…. this Easter Holiday, whether it be ….
So, before my http://karensphotoblog.com/2013/03/21/i-need-a-hug-x/ post, McBasil and I were last known to be living in the Cabin at Port o Spittal.
This obviously was only a temporary thing, at some point, we would need a proper home! And as lovely as Dumfries and Galloway is, I just knew my heart was not fully in it. It was up in the Highlands! Someone said ‘Move to the Highlands’! I knew I was not been true to myself by staying here at D&G, we had had a great time and explored the area, but the time had come to sit down with McBasil, have a Girl to Poodle talk and make plans!
But before we knew it, Christmas was upon us!
For the first time in my life, I would not be spending Christmas with my parents. It was decided, that a quiet Christmas in the cabin would be on the cards.
My partner Andy would come up for a few days and cooking Christmas lunch on me little cabin stove, was going to prove to be a challenge. I was far from been in the Christmas Spirit and had already made my mind up to head out with the Nikon over the festive season.
Couple of days before Christmas, I was Googling Houses, when by complete chance and still do not know how, I came across ‘Island View’ here at Ardmair.
My heart totally skipped a beat!
There were only a small handful of photos and description of the property, but I just knew.
Knew this was ‘The’ House for us.
So, there I am, Christmas Eve, starting the ball rolling on securing the House.
It was going to be a very long Christmas, as obviously the agents were having holidays too!
And for those which know me, patience is not my virtue and when I eventually make my mind up on something, I like it done as in yesterday!
Andy arrived and after us both having scoured supermarkets in Stranraer and Newton Stewart, we had a lunch concocted of sorts.
Starter; easy to do, ‘Devils on Horseback’.
Main; Duck Breasts, Ready Meal of Roast Potatoes, Veg & packet Stuffing.
Dessert; Microwave Christmas Pudding (Took some finding) and ready made Birds Rum Sauce.
Already, I was desperately missing Mums Roast Goose!
And needless to say, McBasil was not in the least bit impressed!
If you saw me little tin stove in the Cabin, you would fully understand why Christmas Lunch was such a challenge!
Anyhoo, in the end, it actually turned out to be very tasty.
Christmas and Boxing day soon passed and we would head back down to Yorkshire to see the New Year in and to break the news of the Ardmair Hoose.
New Years Eve, I would head to the local Pub in Wetwang, to meet dear friends Jayne & Andy and to watch ‘Raving Rupert’ sing live.
New Years Day, delicious Duck lunch at my Parents, wonderful.
The next few days was spent packing things up at Walnut Cottage, as the house sale was imminent.
Friday 4th January 2013, I loaded up Basilika and McBasil and I would say our goodbyes to Walnut Cottage for the very last time and begin the drive north back to Port O Spittal.
Sybil the Sheep was waiting for us!
The following week was manic!
After getting the Cabin set straight, it was time to pack all our stuff away again.
I had received the news, that we had secured ‘Island View’, we were to move on the 11th!
No pressure, no panic (much).
But, obviously as things work differently up here in Scotland (and rightly so), I did not find out that it was 100% ours until the afternoon of the 10th!
To say my stomach was full of somersaulting Butterflies, is a complete understatement!
I was a bag of nerves!
4am, Friday 11th January 2013, freezing fog and I begin to load up Basilika.
There was no way everything was going to fit in!
And there was no way McBasil was going to be of any help!
After numerous coffees and repacking, at 6.30am we said our goodbyes to the Cabin and Sybil and began our drive to the Highlands.
The fog was horrendous, 30mph, this was going to be a very long day and we had to be at the Estate Agents by early afternoon to sign contracts etc.
Eventually, we reached Glasgow and the fog cleared.
We were bound for the A9 and up to Dingwall.
It soon became apparent to me, that I had overloaded Basilika, we had a bit of a sway on!
And to make matters worse, the vacuum storage bag with the duvet in, exploded open and completely blocked the back windows!
