Tag Archives: Carron ironworks

Cadell’s Café

Connections are funny things … they happen in the most unexpected ways. For instance what do you think connects the following:

  • the town of Falkirk in central Scotland
  • the Battle of Trafalgar
  • the K4 telephone box
  • the seaside town of Cockenzie, just east of Edinburgh
  • the town of Barga in central Italy.

The answer is Cadells Café of course! Perhaps some sort of explanation would help. The cannons used by Wellington at the Battle of Trafalgar and the K4 telephone boxes were all made at the Carron Iron Works in Falkirk which in 1759, was founded by one William Cadell whose home was Cockenzie House in which we now sit eating scones in Cadell’s Cafe. The house is situated in the town of Cockenzie which in turn is twinned with the town of Barga …. simple!! Attentive readers will remember we mentioned Barga recently in the post about Brian’s Café. Brian was a member of the Serafini family who originated in Barga. It’s a small world! Internal view of Cadell's Café in CockenzieAnyway Cadell’s Café is situated in the ‘secret garden’ of Cockenzie House alongside a grotto decorated with seashells and a ruinous claret tower … we use the word ‘ruinous’ advisedly? No such problems in the cafe however. We were ushered in out of what was a bitterly cold day and sat beside a lovely log burning stove … what could be better? A scone at Cadell's Café in CockenzieThe scones were nicely presented with a good pot of jam but unfortunately along side was the ubiquitous Rhodda’s Cornish cream. Most of you already know that we have nothing against Rhodda’s but we just feel that it would be better to go for local cream, Scotland has loads of it. The scones were nice and crunchy but maybe just a tad too much. In the end there was no topscone but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit and would not hesitate to go back. Returning to the subject of connections … FaceBook’s raison d’etre is connections. Poor old Mark Zuckerberg probably never thought he would be accused of helping rig national elections when he started trying to connect the students on his campus at Harvard University. Mind you he probably never thought that within a few years he would have $70billion in his hip pocket either.

The harbour at Cockenzie
Cockenzie harbour

What seems of even greater interest to us is the role of Cambridge Analytica, the British company that allowed FaceBook’s data to be harvested. It’s a company which donates huge amounts of money to the Conservative party and is run by some of the movers and shakers in the Torys. Maybe it’s not only the US election that was rigged … what about the 2014 Scottish independence referendum … oooo!!

EH32 0HY     tel: 01875 819456       Cadell’s Café TA

Alder’s Traditional Tearoom

As you all know by now, we are constantly on the lookout for a decent scone wherever we are but particularly so in Falkirk, our home town … thankfully the town has plenty scone outlets to choose from. This one, Alder’s Traditional Tearoom, is situated in the short and rather oddly named Cow Wynd. The history of the street name itself is interesting because, in a way, it echoes the history of the town. Originally, when Falkirk Tryst was the cattle market for Scotland and this was the main route in and out of town for the drovers going to and from the south, the name was pretty well self-explanatory. When the Tryst declined, the town became industrialised and it was coal rather than cattle that came along here on it’s way from Shieldhill to the mighty Carron Ironworks … it was renamed Coalhill Road, once again self-explanatory. Then, in 1842, in another self-explanatory move, when Falkirk High station opened it became High Station Road. In 1906, however, bucking the self-explanatory trend, it’s name reverted back to the Cow Wynd as a result of public pressure.  Internal view of Alder's Traditional TearoomAlder’s has been here for a few years but is still a relatively new addition to the street, so we had high hopes. Unfortunately the whole experience was a bit of a let down. Although fairly new it looks a bit tired from the outside and it doesn’t get any better inside. It did, however, have a fair range of scones – plain, fruit, cheese and treacle. Pat opted for cheese and I thought, since I hadn’t had one for some time, that I would tackle a treacle. Notably, this was the first time I have had a treacle scone presented complete with jam and cream but heyho, life on the edge! I managed to eat most of mine – jam and cream turned out to be the best bit, but Pat could only nibble around the heavy dough center of her scone. Shame, we really want places like this to succeed but they need to pay much more attention to detail and spruce the place up a bit. View of treacle scone at Alder's Traditional TearoomJust behind Alder’s is the octagonal Tattie Kirk, another oddly named and oddly shaped place. Apparently it was built in 1806 by the Anti-burgher movement .. no, not a campaign against fast food but one against the established Church of Scotland. No one knows where it gets it’s name but one theory is that it stems from the days when ministers were paid in vegetables … maybe with a scone as a bonus? There is no doubt about the shape, however, designed so that the Devil had no corner in which to hide. It’s graveyard contained over 600 graves, half of which were children under 10 years of age … a grim reminder of how tough Victorian times actually were. When the general consensus is that today’s children can no longer expect to be better off than their parents, could we be heading back to these times?The Telegraph newspaper bannerWe would not voluntarily wish to open the massive can of worms that is – how to pronounce the word “scone”, if it wasn’t for our Middle East correspondent sending a communiqué from Tel Aviv on that very subject. You have probably guessed that Tel Aviv is not promising scone territory, and you would be right, it’s not. Our correspondent however had noted an article in The Telegraph where they had decided to put the controversy to bed once and for all by conducting a survey asking people for the correct pronunciation … scone, as in “gone” or scone as in “bone”? Result – you need know no more than, ‘we wiz right’! For the pedants, however, 51% pronounced it to rhyme with “gone”, while 42% used the “bone” pronunciation. We can hear some of you saying that fifty one per cent isn’t all that decisive but, if it’s enough to take us out of the EU, we think it can be deemed ‘absolute’! 3% were ‘don’t knows’ (can these people dress themselves?) and the rest used an entirely different pronunciation … what?? As a matter of interest, most of the respondents who got it right lived in the north of England and Scotland, whereas those who got it wrong, lived in the Midlands and London.  Oh, and 61% of respondents said ‘jam first’ against 21% who said ‘cream first’ … presumably the other 18% just eat them raw! Unfortunately ‘raw’ could also be used to describe Alder’s scones pretty well.

FK1 1PU       tel: 01324 639625       Alder’s Traditional Tearoom