Sunday, 30 November 2008

St Andrews Day, Blairgowrie

Another year, another St Andrews Day.  Had a busy weekend guest-wise so it was a rush to get out to a party tonight.  Everyone had to wear something Scottish and there were some very well turned out people in attendance.  Kilts abound and the question 'why do men usually have better legs than women' sprung to mind - again.  Perhaps it's only men with shapely legs who wear kilts!

Blairgowrie gave a good show of entertainment this afternoon.  The Pipe Band were out in all their glory and the market was doing well.  I didn't manage to spend much time in town and also forgot my camera, so the above picture is from earlier in the year.

The town Christmas lights looked so smart tonight and I'll try to take some photographs very soon.

It's good to meet with friends but also good to be home in the warm.  Very cold again tonight but everyone says they are cosy so that's the main thing.  The new boiler seems to be working well.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Winter Weather Is Here Early.

November Snow

Woke up yesterday morning to a 2 inch covering of snow.  It looked very picturesque from inside the house where it was cosy and warm.  Eventually I did go outside to take some photos and the day was very pleasant, cold but dry and no wind.  Luckily the council looks after the roads well, so there are no problems travelling in this kind of weather.

The garden looked quite sculptural with the snow outlining the shape of shrubs and there's always a peacefulness about gardens and the countryside when it's covered in snow.

I'm being very brave this year.  The cordyline above has been nurtured by me for years, fed in summer and brought indoors once the frost appears.  This year, on the advice of a guest who is a gardening expert, I've left it outside.  He says it's a very hardy plant.  If it survives this snow then I'm sure it will survive anything.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Heathpark Lodge's little piece of European architecture

There is a saying here in Scotland that once you start decorating the process can feel as if you're painting the Forth Bridge.  I know the feeling!  We started decorating our living room this week and the work has gone from a quick coat of paint on the walls to deciding to do the woodwork too. 

I've just finished painting the shutters and realised how unusual it is for a small B & B in Blairgowrie, originally built as a gardener's cottage, to be so carefully designed.  Usually shutters were only for 'grand' houses, but maybe the architect who designed this house, back in the 1840s, had visited France or perhaps Italy and been impressed by the decorative effect and practical uses of them there.  I like to think we have a bit of continental building design right here in Blairgowrie.

When we bought the house in 1991 the shutters had been nailed back with what seemed to be thousands of nails.  My 5 year project was to see if I could make them work again because it seemed such a waste just to have them for decoration.

Two years, hundreds of hours later (an hour each evening after work), several very small files, the help of a friendly joiner and the advice of a paint expert - et voila! For years now the shutters have been used daily - or perhaps I should said 'eveningly' as they are closed once darkness falls - and at this time of year they are invaluable for keeping out the cold.  

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Autumn Weather and Rosy Cheeks

Decided to have a break from painting our living room today and tidy up some leaves.  At the back of the house this wonderful cotoneaster is showing off to its best.  The photo actually doesn't do it justice really as it's a very vivid colour - almost luminous.

This part of the garden isn't often seen by guests unless they're picking apples or plums - and some do.  Oh the advantages of having a B & B in Blairgowrie! I'm always grateful to get help with harvesting the fruit because, especially the plums, all arrive at once and need eating straight away to enjoy the full flavour.

Looking at the photo, perhaps I should have cleared up the leaves before I took it, but I wanted to catch the colour before the light faded.

It's still exceptionally warm for this time of year and my couple of hours in the garden have left me with "rosy cheeks".  When I was a child I hated having rosy cheeks but, now I'm maturing (very slowly of course), I'm beginning to think they're quite attractive.  Saves a bit of money buying blusher!


B & B Blairgowrie, Christmas 2008 and Hogmanay 2008/9 opening

Our little red squirrels are still about but I've only seen two recently.  It's quite obvious the autumn is well underway as the bird no longer play in the garden, but arrive, eat, then fly off to their next destination.

Some years we've been open for both Christmas and New Year.  This year I've decided to close for Christmas, mainly because family are coming to join us for a few days and it's hard work juggling my guests as well as family.  Only twice over the years I've done this and I feel I neglect everyone.

So, no guests over Christmas but we shall open for Hogmanay (New Year) this year.  Last year we had a quiet evening and enjoyed cooking ourselves a good meal accompanied by some rather delicious wine.  We had such a pleasant time we've decided to try it again.  Must be my old age catching up with me!  I turned down many enquiries for Hogmanay last year so this year I shall open.  So many businesses close over the festive period and it's a shame if people want to spend Hogmanay with family or friends but can't find accommodation.

I shall put the price for Hogmanay on the website in the next couple of days but it will be £32.50 per person per night.  I will not be taking one night bookings - just in case you ask!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Perthshire Events in 2009

It's been quite difficult collating event dates for next year from the various agencies.  Usually it's easy but for some reason the answer I received was more often 'Sorry we haven't confirmed it as yet but will get back to you'. Thankfully most have so I am able to show the dates of interest.  These are not all the events in Perthshire of course, but I shall post others as I find them.

Events in Perthshire for 2009

1  January           New Year Fun Run,  Blairgowrie

10 - 12 April        Easter

22 - 24 April        Perth Races

13 - 14 May        Perth Races

23  May              Atholl Highlanders Parade, Blair Atholl

24 May               Atholl Gathering & Highland Games, Blair Atholl

31 May               Perth Races

5 - 12 June         Fly Fishing Championships

14 June              Strathmore Highland Games Glamis

1 - 2 July            Perth Races

3 - 5 July            Scone Game Fair, Scone Palace

10 - 12 July        T in the Park, Kinross

11 - 12 July        Scottish Transport Extravaganza, Glamis

31 July - 1 August       Perth Show

8 - 9 August       A Grand Scottish Prom, Glamis

22 August          Strathardle Highland Gathering & Games, Kirkmichael

27 - 30 August   Blair Horse Trials Blair Atholl

29 August          Birnam Highland Games

29 August          Runrig Concert, Scone Palace  (book early very popular!)

4 September     Celtic Rock Glamis

5 September     Braemar Highland Games

6 September     Blairgowrie Highland Games

5 - 6 September         Scottish Countryside Fair Glamis

23 - 24 September     Perth Races

2-8 October Blairgowrie & East Perthshire Walking Festival