I was unable to stop and open the back door, as I just knew everything would fall out.
Friend Bruce kept me company on the journey and knowing I was craving a coffee as I had forgotten me flask, would direct me to a service station. I missed it!
McBasil slept throughout the whole of this, until he woke and made me pull over for him to sniff lay-by 41.
Onwards again, next stopping in a lay-by near Aviemore where there was a mobile cafe and I could get a much needed coffee.
There were a couple of Policemen parked up having a coffee break too, embarrassingly, McBasil was now fully awake and when they made eye contact with him, he would proceed to bark and growl at them.
I ditched the coffee and made a quick getaway in true Starskey & Hutch style, before McBasil got us into trouble and I would have to explain the overloading and duvet etc etc.
2pm, we reach Dingwall and find the Estate Agents.
McBasil would come in too!
And my thanks go to Fiona, who looked after him, whilst I used their washroom. It was beyond the call of duty for her.
And of course McBasil had to be involved and explore the agents office!
3.30pm, we leave Dingwall and take the A835 to Ullapool.
Snow and Freezing.
But, just beautiful. Playing Braveheart soundtrack, we were totally caught up in the moment.
Stopped of at Ullapool for provisions.
We reach ‘Island View’ at Ardmair, our new home!
Sadly, it was dark by now, so obviously was unable to take in the full surroundings.
I would get McBasil inside, fed and settled, light the fire and got Basilka unloaded in record time.
We were not late to bed, I was shattered and I just could not wait for daybreak, so we could view our new home for the very first time!
We would not be disappointed!
To be continued ….
This, is exactly what I put as my status on my Facebook profile about an hour ago.
Was having a low moment.
Messages, Replies & Hugs sent, have just prompted me to get back to me Blog!
I know, it has been a while!!
So, firstly, thank you, to the virtual huggers and just the best and loveliest of friends xx
Secondly, hey, guess what, if you have not heard by now, ‘The Journey’ has taken another turn! McBasil and I, are now living at Ardmair. Which, is 3 miles of Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands.
A long way ‘Oop narth’ from Dumfries & Galloway and obviously, even further from Yorkshire like.
It is, without doubt, a most stunning and truly beautiful part of the world. In that respect, we are a very lucky girl and Poodle.
There has been speculation as to why we’ve moved here, tis simple, this is where my heart is and It has been the right move, I know that, but, it has been far from an easy move and we (well, me) have really struggled some days,
We are obviously alone, still finding our feet (or Paws) and starting a fresh kind of thing.
The hardest part of this move, is leaving my parents behind, whom I love and miss dearly.
Lots more to tell, but this will do for starters.
Sat typing this back down in Yorkshire! But, it is only a fleeting visit. Heading back up home on Thursday.
Home! For just over two weeks now, Scotland has been my home and whilst it may not have been the best of starts, I am loving it.
We were meant to move up on Saturday the 3rd, but due to been laid up with the pesky Flu virus, I didn’t get packed, or moved up until the 4th!
As you know, Basil and I are temporarily living in a wooden cabin on a hilltop! Must be quite mad lol. Basil is coming round to the idea of it slowly! The walks are so much better for him. The views, as I keep saying, are stunning and it is peaceful, very peaceful. I am more than happy, with our lot.
So, still not unpacked yet! Got in on that Sunday evening and spent the next couple of days in bed with pesky Flu relapse! Am still deaf in my right ear, which is driving me mad!
Not getting much better, I contacted the local surgery and got an appointment made to see a very nice Doctor. More Antibiotics were issued to me. Such a nice surgery at Sandhead and I think the very nice Doctor thought I was mad too lol, but keen to hear about my story.
Thursday 8th had arrived! This was the Launch evening for the new book, ‘Whisky From Small Glasses’, wonderfully written by author and great friend: D.A.Meyrick and which I have had the great pleasure of doing the cover for.
This is when, Country Girl here, would be taking a trip up to Glasgow!
