Tag Archives: Falkirk

The Larder

Just when you think you have done all the tearooms and coffee shops in your home town, lo and behold, another one pops up. Mind you the Larder has been open quite a few months now … we just hadn’t noticed it. Getting noticed is crucially important for all new businesses yet unbelievably this place has neither wifi or a contact telephone number … and, to make matters even worse, it has a big glossy Costa directly across the road. The Larder, therefore, has the dubious distinction of being the only establishment we have ever reviewed for which we cannot find a phone number.  It also ‘borrows’ its wifi from another business nearby and it doesn’t have a website. We fear for the Larder’s future … no matter how good the scones are.  Internal view of the Larder, Falkirk It’s a shame that we were the only customers because the two young girls who appeared to be running the place were trying hard. Maybe some home baking would set us on the right track? No, they simply buy their scones from Costco, a huge wholesale warehouse in Glasgow.  However, any preconceptions we may have harboured about warehouse scones were quickly dashed when they actually turned out to be quite good .. on the large side but quite light and fluffy on the inside.  A scone at the Larder, FalkirkNo hope of a topscone here but service, tea and coffee were all good … we wish the Larder well and hope they get themselves sorted out before long. This week it was hard to miss stories about suffragettes and the amazing things they had to do to get noticed. It was, of course, the  centenary of women getting the vote in 1918.  Strictly speaking only 40% of women got the vote then  as opposed to 58 % of men – the rest had to wait another ten years. Nowadays most people find it totally incredible that all this was happening only 100 years ago. It’s a bit like the internet – young people think it has always been there … they think the ‘right to vote’ has always been there too and are surprised to learn that it is in fact a relatively recent innovation. Back in 1707, at the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England, ‘the people’ would have loved a vote. According to accounts at the time, 99 out of 100 ordinary people were against the Union but of the 175 eligible voters 106 voted in favour and the rest, as they say, is history. We would like to think that, when Scotland becomes an independent country again, people will look back 100 years from now with the same incredulity afforded to the suffragettes at the fact that we were once ruled by another country. We will let you know how the Larder gets on.

FK1 1LZ            The Larder TA

Riggs Coffee House

Coffee cup at the Riggs Coffee House, FalkirkCall us boring, call us unadventurous if you like … our previous post on Sorochas was from Falkirk and here we are again posting from Falkirk. We can explain … we haven’t been anywhere else! So … continuing with our boring unadventurous lives we ventured once again into the nether regions of the town, this time to Riggs Coffee House, which until a month or so ago, was Forth Valley Butchers. Advert at the Riggs Coffee House, FalkirkIt’s hard to keep up with our ever-changing high street as yet another coffee house replaces a traditional business. The burning question, of course, was … would this newcomer have scones? Riggs specialises in Italian coffee and makes quite a song and dance about it – the advertising appears everywhere. It is difficult to understand the thinking behind putting a picture of a young, presumably Italian, stud lying on a beach with a beautiful girl and a Vespa, in front of people in Falkirk on a wet windy Wednesday afternoon. A tad annoying … especially when you’ve always wanted a Vespa … got the beautiful girl already! Doubly annoying when there’s great local coffee, made and sold here in Falkirk, in the form of the Cat’s Pyjamas … why don’t they make a song and dance about that, it’s very goodThere is a problem though – what sort of equivalent picture could be used to advertise Scottish coffee?? Tricky one … suggestions welcome. Anyway Riggs is on the corner of the High Street and Lint Riggs (fields of flax) which used to be the centre of the linen industry in the town. The flax (lint) was prepared here before making its way a few hundred yards to Woo’er (weaver) Street to be made into garments. All that is long gone now and in 1903 the state of the street was considered to be so poor that it was demolished in its entirety and a new Lint Riggs (the one you see to the right of the header picture) was built. Interior view of the Riggs Coffee House, FalkirkRiggs Coffee House is tastefully done up but when we entered the chap behind the counter looked as if his entire staff had just phoned in sick … not a happy chappie! He did have scones though! Apparently he had not intended to stock such unitalian items but a lady came in one day and offered to supply him … the resultant trial period had  scones flying off the shelf so now they are a permanent feature … one up for the scones! A scone at the Riggs Coffee House, FalkirkThere was a choice of plain, fruit or treacle and we opted for fruit. They were very good, nice texture, plenty fruit and they went very well with the much vaunted Italian coffee which, in spite of not being quite “the cat’s pyjamas”, we had to admit was very good. In fact, with the exception of the scone, nothing we had here; jam, butter, coffee, came from Scotland … shame! In the end this was not quite a topscone … good effort though, well done that entrepreneurial lady. Oh, by the time we were leaving your man’s demeanor seemed to have improved dramatically so we wish him and his venture every success.

