Writing in public

One of the things that I’ve been trying to work out this year is to start writing in public again. The thing is, though, I have found that I have almost no interest in blogging. I don’t really read them anymore.

So, like so many others, I am shifting my online writing to email. This is a personal email newsletter and it is mainly about:

  • family & rural life
  • being an expat
  • language learning beginner – Scots Gaelic
  • and occasionally there will be poetry

I’d really appreciate it if you subscribed. Because I’m hosting it with Buttondown, you can subscribe via email or RSS.


Silent Night

There is no getting away from the fact that we are living and doing ministry in a beautiful place. I’m hoping to do more writing about both of those things in the new year, but in the mean time, here’s a video I shot along with a recording of Silent Night that I did for the church we are working with here.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Not a vegetarian, but…

I’m not a vegetarian, but one of the things I’m trying to do with my family is make more plant-based meals. With kids, I’m always conscious of wanting to make sure they’re getting enough vitamins and minerals from their food and making veg-rich meals is the easiest way to do that.

Tonight, I made what were basically grain bowls using a bunch of roasted winter veg with barley. One of the best things I learned to do in the kitchen was the humble traybake.

Rather than trying to give each ingredient it’s own sort of perfect treatment, you just chop them up to relatively equal sizes, drizzle some oil, season liberally and roast at 200C(400F) for somewhere around half an hour.

This, without fail, has resulted in sweet potatoes that are super-crispy and caramelised on the outside but soft and creamy inside. Parsnips, left long and cut into quarters, come out with thin, crunchy tips and crispy thicker bits.

And then, I made a really simply dressing with equal parts olive oil and cider vinegar, a healthy squeeze of honey, a heaped teaspoon of Dijon and a good pinch of flaky salt and pepper.

Serve it over greens or with a cooked grain (or both) and drizzle over the dressing. It’s one of my favourite meals to make during the week.

SU Gowanbank

While we continue our house hunt, we’ve been incredibly blessed to have a place to stay that’s only 15 minutes away from Strathaven. SU Gowanbank is a part of Scripture Union in the U.K. and normally run events and retreats for churches and school groups.

Because of lockdown restrictions in Scotland, they have had to greatly limit what they are able to do. This has ended up working out for us, though, because it has meant we’ve been able to affordably rent a couple of bedrooms and a lounge here along with access to the kitchen and grounds.


After living in Wilanów since October, we have now left and are currently staying in Ujazdów, a neighbourhood in Warsaw’s city centre. It’s home to a bunch of embassies and right within the tourist district.

Park Ujazdowski

As nice as it was in Wilanów, especially its convenience during lockdown, we really needed this change of scenery. And it amazes me just how different all of the districts here feel. If you were to look at these two places, you’d never know they were a part of the same city.

Aleje Ujazdowskie
This is just across the road from the US Embassy

The biggest thing this district is missing, though? Buildings with lifts/elevators. Our AirBnB, which is lovely, is located at the top of eight flights of stairs. It’s quite the challenge right after a run.

Just outside Park Łazienki

A surprising thing I’ve learned since I started exercising regularly is that it can actually serve as an effective substitute for caffeine, provided it’s on a day other than a Monday.