Running somewhat late, it was a foot down dash to Stranraer Station, to catch the 12.30pm train to Glasgow Central. Ran and got my ‘Return’ ticket and jumped on that Train, with only seconds to spare! I put on my iPod, sat back and relaxed. This, is when it actually hit me, I was actually living in Scotland! I can not explain how happy I was feeling. Not for a long time, had I been this happy. Sat there with a silly grin on my face, I leant further back into my seat and took in the beautiful countryside this journey had to offer.
I spotted lots of wildlife, granted, mainly Buzzards and Herons, but then, in the middle of nowhere, I spotted the most handsome Fox, am sure he was looking right at me. I sat and happily thought of him for the remainder of my journey.
Time soon passed and I was pulling into Glasgow Central Station. My first visit here I may add!
I Stepped off the train onto the platform and joined the hustle and bustle of commuters.
I was literally buzzing.
I soon came to a halt, there was a row of Turnstiles! I stood and watched a few folk go through, got my ticket, entered it in the machine and through I went. There I then stood, waiting for my ticket to pop out the other side.
Stood heart racing, this Country Girl, goes into a flat out panic! WTF was her ticket!
How was she going to get out of the big city?
Other people were coming through now, I feared my precious ticket would be lost forever!
Looking around, I see a guard, I approach him and babble out my tale of woe.
In his strong Glaswegian accent, he asks me why I would want my ticket back?
I babble some more, explaining again, that I had purchased a ‘Return’ ticket and how was I going to get back to my Poodle?
He then said to me, that I should have been given two tickets! No I replied, I only had the one!
He asks where I had bought it from, so I babble on some more, telling him of my mad foot down dash and buying it at Stranraer. He says again, ‘You sure you weren’t given two tickets’? ‘Positive’ I reply!
He calls over another guard.
He then gets me to explain to the second guard, the whole sorry story again.
This Country Girl, is getting somewhat a tad annoyed at this point.
Yet again, they both tell me, that I should have been given two tickets, but, been the heroes they were, they got some Keys and would open the Turnstile Machine. Obviously, this involved closing this Turnstile down and folk had to use the others, but I was beyond that worry, as long as I had my ticket returned to me.
They got the Turnstile apart and began to sort through what looked like 100′s of tickets, they kept searching for that special one.
It was soon beginning to look like a fruitless exercise, so they asked me if I had a receipt?
‘Oh yes’ I replied and reached into my my bag and delved deep for it.
‘Here it is’ I said smiling and there also …. was that second return ticket!!!
I now turn a whole new shade of Scarlet.
The Guards looked annoyed, but then began to laugh, seriously laugh at me and asked where on earth was I from and that they couldn’t wait to tell this story to workmates over a pint!
I apologised several times over, but they were still laughing, so I pointed out that they were just stood around doing nothing anyway and decided to it was time to make a sharp exit.
Walking away, all I could hear, was the howls of laughter echoing around Glasgow Central.
So, out in to the city centre I ventured, time was now becoming an issue again, as I was to find the Hotel, meet Helen (aka Barn Studio Signs) and husband Terry, then it would be off to meet Denzil and Fiona before the start of the launch.
According to iPhone, it was a two mile trek (The number two, was seriously starting to hack me off by now lol), so Taxi it was!
Arrived at hotel, fortunately passing the bar enroute, so I knew where to find that!
Checked in, texted Helen and Terry, who replied, that they were very nearly there.
Then, another text came in saying ‘We took a wrong turn, are on the *bleeping* M8 and are now 5 *bleeping* miles away’!
So, I would explore what was to be my room for the night and made myself a much needed coffee.
Shortly after, yet another text ‘We are on St Vincent Street’. So I head down to the reception and make enquiries as to where this street was. The manager led me to the hotel front and pointed it out to me, excellent, they will be here any time now, I will wait.
