Friday, 29 October 2021

 We liberated Tim on Wednesday 27th October at the high point of his favourite walk. In sight of home on the other side of the valley, in sunshine, a west wind to support him, and a rainbow on the other side of the hedge. So now my lad is free to do what he liked doing best.


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Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Doesn't even have a title yet

 It has been a fortnight, and I still have Tim's ashes. 

At first I only peeped inside the smart carrier bag - the kind you might pick up from Bradley Hall Garden & Interior Design shop. Then I couldn't bring myself to look inside the presentation box. Finally I found the bamboo woven package that is surprisingly heavy.

The next step will be to scatter the ashes on his favourite walk. I don't know if dh wants to come with me or not. I know I'm being silly, but that's the way I am. I will get over him. 

We are going out - visited with Prue and Shirley last Tuesday, plus the Lion & the Lamb in the evening, York on Thursday, hairdressers Friday, the Coffee Barn this morning to have coffee with Pat and Alan. We've planned to eat out at the pub again tonight since we were pleased with the new management situation and I might go into town later this week. 

And all the time we are planning a trip to Australia if a) we are accepted as parents (which we are) and b) we can get flights and c) if lockdown doesn't strike again in either country. The garden is getting a lot of pruning, and everything that can be washed is being washed.  My writing life is busy with Amazon Ads and a new book that doesn't even have a title yet. 

Oh, and the good news is I've lost 15lbs since coming back from Ardverekie. I'm sure all those bacon and egg breakfasts piled the weight on!

Saturday, 23 October 2021

The empty house

 

We haven't adapted yet. We are keeping busy. It is not often you see me cleaning windows, but it seems to help hide the emptiness of the house.

Went to York on Thursday and I bought two pairs of shoes at Hotter. It seems criminal that we have to go all the way to York now when we used to have a branch in Newcastle. The city was busy and very cold, so we didn't stay much more than two hours. It has gone downmarket since I was there last. Not as attractive as it used to be.

I enjoyed Ardverekie's beach much more!


Saturday, 16 October 2021

My hero


I meant to write more about Ardverekie but I got side-tracked.

We travelled home on Friday without problems - we left at 6.32 am precisely in order to beat 
the traffic hold ups in Perth and Edinburgh, and succeeded.  

On Monday we noticed Tim was slowing down on his walk and I slept on the living room 
floor beside him through a very disturbed night.  By 8.30am Tuesday we were at the vet's surgery in Hexham and by 8.45 my beautiful boy had left me. 

We knew he had a tumour but we did not expect him to go downhill so fast, though as Tim the vet said - it's a  good thing. We didn't want him to have a long lingering death. 

He certainly enjoyed  his holiday in Scotland and he loved life. 
The problem is mine -  I keep expecting to hear him trotting upstairs to pop his head around the door to find me. Now I have to eat all those hard crusts off the toast and throw away the apple cores. He was short of his 9th birthday on New Year's Eve by a couple of months.




Thursday, 7 October 2021

Ardverekie continued

 


Entering  at fig. 2, we had the Billiard room on our right (fig 1) and my first impression on walking into Ardverekie House was of death. The entrance hall is a beautiful wood panelled space, but around the edges of the space between ceiling and wall are the heads. Deer skulls, some fully restored with fur and eyes, and all with antlers. When James Ramsden, the millionaire Huddersfield industrialist who built the existing house, went hunting, he aimed his gun at the perfect 12 or 14 point specimen.

Today game is stalked with different priorities in mind. But those heads filled the billiard room as well; many initialled by those who killed them. It took my attention from the full size billiard table and the ancient books and the even more ancient Persian rugs that lie rumpled, torn and wrinkled beneath my feet. They are part of a large collection of Persian rugs kept in the house. I’m happy to report that the others all seemed in better condition.

It is part of the charm of Ardverekie that it is a family home and nothing is behind glass or fenced off by ribbons.





