Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Beast from the East

This is not a proper scone post. It is simply an attempt to reassure all those kind sconeys (particularly those in the southern hemisphere) who have enquired after our well-being in the face of the Beast from the East, Putin’s gift to the west. We are fine though things in general are pretty bad e.g. we have just heard that pastries from Greggs have been declared legal tender! The title picture is of our car which hasn’t moved for almost a week. We can hear readers in Canada and Norway screaming “they call that snow”? Okay, okay, don’t mock! Unlike you, when we get snow, we  just wait for it to go away the next day … but this time it has been here for days! Nothing in Britain has moved much in the last week … very few cars on the roads, no trains, no flights … but you know all that! Let us give you an instance about how Britain is coping. Yesterday, late afternoon, we decided to venture out as far as our local pub just to get out and have a walk if nothing else. We walked along the middle of the road, standing aside every time a car came along … only two passed. There was no one else out, the whole place was eerily quiet. We fully expected the pub to be  deserted, just a few hardy regulars, but no, it was ramjammed, we could hardly get in! We asked the harassed looking barmaid why it was so busy “cos nobody’s at their efing work” was the reply. That’s how Britain copes … just go to the pub! We don’t have any pictures of scones to share but we are sending you this one of a partial scone. It was sent by one of our correspondents who has a home office at the bottom of his garden. His wife had baked some scones and braved the snow and the icy wind to bring some, complete with apricot jam, to her beloved. He thought that he would send us a picture but, in his heightened state of ecstasy, promptly forgot until there was barely anything left.What's left of a scone and apricot jamWe can only apologise dear readers, but good competent scone correspondents are difficult to come by these days ..  a bit like politicians. We had to admire Theresa May saying that the EU would have to compromise  … is there a thinly veiled threat in there “if you don’t compromise we won’t leave”? Once again, thanks for all your concern but hopefully we will be out and about very soon and normal sconology will be resumed.

2017 scones

Because we have been badly neglecting our sconological duties of late we thought we should at least do something for the festive season to remind readers that we are still alive and that we wish them all the best for Christmas and 2018. This post is simply to do that rather than bring you a new exciting scone …. sorry! We certainly haven’t eaten 2017 scones though by the time we get through the festive season we may feel as if we have. Some of our correspondents, however, have been much more diligent. The title picture was sent by our London correspondents. Since it is almost two years since we reported from Claridge’s they thought that they should check that standards had not slipped in our absence. They are posh-place specialists and elected to take  our latest granddaughter, aged 5 days, along as an adjudicator in the event of a split decision. Thankfully, everything was hunkydory and the new arrival did not have to be pressed into service … phew!! A K2 sandwich serverOur old friend, the Pedant, found a website that bemoans the use of weird objects to serve food on rather than plates. It is aptly named and he pointed out, given our interest in such things, what he thought might be a good way to serve scones … a miniature telephone box (K2) used to bring little sandwiches to the table. Thanks for the suggestion but we want plates as well! During the past year we have had the great pleasure of visiting many lovely parts of the UK and discovering lots of wonderful scones … and, of course, some not so wonderful. Have we learned anything in our travels? Notably, we came to the conclusion that scones improve the further north you go. We realise that sconeys in Devon and Cornwall might find this contentious however it has to be said that in the far north, including our visit to Orkney, we found nothing but topscones. We were also pleased that readers took such an interest in what became a something of a hot-topic … telephone boxes and, in particular, where they were manufactured, Falkirk, Glasgow or Kirkintilloch. We received pictures of K6s from as far afield as Buenos Aires and Tel Aviv.

A K6 telephone box on South Ronaldsay
A Kirkintilloch K6 telephone box in splendid isolation near Quoyeden on South Ronaldsay

On our own travels we came on many K6s reinvented as libraries, defibrillator stations and greenhouses … a sign of the times perhaps that even in the most remote locations they no longer serve their original purpose. It’s called progress but that is not something that abounds these days. Quite the opposite in fact, at times the whole world seems to be going backwards. The only constant seems to be that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. As Theresa May loses yet more of her cabinet colleagues you might be forgiven for thinking that our Brexit negotiations might as well be conducted by headless chickens. Even though they claim to be making progress you cannot help but ask yourself what progress turkeys voting for Christmas can actually make? Forgive all the poultry analogies, it’s that time of year. Elsewhere, after all the kerfuffle over Catalonia, it looks like ending up back exactly where it started with a cessationist government … Spain has headless chickens as well. On the other side of the pond, Donald Trump impersonators continue to do better impressions of The Donald than he does of himself … and you might be better off taking them more seriously. Perhaps the world would be better governed by headless chickens … or is it already, is that what we are not understanding?

