Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Memories and Baking Bread

I was 16 or 17 when I left home. I moved into a rambling old house in the West End of Glasgow, an affluent, gorgeous area with some of the larger houses still intact...many had been sold for turning into apartments by then.

A girl I barely knew from a local pub happened upon me looking at ads in a shop window for accommodation; she was about to put an ad in the window for a flatmate that very moment and therein lies serendipity; my fate, which I live today was spun into motion by that chance meeting outside a wee corner shop in Byres Road. But that's another tale.

I went to see the place that very night; a beautiful old building just a stone's throw from the Botanic Gardens. We ventured towards the basement, where the flat was, which had it's own entrance. The rest of the house was still owned by a very old lady who was in need of a little extra cash. Her family had owned the house and she'd travelled but had never lived anywhere else.

The windows on the outside had bars....to stop the servants escaping?...and the inside gave me chills. The house was furnished with old but beautiful pieces of wood from a time gone by: an old gramophone, chest of drawers, tabletops and writing desks to name but a few. My room was at the end of a long, dark corridor, sparse but cheap at £30 per month. I wasn't overly delighted but at that price, I took it. My flatmate told me to avoid the bathroom too early in the mornings...she didn't say why and told me not to be worried by any...um...noises I might hear.

A period of time passed and I settled in; I was reasonably happy as it was near the bus stop, Byres Road, the park. I found myself in by myself a lot as flatmate worked at nights in the bar and our paths rarely crossed. One night, sitting in the vast but dingy living room, I heard her come home. I was surprised as it was quite early and heard her walk into the kitchen, run some water, fill a glass, drink it and sigh in what sounded like relief. I got up to go greet her to find the kitchen empty. There was no sound except for the drip drip drip of the tap. A cold shiver came over me and I sat back down in the living room, scared and more than a bit spooked.

Other things had happened before; music, the sound of laughter, the discovery that right next to my bedroom was a door which had been plastered over. I went outside to look and found another window beside mine. It was full of furniture, a piano but that was all I could see because of the dust on the window and the bars blocking my view. I realised that the only way in was through the plastered over door right next to my bed. I can't begin to tell you how that made me feel.

I discovered another door which led to a pitch black room; a torch showed me that the room hadn't been touched for many, many years and that the floor dropped just in front of me to about two feet. I didn't like that room and after that first peek, I never went back.

That night, the night of the water being turned on, I went to bed, all of 16, on my own in a big scary house...this dawned on me for the first time. I eventually fell into a light sleep only to be woken by a terrifying noise within my room. I sat up, unable to open my eyes with the fear of it and jumped up, fumbling for the door handle. This was hard to find with my eyes closed shut. I ran into the living room, crying my eyes out, shouting to my stunned flatmate and boyfriend who were sitting watching tv that there was someone in my room.

We cautiously walked up the long, dark hallway and boyfriend tried the door handle to find it firmly closed. He heaved at it with his shoulder and managed to get the door open to find utter chaos; every poster was on the floor, my bedclothes everywhere and a painting which had been nailed to the wall ever since my flatmate had lived there was lying against the wall, back to front with a note written in French. The boyfriend, who was very practical and unable to believe any such thing as ghosts put it down to coincidence or me sleepwalking...but he was obviously spooked.

We went back to the living room and flatmate told me something that freaked me out even more than I already was....she believed that there were things...she was loath to give them a name...that lived in the house, things, she said that had been there long before we had...we were the interlopers. She said they'd never bothered her and that my fear was causing this reaction. She told me that if I calmed down, I'd be left alone. Her boyfriend was mad at her for saying this and tried to reassure me but I'd already decided that I would have to leave.
__________________________________________________________________

I've been baking a lot of bread recently and I'm really enjoying it; I enjoy the kneading, the shaggy mess coming together to form a smooth, soft doughball and then rising only to be punched out again and then, eventually, baked in the oven. The smell is incredible; the kids get excited, Brian smiles and we all prepare the butter, the cheese or sometimes, even the nutella and jam.

It's difficult leaving it to cool...too many times we've ripped into it too early because we all like to see the butter melt over the white, fluffy inside and to eat it whilst still warm. It's supposed to be difficult getting a good crust in a normal oven but we always seem to manage it quite well and I eat any of the kids leftover crusts by dipping them first in olive oil and balsamic vinegar or spreading them with jam. A bag of freshly baked crusts can make me very happy indeed.