We saw so much and before it becomes a jumble in my mind, and want to retrace my steps. The beautiful wood panelling is now drying out because of the modern central heating but so far I saw no signs of damage. We were shown through a door and tucked in the corner off the entrance hall was a wooden bench type toilet with a porcelain bowl. I remember it featured (or one like it) in the tv series with the banker having difficulties getting the loo to flush)

From there we progressed to fig 3, the main hall where we gazed at the stairs almost expecting to see a portrait of Hector MacDonald staring back at us. There isn’t a tartan carpet on the stairs; the tv company put it down and hung tartan curtains at the huge window, but when they left they took carpet and curtains with them.

From there we went into fig 5, the library with its fire and vast numbers of books plus a ladder to access them. The wood panelling made the room dark and by contrast the ladies parlour, fig 4, was much lighter and brighter, so that they could read and do their needlework. The huge dining room, fig 6, was also dark but I imagine with candlelight and ladies in diamonds and silverware gleaming on the table, it would look magnificent. The table seats 14, but if the guests number only 13, then a teddy bear seated in a baby chair  in the corner window takes his place at table to make up the numbers. A smaller round table in the window is where the family have breakfast when they are in residence. A dumb waiter at the side held pots of jam and tomato ketchup.

Just outside was the “modern” kitchen, fig 7, which did not look that modern to me until we went and found “Lexie’s old kitchen.” A monstrosity! The old sinks have been removed and new washing machines installed, plus a sheet press and iron. The old iron was almost too heavy to lift and the gas iron was a scary thing. I often wondered how Lexie managed her skimpy outfits in the Scottish climate (think heat, cold and midgies!) but the huge black cast iron range was taller than me and probably threw out enough heat to keep her warm.

 

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

My grand tour

 Tuesday we waited for ages and no one came, so we   took Tim for a walk on the beach, and came back to find maintenance men just  finishing cleaning the chimney. By 11.30 no satellite man had arrived off we went Newtonmore where I did some food shopping at the Co-op. On the way we saw the satellite van heading in the opposite direction, and Bill said that's the fella we were waiting for! We got the shopping done and drove back to Pinewood and there he was, just packing up, having completed the job. We now have a working television, a clean chimney and some wine to drink this evening.

Before that I had my tour of Ardverekie House - ground floor, cellars and grounds including the walled garden. Fascinating and more so because it is still a family home and the family had been in residence so recently the housekeeper was still processing bed sheets and tidying up.  More on that later.


Sunday, 3 October 2021

 At Ardverekie again.

We made 2 stops  for Tim, one at St Boswells, and one at Perth, where we gave him a walk and a chance to pee, and arrived at 4.01pm. Access to Pinewood is from 4pm! Swift unloading  and then a walk down to the beach, which seems larger than ever. 

Sadly, dh can't keep up with his 24 hour news because the tv isn't working. Nor could we get a signal to call the maintenance engineer until on Saturday morning we walked down to Gatehouse at the turn off from the main road down the Laggan valley. We made the call there and after a quick run on the beach went back to Pinewood to await the arrival of the engineer.

Two men arrived, which sent Tim into a frenzy, but they could not solve the problem.  Returned with a ladder and while one checked the tv, one checked the satellite dish. Still no joy, and there won't be any until Monday when thy plan to return.

So we set off on a three mile ramble and climbed onto one of the logging roads which you see in the pic.  As we went up the hill we were in full view of the opposite side of the loch, where one white house stood amidst trees. It sounded as if a dog there could see or hear us and barked its head off. Must have annoyed the owners, because it took us quite a while to make it up the steep incline!

Sunday morning and it is raining very gently. I suspect there's a word for it locally. It is possible to walk out and not notice until you get wet. I took Tim down to the beach where all went well until he found a rabbit. I suspect someone had shot it, but t wasn't dead and when he grabbed it, the poor thing squeaked and kicked its back legs. He let go when I insisted, but  he dearly wanted to go back and eat it. He didn't forget it until we were within 100 yards of home. Passed a man with a gun over his arm, so suspect hewas the hunter.