On that cheery note we will bid you a fond farewell for this year. Thanks to to all our readers and a special thanks to all our correspondents  who venture fearlessly into the world’s nether regions on your behalf.  And for 2018, may all your scones be top ones.

Kinloch Castle

Another beautiful day and this time we are on the Isle of Rùm. From where we are staying on Eigg, Rùm dominates the view from almost everywhere. Before we go further, perhaps a little background info on Rùm is called for. Many moons ago the island had a population of around 450 but in 1826, the owner loaded 300 on to the ships, Highland Lad and the Dove of Harmony, and sent them to Canada. The following year the rest of the population were sent on their way on the St Lawrence along with 150 from the Isle of Muck which he owned as well. A local shepherd related “The people of the island were carried off in one mass, for ever, from the sea-girt spot where they were born and bred… The wild outcries of the men and heart-breaking wails of the women and children filled all the air between the mountainous shore of the bay“. The people were replaced with what was seen to be more profitable sheep but the whole enterprise failed when the owner declared bankruptcy about twenty years later and ended up in a worse state than his previous tenants … just deserts, maybe?

Approaching the Isle of Rum
Approaching Rum on the Sheerwater ferry

More recently the island was owned by the Bullough family who made their fortune in Accrington from manufacturing machinery for the cotton industry. They wanted to turn the island into their own private playground and sporting estate. George Bullough built Kinloch Castle in 1900 using stone brought from the Isle of Arran. He didn’t scrimp. Fourteen under-gardeners, who were paid extra to wear kilts, worked on the extensive grounds that included a nine-hole golf course, tennis and squash courts, heated turtle and alligator ponds and an aviary including birds of paradise and humming birds. 230,000 tons of soil for the grounds was imported from Ayrshire and figs, peaches, grapes and nectarines were grown in greenhouses.

Internal view of Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rum
the entrance hall to the castle

The interior boasted an orchestrion that could simulate the sounds of brass, drum and woodwind, an air-conditioned billiards room, and a jacuzzi. It even had electricity and flushing toilets when these things were almost unheard of on the mainland. Kinloch became party central for the aristocracy and the shenanigans that occurred there became the stuff of legend and drove a massive rumour mill into a state of near hysteria. They renamed the island “Rhum” because Bullough did not like being called the “Laird of Rum”. The island was eventualy bought by Scottish Natural Heritage and currently has a population of around 30. In the last couple of years SNH have arranged for land and assets around the village of Kinloch to be transferred to the community giving individuals control over their own destinies … lets hope it is as successful as the similar venture on Eigg. The tearoom on Rùm is in the village hall just next to the castle. We asked for a scone but they said they only had cherry cake. Faced with Hobson’s Choice we agreed to have a piece of cake with our coffee. When we made our way outside to sit in the sunshine we were regaled with the news that they didn’t actually have any cherry cake … would we like a packet of crisps?? The lady, seeing our disappointment, said that she could have given us a piece of chocolate cake but she hadn’t had time to put the icing on it. Eventually she agreed to let us have a piece of plain chocolate cake … and it was very nice. Apologies, we would have loved to have brought you a Rum scone. They do know when the ferries come in (there must have been at least 60 people on ours) so it is not as if a sudden influx  comes as a surprise … difficult to explain such a situation … hey ho, chocolate cake it had to be! Just to ease your disappointment, however, we can provide some pictures of a lovely K6 telephone box we came across … made in the Lion Foundry, Kirkintilloch and used for growing geraniums. It is in a stunning location and has a lifebelt and an anchor decorating its exterior … could be in line for the prettiest K6 award … unless you know better, of course? After the rigors of Eigg we don’t want to labour the point further but while we were having our plain piece of chocolate cake we met a lovely couple from Yorkshire. We met them again on the ferry going back to Eigg and when we asked them why they had nettles sticking out of their bag they said they were making a ‘holiday cord’ with nettles from all the places they had visited … and you thought we were mad! In another attempt to make up for the derth of scones we offer you a pictorial guide to nettle chordage.