There are so many recipes for bread and I'll share different ones from time to time but the secret is in the kneading and the waiting for it to rise then kneading once again. If making plain bread, I always dust it with flour but I do like flavoured breads...poppy seeds, nuts, garlic and parsley.....it's a meal all on it's own, it's all about sharing and everyone revels in the performance.

Bread costs approx. 50 pence per 500g loaf to make when purchasing a 3kg bag of flour and yeast sachets.
£1.88 for 3kg bread flour.
£0.29 for easy bake yeast.
A little oil or butter.

We had some yesterday with cheddar and goats cheese, olives, apple and butter. Mmmmmm.

105 comments:

Erin Bassett said...

YUM! That photo is to die for...I want it all. :D

Stopping by from SITS.
http://erinbassett.typepad.com

Housewife Savant said...

THAT, and then BREAD???!!!
Don't get me wrong; I love bread. Bread is yummy, and homemade bread is sheer delight, but THAT STORY... Holy cow.
Well-written and scary.

Drama queens mum (Kimberly) said...

Stopping by from SITS. Very cool blog.

Unknown Mami said...

You gave me chills with that story!

tommy said...

You are officially on TIME OUT for this blog...I'm all on the edge of my seat reading and frantically awaiting the outcome and then BAM...bread? LOL

Have a fabulous day.

Helen McGinn said...

*L* I know, I realised following this with bread wasa bit ridiculous, but I wanted to show you my loaf!

The Blonde Duck said...

Popped in from SITS to say hi! Bread and spooky tales? How neat!

Becky @ Our Sweet Peas said...

Ummm YIKES! That was terrifying. You've got to love a good ghost story every now and then. I can't believe you lived this one though. Scary!

Lovely bread, though ;)

JennyMac said...

that picture is phenomenal! Cook book worthy Helen.

Stepfanie said...

Hi! Visiting from SITS! You have a very lovely blog!

I'm having 2 giveaways on my blog, enter them here at www.stepfaniestimeout.com

Ginger said...

Please send me the address of the flat so that if I move to Glasgow I won't accidentally meet any ghosts.. (sigh)

The trouble is ghosts are everywhere there, at least there are tons of folks making money off of tourists who hope to see some. ;)

But then there's the other thing that keeps us coming to Scotland.. The thing that makes ghosts seem like minor irritants - like mosquitos. I'm talking, of course, about the gorgeous bread. Mmmmmmm.
:D
Beautiful job with the writing and the baking.

Pam said...

Wonderfully written story! (Nice bread too!) Stopped by from SITS today. BTW, I love your blog design. Very fun!

Steph Jordan said...

What a great blog. Good Energy. Great suspenseful story too. :-) I'll be back

Steph (via SITS)
www.diviacity.com

Mikki Black said...

Wowee. I'm glad you had the bread thrown in there to settle us down. :) My grandma made the best milk bread. I love fresh bread.

Do people believe you when you tell them that story? I hate to have a good, true story and then not be believed. It's so frustrating.

Mikki Black said...

Oh, and happy SITS share day. (I forgot to say it!)

AngieB said...

visiting from SITS - fabulous post! A wonderfully chilling ghost story, and them some nice comforting bread - perfect balance! I, too, love nothing more than some leftover crusts of bread and a little something to dip them in.

Charlene said...

Stopping by from SITS....thanks alot for sharing that scary story, now I can't fall asleep cause I'm too afraid too. LOL!

Karls said...

I need to know more! We have a visitor in our spare room - that guests have felt at times, but I've never had a run in with. Freaked me out to discover, during one of my Mother-in-laws visits, that outside that very window was where one of her Aunties keeled over. Now, at night, during a late night piss, I run past that door for fear of seeing something I don't want to.

Mary said...

I love ghost stories almost as much as I love bread. Love how you just transitioned into that!

Happy SITS Day!!

MrsOrtelle said...

What a crazy story! I would've been out of there in a second as well! And that bread looks AMAZING. I'm seriously drooling just looking at it. Any chance you can translate that recipe into stupid US measurements? It's so dumb we don't use metric here...

Jasmin said...

