Beyond Dull

Continuing on from my previous post, we arrived at the House of Menzies and tootled indoors out of the rain in search of a little luncheon.

From the outside of the building, which was constructed in the 1840s, the inside is perhaps something of a surprise.

Straight ahead was an open log fire, with jewellery and other gifts for sale beyond.

To the left there were more gifty things, and an area selling wines and whiskies:

To the right was the bit we were after, the cafe:

For our liquid refreshment, delightful assistant no.1 had orange and passionfruit juice, delightful assistant no.2 had Bundaberg ginger beer and I had my usual, a pot of tea.

Choosing from the tempting food menu was a little trickier but, after some deliberation, we settled on our options.

Delightful assistant no.1 had Caesar salad (with two different dressings very helpfully put into little dishes on the side, to allow her to choose which she wanted):

Delightful assistant no.2 went for a toasted panini with roasted vegetables:

And I had a curried lentil burger with spinach and tomato, which was jolly tasty:

After that we felt too full for puddings, but before we left delightful assistant no.2 reacquainted himself with one of House of Menzies’ prize attractions:

Having satisfied himself that all the little wooden trains were running nicely on their tracks, he joined us back in the car and we buzzed off in the direction of the scenic village of Kenmore, which sits at one end of Loch Tay.

As I was driving along a small road, a curious building by the roadside caught my eye. While the assistants stayed put in the warm car, I jumped out to take a closer look:

The house, which was uninhabited, appeared to have been abandoned some time ago.

Despite its somewhat neglected state, some interesting architectural details remained:

When I walked round to the back of the house, I found that part of the roof had caved in, and that the whole building was slowly becoming a part of the hillside.

This business of making a front porch out of tree trunks is something I associate with this part of Perthshire, and for some reason the trunks are usually painted red. I don’t think they’re always paired with such an interesting wooden roof structure though:

Dragging myself away from this fascinating little property, we drove on to Kenmore, where I left the delightful assistants dozing in the car while I nipped out to examine Kenmore Parish Church.

Unfortunately, the weather had turned rather grey. On a sunny day the war memorial in the foreground and the church with its lychgate and Loch Tay beyond makes for an attractive scene:

As I walked round the churchyard, I saw a small owl perched on a tree stump and thought it added a nice touch to the surroundings:

When I reached the doorway I was utterly delighted to find that the church was open for visitors.

The church building was built in 1760, although most of what you see inside today dates back to a renovation in 1870. The interior included some beautiful stained glass windows:

I can’t recall ever having seen anything quite like these in a church before, but in addition to the stained class there were two windows of etched glass:

One of the etched windows was dedicated to long-serving Elder of the Kirk, Duncan Miller, who was an engineer, farmer and fisherman, as well as being a member of the Royal Company of Archers (the Queen’s official bodyguard in Scotland). My favourite part of the window was a bit with some sheep (sheeeeeps!) on it:

Each church pew had its own unique pew cushion design, which I thought was a very pleasing situation:

Back out in the churchyard, as well as the owl mentioned previously, I found another bird. The headstone told a sad story, but somehow the little puffin warmed my heart:

When I finally joined the patient assistants back in the car (both of whom had apparently enjoyed a relaxing snooze in my absence), we agreed to head for home.

Our lunch having settled, we felt we might have room for a little something on the way, and so we called in at the Allium Garden Centre in Ballinluig for a pit stop.

Just as I was starting to photograph our afternoon tea treats my camera battery died. I took a few pictures with my phone camera, but they look very small on the screen and, not being a technical wizard or any sort, I have no idea how to enlarge them.

I wasn’t going to have any cake, since it was getting close to dinner time and all I really wanted was a drink (an extremely good decaf cappuccino, as it turned out), but the assistants both chose a sweet treat. Delightful assistant no.2 had a surprisingly tasty chocolate oaty nutty traybake composition and delightful assistant no.1 asked for a piece of the lemon drizzle cake.

When the waitress brought our orders over, she brought two plates with lemon drizzle cake on, one of which was a smaller slice. She explained that once she’d cut a portion from what remained of the large lemon drizzle cake for delightful assistant no.1, there was just this wee bit left which was too small to serve as a portion. In the circumstances, she generously decided to give it to us as a free extra.

I’m not saying it tasted better for being free, but it was an exceptionally good piece of cake, very lemony and a highly satisfactory end to the day’s outing.

