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My Scrumptious Scottish Dumplings: The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts
     

My Scrumptious Scottish Dumplings: The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts

by Cherry Whytock
 

"Almost forgot, Cherub, I got something yesterday to cheer you up. Found it in the tartan workshop...." He hands me the parcel, out of which comes a WHOLE SCOTTISH OUTFIT! Kilt, white shirt, frilly collar thing, tartan sash, red sporran, and, to top it all, thick green wooly knee-length socks with GARTERS!

Horrors! Potty is dragging Angel out of school early so

Overview

"Almost forgot, Cherub, I got something yesterday to cheer you up. Found it in the tartan workshop...." He hands me the parcel, out of which comes a WHOLE SCOTTISH OUTFIT! Kilt, white shirt, frilly collar thing, tartan sash, red sporran, and, to top it all, thick green wooly knee-length socks with GARTERS!

Horrors! Potty is dragging Angel out of school early so the family can make their annual trek to Scotland. Worse than the dreary Scottish weather and embarrassing kilts, Mercedes is moving to Florida at the end of the term — probably for good. Meanwhile, Potty is on the warpath, protesting that the haggis Harrods sells isn't authentic. It's just another of Potty's crazy schemes until the whole family is banned from the store — and how can Angel cook without groceries? As if that weren't enough, Angel can't stop dreaming about Sydney...gross, disgusting Sydney. What is going on?

This hilarious follow-up to My Cup Runneth Over is filled with the same scrumptious fun—and more delectable recipes. Take a second helping of the madcap life of Angelica Cookson Potts!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Food and fashion collide in My Scrumptious Scottish Dumplings: The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts, Cherry Whytock's sequel to My Cup Runneth Over. Angel takes an embarrassing trip to Scotland with her parents and gets caught up in her father's dispute with Harrods department store over haggis of dubious repute. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
In this sequel to My Cup Runneth Over (reviewed in KLIATT in September 2003), the bubbly adventures of British teen Angel continue. This time her family is going on vacation in Scotland; her friend Mercedes is leaving for the US, to Angel's dismay; Angel's eccentric father manages to get the family banned from Harrods department store (cutting Angel off from the groceries she loves to cook with), and her friend Sydney wants to be her boyfriend. Cartoon-like b/w drawings illustrate the text, and recipes for treats like "Cheer-Me-Up Chocolate Mousse" are included. More giggly fun for Angel's fans. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Simon & Schuster, 176p. illus., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
Kirkus Reviews
Angel's back! And her breathless first-person narration is as delish as ever. In this sequel to My Cup Runneth Over (2003), Angel's potty father-Potty-becomes incensed at Harrods for selling poorer haggis than advertised, so he's off on a one-person protest with clashing tartans and homemade signs. Angel's hilariously prim Mother, meanwhile, is wrapped in fabric "like a large cashmere chrysalis." Angel has only the girlies (her ever-loyal best friends) and Flossie the cook for consolation. Oh, and the boy who lives with her. Oh, and the boy from school who likes her. Despite Potty's arrest and the family's temporary banishment (gasp!) from Harrods Food Halls, their luxurious lifestyle is never really in danger. As before, Angel's obsessions with fatness, fashion, and food are funny and fast; this time they're joined by real sadness when one of the girlies moves away-but she's back at the end. A batch of laughs sprinkled generously with recipes. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689865497
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
10/28/2004
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.94(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

My Scrumptious Scottish Dumplings

The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts
By Cherry Whytock

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2004 Cherry Whytock
All right reserved.

ISBN: 068986549X

Chapter 1: Fever, Friends, and Family Freaks

I've been dreaming I was kissing Sydney...WHY? Am I suffering from juvenile dementia? Did we have mad cow pie for supper?

Obviously I'm being haunted by last night's end-of-term Fashion Show when I had to wear that...that DRESS. It was no bigger than Barbie's tank top and Slimeball From Hell (Sydney) had to wobble me down the catwalk and kiss me in front of all those parents and friends and PEOPLE. Even Adam, ex-Love of My Life (and complete RAT) was there. Honestly, as if that wasn't enough to make a girl hyperventilate, Sydney actually had the nerve to look really rather all right and to taste just the weeniest bit scrumptious.