What a spooky story!!!! I would have run out of the house screaming like a little girl. :\

The Dapper Darling said...

WOW...on all accounts...you are quite interesting!!! I am going to start to follow you, hope you do the same!

www.thedapperdarling.blogspot.com!

Lisa Petrarca said...

That is so freaky! I can't believe you were on your own at 16...and happened upon that place, yikes.

I have to laugh, you scare us to death & then comfort us with bread...LOL..you're awesome Helen!

Mary-Jane said...

Stopping by from SITS. Cant get past the story.. I wont to know what the note said in French...

I have to come back to the bread.

Wowsers chief!

Maria @BOREDmommy said...

Mmmmmmm.....Fresh Bread. Nothing Better.

When did I become my Mom said...

Ohhhh it's a good thing you finished with bread cos that was scaaarrryyy!

Here from SITS!

cat said...

So what did the note say?

And just love warm, white bread with real butter. Yummy!

Herself said...

Thank goodness for bread!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Your flat sounds terrible. I'd be out of there too! I wouldn't want to live in any haunted house either. That would be just too scary and creepy! No wonder it was such a low rent.

Congrats on your SITS day!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

The story was scary and the bread looks yummy! Happy SITS day!

Elizabeth a.k.a. Type A Mommy said...

I feel like I can almost smell that yummy bread. It's funny that you posted this as one of your fave posts, because I've been thinking to myself that I need to try to bake bread more often - I bake boatloads of other things, but rarely bread. Hmmm...sounds like a project. Happy SITS Day!

Joy said...

Ooooh so spooky!

Congrats on your SITS day!

(I would have moved too)

Queenie Jeannie said...

Over from SITS...

Scary and yummy - what a combination!! So glad you left. That house sounds evil!

FairOphelia said...

That is a very creepy story. This is why I rarely read ghost/horror/gothic stories - I get too freaked out.

Bread looks amazing. I, too, love dipping bread/crust in olive oil and balsamic vinegar - there's nothing like it!

Yaya said...

Oooh I love ghost stories!

Christine said...

I love me some scary! Especially scary somewhere else.
I'm with a couple of others here...what in the world did the note say?
Great story!

BLOGitse said...

and I don't like ghost stories! eeeeek!

That bread looks really GOOD!

Happy SITS day from sunny but windy Cairo!

http://BLOGitse.blogspot.com

MeghanM said...

So scary!!! But that bread looks so yum!

Mrsbear said...

What the what? So scary! I'm surprised you stayed as long as you did! After those first few...experiences...I don't think I would've been able to sleep.

Warm bread would do well to soothe me after that story.

Judy said...

Great ghosties! Don't scare me like that!

Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity said...

Oh my! I would have left that night, in my pj's if necessary!! thanks for sharing. Stopping by from SITS.

jackiefo said...

Ah!!! Scary story - thanks for the comforting picture of bread and cheese that made everything all right ;) ...Stopped by from SITS, congrats on your feature!

Serendipity said...

That is a seriously scary story!

leigh said...

No amount of bread talk is going to comfort me after that story. SCARY!

Happy SITS day.

knit1kids4 said...

Scary story than bread.... I'm never gonna look at bread the same.

Molly said...

happy SITS day.....I love your scary story, I have a few of my own on my blog, and have a new one to share....

Tsquared417 said...

That's damn scary. Sheesh!! Happy SITS day!

Angelia said...

Yikes! Did anyone know what the message said in French?

allycupe said...

Love this story! Happy SITS day, enjoy the comment-love!

Resh Rene` said...

WOW that was a thriller, I guess it doesn't help that I watched Paranormal Activities a few days ago huh? LOL stopping by from SITS

Mellisa Rock said...

That bread looks amazing and that story scared me to no end!! I wanna know what the notes said too!

Happy Sits Day!

Myriam said...

That is quite a scary story...I'm still spooked as I'm reading about the delicious loaf of bread...It's a weird sensation of spookie and yummie mix together..
Happy SITS day!

Marie said...

That story FREAKED me out! Thank God you calmed us down with your bread talk. ;)

Heather said...

Ok, if that story is true, VERY scary! If it's made up, well done!

Happy SITS day!

Young Wife said...

Good story! Happy SITS Day!

The Cookie Girl said...

Great Story. Stopping in from SITS

Elle said...