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Categories: Architecture, Cake, Churchyards, Kenmore, Perthshire, Photography, Scotland, Sheep, Tea, Tearooms | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

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34 thoughts on “Beyond Dull

  1. Firstly I must congratulate you on your excellent choice of ginger beer, all the way from the Qld Australia I might add! It so happens I had one with my dinner tonight so great minds think alike. The food looked like tasty fare and well appreciated after a long mornings travel. As for the choice train set and lovely souvenirs it’s a nice place to stop when it’s chilly out with (a little rain) too!

    The home with those red trunks looked so delightful, it’s actually a shame that it would be allows to get so ramshackled after all this time. Nonetheless I’m sure it made for a lovely find!

    Looks like a lovely day trip as always :)

    • Bundaberg is my Dad’s absolute favourite ginger beer, and it’s becoming more and more popular here, I’ve noticed it in quite a few cafes and restaurants. One of the many wonderful things to come out of Australia, along with your delightful blog, koala bears and boomerangs :-)

      It is a shame about that house falling to bits, I was wondering who owned it and if they were wanting to sell it, or hoping to do it up themselves some time. Admiring it certainly added an enjoyable dimension to my day.

      • Hi Lorna, well I know your family has excellent taste in Tearooms and now we can include beverages too! Thank you for your wonderful feedback on the blog, it’s such a delight to know that someone appreciates the time & effort (truly!) I only hope I can continue to inspire you with msny more tasty treats!

        • Thank you, Alice, and giving you positive feedback is a pleasure. I know you will continue to inspire me because you always do. Just when I already thought your blog was perfect you started doing those little videos, which I love! :-)

  2. brie

    Goodness there was SO MUCH that I loved about this post! the ginger beer, tea and food (you have made me hungry), the architecturally interesting cottage, the exquisite stained glass church windows….but the owl! that is my favorite animal! I would love to use that photo in a future “perfume and tea pairing” post (I am a guest writer on two perfume blogs but I also love tea!)

    • I’m afraid this post did go on a bit, but thank you very much for your kind words. Owls are wonderful creatures, aren’t they? Please feel free to use the photo in your post if you’d like to. :-) I’m intrigued by the idea of ‘perfume and tea pairing’, I’ll have to check that out.

      • brie

        The first Monday of every month on Australian Perfume Junkies is where I pair perfume with tea. I also write inspirational perfume related stories on the Fragrant Man….but I actually found YOU on Cauldrons and Cupcakes…it was your teacup that intrigued me, I clicked on it and here I am :D !!!

        • I’ve had a quick look at both of those blogs, very interesting. I’m intrigued to know about the tea/perfume pairing, so I’ll be having a look at your next post. Thank you for clicking my wee teacup. :-)

  3. The lentil burger looked pretty decent I have to say. You and your delightful assistants must keep half these establishments in business!

    • The lentil burger was definitely pretty decent: filling, very tasty and highly enjoyable. I like the idea of keeping the tearooms of Perthshire in business; could there be a more worthy pursuit, I ask myself?

  4. What a lovely round trip! Kenmore is a beautiful little place. I love the church windows, and the etched ones are particularly unusual. Churchyards always tell sad stories, when you read the inscriptions on gravestones and see the ages at which people died. That one says ‘The Thread Broke': was he a tailor, or does it mean the family line was lost? At least someone still cares enough to place flowers and a puffin on the grave.
    I’ve seen a few cottages around there with red-painted timber posts – I wonder who started that style? It looks as if that one is being eaten by the landscape! The food at House of Menzies is making me hungry. And the lemon drizzle cake… I’m feeling the need to make one now. Your Dad looks so happy to have found the train set!

    • Thanks Jo, that’s an idea about the meaning behind ‘The Thread Broke'; a professional connection hadn’t occurred to me. It’s heart-warming to see graves well tended, often many years after the people have died.

      It’s quite odd about the red posts, I have no idea why the style is so popular in that bit of the country. Perhaps some entrepreneurial type just did it to their house and others followed suit locally.