HELP! CALL A DOCTOR! I must be very feverish or delirious or BOTH.

Of course Mother, who used to be a model herself and is still toothpick thin, never managed to say anything about how gorgeous I looked. Although I did notice her clapping a lot...Anyway, Mother thinks I'm a huge, overstuffed jelly bag that must have been swapped for her real, itsy-bitsy, skinny baby at birth. I know she fantasizes that one day a vast Mrs. Blobby will arrive on the doorstep with a Kate Moss lookalike and claim that little Miss Perfect-Size-Eight-All-Over is Mother's daughter and that I'm the Blobby's long lost Blobbette. Mother didn't even manage to get her mouth around a compliment about all the luscious food Flossie and I made for the Fashion Show, or my expert hostessing abilities.

A sudden bashing and crashing and a shout of "Hoots mon, awhaaa!" happily brings this train of thought to a standstill.

Uh-oh! Potty's gone into "Scottish mode" already and I haven't even got my hair gel on yet. Potty has hauled me out of school a week early so that we can do our annual slog up to Scotland to visit his rellies. Ms. Worhause, who is my tutor and who used to be my friend, was not at all pleased, but Potty insisted that "auld acquaintance should ne'er be forgot" and that it is a vital part of my education to trace my Scottish roots before the Easter rush. Potty is ancient and for some reason people seem to think that he must therefore be wise. Anyway, I like Ms. Worhause, but this time she's really let me down. I mean, I'd much rather spend the last week of term at school with my dear, gorgeous friends, Minnie, Mercedes and Portia, even if it does mean I risk seeing Sydney, than spend EXTRA time with my amazingly mad parents.

Besides, Mother hates everything about Scotland -- the cold, the countryside, the porridge, Highland cow poo and the total lack of access to Harrods -- just two minutes' walk from home -- so she's going to be even more difficult than she normally is.

"Dahling," she squawked just last week, "it's quite impossible to find designer rubber boots with stiletto heels -- what on earth shall I do?" I suggested that she tie bin bags over her Jimmy Choo mules. Brilliant, I thought, but Mother just sniffed.

I think I'll call Minnie. I need to talk to someone sensible before I face this.

"Hi babes," I trill.

"Oh, Angel," she sighs. "You looked totally heavenly in that dress..."

Minnie is blonde and small and curvy and brilliant at making clothes and at imagining she's no good at anything and that none of the boys she likes will ever like her. She's mad, obviously, but I still love her. She made loads of stuff for the Fashion Show and she was the one who finally coaxed me into the Barbie dress last night.

I stand up straighter at the thought of the Fashion Show and pull in my stomach, even though no one's looking.

"And what about Sydney, eh?" she says.

There's a sort of giggle in her voice that I'm not sure I like, so I tell her about my nightmare. All she does is giggle some more, so I decide to change the subject. "Did you get a chance to talk to George yesterday?"

"Noooo...," she wails.

Minnie adores George. She, who could have the pick of the bunch at school, fancies George...Life is so strange. The problem is (and I don't dare mention this to Minnie) he told me he liked me last week. George is doing A-levels, for goodness' sake -- you'd think he'd have more brains. I have now made it my mission to redirect him toward Minnie as soon as possible.

"You're so lucky to have George there all the time," sighs Minnie.

"He's only here because his parents live abroad and his school is in London. He's not here because I want him," I reply quickly. I think of George as a brother. I mean, I've known him since he had scabby knees and head lice at primary school. He's three years older than me and all my friends seem to think he's wonderful.

I can't see it myself.

"Do you think George will be lonely while you're away?" Minnie asks wistfully.

"Well, I think he said he was going to have one of his mates from school to stay and help him look after the house, so maybe not."

"Perhaps I'll just pop in if I'm passing by," says Minnie.

"Yes, why don't you," I say encouragingly, knowing that it's very unlikely Minnie will be "passing by," as she lives in a completely different neighborhood and she's got to make sure her adventurous little brother doesn't set fire to the house or drown the neighbor's cat after school.