At this point, I had noticed, that there was an awful lot of guys around, to the point I realised I was the only female! What it looked like, me been stood on the steps, at dusk, under a light, I have no idea! But the next thing I knew, I heard an ‘Evening Love’, there next to me, was a guy in a blue football shirt, swigging a can of John Smiths! He was from near Birmingham, but was not to be called a Brummie! He was a construction worker, also staying in the hotel. I exchanged minimum pleasantries, informing him, that my friends would be here at any minute! The Hotel Manager overheard and yet again, pointed out St Vincent Street, ‘Its only two away’ he said! Damn that Two! Then another text ‘We took a wrong turn and some how have ended back up on St Vincent street’!
My new friend, says ‘Oooh looks like your friends aint coming’ and smirked! ‘I know a good bar around the corner’, ‘not that great for totty like you (Totty lol), but serves a proper pint, then we could go to the curry house’! ‘That sounds a really good night, but sorry, I have got plans tonight’, ‘Where’? he asks, I pointed him in the opposite direction, as he produced another can and tells me all about himself! With that, another text: ‘Somehow, we’ve done it again, we are back on *Bleeping* St Vincent Street’! Good god, John Smiths man, had even read it over my shoulder! ‘Told you love, they aint coming, they’re winding you up, looks like you’re stuck with me’! The manager reappears again, ‘Not sure what has happened to Mr & Mrs Newman’ he says, ‘But St Vincent Street is only over there’!
Some more smirking by my new John Smiths friend! He then announces, that he was going to shower and change and that if I was still on these steps on his return, we were going out for that curry! Then gave me his room number, just in case!!
Stood alone, I was busy looking at iPhone as per and suddenly see another guy stood straight in front of me! Terry! HOORAH! Lets get this evening rolling.
Lots of chat with Helen whilst Terry had lay down and requested, that he never wanted to hear the name ‘St Vincent Street’ again, now of course, that was never going to happen lol
We got ready and headed out, stopping off at reception, to ask where the Black Sparrow was. The guy had no idea!
Terry suggested we turned right, I said no, we go left. He was adamant we went right, but I was soon keen to point out the driving up and down St Vincent Street saga and that his navigation skills, were perhaps not that great! Left we went!
I had bought some new tartan heels for the occasion, I would soon regret not wearing these in before hand!
15min later we spot the Black Sparrow,find our bar, meet Denzil and my dear friend Fiona and order Tennents! So bloomin wonderful to see them again.
It was an absolute fabulous night, Denzil spoke wonderfully, Rachel and Jason acted out a scene from the book, just brilliant, they are two future stars, without a shadow of a doubt.
Sonja (aka the very talented Artist @ShadedFaces) was there, some trek from Moray! Stuart who we got to know via Twitter came along too, great company. Laugh, we laughed so hard, it hurt, which possibly made us laugh some more.
It was Reggae night in the club, so we got down to some of that also.
I have no idea what time we walked back to the hotel (actually, that should have been staggered)! But by now, my feet could take no more, so bare foot I went along the pavements of Glasgow! It was just wonderful.
Breakfast! OMG! My poor head! But seeing Terry looking how I felt and sat there armed with Anadin, made me feel a little better. I wasn’t alone in my suffering.
Boy was I hungry all of a sudden. I scoffed that breakfast and apologise to Helen and Terry for me hogging all the toast!
It was a good breakfast, only to be marred by the cigarette smoke wafting out from the kitchen! I kid you not!
Then it was time to say our goodbyes, Helen and Terry assured me, that they would be exploring Glasgow on foot!
I can not wait to meet all the above mentioned for another night out.
Taxi for Appleyard arrived!
So, I was back at Glasgow Central, I kept my head down, that is for sure!
Found a table and ordered a large strong coffee, sat and slumped over it.
I felt something, WTF, there was a club footed Pigeon pecking at me foot! I tried to shoo it away, pesky thing just came back for more! Damn thing wouldn’t leave me alone! I moved, it followed!
My Train was due, back past the Turnstiles and on to Platform 9.
