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Posts Tagged ‘Blairgowrie and Rattray’

The small Perthshire town of Blairgowrie sits among rolling hills and farmland in the Vale of Strathmore.

The streets of the town slope upwards towards the north-west, and if you continue walking in this direction beyond the limit of houses, you soon reach the top of a small grassy hill called The Knockie.

The Knockie, being only a few minutes’ trot from where I live, provides an easily accesible bit of fresh air and exercise for someone who spends far too much time sitting at a desk. I try to get out for a little walk most days of the week and yesterday, thinking it was too long since I last did it, I felt inspired to go and look at the views from The Knockie.

The track up the hill is often very muddy, but is apparently being upgraded and will soon be covered in stones. I think it has a nicely old-fashioned look, bounded by lovely dry stone walls covered in moss:

When you reach the top of the hill, you can read a ghost story on a board:

The story concerns a Lady Jean Drummond, who lived at nearby Newton Castle around the 13th century. She fell in love with a chap from a neighbouring castle, but the two families were at war with one another over land rights, and any sort of romance was out of the question. Heartbroken, Lady Jean is said to have wandered out into the marshes, never to return. Her ghost, dressed in green silk, currently divides her time betwen the two castles, ever pining for her lost love.

A wooden seat has been thoughtfully provided so that you can sit and contemplate this tragic tale:

Yesterday was not the brightest of days, but on the other side of the hill from Blairgowrie there are good views of the surrounding countryside, and the distant Grampian mountains:

The track on the other side of the hill has a much better surface, being covered in tarmac for some of the way, and there are more mossy walls:

We’ve had a fair bit of stormy weather here lately, and I passed some trees that had not only been uprooted, but had taken the ground with them. I thought it looked as if a giant had come along and lifted up the carpet:

As I rounded The Knockie, the setting sun broke through the clouds casting a warm glow on the hillside to the east:

Over towards the west, the sky seemed to be on fire:

The atmosphere was hazy, but the lighting created this silhouette of a horse on the horizon:

By the time I got home, I felt I’d earned a small snackerel:

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Following on from 83, which was the grand old age delightful assistant no.2 (my dad) reached on 29 April this year, today it’s delightful assistant no.1 (my mum)’s turn. She’s not quite an octogenarian yet but she’s more than halfway through her septuagenarian years.

The birthday girl wanted to pop into our local metropolis, Perth, to do a bit of shopping today, and so that’s what we did this morning. Having been very successful in the clothing department of Marks and Spencer, we toddled off to one of our favourite tearooms in Perth for luncheon.

The last time we were in this tearoom, along with delightful assistant no.2, it was very busy and we were asked if we minded sharing a table with someone else. We didn’t mind at all, especially when the someone else turned out to be a most interesting and entertaining fellow called Geoff.

Geoff introduced me to a website called blipfoto, which is a social networking photography site on which you can post one photo every day, taken on that day, and people can leave comments, much as they do on WordPress blogs. I joined up with blipfoto after speaking to Geoff, and if you’re at all interested you can find me there as ‘Weedoon‘.

Well, as I say, we went back to this tearoom today and who do you suppose we should bump into, but the very same Geoff! (This may seem like a great coincidence, but since he is an avid fan of the place and visits just about every day, I suppose it’s not all that surprising).

I had vegetable soup, and delightful assistant no.1 had egg and cress sandwiches (I took a photo of the soup but it’s not very good so I’ll just include the sandwiches or, as our waitress called them, “sangwidges” – very Scottish pronunciation, ‘sang’ being pronounced in the same way as the past tense of ‘sing’):

Geoff also chose the sandwiches, but he very wisely added a slice of coffee and walnut cake. I was extremely tempted to order a piece myself but I knew we were heading home for birthday cake afterwards so I nobly resisted. Very kindly, Geoff offered me his cake to photograph (being the fine fellow he is, he understands the importance of such things):

Back in sunny Blairgowrie (I like to call it “sunny Blairgowrie by the sea”, perversely because it’s nowhere near the sea) the birthday candles were lit and the four family members who were available gathered to sample it. My sister baked it and I decorated it:

Some stalactites formed on the edges (and a few spare chocolate buttons were wedged into the middle of the cake):

The cake was light and delicious and slipped down nicely with a cup of tea, served on my bargain tea and toast sets:

All of this was very nice, but it wasn’t the only exciting thing that happened today.

