Tuesday 26 April 2011


A glorious Spring day with the full works: bees buzzing, birds twittering, a cuckoo (which woke me around 4am), brilliant sunshine, morning coffee on the deck in a T-shirt, hazy mountains, bright red tulips in bloom. There's nowhere quite like this place on a sunny day, but I daresay you think that about your place too. At least I hope you do.

Just back from a mini tour of Scotland, from west to east, taking in Fort William, Glasgow and Auchmithie. We've had astonishingly good weather throughout and a wonderful time meeting up with friends, doing some culture (including 'Drawing on Riverside' at the Kelvingrove), playing music and having excellent meals.

Our hotel in Glasgow was located down by the Clyde with panoramic views along the river in both directions. We skipped the hotel breakfast most mornings (sleep was more important), opting instead for late brunches in town. The giant Salade Ni├žoise platter at Patisserie Francoise in Byres Road was particularly memorable: salty anchovies, tuna, hard boiled eggs etc. That's my kind of breakfast.

Good dinners were not hard to come by either. The delicious, crunchy, deep-fried whitebait starter followed by enormous portion of chicken kebab at The Greek Golden Kebab could have fed at least two. Somehow I managed. Cail Bruich was an accidental but fortuitous find. They were doing a sort of 'pre-theatre' Spring menu which was very reasonably priced. I finally got to try Steak Tartare there, and now I think I'm hooked. Can't quite suss the Gaelic, though. Will need to ask my dad. It's become trendy to use Gaelic for 'Scottish Contemporary' style restaurant names but it needs to be correct, otherwise it just looks silly.

Over east in Auchmithie, the genuine birthplace of the 'Arbroath' Smokie, we dined out at The But 'n' Ben restaurant. I went for the simple and mouthwatering buttered Smokie for starter, followed by venison for main. The But 'n' Ben is a great little place and I love the fact that it hasn't changed since the first time we went there several years ago.

The image I've posted, and also this blog entry title, are down to the poignant reminder from our visit that the fishing is now truly over for Auchmithie. Last time we visited there a few rotting, but still floating, boats were tied up in the crumbling harbour. Those same boats are now on dry land with hulls rotted through.

'Rosebud' was once some east-coast fisherman's pride and joy.

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