Two hours (damn number 2 again), of swaying Train back to Stranraer was not making me feel too good.
Back to the Cabin and Basil and I hit the sofa.
Have taken Basil to Ardwell Bay a couple of times, glorious, had the place to ourselves.
Unfortunately, Basil ate a dead Seagull on the second visit!
By Monday, I was back in bed with the Flu! Managed to crawl out and make the Doctors again on Wednesday. I had no energy. More tablets!
Thursday, I decided to unpack the Mac and do some work.
I blew the electrics :-/
Saturday was Basils Seagull day.
Sunday, I did nothing, just slept.
Monday, Gales and Floods, I had to abandon the cabin, electrics had gone again and rain was pouring in through the kitchen window! And it meant a white knuckle drive back to Yorkshire.
Tuesday, Basil to groomers and Mac back to shop, Apple had recalled my particular model to replace the hard drive!
I am hoping to pick it up today and that this time tomorrow, McBasil and I will be on our way heading Oop Narth and back home again. Home to Scotland!
To purchase a copy of Whisky from Small Glasses, visit Amazon, or order directly from http://ringwoodpublishing.com/catalogue/whisky-from-small-glasses/ and get it signed by Denzil himself!
Good Morning Everyone
Yes, it has been a long time since my last Blog post!
And not even too sure where to start this one!!!
So much has been happening, not all good and life has sort of been put on hold, well, more like the Photography has, whilst I have had to re-evaluate things and tried to get things sorted in my mind so to say!
So, ‘Starting Again’, it is not just my Blog I am talking about, but pretty much everything!
At the moment, I am sat typing this, in a wooden lodge at Port o Spittal, Scotland! It has the most amazing views and at present, am sat overlooking the North Channel across to Ireland.
And ….. this is now to be Basils and I’s home for the foreseeable future!
Yes, thats right, we have finally made that move up to Scotland!
Of course, I must be totally mad, to consider spending winter in a wooden cabin, with limited heating! Basil, is far from been impressed at the moment and I have yet to break the news to him that this is his new home! I sense a few tantrums ahead!
Was so cold in here this morning, we took a walk to go get warmed up and that reminded me, why I chose this place, as said, stunning views. And so peaceful too, the only sounds I hear (apart from Basil sighing), are the Birds and the Galloway Belties mooing every now and then. Bliss.
So, life is basically starting again and so is the Photography, which I am hoping to get established up here.
Where we will end up, I have absolutely no idea! Am just going to take each day as it comes. First and foremost, rest and try and get rid of this blasted Flu bug, which has flared up again with yesterdays drive.
There are new adventures waiting to be had, the Nikon is chomping at the bit and ‘The Journey’ continues.
Karen & McBasil x
Sat out with a Coffee, waiting for the day to break.
It is about 5am now. Been up an hour already. Just sat thinking etc and something does dawn on me! I haven’t done a blog post for a while. Sorry.
On saying that, this isn’t going to be much of one, but more of an update of sorts.
These last couple of weeks, have just whizzed on past. And you could say, that life is very much like a Roller Coaster at present.
As some of you know, I had, well, lets just say, an unpleasant and totally un-nessecary incident a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, all is now past and forgotten. But, thank you very much again for your support, it was quite overwhelming, yet very much appreciated.
Still no news on Bessie and still ongoing with the Insurance Company, but hopefully, that is all going to be resolved any day now!
After the Dumfries and Galloway trip, it was soon back down to Earth and Yorkshire, with a serious bump! Reality struck and I have felt like a caged Bird ever since.
Basil and I are climbing the walls together!
House, well it is still on the market, but, please keep everything crossed for us and watch this space! Basically not wanting to tempt fate, but am starting to sort me Passport out for ‘headin’ oop north of border’! *Eeeeeek*!
Scotland, has been a long time coming and life is a funny ole thing at times.
I was moving up once before and was very close to doing so (e.g. had packed etc), but then, the Gamekeepering opportunity arose and obviously, I made that choice.