When it's time to go, I blow Minnie a kiss down the phone and "gallumph" (Mother's word, not mine) downstairs from Heaven (my third-floor bedroom in our oh-so-chic, four-story Knightsbridge home). As I reach the ground floor, I trip over Stinker, who is apparently trying to bury a bone in the hall floor, and this sends me crashing into what looks like a large cashmere chrysalis surrounded by suitcases next to the front door. The chrysalis moans slightly as I unknot my nightie from around my knees.

"Mother?" I say, wondering why my parents have to be so odd. I mean, couldn't she just wear a coat like any normal person?

It's no use trying to have a conversation, as the only bits of her that are showing are her eyes, and those are looking none too happy. Anyway, she should be talking to me and telling me what a star I was last night, not standing around being useless. So, I leave her swathed and swaying in the hall and head on down to the basement, my favorite part of the house because that's where to find the kitchen and Flossie.

"Yo, Flossie." The "Yo" thing usually makes her really grumpy. She usually says, "Speak the Queen's English, young lady," but today she's too busy.

Flossie is in charge -- thank goodness, otherwise nothing would ever get done in this household. Her official title is Housekeeper, but actually she's more like a mum than Mother could ever be. She does everything for us. She's the one we go to with all our problems. She's the one who knows where the bandages are kept. She taught me to cook and so far I haven't actually found anything else that I really feel is worth learning about. I mean, what could be more important than eating, noshing, guzzling, call it what you will? The world would be a much sadder place without it. And if there wasn't food, what exactly would Jamie Oliver, Naked Chef, Superstar and True and Enduring Love of My Life, do with his time?

Anyway, Flossie, who has already organized everyone's packing (except mine -- panic), is busily stuffing supplies into two huge picnic hampers.

"Crumbs! Don't they have food north of Watford?"

"Don't be cheeky, young lady," says Flossie as she squishes in an enormous fruitcake.

"Sorry, but honestly, Flossie, do we really need quite so many motorway munchies?"

Flossie shushes me. "You can never pack too much food," she states. "A body never knows where the next meal's coming from or what might be round the next corner." I think better of trying to explain to her that there will probably be a McDonald's round every corner on the M1. She's muttering on about Scotland being "most unsavory -- all those men in skirts with no drawers on...they'll catch their deaths, if you ask me..."

I start to make porridge for breakfast, just to get me in the mood.

I'm bringing the whole yummy, gloopy, lumpy goo to the boil when there's a sound like a cow being sick and Flossie and I drop everything and beetle into the hall to see what's happening.

We find Potty with a tartan cushion under his arm and four of what look like Flossie's knitting needles sticking out of it.

"Bless my buttons! What have you got there, Mr. Seepy?" (Which, translated, means, "Mr. C. P." -- Cookson Potts, our surname and one of the many reasons Potty is known as Potty.)

"Flossie!" he cries. "Can't you see? Bagpipes! I'm having a wee practice afore we go." Real bagpipes are actually made from some intimate part of a cow, I think, not a cushion and old knitting needles. But it's always the same. Every year, Potty "goes native" and starts sprouting pseudo Scots. This morning he's put on his large heather-colored hairy jersey, a tartan tam-o'-shanter, tartan trousers and, tied around his middle, my old, glittery (and SO last season) fanny pack...slightly worrying..."'Tis m' sporran, Cherub," he cries, catching my eye. "Every jock knows he's no' a man wi'out a sporran."

It's not that I don't love Potty to pieces, I do. It's just that he can be so alternative sometimes.

I go back to my porridge and Potty starts munching his toast next to me and reciting his favorite poem about the wonders of haggis. Once he's got to the bit about "the wee sheep's cawl wi' the blood and the gall..." I realize I can't go on eating. Who knows why Potty loves haggis so much. He's always buying it from Harrods (still just a two-minute walk away -- or five minutes if you've eaten too much lunch) and complaining that it's not as good as it was when he was a boy, even though Harrods says it's the very best and from an authentic Highland croft.