Demonstration of nettle cording
A demonstration of nettle cording on the ferry back to Eigg

First you remove the leaves (unless you are some sort of masochist, use gloves) then split the stem with your nail or other similar implement, throw away the internal woody bit then let the outer fibrous sheathes dry for a wee while before twisting as pictured. Your cord can end up as long as you like by carefully pleating all the stems together. It ends up very strong. By the way, Pat got a Sea Eagle and some kittiwakes to add to her bird list … very happy girl again.

Skye from the Isle of Rum
Skye across the Sea of the Hebrides,  black Cuillin in the middle, red Cuillin to the right

Theresa May is still hanging on! This is our seventh scone post since the election and she is still there … almost admiring her tenacity … or is it just sheer stupidity? Don’t let the dire scone situation put you off visiting Rùm, it is quite simply spectacular and maybe by the time you get there they will have got themselves sorted out … don’t forget your nettles. Hopefully we will have better luck on the romantically named Isle of Muck.

PH43 4RR      tel: 01687 462037      Kinloch Castle

Euston Station

This is not really a post … it does not contain a scone therefore is disqualified. However, we did try to find one here at Euston station so we are writing it anyway simply on the basis that we tried …  plus it gives us a chance for a rant before the General Election tomorrow. We have spent the past five days in London visiting our grandchildren. Normally when we are down here we try to have at least one scone for the enlightenment of our readers but unfortunately, on day one I was struck down by the lurgy, food poisoning, Montezuma’s revenge, whatever you want to call it and all thoughts of scones, or indeed food of any kind, went straight out the window. Food intake for my entire stay consisted of nothing more than a couple of bits of toast … some said I was even more miserable than usual … true, that’s how bad it was! To compound matters I had five little toddler girls who seemed to think it was good fun to use my stomach as a sort of trampoline … exactly why they thought my stomach looked bouncy I have no idea? Had they not been so utterly gorgeous it would have been unbearable. Thoughts of politics went out the window as well though I did manage to tear myself away from my intense study of the minute imperfections in porcelain washhand basins when the horrific news of the London Bridge incident came through … only a couple of miles away and more misery! For right thinking people these things are almost impossible to comprehend but we cannot help but think that the media has to get its act together when it comes to reporting these things … the perpetrators should be given as little publicity as possible. Surely the media can come up with an agreed strategy that does not feed the lunatics’ cause with 24/7 coverage. Mind you, with a great big toddler in the White House making up policy by binge watching Fox News, that could be a bit of a stretch … we are beginning to see the world according to Rupert Murdoch … sad, very sad! Just read that a website called TrumpiLeaks has been set up for anti-Trump whistleblowers .. don’t think it is anything urological. Thankfully, here in the UK, electioneering is drawing to a close. As usual everyone has promised the moon and the stars. Theresa May has promised to be strong and stable by being robotic, completely flaky and hiding from the public. The LibDems are probably going to do well in London because of their promise to rerun the EU referendum … but little else. At last, Labour has reared it’s head again and although it is hardly a roar there are certain encouraging signs of life. In Scotland, uniquely in the world, we will probably vote to be governed by another country with mostly contrary interests to our own … heyho, who knows why we are so utterly gutless as a nation? By the time we reached Euston station on our way home I was feeling vaguely human again … not quite ready for scone tasting but that’s why I have a partner who can step into the breach in such emergencies. Unfortunately, in spite of its plethora of eateries and retail outlets it is a completely scone free zone … but we did try. Back home now and feeling much better. In spite of all the loving concern from others there is nothing quite like being home when you are under the weather. Apologies for the lack of scones … we promise to do better in future. Now feeling well enough for tea and a scone though if mad May remains in power after tomorrow something much stronger might be called for.

Cupcake Café Bar

Readers will remember from our last post regarding an unintentional visit to Bathgate and the Coffee Club that we drove around Cairnpapple Hill to get there. While we were doing that, about a mile or so out of Linlithgow, we passed a sign for the Scottish Korean War Memorial … the what? We didn’t stop but it raised our curiosity. You could probably write what we knew about the Korean War quite comfortably on the back of a postage stamp … so it made us wonder. It made us wonder so much that, in an attempt to remedy the situation, we decided to go back and actually visit the place to find out what it was all about.

