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Posts Tagged ‘almonds’

The autumn colours in Perthshire are particularly good this year and, thinking that the Scottish Borders would be putting on a similarly spectacular show, I took the delightful assistants down there for a gawp at the weekend.

We were most surprised to find that, despite being further south, it felt like winter rather than autumn in the Borders. Many of the trees were completely bare and most of the leaves that were left on the trees were well past their flame-grilled best.

However, I’m happy to say that at our destination of Dawyck Botanic Gardens, nature’s loveliness was abounding:

A couple of beech trees had curious wrappings round their trunks:

There was a poem, entitled The Bandaged Trees, attached to one of the trunks, but I found it a tad depressing so I won’t burden you with it.

Looking up into the trees was beautiful with the sunlight on the leaves:

Dawyck (more or less pronounced Daw-ik) is a beautiful place to walk around, and even though there were a lot of cars in the car park, we met very few people as we strolled through the gardens.

Here are a couple of tiny assistants perched atop a lovely bridge:

The air smelled very fresh and I took lots of deep breaths. The amount of lichen on the trees was perhaps a good indicator of just how pollution-free the atmosphere was. Some of the birches looked as if they were dressed in furs and feather boas:

Bits of the garden were in the shade and quite frosty, an ideal hiding place for ice nymphs and frost elves. Apparently, if you run backwards making chirpy little whistling noises they sometimes pop out. I tried this, but I didn’t see any. Mind you, I find that trying to stay upright while running backwards takes up most of my concentration.

My camera battery died just past this bench,

which was a pity as I had been hoping to take photos of the lunch we had after our walk.

However, I wouldn’t like to sign off without a small morsel to share with you, so here’s a Christmas pudding scone* I made yesterday instead:

*so called because it was inspired by Christmas pudding, and contains sultanas, mixed peel, slivered almonds, cherries, dates, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and treacle, as well as the standard scone ingredients

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I don’t know if you have a Marks and Spencer cafe near you, but my closest one is in Perth and it’s somewhere I like to pop into before a bit of shopping, since it’s well placed on the High Street and serves excellent tea and coffee, and superb toasted teacakes. What’s more, they have a ‘buy 9 get 1 free’ drinks offer where you can get one of their cards stamped every time you buy a hot drink, and since I frequent the place I’ve managed to fill a couple of these cards and benefit from the odd hot drink absolutely free of charge, gratis and for nowt. Marvellous!

I wish I had a photo of the teacake but the other day when I went I wasn’t very hungry and just went for tea and a shared piece of fruit cake:

The standard tea on offer is a fairtrade one called Gold Blend, and I have never been disappointed by it – quite the opposite, in fact. When I want a really good cup of tea, I know I’ll get it in Markies, served in a lovely little bulging white china teapot. The saucer comes with a small and meltingly delicious buttery biscuit in it and I like the teacups, which have large handles and very wide tops that allow the tea to cool down to drinkable temperature quite quickly:

The fruit cake, which has slivered almonds on top, is rather nice too:

What’s more, I’ve found the service to be excellent, and I can vouch for the Perth branch being full of friendly, helpful, smiling staff.

Well done Markies, keep up the good work!

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