      The lemon drizzle cake was a fine example, you could really taste the lemon. Mmmm, my mouth’s watering at the thought of it. If there’s one thing my dad enjoys it’s a small wooden train set, and of course it’s always a good day when you see a train, of any sort. :-)

  5. I kind of want that little stone house! What a shame it’s fallen into ruin.

  6. You pack a lot into a post sometimes. By the time I get to the bottom I’ve forgotten half the things I was going to comment on (but I can always go back :))
    I started out thinking nice tulip background, then I loved the Caesar salad, then I marvelled at the funny red porch (never seen that feature before), then I thought how very well you photograph stained glass (wonderfully clear!), wanted to play with the wooden train and loved the look of the lemon cake. Good balance for my salad. Phew!! :)

  7. Hmm.. lentil burger sounds interesting and appetizing! It’s lunch time here and I am eating salad :-) That lemony cake is enticing too!

    • The lentil burger was really good, very full of flavours, and a nice salad to go with it. Who can resist a really lemony lemon cake? Delicious!

  8. What an amazing little cottage. To me it looks slightly Chinesey? I wonder if it’s redeemable at all? Could be a nice project for someone? Maybe even a roadside tearoom.

    • Now why didn’t I think of that? It honestly never crossed my mind, but that would be the perfect way to restore it. I, for one, would love to visit a little tearoom in a building like that. I wish someone would take that project on.

  9. What a wonderful outing full of many amazing sights and delectable treats. We just don’t seem to do that sort of thing here as much as we should. Your lunch at House of Menzies looked so good. I love lentil burgers! How nice that you got a free little piece of lemon cake to finish off the day. Of course the churches and graveyards are just up my alley.

    • Thanks Darlene, it was a very nice little day out. Long holidays are wonderful but sometimes just a few hours with a change of scene are enough to refresh and revive flagging spirits. Old churches and graveyards, not to mention tasty treats, always add a bit of interest to the day.

  10. What a wonderful outing…that lemon drizzly cake whetted my appetite (I love lemon desserts)…the lentil burger is enticing…lentil anything is good for me. We grew up eating lentils and spaghetti on Friday nights …(it tastes better than it sounds :-)

    • Thank you, Linda, really lemony things are just so mouth-watering, aren’t they?. Lentils and spaghetti? That’s certainly an unusual combination but since I love both I’d definitely try it.

  11. Ann

    I’m sitting here reading your blog on vacation from beautiful Maui, HI but am loving reading about your tea room adventures. The photos of that little cottage crumbling into the hillside was amazing as well as the church. I’m new to reading your blog and have enjoyed all your posts. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    • Welcome, and thank you for commenting. Your vacation sounds very exotic to me. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but my parents have and they enjoyed it; they still talk about the papayas they had for breakfast. I hope you’re enjoying your holiday, the thought of that sunshine and warmth is very nice while over here we’re shivering in about 8 degrees C. :-)

  12. Yet again you have shown us marvels we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. “Beyond Dull” made me laugh! That house built into the hill is amazing. Funny what you say about the tree trunks on porches – I associate them with Braemar and Royal Deeside, and they all seem to be painted green.

    The church is lovely indeed. I really like the pew cushions, and that amazing etched window!

    And of course I am hungry now…

    • Thank you, Christine. I’m very glad you mentioned the green tree trunks, because as I was writing this post I had a vague feeling in the back of my mind that I’d seen green ones but I couldn’t think where and wondered if I was imagining them. I’ll be keeping an eye out for them the next time I’m in Deeside. When I was photographing the pew cushions I thought of you. So much work has gone into them, it’s always lovely to see that kind of creative effort done by volunteers, as I imagine was the case with these covers.

  13. I’m really intrigued by that little abandoned house. It obviously was once truly loved by its inhabitants. What a shame to see it rotting away. But maybe the wee folk are still getting some enjoyment out of it and all isn’t lost. (It would make one helluva tea room.) I think the church was my favorite. What a beautiful place to worship with family and friends. I’ve never seen etched windows like that in a church, and the mismatched pew cushions were wonderful. Thanks for taking us along with you on your delightful excursion. :0) xo –Lucinda

    • The wee folk, I like it! I must say I was very pleasantly surprised by the church. It was very well kept and, as you say, a beautiful place. Thank you for joining me on my little outing! :-)

  14. You and your assistants have the best adventures! The abandoned building is lovely and in very good condition all things considered…

    • Thanks Meg, it was a nice little adventure. I have no idea how long that building’s been empty but it looks like it must have been quite a while. It would be nice if someone took it over and loved it again.

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