Gate to the Scottish Korean War Memorial
The gate to the Scottish Korean War Memorial

Apologies to folks who know all this already but it turns out that Korea was occupied  by Japan from 1910. At the end of WWII, however, when Japan was defeated, there were difficulties agreeing who was to rule thenceforth … and believe it or not, the US and the Soviet Union got involved in what the US saw as a war against communism. From 1950 to 1953 twenty one countries fought on the UN side, Britain being one of them. Five million soldiers and civilians lost their lives … incredible, so soon after the end of a very bloody World War.

View of the Scottish Korean War Memorial
The Korean style shrine contains name boards listing all the 1,114 men who died.

The Memorial, the only one in the UK,  takes the form of an arboretum of 1,114 native Scottish trees, one for every British soldier who died,

The Flag of South Korea
Flag of S Korea

and a shrine surrounded by two mounds in the shape of the Ying and Yang on the Korean flag. It is a quiet peaceful place and judging by the fresh flowers placed beneath trees still very much a place of remembrance for the relatives of those lost. Exterior view of the Cupcake Café Bar near TorphichenFeeling much better informed we decided to head for home but we had hardly got started when, on the other side of Torphichen, we came across signs for the Cupcake Café Bar. Not somewhere we had ever heard of in spite of it being only a few miles from home and being in existence for over three years … our ignorance knows no bounds! It had to be done. Once we had negotiated the bomb-crater sized potholes in the driveway we arrived at an old converted farmhouse set in a large nicely laid out garden. Inside, it was surprisingly modern. Interior view of the Cupcake Café Bar near TorphichenInterior view of the Cupcake Café Bar near TorphichenWhen we ordered our scones from a lady with a rather mischievous look in her eye, she told us in no uncertain terms “you will enjoy them” … we felt duty bound! She was right of course, we did enjoy them … nicely presented with plenty butter (local), jam and clotted cream. A scone at the Cupcake Café Bar near TorphichenThey were soft and light with just the right amount of fruit … the coffee was good as well. Again, not quite a topscone but yet another admirable attempt. Back in Korea, a cease fire was eventually brokered in 1953 by dividing the country into North and South with a ‘no man’s land’ in between. Both countries are still officially at war to this very day! The communist North is now led by the 34 year old Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, a man who is generally regarded by the western press as more than a little ‘unhinged’. Thank goodness we don’t have anything like that in the west … oh, hold on a minute?? Kim is the only one in the country allowed to bear the surname ‘Jong Un’ all others with the name were forced to change. We suspect that no force at all should be necessary for the Trumps of this world.

EH48 4NQ      tel: 01506 654697       Cupcake Café Bar TA

The Coffee Club

Why do you think you would find yourself in Bathgate on a cold winters day? By accident, of course … why else would you be in Bathgate?

