that I didn’t get around to reading them as they came out, having to wait all of those years in between for each book to finally arrive.  By discovering them all at once I was able to take the journey all at once… well, ok it did take a bit of time to get through them all so, no it was not really all at once but, you know what I mean!  What this wonderful discovery did was give me a feeling of having spent my summer on a whirlwind trip to the Highlands and various other spots of interest. In a sense I felt like I had enjoyed a true vacation without leaving home. So, if people should happen to ask how I spent my summer, I could happily announce, “Why, I spent it trekking through Scotland, the highlands. I met the most amazing people there and then I took this incredible trip to the Standing Stones of Craigh na Dhun,  traveled through time to Early America and back again several times… So, how did you spend your summer?”

 

Craigh na Dhun Stone Circle: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=1146411369

callanishiv1a

 

One last thought to share on the Outlander experience and the length of  time involved from the beginnings of it. It began in 1991 and the story is still unfolding. Most of us would certainly hope that we are around to see how it all continues. I work in a residential facility for the elderly. One of my residents, a lovely woman who is now not in the best of health, is a Outlander fan and has waited patiently over the years for each installment of the story.  She made a comment to me one night that put the waiting and the story that Diana is telling into perspective and made me think about it. She just recently finished the latest book, and when I asked her what she thought of this one, she sighed and said this, “It was wonderful but I am a little disappointed that I probably won’t be around to see how it all turns out for them.”  Knowing the woman’s health issues and knowing full well how long it takes for another book to come out, I had a hard time coming up with some uplifting comment back to her. I did mention that perhaps this could be come incentive for her to keep on ticking for a good bit longer? She just nodded and said, “Honey, I’m not sure that I can hold out quite that long!”

 

Now that we’ve covered some of the general musings on the history, timeline and the overall experience, you need to be prepared for the next episode of  Outlander, The Garrison Commander. When I say you need to be prepared, I am quite serious!  I believe that this episode is where we begin the true journey. The journey is not just a trip into the past and a love story between Jamie and Claire. It is far more than that, in that it takes us on an often dark journey into the minds and souls of those we assume are villains and evil doers. What Diana Gabaldon has done so well in the books is give us a full picture of those minds and how they come to think and act the way they do. She provides us so well with a highly detailed portrait of  tortured souls that act out in horrendous ways but very often have some underlying layer of  feeling or compassion. Before you start hating on black Jack Randall, please remember this… it will unfold in later times and you will better understand the man’s very warped mind!  Yes, the man is clearly extremely dangerous and depraved, it’s quite obvious that he has a very dark and vicious side to his soul but at some later point in time, he shows a different side of himself that one would not think possible.

 

I did read a mention that a portion of this next episode is not taken from the book so I am anxiously waiting to see what they come up with. I am assuming that they did this in order to move the story along in some ways and better suite it to audience viewing.  I am really looking forward to this episode for the fact that it does take us deeper into the complexities of the story. As I have mentioned, it is not just a love story by any standard. It is very complex and involved with the politics, the mysteries and the intrigues of the time period.  Diana spent a great deal of time detailing the politics and the intrigues of the period and I am not sure how they will manage to present all of it.  If you  have spent far too much time dreaming and drooling over Jamie during previous episodes and missed some of the dialogue, I would highly suggest that you start paying close attention to the ongoing dialogue because I think that it is coming to the point where you need to pay very close attention to all of what’s going on. The issue of the Standing Stones and getting back to them begins to take a lesser role as Claire becomes much more involved in the coming war and the MacKenzie’s part in it.  It is here, too, I think that her decisions, whether good or bad… and she certainly does make her share of bad ones, just as Jamie and everyone else does along the way… her decisions begin to seriously affect others and she starts to realize that it isn’t just about her, or her desire to get back to the stones any longer. This is definitely where the true story starts, in my opinion anyway!

 

 

 

OUT_106-20140414-ND_0524.jpg Outlander 2014 OUT_106-20140414-ND_0187.jpg

 

If you have not read the books, are not all that much of a deep history buff, I am thinking that some of the upcoming events may cause you a bit of confusion… I will be the first to admit that much of my time reading the books was spent googling various events mentioned throughout the books!

I will help you out with that and provide a few quick links here if you are interested in some very basic history on the events!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobite_risings

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobite_rising_of_1715

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobite_rising_of_1745

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Culloden

 

Some other history of note which did show up in last week’s episode involved the “Black Watch” here is a brief history of them during the time period from the early Jacobit risings in 1715 through the 1740’s.

 

History

Early history

After the Jacobite rising of 1715 the British government did not have the resources or manpower to keep a standing army in the Scottish Highlands. As a result, they were forced to keep order by recruiting men from local Highland clans that had been loyal to the Whigs. This proved to be unsuccessful in deterring crime, especially cattle rustling. Therefore Independent Highland Companies (of what would be known as the “Black Watch”) were raised as a militia in 1725 by General George Wade to keep “watch” for crime. He was commissioned to build a network of roads to help in the task.  The six Independent Highland Companies were recruited from local clans, with one company coming from Clan Munro, one from Clan Fraser, one from Clan Grant and three from Clan Cambell. These companies were commonly known as Am Freiceada Dubh, or the Black Watch, this name may well have been due to the way they dressed.[4] Four more companies were added in 1739 to make a total of ten Independent Highland Companies.

