Tag Archives: Helen Grant

Advent Roger

I have a crazy friend. Crazy is generally the best. But even so, I didn’t expect this.

This year for Advent, my friend is giving away gifts to her Facebook friends. You know, if money was no object, kind of thing. So after a safe start of a holiday in Florida and a £2,000,000 house in Devon, this morning it was my turn.

I had had my doubts. I am a notoriously difficult person, and I was mainly settling down to see what inappropriate gift ‘her money’ would provide. I take it all back! This is what I woke up to:

‘If I had money, I would offer so much of it to Roger Whittaker that he would agree to come and sing one last time, especially for you. As one of his signature songs is The Last Farewell, I would hire a tall ship and crew from Topsail to bring Roger over from the nearest port in France, where he now lives, to Leith. You and Roger would have a fine meal on board in the harbour, and Roger would sing The Last Farewell to you, before sailing away into the sunset.’

Roger Whittaker and CultureWitch

What a lucky witch I am, to have a friend like that!

She’s right. It is what I’d want. Well, maybe I’d whisper into Roger’s ear that he could pick a different song, if he felt up to it, but my goodness, what a spectacular gift!

(And for anyone who wants to help my friend get rich, do buy her books. I thoroughly recommend her Belgian trilogy for a good scare. It’s so scary I have recently learned that her husband couldn’t quite finish the last one… Here is a list of all Helen Grant’s books. They are very good. And very scary.)



My Swedish relatives felt sorry for me when I said that Christmases spent in Stirling in Scotland with the ‘foreign’ relatives involved dinner on Christmas Eve not only ‘out’ but in an Italian restaurant. It’s just not the done thing. (However, I have heard that the King of Sweden grew up eating spaghetti bolognese for Christmas, so I’m in good company.)


So, we used to troop down to this Scottish-Italian restaurant for a long table of food and talk and jukebox and ice cream. Corrieri’s turned into the sort of place we always went to when visiting, seeing as how Aunt Scarborough and Uncle Maths lived two stone-throws away. Handy. And there is a great park with a children’s playground almost next to it. (With reference to the last blog post, we just never needed to park Offspring in the car with their crisps.)

That playground; well Daughter went all nostalgic yesterday, when we hopped off our bus and found ourselves right outside. She just had to go and stare and travel back in time.

We were there because I had very wisely asked author Helen Grant if she wanted to meet up there. Helen has just moved to Scotland, so it was a good opportunity, and when I worried about where to suggest, Corrieri’s popped into my mind as the best and most likely place to suit the needs of the little Grants as well as ourselves.


And it did. It was very busy, but still not too busy for seven of us to get a table. We had a selection of pizzas (Mr G’s looked especially nice…) and pasta and gnocchi and coke and, this being Scotland, Irn-Bru. After that we didn’t need anything else but when in an Italian ice cream making establishment you simply must have ice cream, so we did. I was very glad to see coffee ice cream available, and the Resident IT Consultant had summer pudding ice cream.

We left happy and full. We tend not to have Christmases in Stirling these days, so really must make sure we get over to Corrieri’s once in a while anyway.


(Photos borrowed from Corrieri’s website.)