Linlithgow Palace across the loch
Linlithgow Palace and a scaupless loch

We had started off with a walk round Linlithgow loch hoping to  catch sight of a scaup because sometimes these relatively rare ducks make an appearance here. We did the first half of the walk with snow falling quite heavily and the second half in brilliant sunshine …  Scottish weather at its very best! No scaups unfortunately but a really enjoyable walk. Instead of going into Linlithgow for a coffee we thought we would visit a place called the Vu which involved a few miles of driving round the side of Cairnpapple Hill. We had been there a couple of years back and it was nice. Nowadays, however, it has turned into a wedding venue, no coffee, no scones, nothing … they told us to go another mile to Bathgate where there were lots of cafés and bars. Hence we found ourselves, by accident, in downtown Bathgate … a post-industrial town which is obviously still struggling with the effects of defunct coal mining and British Leyland’s demise in 1986 followed by Motorola’s closure in 2001 with the loss of over 3000 jobs. In spite of the earlier claim there seemed to be almost no sconeries … this one, The Coffee Club, seemed to have little in the way of competition. Interior view of The Coffee Club in BathgateThe surroundings could only be described as ‘basic’ however we were warmly welcomed and you got the feeling that they would happily make you anything you wanted, even if it wasn’t on the menu. The Coffee Club, however, does not do local produce … our scone appeared, ready sliced (what’s that all about), with English jam, Irish butter and a great dollop of scooshie cream from goodness knows where, but in spite of all that the scone confounded our expectations by not being too bad, fairly light if a little short on fruit – I had seven sultanas in mine … okay,okay, I need to get a life! A scone at The Coffee Club in BathgateTopscone it was not but a commendable effort nevertheless. The town nestles in the shadow of Cairnpapple Hill which, 5000 years ago, was home to the Beaker People, so called because of the shaped pots found in their graves. You cannot help but wonder what they would make of things if they were to make a return and gaze down on the world from their lofty hilltop. Obviously they would need an iPad or two to bring them up to speed but we think there would be some serious head scratching when they saw what supposedly educated people had made of things in the intervening five millennia … America tearing itself apart over Trump and religion; the EU (surely mankind’s greatest achievement in the last 100 years) tearing itself apart over populism; the UK tearing itself apart over Brexit. Perplexing, or what? But perhaps most astonishing of all for these wee Beakers would be to find that Scotland was being lorded over by a parliament five hundred miles away that doesn’t care a jot about it. As Lesley Riddoch puts it “if the UK Government can completely ignore Scottish democracy on a big issue like EU membership, does anyone seriously think Scottish interests will matter in any other policy decision reserved to Westminster?” ‘Reserved to Westminster’ means just about everything meaningful for Scotland … too much for even the most hard-nosed Beaker to stomach!

If a Beaker was to go into the Coffee Club they would probably think it hadn’t changed that much … joking, many thanks to Bathgate and The Coffee Club for making us welcome.

EH48 1PD    tel: 01506 656352    The Coffee Club FB

Chequers Creperie

Artwork on display at Chequers crêperie, FalkirkFor the purists among you, we apologise in advance … this could be a trifle disconcerting … but bear with us if you can! As we have said in the past we don’t go out looking for scones, we just go out and the scones  find us. Today is an exception however because today’s scone is not a scone at all … it’s a crêpe … no, no, no, keep reading! We are simply reporting on this establishment because it has been set up by fellow photographer, Paul Borg Grech and, what with us photographers being an enterprising lot, we tend to help each other along wherever we can. The purists, who cannot bear to go any further, may look away now.

Downstairs at Chequers crêperie, Falkirk
Paul, holding fort downstairs

Anyway, Paul is a born entrepreneur and has decided to add to his flourishing photography business with Falkirk’s first crêperie … Chequers. From the street it looks quite small but we hadn’t realised that there’s a suite of upstairs rooms where they hold weekly yoga classes, art exhibitions, birthday parties, wine tasting events ( sponsored by yet another new Falkirk business Canton Colli Euganei) and anything else you care to mention.

Internal view at Chequers crêperie, Falkirk

The one thing they don’t do is scones! However, living on the edge as ever, we thought it was about time for a crêpe (don’t say that with a posh accent). We were plonked down on one of the comfy settees where we had to select from an extensive variety of sweet and savoury offerings. There’s plenty of other stuff as well, a bacon roll is no problem. Crêpe at Chequers crêperie, FalkirkNow, unlike scones, we would never profess to be experts on this sort of thing and have no database for comparisons … all we can say is that this jammy crêpe was absolutely delicious. It was accompanied with ice cream, and cream … scooshie, but maybe that’s the done thing with this sort of fare, who knows? We were definitely out of our comfort zone but thoroughly enjoying ourselves?

artwork on display at Chequers crêperie, Falkirk
‘Dancer’ by local artist Karen van de Graf

Coffee was very good too – served in intriquing  elegant glass tumblers that keep the contents hot for ages … brilliant idea. Chequers is on Graham’s Road, next door to the Graeme Hotel, just down from Grahamston station and not far from Graeme High School. A variety of spellings but the culprit for this situation is none other than Sir John de Graham, William Wallace’s best friend who fell at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. Wallace, himself carried his body to where it lies buried at the Old Parish Church. In turn, de Graham’s best buddy, Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll, who also died in the battle, is buried in an adjacent grave. Although not as famous as de Graham we mention him because, in a 2014 study, he was identified as the ancester of all men with the Y chromosome SNP mutation S781. Our understanding of genetics is even less than that of crêpes but does this mean that all supporters of independence are related … Bonkyll Boys? Whatever … we wish Paul and his merry band at Chequers Creperie all the best with their new venture.