FK1 1EY        tel: 01324 627028       Riggs Coffee House FB

One of our correspondents, fondly known as “The Pedant” has been in touch to say he came across a K6 (Kirkintilloch variety) at the Henry Moore Collections in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire. Don’t worry the telegraph pole sticking out of the roof is not a new design feature.A K6 at the Henry Moore Collection in Much HadhamMuch Hadham sounds like the sort of place that the EU should be conducting its Brexit negotiations. Last year, the oil company Shell, which operates in 70 different countries, paid tax in all of them e.g. it paid the Norwegian government £4.3 billion to add to its £1trillion Wealth Fund. Our brilliant negotiators here in Britain ended up paying Shell £187 million so presumably Shell must operate out of Much Hadham as well.

A K2 telephone box in London
A London K2

How come, with all the hundreds of billions of oil money that has rolled in over the past thirty years the UK, in stark contrast to Norway, has simply acquired massive debts … where did it all go? While you write your answers on a postcard can we make a plea for some Norwegian negotiators to come over and help us with the Brexit talks. Still on the subject of telephone boxes, our ever adventurous Trossachs correspondents have sent a photograph of a rarely seen K2 on a recent visit to London. Don’t know precisely where it was manufactured but was most likely, Kirkintilloch. We will endeavour to be more adventurous in future – we must be running out of new cafés in Falkirk anyway … musn’t we?




Although this place has been around in Falkirk for quite some time we, for some reason, have never before crossed the threshold. For a while we thought it was yet another charity shop … like the Soroptimists or something? So, perhaps it was the name, perhaps it was the somewhat uninspiring interior … whatever, we have always just passed by. Today though, partly because we were parked directly opposite, we decided that we should try it out. It turned out to be a mixture of disappointments and surprises. Interior view of Sorochas Coffee Shop, FalkirkThe biggest disappointment is the general ambience of the place … there isn’t any! Sometimes we wish the owners of independent coffee shops like this would visit some of their multinational competitors … there’s a Caffe Nero, and a Costa just a stones throw away and they didn’t become multinationals by not paying attention to detail. Places like this can learn much from them about service and presentation. Not that there was anything wrong with the service .. if anything it was a bit over friendly. So the general look of the place was the disappointment but the big surprise was the scones. There was a selection of plain, fruit or treacle all made by Agnes earlier in the day. We decided on fruit for both of us … they were delicious. So light that we struggled to keep them from floating away … slight exaggeration! In our family, if a piece of baking had turned out too heavy and solid it was described as “doesn’t need pegging down”, well these scones did! Well done Agnes, in spite of all the inadequacies in this place we felt we had no choice but to award a topscone … cause for celebration! In case you were wondering … Sorochas is owned by a lady called Sarah and the coffee shop takes its name from the Gaelic equivalent.

Another cause for celebration?? Apparently, the UK now has a two new ginormous aircraft carriers with which we can go around the world bullying everyone who does not have ginormous aircraft carriers … this also involves pretending that the UK is some sort of powerful nation instead of just a puppet of the US.  Anyway, how else would you deal with an enemy wearing flipflops? Oops, forgot about all our Trident nuclear missiles!

Following the revelations in the last post about the introduction of scones to Austria we got a note from our Maryland correspondents in the US who were introduced to scones in Scotland back in June. Back home in Maryland, of course, they are dangerously close to the impending armageddon referred to in our last post so they have been  baking lots of shortbread and scones in an attempt to spread their civilising influence as far as the White House. We wish them all the luck in the world. They also asked if there were any songs about scones. Well there are … you can view one attempt by clicking here. If anyone out there can do better, please let us know … how hard can it be? There are also organisations that bring people together using the power of songs and scones … fantastic! In the meantime in the unlikely event of the scones failing to at least delay armageddon, our correspondents can find sanctuary in Scotland anytime.