The ten Independent Highland Companies of “Black Watch” were officially formed into the “43rd Highland Regiment of Foot”, a regiment of the line in 1739.   It was first mustered in 1740, at Aberfeldy, Scotland. The Colonel was John Lindsay, 20th Earl of Crawford and the Lieutenant-Colonel was Sir Robert Munro, 6th Baronet. Among the Captains were his next brother, George Munro, 1st of   Culcairn (also a Captain of an Independent Company raised in 1745)  The other Captains of the 43rd were George Grant, Colin Campbell of Monzie, James Colquhoun of Luss, John Campbell of Carrick, Collin Campbell of Balliemore and Dougal Campbell of Craignish.

First action and Mutiny

The regiment’s earliest days were inauspicious: ordered to London in 1743 for an inspection by King George II, rumours flew that they were to be shipped to the West Indies to fight in the War of Austrian Succession, and many left for Scotland. They were recaptured, three of the leaders shot in the Tower of London, and the remainder of the regiment shipped to Flanders.

The regiment’s first full combat was the disastrous Battle of Fontenoy in Flanders in 1745, where they surprised the French with their ferocity, and greatly impressed their commander, the Duke of Cumberland. Allowed “their own way of fighting”, each time they received the French fire Col. Sir Robert Munro ordered his men to “clap to the ground” while he himself, because of his corpulence, stood alone with the colours behind him. For the first time in a European battle they introduced an infantry tactic (alternately firing and taking cover) that was not superseded. Springing up and closing with the enemy, they several times drove them back, and finished with a successful rear-guard action against French cavalry. Robert Munro’s cousin John Munro, 4th of Newmore also fought bravely and was afterwards promoted to be a lieutenant-colonel.

When the Jacobite rising of 1745 broke out, the regiment returned to the south of Britain in anticipation of a possible French invasion. However one company of the regiment fought for the British-Hanoverian Government under Dugald Campbell of Auchrossan at the Battle of Culloden, where they suffered no casualties.   From 1747 to 1756 they were stationed in Ireland and then were sent to New York.

 

 

 

Outlander 2014 OUT_105-20140404-EM_0744.jpg

Ahhhh now, for one last thought…. well, alright- a couple of last thoughts for the day! Some have debated on the discussion of how while Jamie Fraser is indeed a fine young Scotsman, and wears his kilt so well, he is a wee bit young for many of us? Yes, we could always give our praises and other favors to Dougal MacKenzie instead but that is such an iffy compromise being that Geilles will be our competition… In this line of thinking, I must remind you all that before Jamie, there were other drool worthy, kilt wearing representations for us to dream about and drool over? And, at the same time, giving us a bit of a history lesson just to assure ourselves and others that we were watching for the historical content?

 

I am not endorsing this first representative but I do realize that many found him drool worthy at the time and it was a Scots story so I feel that I must include it in your history lesson?  He did wear his kilt such as it was rather well and he told a good story.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braveheart

braveheart Braveheart_portrait_w858 braveheart-mel

 

Now, my own personal favorite, which I give glowing endorsement to along with any other favors he would accept?  If you have never seen this movie, you should! Besides the history lesson, you can enjoy seeing Liam Neeson and others wear their kilts extremely well… and not wear them at all?! One note… I could not find it on Netflix but had to go to Amazon and rent it… it was well worth the money!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Roy_(1995_film)

 

Ahhhh Just had to add this! Celtic Archives posted this debate a while ago: http://wildeyedsoutherncelt.com/tag/celts/    Rob Roy versus Jamie Fraser, who wears the kilt best?

Liam as Rob Roy Rob roy2 rob_roy rob_roy_13 robroy_large rob-roy-09-g

rob-roy rob roy 2

 

Now, for one last bit of eye worthy history watching… This one has nothing to do with the Scots wearing their kilts well, but my daughter made this observation recently and I do have to agree with her. In later books, mainly the last one, My Own Heart’s Blood, one of the characters comes into his own.  He’s been one of my favorites since he was introduced and I was happy to see more time devoted to his story! Jamie’s nephew, Ian travels to America with Jamie and Claire and his life is shaped by the time he spends living with the Indians. My daughter was watching the Last of the Mohicans one night and commented on she always had that image of Ian, especially with Diana Gabaldon’s references to the book and some of the characters in that book.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_of_the_Mohicans

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_of_the_Mohicans_(1992_film)

the-last-of-the-mohicans-original Daniel Day Lewis first American hero

 

And, that concludes our musings, our history lessons and our drooling for the day! Now, go off and prepare yourselves for tomorrow’s episode!