View from Chequers crêperie, Falkirk
View from Chequers  – scene of the English encampment for the Battle of Falkirk in 1298

FK1 1HR     tel: 01324 227654      Chequers Creperie FB


The life of a sconey is not as easy as some of you may think, no, no, no! It can be a constant round of travelling, photographing, testing, judging, writing. Then there is the worry! Did we judge too harshly, did we just get them on a bad day, should we make allowances? All these and more can make a sconey’s life quite stressful. Okay, not that stressful .. or not stressful at all really. If truth be known, it is an absolute pleasure … even the bad ones! In spite of receiving many and varied suggestions for scone visits we almost never go anywhere simply for a scone, we go places for all sorts of other reasons .. and the scones are just there! But then, sometimes strange things happen … a scone can come completely out of the blue. So it was with this post … a slight meander from our normal path.

Picture of artwork portraying coffee cups from Costa, Nero and Starbucks
A BIT RICH – at Henry’s HQ. Can you name all 3 companies?  Answers on a postcard

Recently, we were in the local Milk Barn café when we stumbled on some old friends we hadn’t seen in ages. After much catching up it transpired that their lives, like ours, had changed markedly in the intervening years. Most significantly, perhaps, after many years steeped in the coffee industry, they had decided to set up their own company supplying coffee and tea to restaurants all over Scotland … a bold move in a highly competitive marketplace. That was two years ago and the birth of the company coincided with the birth of their first grandchild so the company was duly named after him … Henry’s. And what exactly has all this got to do with scones we hear you ask? Well, they invited us to take a look at the company’s global HQ (garage in the back garden) and, being aware of our weakness, used the lure of scones to ensure our attendance.  We had visions of them being up at the crack of dawn nervously whipping up a scone mixture for the visit … but no, not a bit of it … they bought them! henrys-05To be fair, they did buy them from Mimi’s award winning bakehouse in Leith so they were very good. They were, what we would call, on the hearty side … almost a meal in themselves but nice and light and complete with jam. The cream had accidentally been omitted from the package, but no matter, we thoroughly enjoyed them anyway. We had not heard of Mimi’s but it transpires that it is just down the road from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society … so a visit may be imminent! Unfortunately, until then, these scones will have to remain uncategorised. Henry’s Coffee Company appears to be going from strength to strength, no pun intended, and in a few short years has become the main supplier to dozens of establishments across the country. Their unique ‘Cat’s Pyjamas’ and ‘Blow Your Socks Off’ coffee blends have been every well received, along with their two hundred tea varieties … it is a success story. Sad therefore to read that RBS (the bank which you and I own) has been behaving despicably to businesses such as this through it’s, now defunct, Global Restructuring Group, intentionally driving many small businesses into bankruptcy for it’s own profit. Scotland needs lots of small businesses like Henry’s to flourish but to do so they need banks to be on their side. They also need BT Openreach to roll out decent broadband much faster than they are doing at the moment, instead of just trousering the money. Picture of Henry's coffee company saucer with logoWith worthwhile broadband, businesses like Henry’s should be able to establish themselves all over the country … even in the Highlands and Islands. Many thanks to B and M and of course the man himself, Henry, who we had the great pleasure of meeting … your hospitality was wonderful, as was your spectacular company HQ. More power to your entrepreneurial elbow!