FK1 1PL      tel: 01324 227610        Sorocha’s Coffee Shop TA

Legends Coffee House

Our island hopping adventures have sadly come to an end and we are now back in the real world … at Legends Coffee House in Stirling to be precise. The legend referred to in the name is, of course, William Wallace, Scottish hero, general all round good guy and star of the movie Braveheart. This facility serves visitors to the Wallace Monument … it is where you start and finish your visit. Internal view of Legends Coffee House at the Wallace Monument, StirlingYou should drop in … especially if you have just completed the climb to the top of the monument. We had friends from Arizona with us and we had already forced them up the Abbey Craig (the hill on which the monument stands) and the 246 steps to the top of the monument with the bribe of a scone when they got back down …  we were having to pay up. Memorabilia at the Legends Coffee House at the Wallace Monument, StirlingMost of this place is  new since we were last here and thankfully takes up the site previously occupied by a diabolical statue of Wallace. The shop is full of the usual stuff that we suspect tourists must get really fed up with after they have been round some of Scotland’s main attractions because it always seems much the same  tartan or saltire emblazoned memorabilia everywhere you go. That said, Legends Coffee House, in spite of being quite busy, was clean, tidy and appeared well run. But, dear oh dear, our scones felt really heavy! So heavy, in fact, we thought we might have to brandish Wallace’s mighty double handed claymore to cut them in half … hopes of impressing our American friends with a good Scottish scone were fading fast. A scone at the Legends Coffee House at the Wallace Monument, StirlingAs it turned out, however, they tasted quite good and our friends were fascinated by the butter, jam and cream rituals which we don’t even think about … and at least it was all Scottish produce. All in all, it evolved into quite a good experience for everyone … but not good enough for a topscone unfortunately. This monument to William Wallace is here because of his famous victory over the much larger English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 which helped establish Scotland as a free and independent nation. Goodness knows what he would have thought of the ‘parcel of rogues’ that, almost 400 years after his death, forced Scotland into a union with England and, even worse, that Scotland is still in it. He was hung, drawn and quartered in London and his head and body parts distributed throughout the land as a warning to any other uppity Scots … so no grave to spin in, but if he had one, he would would just be a blur. His statue looks down from its stance high on the monument at Scotland’s present day subordination and it must be thinking “what a right feckless bunch I gave my life for”!  Our friends are back on the other side of the pond now, having survived Scotland … and the scones.

Evening view of the Wallace Monument, Stirling
The Wallace Monument stands on the Abbey Craig in the evening light.

FK9 5LF    tel: 01786 472140     Legends Coffee House

BREAKING NEWS Our Middle East correspondent has just filed a report on a post box he came across in Jaffa, Tel Aviv. Readers may know Jaffa from the biblical stories about Jonah, Solomon and St Peter but more probably through cakes. The post box in question was manufactured by McDowall Steven & Co who, in 1912 took over the Laurieston Ironworks in Falkirk and made post boxes until 1958 when it closed. Jaffa was occupied in 1947 so presumably these post boxes date from then. There’s nothing quite like scones to broaden the mind.Letter box in Jaffa, made in Falkirk


The Butterchurn

There are plenty of things that change as you get older but no one  ever mentioned to us that you start to run out of aunties. Between us we used to have loads of them but, sadly, now we only have two … and one of them lives here in Kirkintilloch and we are taking her out for lunch. Kirkie is a fair distance from our home town of Falkirk yet both towns are very much connected: a) the Forth & Clyde canal runs through both b) the Roman Antonine Wall runs through both and c) they both have an illustrious history in iron manufacturing. Aficianados of the world famous red telephone box know that almost all the K2 and K6 versions were made here in the Lion foundry and, of course, every single one of the limited edition K4s were made at Carron in Falkirk. For non-aficianados we have put together a handy guide which will hopefully help avoid any confusion. K2, K6 and K4 red telephone boxesAnyway, now that we have cleared that up, our aunt wanted to buy some plants for her garden so where better than Caulder’s Garden Centre right here in Kirkie which is also home to the Butterchurn Coffee House. Although we had been warned it was always busy we did not expect to be told that we would have to wait twenty minutes for a table .. and it’s not as if it is short of tables, it’s quite a big place. We were put on a waiting list.Internal view of the Butter Churn Coffee Shop, KirkintillochTrue to their word, however, we went back later and within a couple of minutes we had a table. The serving staff, although rushed off their feet, were very friendly and welcoming in that uniquely Glasgow kind of way … you find yourself talking about the weather, children and the price of tea in China in the act of giving your order. We had ordered a scone but decided, since we were having other things, to share it three ways. A scone at the Butter Churn Coffee Shop, KirkintillochUnfortunately it appeared with all the other food so we had to look at it all the way through lunch … and it did not look at all promising. Well, you would think, with our intensive studies in sconology, that we would be able to spot a good scone at some distance … you would be wrong, it was excellent, what do we know? We like our scones to be a little bit crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle but this one wasn’t, it was all soft but with a lovely texture … delicious! Nice jam and whipped cream as well. They also do lumpy bumpy cake … don’t ask!