I realize in a flash of horror that my porridge looks suspiciously like the bottled brain that they keep in the Science Lab at school. I have to leave the room.

I still need to pack, so I bound, gazelle-like...well, more horse-like (all right, carthorse-like) past Mother who is now lying like a roll of carpet on the sofa in the drawing room and take myself back up to Heaven.

I carry on thinking about last night and start to throw a few things into my suitcase, imagining I'm a top model, heading off on a tropical photo shoot. I think I could really get into this modeling thing. I thrust my hips out and strut about, clenching my mobile under my chin. I'm waiting for a call from Portia before she leaves for school.

When she finally rings I can hardly hear a word she's saying above the vroom of her vacuum cleaner. "What on earth are you doing?" I shriek.

She switches the machine off. "I was just doing a bit of cleaning before school."

Portia is ALWAYS cleaning, because she is obsessed with germs. Her parents are both doctors, which could account for this. Portia is also as skinny as a thong, even though she eats like a two-headed pig, which is one of the many things about my life which is SO unfair.

"You looked fantastic last night, Angel," she says, and I have to admit that although compared to her I'm at least the size of a heffalump and a half, I'm feeling really rather fab. Flattery is just so...so FLATTERING. "I look disgusting this morning," she continues, while I swoosh my hair about in a modelly way (only this makes being on the phone quite difficult so I stop swooshing and start listening). "I've come out in some nervous spotty rash this morning...I hope I haven't caught chicken pox from Scarlet." (It was because of Scarlet and her chicken pox that I was forced to wear that dress last night.)

"I bet you've already had it," I say.

"Well, yes, I have. These are just plain old spots, I expect...Oh, Angel, could you ring Mercedes for me and tell her I've got her math book? I've GOT to finish this vacuuming before I go."

"Okay," I say, even though I've got loads of things to do myself.

"Oh, and have a fantastic time in Scotland and send me a postcard of a man in a kilt...you lucky thing."

I decide that Portia must be joking about the "lucky thing." The only good thing about going away is that I won't have to see Sydney until next term, and by then I might have worked out what to say to him.

"Thank you!" I say. "I'll see what I can do about a man in a kilt! BYE!" I have to shout the last bit as Potty is bellowing at me.

"Phone call for my little Cherub...Hoots mon, where are ye lass?"

I scuttle downstairs to pick up the landline. It's Mercedes! How weird.

"It's okay, Potty, I'm here now. You can put the phone down." I have to remind him to do this because he tends to leave the kitchen phone off the hook, which makes for some very odd backing tracks to my calls.

"Hi! I was just about to ring you," I say. "Portia says she's got your ma -- "

"Angel, Angel listen...," Mercedes interrupts. I listen because she sounds breathless.

"Oh, panic!" she splutters. "I don't know what to do! You won't believe what happened last night when I got home! It's sooo exciting. Or frightening. Or both...Oooooooh, Angel, I don't know what to think. What do you think? I mean, should I or shouldn't I...? I mean, I MUST, obviously, because it will all be sooooo wonderful, but it's such a long way, and what about you guys? How will I manage without you? Maybe you could all..."

"MERCEDES!" I shriek. "What are you talking about? SLOW DOWN." I'm feeling quite windswept by now. Tidying my eyebrows, I say, "Tell me what's happened, really, really slowly, from the beginning."

I hear her take in a huge gulp of air. "I had a call from my mum, all the way from Florida late last night, after I got in from the Fashion Show. She and Dad want me to go and spend Easter with them and maybe not come back to live with my grandparents next term, but stay on with them for ever and ever."

"Wha-at...?" I say, realizing the AWFUL truth. My heart begins to thump like a bass drum and I feel my cheeks get hot. I have to stop myself from shouting, "Don't go, don't leave me!" because I know that to be with her parents is probably what she wants most in the entire world. "Oh," I say instead. "That's...er...wonderful! When would you go?"

"WONDERFUL?" she splutters. "I didn't think YOU would say it was 'wonderful' that I might go away!"

"Well, I meant wonderful for you, Mercedes. I mean, it is what you want, isn't it?"