tel: 07471 895015     Henry’s Coffee Company

Coffee on Wooer

Goodness knows, we really try to point out the positives whenever we can but it has been very difficult recently. Like our last post about the Brenachoile at Trossachs Pier, some places just leave you no choice but to report it as it is .. this is another. We were strolling idly through Falkirk, as we do, and when we came on this place we were intrigued. Situated on Wooer Street (a derivation of ‘weaver street’) it wasn’t too hard to see how they came up with the name. street sign for Wooer Street, FalkirkThese premises have undergone many incarnations over the years and this was obviously the latest. When we went in we stood and waited because we weren’t sure what to do. There were about four young lads doing headless chicken impersonations but none of them paid us any attention. Eventually we managed to capture one and asked if it was table service or self service .. no answer to the question, just “what do you want”. The answer was “two coffees” at which point our attendant fled … we didn’t know if they did scones or not. Pat sat at a table and I went over to the counter where, voila, there were some scones. I jokingly asked the young chap if he had baked them that morning? He lifted one, felt it, grimaced, then unsuccessfully tried to penetrate  it with a fork, at which point he said “I wouldn’t if I was you”! So we didn’t. This is the first post we have ever put up without a picture of a scone, apart from the famous Buckhaven scone, but we felt duty bound to report anyway. A piece of carrot cake was substituted and it was rather nice; the coffee was good as well, if a little bitter near the end. It’s a tremendous shame because these lads were all trying very hard but obviously lacked training and direction .. a bit like a rudderless ship.

section of COW menu
section of the menu but no indication of when ‘close’ was??

There were so many mixed messages amongst the jumble of stuff which only served to make the place look untidy and confused … and the menus chalked up behind the counter were all over the place! We guess the overall look was supposed to be ‘shabby chic’, but it wasn’t working … just ‘shabby’.Interior of Coffee on WooerWhere was the captain of this ship …  what was he/she thinking about?? Much the same could be said of the politicians who took us out of the EU. Where are they now and what were they thinking about? Still, nothing to worry about as Team GB comes in second only in the medals table to the USA … 67 in all. We are now officially a ‘sporting superpower’, whatever that means? Not all countries have money to burn like the UK so at a cost to the taxpayer of over £4m per medal that could easily be seen as cheating. Nothing against the individual athletes, they are just ‘doing what they want to do’, good luck to them, but now, as well as paying for their medals, we are doubtless going to shower them with honours too .. for just ‘doing what they want to do’! Promise that’s the last rant about the Olympics. According to the Coffee on Wooer’s rather glitzy but equally confusing website, they are setting out to challenge the big high street coffee shops. Maybe so, but they still have a huge amount to learn from them! Falkirk needs businesses like this so let’s hope they get it right eventually.

FK1 1NJ      tel: 01324 278026      Coffee on Wooer

Kinlochard Gathering

First it was Gibraltar, then it was Vilnius … guess where our globe-trotting Trossachs correspondents are now? Would you believe it … the Trossachs!! They have filed a report on the annual Kinlochard Gathering which was held a couple of weeks back. Although the weather was on the dreich side everyone seems to have had a good time. It begins with the Grand Parade from the Forest Hills hotel to the Village field. “Clan Chief and storyteller Paraig McNeill bearing the Saltire led the Parade followed by the inspiring sound of the Callander Pipe Band and many villagers and guests bearing an impressive array of international flags . It sent a powerful message to the world that Scotland and its people value and welcome our international residents and visitors“. The programme contained all the usual heavy events but there was also a duck race; a giant sack race; a crown making competition; a teddy bear’s picnic … in short, something for everyone.  As if all this was not enough, amidst great excitement, there was a genuine verified sighting of Nessie  … presumably on her holidays? If the weather deteriorated, revelers were able to retreat to the Village Hall where everyone was protected , as Ivor Cutler would have said, “from the worst of the effects of the fresh air“. Kinlochard 01In the hall, our correspondents were duly impressed with what was on offer, “We could only sample the cream scones which were crisp on the outside, with a delicious interior supplemented by an excellent filling of cream and jam. Sorry you could not add the cream and jam yourself but this option was available with the butter and jam variety.  At the price of £2.00 for a tea or coffee plus a cream scone … this must be a contender for the Scottish bargain of the year”. Scone consumption was accompanied by traditional music from the Feis Point Ceilidh Band and the Loch Lomond Ukulele Orchestra. International visitors from France, Belgium, Canada, Japan and USA thoroughly enjoyed the Scottish hospitality and the message from the French and Belgians was very clear … “whatever the outcome of the Brexit fiasco they see Scotland as an integral part of the EU … c’mon Nicola“. Thanks are due, yet again, to our correspondents who, at last, have decided to do some sconology nearer to home. Delicious as these scones undoubtedly were, unfortunately we cannot categorise them without a personal tasting so we will have to make a note (as you should) in next year’s diary – Sunday 16th July 2017 … will Nessie make another appearance?

FK8 3TL      tel: 01877 387 264       Kinlochard Gathering