How can it be?!?! TWO of my favorite things in one place: a spooky story AND bread. Love it!

Laura said...

Great story. My daughter believes our house is haunted. She hears & sees things. I hear a bump from time to time but nothing as alarming as your story. Of course, my daughter would love to come see that house. She's into the whole ghost hunting bit & watches it on TV quite often.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Whoa! That must have been terrifying. What did the note on the back of the picture say?

That bread looks delicious. I'm too intimidated to try making bread so I'm always so impressed when other people are successful at it.

Mel said...

Wow, that is scary...don't think I could have stayed either.:) I have been looking for ways to save money on bread; I had resorted to a discount bread store, but if I could make it cheaper....:)

The Local Cook said...

Happy SITS Day! What is it with you Scots and your scary stories? ;-) When I spent a summer studying abroad in London we took a weekend to visit Edinborough . . . went on the eerie pub crawl, it was so fun!

Apryl said...

VERY Spooky tale! Where did you move to after that? What dod the note say? I've had a few brushes with spirits, but nothing so scary! Hope you found a 'normal' place to live :-)

Your bread looks beautiful! I have a few photos of bread I made on my blog, but never thought to post the recipe. Will have to get back to that...

McVal said...

Happy SITS day! I'll be back!
Scary story by the way... And I love breads, so I'll be checking out your recipes!

Jamee said...

What a creepy story!

Happy SITS day!

Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

I'm wetting my pants now...Dear God, you could sell that to the horror movie makers. Love your blog - you are funny. I will keep up with you! Visiting from SITS!

Kim said...

I enjoyed your story and the bread. I love kneading, too!

Jenn Erickson said...

Hi Helen! I'm so excited for your SITS day! What a fascinating and terrifying story you've shared. It was so perfectly written, and certainly gave me shivers. The terrors you witnessed were so vivid. What ever became of the old place? Was it too turned into apartments? Your bread sounds wonderful, but I'll be thinking about that haunted place (with intrigue, not fear) all day. Hmmm...

Thankfully Thrifty said...

Wait. Hold on there just a minute Missy. I can appreciate a good loaf a bread just like any woman, but hello?? What about the story? Haha I need an ending! That's so spooky. I hope you moved out the next day. I think I might keep pestering until I get an ending!

talesofthetoot said...

Girl, I would have left too! No ? about it! Happy SITS day!

Zeemaid said...

that was indeed a sudden switch in topics. Love the scary story.. made me think of a book I had read called the Victorian Album, I think. i don't I could have stayed either.

loved the bread part of the post too. Makes me want to bake.

Kristin @ Meanbean said...

hahahaha the bread followup aws great. I was totally reading it, thinking there was a tie-in, with haunted yeast or something...

I would have high-tailed it out of there too...holy smokes. Nice of the flatmate not to let you know that stuff might be happening...

Melissa Papaj Photography said...

Wait...share more! I am totally on the edge of my seat...

Sharlynora said...

ha ha ha! I LOVE the combination of the scary story and bread! I was all spooked (while at work, which is funny because its 9am) and then bam- Bread! Totally comforting. Great post!

Pam said...

So what happened? Any more ghost encounters? Did you move out immediately? Did you ever find out why you couldn't use the bathroom first thing in the morning, or why the door was plastered over? Or why there was another dark room? I think we all need the sequel...

Busted Kate said...

Congrats on your SITS day!

I loved your ghost story, and I'm a follower now. But I am feeling so unresolved, I want to know more! Did you ever find out the history of the home? Or find out why that room was sealed off? Did someone pass away there? Did you have any more encounters? How much longer did you live there? Did your roommate have similar experiences? You are a great storyteller and you really drew me in.

Looking forward to getting to know you!

Sevibabyyy said...

I would've had to leave as well! Oh and from scary story to a perfect loaf of bread made me really hungry!

Jessica said...

Now I want bread. Thanks. :)

Stopping by from SITS. Love your blog!

Kelly Jo @Typing One Handed said...

Wow! Scary!!! But I've never enjoyed reading a ghost story so much. I'm with you- I'd have been out of there without even packing.
Happy SITS day, congrats!

obladi oblada said...

Love the story. The only thing that would have made it better is pictures of these wonderful old place...oh,and that bread....Im making bread this weekend. I am.
Stopping by from SITS, by the way...I also joined as follower. Love the blog.