View from the Butter Churn Coffee Shop, Kirkintilloch
View with the Campsie Fells in the distance

There have been other surprises recently! For us the biggest was how far the main stream media, including the ‘impartial’ BBC, went in distorting the facts about the local council elections. They managed to turn it, with just 20% of the vote, into a triumph for the Tories … apparently the SNP are going to have to rethink their entire strategy and drop all thoughts of independence … eh, the clue is in the name? What actually happened was that the SNP, after 10 years in power, increased their vote and took control of all the major cities whereas the unionist vote decreased … it takes real skill to twist that into a disaster for independence but par for the course really. The Tories did increase their vote but only because Labour voters could not bring themselves to vote Labour and switched, unbelievably in Scotland, to Tory. Table decoration at the Butter Churn Coffee Shop, KirkintillochIn France, Emmanuel Macron has become President! Perhaps not that surprising, but surprising in that no one seemed to like either candidate, they just voted for what they saw as the lesser of two evils. What has happened to world politics … everything is anti: anti-immigration, anti-EU, anti-globilisation, anti-this, anti-that? Our Kirkintilloch aunty is a wee treasure however … we had a great lunch and a surprise topscone. Apologies for the homophonics.Graphic for the Butter Churn Coffee Shop, Kirkintilloch

G66 1QF        tel: 0141 776 2304          Butterchurn Coffee Shop

Callendar House (revisited)

A billboard at Callendar House tearoom, FalkirkIn our original post, almost two years ago, we gave Callendar House a bit of a hard time and appealed to Falkirk Community Council to pull their socks up and provide something a little better. Well … we got a tip off in the form of this photo from our Trossachs correspondents, remember them? They are mostly dormant in winter but the fresh spring air has obviously stirred them and they sent this picture from a recent visit … they also reported an improvement in the scones! Philosophically the blackboard message gets right to the heart of everything … perhaps another visit was required.  As a slight aside, because my dad worked for Callendar Estate, when the contents of the house were been auctioned off in 1963, I, as a mere youth, was given the task of patrolling one of the floors, which included Mary Queen of Scots bedroom, to ensure that nothing was stolen. Didn’t someone pinch a full set of crystal decanters and glasses from her room … arrgghh! As far as I can remember I still got paid! The marriage agreement between Mary and the French Dauphin, Francis, which provided that Scotland and France should eventually be united as one kingdom, was signed here. Mary was fifteen and Francis fourteen when they were married in the cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris … the rest, as they say, is history. Interesting to speculate though on what things would be like now if Scotland had united with France rather than England.Internal view of Callendar House tearoom, FalkirkThe tearoom is housed in a beautiful old wood paneled room with ornate gilded cornicing. The publicity says “the newly refurbished Callendar House Tearoom offers a bright and airy café experience” … and it does, with nice views from the tall windows onto the expansive lawns and gardens.  The refurbishment however has involved replacing all the tables and chairs we complained about last time with equally modern featureless items which although better are still slightly incongruous. For such a grand setting, more appropriate Victoriana could easily have been purchase from auctions at a fraction of the cost … a lost opportunity! We have got to hand it to the staff however who have to work one of the most inefficient systems known to man … the kitchen is miles away, the cakes and pastries are at the furthest away point from the kitchen and the till is half way in between … they have to walk many unnecessary miles every day … but they seem to do so happily, well done them! A scone at Callendar House tearoom, FalkirkWhat’s with all this moaning we hear you say? Exactly, let’s get on to the scones. Our correspondents turned out to be absolutely correct,  they were much improved, very good even … not quite topscone but close. Again no local produce, the jam was the ubiquitous Tiptree variety and the butter was completely anonymous but heyho the overall experience was much better than last time … small steps. Thanks to our Trossachs correspondents for the heads-up! Just started getting our Council Election bumf through the door. Our sitting Tory counciller has a large fancy pamphlet completely devoid of policies except ” SNP bad” … probably all you can say if you can’t think of anything good to say about your own party! Logo of Callendar House tearoom, FalkirkFK1 1YR         tel: 01324 503770          Callendar House