Though, Scotland has always had my heart all this time.
I have been asked, why Dumfries and galloway? It hasn’t been an easy choice to make, but yet is a simple one. it is basically due to commitments down here in Yorkshire. I need to be within easy driving distance.
Though, will only be getting a little of my heart back! It is up in the North west were my heart resides, Torridon and around there, is where it likes to roam!
Why this title for this blog post? Well, it pretty much sums things up and is a beloved motto I use with two of my dearest friends, Helen and Fiona.
Live; You just have to, good or bad. As my Twitter bio says, ‘Walk Your Life and Make It Count’!
Laugh; You can deal with things much better if you can and you have to be able to laugh at yourself! Have had the perfect example of that over the last 48hours and am hoping I can tell you why in a future post!
Love; Yes, I am in Love! In love with life.
Having to leave the Keepering behind and whilst been ill, I spent a fair bit of time, wondering if I would ever be in love with life again, but even on this current Roller Coaster, I am and it is amazing.
Hard to believe, that I have nearly done a full circle and am packing for Scotland again!
‘The Journey’ continues.
Just taken a phone call, have just been told the sad news of the death of one of my old Picker-ups.
Johnny, was a great guy, full of character and we have spent many hours together on a shoot day.
Whilst ‘The Journey’, is obviously Photography now, it is moments like this, when I look back to my Keepering days and yearn to be back.
I have said before, it wasn’t a job, it was a way of life. To succeed, it had to be. You had to love it and dedicate your life to it, that is the only way it worked. For those of you who know about it, you will fully understand. The freedom and nature, which came with it, was second to none. If only I had the Nikon back then! But, I had my compact camera.
I have been spending this last week, cataloging and sorting images out for something!!
But this news, has just made me reach for my old photo albums and have half an hour of reminiscing, taking myself back out in to the field. There are only limited ones I can show you at the moment, but, as usual, I will let them explain a small part of my story to you x
It is with heavy heart, that within the next hour we are setting off and heading back home. I think it will be a long drive at the pace of a Snail.
Before I write any more, I must say a big thank you to Alison Smith (aka @Kirklauchline on Twitter), for letting us rent her cottage for these last two weeks. Also, for introducing us to the beautiful ‘Rhinns of Galloway’. I think Idyllic, is the best way to describe it.
You can find out details of Alison’s cottage here… http://portpatrickholidaycottage.co.uk/ Also, find Alison’s Facebook Page here… http://www.facebook.com/pages/Portpatrick-Holiday-Cottage/129900480402343 Keep up to date, with latest news, events and special offers. Its worth it!
So, my ‘Journey’, has brought me to Dumfries and Galloway, for those of you who know me, it is a big change for me, I usually head to the Highlands of Scotland. I have been to this area before, but it was some years ago now.
A couple of people said to me, ‘Oh, you won’t like it as much as the Highlands’ and those people, also said, that I would regret been stuck out on a limb at the Rhinns. True, it is obviously not the Highlands, but we have fallen in love with the area just the same. As for the the Rhinns, well yes, you are out on a bit of a limb here, but, we have fallen in love with that limb also and we are hoping, praying and keeping everything tightly crossed, that this area will become our home in the very near future!
Having arrived on the Saturday 30th June, Sunday was spent, by having a lazy day at the cottage, mulling around the garden and breathing in the sea air and views. Then came Monday and Tuesday! Just dismal weather, a Jacket was required! So Monday was spent by browsing the bookshops of Wigtown (And purchasing several books)! By Wednesday, the weather had eased and improved slightly. Though, I can hardly remember the grey skies now, due to the glorious sunshine and blue skies which we have been lucky enough to have this last week.
So, how have we spent these last two weeks? Hectic, is one way of describing it. There is hardly a stone left uncovered here in Dumfries and Galloway. The whole point of this trip, was to find an area and possibly a house, ready for our big move.