Kerry said...

WOW!!! That story was definitely scary. I don't blame you for moving out. Your flat mate is VERY strange to think that it was ok to stay there and not "bother" them. Yikes!!

Your bread story reminds me of my childhood. My family has a bakery which was conveniently located on the right side of our house. I can still remember the smell of the bread and other goodies being baked and not being able to wait until they cooled. Just jumping in a grabbing a piece and watching the butter melt immediately upon impact was a wonderful and very missed sight.

Anywhoo, wonderful blog and great stories.

Cheers!
From a Jamaican in Hawaii! :)

Lynne said...

Stopping by from SITS!

That bread looks so good!!!

Angry Julie Monday said...

Freaky story.

But oh my gosh, that bread, yum!

Tammy said...

Loved the ghost story. I know at that age I would have been freaked out too. Now I am not too sure. I am pretty sure that we have some at our house now,they have not shown any agressive tendencies so I am not worried. :)
Great writing. Great blog design. Adorable kids. Yummy recipes. Hope you will check mine out some time.
Stopping by from SITS (of course).

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Happy SITS day! My daughter is becoming a great bread baker and blogs about it here:

http://mixitbakeit.blogspot.com/

fumblingtowardsnormalcy.wordpress.com said...

Happy SITS day. That was the best transition from scary to bread I've ever seen!

Monkey's Mama said...

stopping by from SITS - great story! But what did you do? Did you pack that night?? I want more!

AmericanTribal said...

Wow, that bread looks delicious!

That story was really creepy, by the way. I loved it!

Katrina said...

Interesting mix of stories! Love the bread - sounds & looks YUMMY!!!
Happy SITS day!
Katrina
www.proverbs-31-wife.blogspot.com

Alley said...

I always figured making my own bread wouldn't be cost effective...I may need to revisit that thought.

marfmom said...

very scary!

love the bread though! we make our own too. it saves so much money.

kitchen koala said...

Oh...snap! I knew from the SITS posting that one of your posts would be scary...but I went ahead and read it anyway! Now I'm a little freaked out too; wish my sister was still my roomie instead of just me alone :(

MommyToTwoBoys said...

Oh no! That truly is scary! I am so scared of ghosts. I can't even watch The Sixth Sense!!! What a story! I can't believe that happened to you.

As a side note, the bread looks so good! I am on a serious diet and feel like I could devour that entire loaf, oh, and the side items next to it.

simplysandi said...

Boy, that story had me on the edge of my seat. It gave me chills.

- the bread looks great. I've been baking my own bread, and it's so good and inexpensive even when I buy the expensive bread flour.

mom2kmjx2 said...

That just made me hungry and I just ate dinner. lol

camiLLe said...

in from sits...

i was waiting for an ending to that story and then suddenly... you baked some bread. too crazy.

stylehandler.blogspot.com

CynthiaK said...

wow, that story was crazy! I would have been completely freaked.

I laughed when the story was moving along and then...a brilliant bread recipe. From frightening chills to a warm loaf!

Lourie said...

That would have warped my mind for years to come. It is only something you see in the movies. The house I was born in had something going on with it. it was never scary or unkind. But there was definitely something there. Great story.

April said...

So did you leave? Any other noises? Love bread too!

lifewithsweetpeaches said...

Oh, my...I tell myself that I don't believe in such...things...as ghosts, but I would totally be a believer if that happened to me!

The bread, cheese, apples, and olives sounds absolutely yummy. I need a glass of wine just thinking about it.

JustRandi said...

Very Scary story!! I have no idea what I'd do!!

Kim Living Life said...

what a scary story, I would have left too. Oh yum the bread sounds wonderful. Hi from Sits

gaelikaa said...

Great story, Helen - you fairly gave me the shivers there.....

Heidi said...

Oh my goodness what a story. What did the note say? What about the odd rooms? Is anything more known about the history of the house?

Anyway, great story, here from sits and thinking I am going to have to become a follower!

samsstuff said...

Happy (belated) SITS feature day! I'm glad you followed your scary story with comforting bread! I feel a little better now. I do want to see the update, though.

Christi said...

I'm dying to hear how your scary story ends..... Nice bread too. Happy to stop by from SITS better late then never. :0)