"Oh...yes, I THINK so...My mum says I can go as soon as I can get a ticket after the end of term. But I just feel so, oh, I don't know -- just so CONFUSED. I mean, it's what I've been longing for them to say, but now that they have I'm feeling really scared..."

"It'll be fantastic," I say, trying to sound convincing. "It'll be wonderful, you'll have a wonderful time..." I can feel my nose go pink and splotchy and my chin begin to quiver. Mercedes must have heard the quivering down the phone.

"Oh, Angel, I wouldn't go until you come back from Scotland and I'd write to you and text you and phone you all the time..."

"How wonderful!" I say again. Somehow nothing else seems to want to come out. "Wonderful!" I repeat, this time with tears sploshing down my cheeks. "I'll have to hang up now. We've got to leave in a minute."

"Speak to you soon," she says.

"Wonderful. Bye."

Copyright © 2004 by Cherry Whytock

Chapter 2: Agony and Auntie Aggie

I don't know how I managed to pack anything. I'm completely emotionally incontinent. Mother and Potty and Flossie do their best to cheer me up in the car. Flossie is driving us (really slowly) up to Scotland. Potty plays his Scotland the Brave tape for me (over and over again) and Mother manages to work her chin out of her cashmere wrappings to tell me she would LOVE to give me a hug but that she can't quite get her arms free. She hardly EVER does the hugging thing so she must be feeling really sorry for me.

"It's all for the best," says Flossie in her sensible way. "It will be very healthy for Mercedes to spend some time with her family. It's not right that she should be away from them for so long."

I'm sure she's right, but I still can't stop sobbing.

It's not until we realize that the crunching we can hear isn't Flossie changing gear, but Stinker eating his way through the picnic hamper in the back (having already demolished all the fruitcake) that I manage to stop sniffling for a bit.

Flossie makes me turn around and spread some plastic bags over the luggage in case Stinker is sick. Of course he does "the other thing" plonk in the middle of Mother's Louis Vuitton hand luggage. We have to stop and do some deeply disgusting cleaning up and Flossie makes me walk up and down the grass median with Stinker in case there's "any more where that came from."

Anyway, RE-VOLTING though it is, it has taken my mind off Mercedes for a bit. I just so wish I wasn't going to be away for her last few days...

Back in the car with the memory of why Stinker is called "Stinker" replanted firmly in our minds, I decide to text Minnie. Looking at my watch, I realize that she will be in a science lesson, but this is an emergency, so I do it anyway.

"2 2 MIZ ABT MERC. WOT CN I DO?"

She's obviously not doing much science as she texts straight back, "DN'T KNOW -- ALL PANTS."

Flossie asks me to ring George and check that he is all right. I know that she's just trying to keep me busy so that I won't have time to think about Mercedes. She wants to know if he has found the food in the fridge. (Well, he'd hardly find it in his sock drawer, would he?) Has he given Diggory his tea? (Diggory is our gardener and Flossie's "little bit of temptation.") And has he made his bed and been polite to our neighbor, Mrs. Sophie Something-Hyphenated?

When he answers, I reel off all Flossie's questions in one breath. George grunts and that seems to be that. "He's fine," I say.

I think Mother says, "All right for some," but I can't be sure because of the cashmere. She gives me what might be a smile. At least her eyes go all crinkly so it could be a smile.

We are now well "north of the border" and Potty has the windows wide open so that we can breathe in the "soft, sweet Scottish air." Flossie and I have to join him in a rousing chorus of "Ye tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low road, and I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye," which is actually really difficult to sing if you've been crying for hours, but it is quite warming if nothing else.

Mother doesn't join in. Mother may be unconscious. She has her sunglasses on and there are no signs of life as far as I can tell from under the soft cream-colored wrappings. I prod her a bit to see what happens. She sort of squeaks so I suppose that means she's okay, even if she does look as if she's come from the land of the living dead.