We have done scores of ‘Drive By’s’ and viewed several houses. Taking in the views as we have travelled. Oh and plenty of loo and sniffing breaks for McBasil.
All this, meant that the Nikon has been feeling a tad redundant. Though am hoping I will have some photos to share with you, once back in Yorkshire.
It most certainly has been a fortnight of variety! Wildlife galore, though no Otters (yet)! And instead of me explaining it all, below are numerous iPhone pictures to give you an idea of places we have been and what we have seen!
Am switching off now, unplugging the Mac and away we go, knowing, that there are some stressful times ahead of us, but oh boy, what an adventure it will be too! And I can not wait for this part of ‘The Journey’ to start!
See you back in Yorkshire
So as some of you may have gathered, I am up in Dumfries and Galloway at present, doing some scouting around. First few days of weather has been dismal. But what a beautiful and often overlooked part of the world this is.
Now those of you who have been away with me, know I have a penchant for getting off the beaten track (track being the operative word)! Basically, I prefer the minor roads, over time, these roads have become known as ‘K’ roads to fellow travellers. You will always get the best from these roads, meet the locals, see the wildlife and discover many a hidden gem! Now on Tuesday, Basil insisted on going to see ‘Sawney Beans Cave’. Up and down the A77 like complete galahs we went. Eventually finding it! By then, Basil had lost all interest! It was then my intention to head up to Girvan and back along the A714, as there was a ‘K’ road which I had spotted on the map and that was going to be the journey back to the cottage. After the A77 debacle, hunger was kicking in. Called at a farmshop, only to discover we were too late. So, on we went. By now, the rain had decided to prove us wrong, by raining even harder! And at 5pm, where were we ever going to find anything to eat or drink? Basil began to panic!
Not long before we reached Barrhill, we suddenly saw a sign, ‘Food’, ‘served from 4-11pm’, ‘bring your own Beer and Wine’! On went the brakes and a quick u-turn, which The Sweeny would have been proud of! Then took the right hand turn, into what appeared to be a drive of an estate or stately home? Yet, the sign said ‘Shimla’?? Oh what the heck, we must be right! The drive, turned out to be about a mile through spectacular private grounds (even in the rain)! Then, to be greeted, by the most impressive building! By now of course, we had figured out, that ‘Shimla’ must be Indian cuisine, but, in the middle of the Scottish countryside?? We drove round the sweeping bend, to pull up outside this grand building, perhaps the Laird may make us a Coffee and share some Dundee Cake? We found a door and headed in, to be warmly greeted by the Indian owner, Indian Chef, a young Scottish Waiter and we held the door open for a local farmer, who had just collected his takeaway! Surreal!
We walked through the grand entrance, to be shown, to what can only be described as a make shift dining room and an empty one at that! If we just wanted coffee and cake, then that is what they would happily serve us. Conscience began to prick a little and we thought it was only polite, to have something more. We decided on Scampi and Chips!
By now, we were joined by another couple. The man (we now know as Kevin), began to chat and we soon learnt that he was overseeing the renovation and helping with the grand plans for ‘Kildonan House’.
Kildonan, was built as a private house. The owners got divorced. The man would continue to live there, until his second marriage. Wife no2 refused to move in to it!
Kildonan, was then in the hands of Nuns. It was a convent and the Nuns taught there also. Not sure what happened to the Nuns, but it was then the entrepreneurs turn. Finally becoming the start of Shimla Restaurant.
After our history lesson, our Poppadoms and sauces were served! Kevin, also disappeared for a short while. Am suspecting this was to go get some Scampi for us! Which, was served shortly after Kevin’s return. Like I said, totally surreal to be sat in this grand room, virtually empty, paper tablecloths even! But, we ended up having a great meal and had even greater company! My only regret was, after seeing Kevin’s partners meal been served, I wish I had been a tad more adventurous!
There are great plans for Kildonan House and I wish them all every success with it. We are hoping for a return visit next week, even to include a tour of the house and grounds!