I think 76 is an age at which you might think about things you haven’t done but would like to do. Having survived for more than three quarters of a century, you might feel it’s high time you fulfilled some long-held ambitions.

Today, 76 years from when she first breathed air on planet Earth, delightful assistant no.1 fulfilled such an ambition. Her grandmother did this very thing at a much younger age, apparently to improve her eyesight, because she was trying to stave off the inevitable glasses (a common rhyme of the day didn’t help her to feel comfortable about the impending situation: “men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”). As far as I know, what she did made no impression at all upon her eyesight, although perhaps it helped her to feel a bit more glamorous.

I took my dear assistant to a jewellery shop in Perth, where she bravely sat in a chair while a be-gloved lady shot at her twice and this was the result (the ears are where the action was):

The earrings are tiny gold ones with small diamond-like sparkly stones in the middle, they’re very pretty when they catch the light. I was so proud of her doing this at her age, and I think she looks great with them in.

When I got my ears pierced (I think I was about 16 or 17) I was intending to have two piercings in one ear and none in the other. However, after getting the first one done I was so distressed that I couldn’t take a second hit. My sister accompanied me to the jeweller, sat on me, and let me squeeze her hand until it went white while I had it done. It was quite a bit later that I plucked up the courage to have the other ear done. Then, in 2004 while I was wandering aimlessly around New Zealand on my own, I took the fancy for another piercing up at the top of my left ear. I went to a piercing parlour and had it done sitting in a chair, but then I fainted and had to lie down on a couch in the shop. Various kind-hearted customers, displaying all manner of painful looking piercings, came in and talked to me for the next half hour, while I lay there with the room spinning and a wet cloth on my brow. You will gather from this that I am a champion woose and quite incredibly feeble when it comes to needles, pain, or anything remotely medical.

We had been keeping this little ear-piercing business a secret from delightful assistant no.2, and wondered how long it would take him to notice. On arrival at the house, he chatted a bit to his dear wife and then I suddenly heard him exclaim, in the manner of somone profoundly shocked, “What have you done to your ears?!” I ran through from the next-door room and asked him what he thought of it. Once he’d got over the initial shock he admitted that he thought they suited her and she looked rather lovely. I agree, and hope he feels the same about the tattoo she’s planning to celebrate with next year.

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It was a beautiful sunny morning in Blairgowrie today, and as a break from writing I popped into the town for a quick tearoom visit with my delightful assistant, and a mooch round the charity shops.

I was sure I had mentioned today’s tearoom before in this blog, but it seems not. Unfortunately, because I thought I had, I didn’t take many photos today and I only had my mobile phone camera. However, in lieu of doing a fuller post at some point in the future, here’s a little taster.

I had my usual here, i.e. a big fruit scone and a decaf latte. The scones are generally quite large in this place but today they were huge. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever had a bigger scone anywhere. The photos don’t do it justice, but you could try imagining something the size of a pair of fists belonging to someone slightly larger than average. When I look at it here it looks barely bigger than one fist, which I can’t understand at all. I remember it well and it seemed massive to me.

The latte was topped with a fluff of foam on top projecting beyond the rim of the glass, a nice touch making me feel I’d got more than I’d paid for.

After our coffee and scones we waddled slowly down the street, popping in and out of charity shops, inspecting the teacups for sale. I nearly bought some with gold rims and yellow flowers on them and goodness knows why I didn’t take a photo of them, but perhaps it’s just as well that I’m not reminded of them too much.

The sun was shining brightly, right up until I took a photo of some crocuses, when it ducked behind a cloud. Even so they were still a blaze of colour brightening up the grey street.

For the last couple of years there’s been a gallery and shop in Blairgowrie set up and run by the artist himself, but sadly I noticed today that it’s closing down. It had this notice in the window. It would be a good deal to get one free painting, never mind an extra wee one to boot:

That’s it for today’s swanning around, but it was a very nice little break from staring at a computer screen.

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