It's getting dark and raining hard, but Potty insists that we "bide a wee" with his Auntie Aggie and Mother manages to moan again as we pull up outside Auntie Aggie's huge, gray, deeply spooky house. We pile out of the car and sort of bunny hop Mother up to the ancient front door. Stinker has managed to relieve himself of the rest of the fruitcake in the middle of Auntie Aggie's path, but fortunately we see the danger before Mother bounces into it. The huge, dark door creaks open (it's all terribly B-movie) and there, in a small pool of what seems to be gaslight, is Auntie Aggie.

She's tiny, in a garden gnome sort of way. She's got the skinniest legs I've ever seen and they are so bowed you could drive Mrs. Sophie Something-Hyphenated's Range Rover right through them. She's wearing thick, wrinkly stockings and fur boots. Her tartan skirt has four kilt pins in it in case any little draught should set the flap a-flapping. She has what looks like a dead bird's foot stuck on the collar of her pale blue twin set. Her hair is exactly the same color as her knitwear and, oddly, she is wearing diamante-studded spectacles.

"Achh, there ye are," she says, beckoning us in. We sit for half an hour in a huge, tapestry-covered room, shuddering with cold (I worry that Mother may really be unconscious now) while Potty and Aggie talk jibberish to each other. Of course, it's not really jibberish, but to anyone without a Ph.D. in regional accents it sounds like Homer Simpson on helium with a bit of "foreign" thrown in.

In between shudders, Flossie and I munch our way through slices of Dundee cake and I wonder if it would be rude to text Mercedes. I've been hiding my phone under my jersey, as I sneak it out Potty suddenly springs up and says, "We must be awhaa."

But not, sadly, before Auntie Aggie turns to me and tells me I'm a "bonny lassie" and that I've got "a wee bit stout."

STOUT??? You call a walking-boot "stout," not ME. I'm statuesque, and besides, I've been a model, and I bet Auntie Aggie's never modeled anything more exciting than Plasticine.

"Actually," I say, drawing myself up to my full, glorious height, "I was modeling in a fashion show last night." Mother makes what I think is an encouraging grunt, so I carry on. "Yes, it's true! I wore the most beautiful beaded Jasper Conran dress with tiny straps and a very low front and people applauded when I came on..." I'm really getting into my stride now but I notice that Auntie Aggie seems to have lost interest in my fascinating flirtation with fashion, so I stop.

Anyway, who cares? After Easter I shall go back to the gym to do my yoga and kick-boxing, where being STATUESQUE is a real advantage.

After what seems like hours and HOURS, we leave and I can finally text Mercedes. My phone decides that there are too many mountains around Auntie Aggie's house for it to work, even if I hold it out of the car window, and I can't get a signal. Poo.

* * *
;

"Here we are at last," sighs Flossie as she maneuvers the car up to Craggy Castle. Actually, it's not a castle at all but a four-star country house hotel. When I was little, I used to think this meant it was "for stars" and that I, obviously, would feel quite at home in it. It's run by a hairy-tweed sort of couple called Euphemia and Dundreary McSpreader. Dundreary may not be his real name, but that's what Flossie calls him and I have to say it does suit him. He's got these very, very depressed whiskers that look a bit like a dead squirrel stuck on his top lip. Euphemia is huge and terrifying. You wouldn't dare not eat anything she's made. Luckily, she's a brilliant cook. You also wouldn't dare tell her there's a terrible draught in your bedroom or that her pet pig ate one of your L. K. Bennett shoes.

As soon as we arrive I make a mad dash for my third-floor, freezing-cold bedroom and try Mercedes again. I get a signal.

I decide to ring her properly rather than text.

She tells me that her grandparents think that she must go and see her parents and that it will be lovely for her to have the chance to find out if she would like to live in Florida.

"Do you think they want to get rid of me?" sobs Mercedes.

I know that can't be right because her grandparents ADORE her.

"I'm sure they just want what's best for you..."

"I don't know what to do," wails Mercedes. "I'll miss you all SO much if I go, but I'll miss my parents so much if I don't. Oooooh...!"

I can't think what to say to her. I'm so smudged and soggy that it's almost a relief when Mercedes says that her phone battery is running low and we just have time to tearfully say good-bye to each other before her phone cuts out.