So, if you are driving along the A714, keep an eye out for it. Better still, go say hello and have a meal. You will not be disappointed!
Excuse the pics, they are with the iPhone x
This post, is a way of saying thank you, to some wonderful and very talented friends which I have. It is funny how everything seems to happen at once. And much to Basils disgust, it involved the Postman rolling up bearing gifts! (No, he isn’t Greek)!
It all began, when my friend Laine, posted some photos on Facebook, she had been busy painting some tins for her Garden. They looked so pretty and straight away, I knew I would be able to use them as props for future shoots. I asked if I could buy some from her, she refused! But, then said, that she would gladly send me some. A box arrived, containing 8 tins, a treat for Basil and the most beautiful card she had made, which is Parchment Craft. I loved her address label ‘To Kazzer at Yorkshire’
Next, came my new comfort blanket! A Knitting mystery had been taking place on Twitter, it lasted for several weeks and I knew that there was a fair bit of wool involved and I was having visions of naked Sheep roaming the Glens. And I could almost hear the clattering of needles down here from my dear friend Fiona. I am amazed at how much work and love, Fiona has put in to it for me. I will treasure it and try to keep it away from Basil!! Actually, this wasn’t sent via post, this was handed to me personally. Fiona and Denzil had come down from Scotland to holiday at Whitby, we went and met up with them, a wonderful day, full of non stop chat and non stop laughter, full on belly laughs, it was great and I can’t wait until we see them again. Fiona is now doing a blog, which is great reading and also, I am mentioned too (thank you Fiona) > http://fionameyricksthoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/hi-just-started-this-blog-where-i-will.html Not only that, but Denzil has written a book! ‘Whisky From Small Glasses’ here is his blog link, go have a read of the first chapter, it will leave you wanting more! I can’t wait for it to be published and wish him every success with it! http://whiskyfromsmallglasses.blogspot.co.uk/
Having returned from our Whitby jaunt, another dear friend, Helen, began working on a sign for us (well, Basil). This is what Helen does, from her home in the Yorkshire Dales, she makes beautiful hand painted wooden signs. Helens sign, was delivered beautifully wrapped in brown paper and string, I loved that, it was great opening it. The Photographs, do not do them justice! Take a look at her website, she will pretty much take on any order and request. Barn Studio Signs, has been running for a year now and is going from strength to strength. I could not be more pleased for Helen and it has been my privilege, to see her business grow and for us to be on our working Journeys together. http://www.barnstudiosigns.co.uk/
Now, during all this time, I had entered a giveaway competition on Facebook, run by Lomond Soaps. To be honest, I had forgotten I had entered. But I could not believe it when Corrie contacted my page, to inform me that I had won!!! So, on the same day of Helen’s sign arriving, the Postie also handed over another box,which, inside contained a bottle of Liquid Soap, a block of Soap and a bottle of Hand and Body lotion. These are all natural and Palm Oil free. The scent is divine and they are so soft and luxurious. I will definitely be purchasing from Corrie’s site in the future! There are plenty of products to chose from, not only that, this small company from Argyll, Scotland, is a huge supporter of the ‘Orangutan Protection Foundation’ and very generously donate to this cause, from every soap sold! That in itself, is well worth buying for. Visit Corrie here > http://www.lomondsoap.com/
My final delivery, was a small and delicate parcel. I saw an offer on Facebook by CathaDragonfly. This is a page run by Julia, who makes such pretty handcrafted items. The offer, was for one of her ‘Summer Birdie Houses’. I have had my eye on these for sometime and whilst I should actually be getting rid of things for the big move, I could not resist ordering 2 for our new home (when and wherever that is). I chose one and left it up to Julia to design another for me, her design was perfect. Treat yourself, or buy as a gift here > https://www.facebook.com/CatchaDragonfly
So, basically, I am very lucky to have such good friends, not only that, but talented friends. And it just goes to show, talent comes in all shapes and sizes and I admire them all.
And I thank them all very much.