I'm feeling all wobbly again when I go down to the drawing room. At least there's a fire in there. Mother has managed to remove a layer of wrapping and dig out a hand in which to hold a large gin and tonic. She must be drinking it by osmosis, though, because I still can't see her mouth. Potty and Stinker share a whisky. Potty dips his finger into the glass and lets Stinker lick the whisky off -- REVOLTING. I try not to notice and I look round at the other guests. As it's still term time, there's nothing under forty in sight. Absolutely no chance of a long weekend holiday romance to take my mind off Mercedes. Unless, of course, there's some Heathcliff still out roaming the heathery moors, who's just about to burst in with a blast of cold air and whisk me off to show me his sporran.

By the time we've had dinner (Scottish salmon, steak, Scottish cheeses and the lightest, chocolatiest little steam pudding with choc sauce and cream -- oooh!), I'm ready for my draughty divan.

Before I go upstairs, I hear Potty demanding to know whether there is haggis on the menu tomorrow. "Yes, indeed, sir," says the (rather tasty) young sous-chef (not as tasty as J. O. Naked Chef and Superstar, but tasty nevertheless). "And if sir would be interested," he adds (he's got beautiful hazel eyes), "there is a trip arranged for tomorrow to visit a tartan weaving workshop and the croft where they make the only haggis Harrods will sell. Would you like to join the outing, sir?"

"Fabbydoodle," says Potty, whose accent seems to have gone a bit skew-whiff since the whisky. "I need to discuss the haggis ingredients with the croft owners. Haven't been too happy about Harrods' haggis recently."

Potty gives me a big hug. "Try and cheer up, Cherub," he says. "Think about all those poor old sheep out on the hills in the cold and the rain...things could be a lot worse." He's trying to be comforting, I think, as I watch him and Stinker potter rather unsteadily upstairs.

Back in my draughty little bedroom I phone Portia. She's almost asleep. She doesn't believe Mercedes is really going to go and she says she won't believe it till Mercedes is on the plane. She also says she's heard that Scots women have lovely skin and could I find out what their secret is. I tell her it's probably because it's too cold for any spot to dare to pop out, but I will try and find out. Obviously Portia is trying to stop herself from thinking about Mercedes and thinking about beauty products seems to be her strange way of doing this.

I phone Minnie and she is more chatty. She says that she's really worried about Mercedes. "I mean, I do so want her to be happy, but how can she be without us? Perhaps she'll only go for a little while and then come back...I rang your home this afternoon. I'd COMPLETELY forgotten that you'd left" (yeah, right) "and I got George, so I thought I would just check that he was okay...There seemed to be a lot of noise in the background."

George told her that Mrs. Sophie Something-Hyphenated had been round with a veggie pizza, which he and his friend played Frisbee with as soon as she was out of sight. Minnie gets a bit giggly here and she changes the subject. She says that George told her that Sydney had rung and asked if I WAS AROUND?

"What a cheek!" I squeak. "I bet he just wanted to make one of his pathetic comments about my well-filled underwear. He's SUCH a twerp. When will he learn that calling me Jelly Cooking Pots isn't funny, I'd like to know?"

"I think he fancies you," giggles Minnie.

Per-lease!

When I get off the phone, I check my wobble factor in the bedroom mirror. UGH! I'm feeling "as rung out as a wet dish cloth," as Flossie would say, so I decide to read The Return of the Naked Chef (which I happen to have in my suitcase) and try to concentrate on Jamie Oliver's chocolate pots.

Copyright © 2004 by Cherry Whytock



Continues...


Excerpted from My Scrumptious Scottish Dumplings by Cherry Whytock Copyright © 2004 by Cherry Whytock. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Cherry Whytock's shoe collection has increased dramatically since a recent trip to Morocco with her husband. When she's not rearranging her footwear or waiting for her two beautiful daughters to become fabulously famous, she can be found upside down in her Kentish flowerbeds, weeding. Sometimes Lily the boxer helps, but not often.

Cherry loves Vogue magazine, lacy underwear, and face cream, and would like to become a style icon when she grows up.

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