The Park Bistro

In the year 1818 a man stood in a field somewhere between Edinburgh and Falkirk and drove his spade into the soil … he was starting to excavate a massive thirty one mile long ditch between the two towns which would eventually be filled with water … the Union Canal, as we know it today. In a modern world of JCBs and  huge automated earth moving machines, it is quite extraordinary to think that this canal with all its tunnels and aqueducts had to be constructed entirely by hand … millions of spadefuls mostly at the hands of hundreds of Highlanders and Irishmen. The intention was to feed Edinburgh’s insatiable appetite for coal but today our own personal needs are much simpler because just a few yards from the canal’s towpath at Philpstoun is a converted cattle shed, the Park Bistro, which we hoped would satisfy our appetite for scones. For the many hundreds of people using the canal and the towpath The Park provides welcome respite from their exertions though today our exertions were pretty feeble since we arrived by car on our way home from Edinburgh. Interior of the Park Bistro, Linlithgow Quite a while back we tried to get a scone here but they had just sold the last one so it was not to be … today, however, there was no such problem … scones aplenty! When they arrived with our coffee we asked if there was any cream .. the lady screwed her face up and said “only scooshie”, we screwed our faces up and said “no thanks”. A scone at the Park Bistro, LinlithgowHowever, just as we were about to cut into our first scone she suddenly reappeared placing a lovely bowl of whipped cream on our table … “stole it from the chef making a pavlova” … and, with a sly wink, she was off just as suddenly … service, or what? The coffee was good but the scones themselves were quite tricky to eat because they were so crumbly … much wiping and licking of fingers. Despite this we enjoyed our time at The Park …  but not what we would describe as a topscone experience. Ajoining the café area is a wee room imaginatively called ‘The Wee Room’, which can be hired for private parties and in it hangs a tapestry showing Louis XIV defeating the Spanish near a canal in Bruges in the 1667 War of Devolution. Can’t think why it should be hanging here other than canals … oh, and devolution, a concept which seems in mortal danger these days given the Prime Minister’s attitude to Scotland and Brexit.

a tapestry at the Park Bistro, Linlithgow
Must have taken them ages to get ready for battle!

It’s a bit rich, when the Parliament in Edinburgh wants independence and almost every single Scottish MP at Westminster wants independence, for May to tell Sturgeon to ignore these ‘details’ and get on with the day job … especially when May’s own domestic politics are in a much worse state than Scotland’s. Anyway, with the announcement yesterday of IndyRef2 we cannot expect the battle over the next few years to be conducted with anything like the aplomb of Louis XIV … it is going to be messy! Window sign for the Park Bistro, LinlithgowOn a slightly different tack … these days most people would pay a premium to have a canal view but not so William Forbes of Callendar.  When the Union Canal was being built he petitioned every MP at Westminster because he thought the canal might spoil the distant view from his mansion … the route was subsequently diverted through a half mile tunnel under Prospect Hill which had to be hewn by hand from solid rock. Not a problem in those days when men were disposable … the great and the good will always look after each other. Looking at that tapestry again you kind of get the feeling they might take a break from battle for afternoon tea … and a scone!

EH49 6QY     tel: 01506 846666       The Park Bistro

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

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

Roasted Bean

Okay, okay, the Crystal Palace Triangle is not so much a ‘scone desert’ as we first thought … we found another one! picture of garden area of Roasted Bean café in Crystal PalaceThis time it’s at the Roasted Bean café and, like the LWS café in our previous post, it is situated on the outer extremity of the Triangle where the influence is weakest. The Roasted Bean had plain and fruit scones so we thought we should take the chance to get back to some sort of normality after our gruyère and chive experience. Normality, however, is sometimes not all that it is cracked up to be. The girl who brought our fruit scone, semi-apologetically explained that the scraping of jam on offer was all they had left .. not a great start. On the plus side, we were able to sit outside in the ‘garden’ on what was a very hot day. picture of a Roasted Bean café sconeThe scone itself, although nicely toasted and tasted okay, the meagre jam and the strange synthetic butter missed the topscone marker by quite a long way. We have concluded that the Crystal Palace Triangle, though not a complete scone desert, is not the sort of place that sconeys should be frequenting … unless, of course, they have a peripheral interest in broadcasting?? Picture of the Crystal Palace TV transmitterCrystal Palace may not cut the mustard for scones but it does have the famous Crystal Palace TV transmitter which, with a coverage of more than 12 million people, is the most important in the UK . Of course, broadcasting aficionados will know that the first ever TV broadcast took place in our own home town of Falkirk when John Logie Baird demonstrated the new fandangled thing in what is now Johnston’s bistro in the Lint Riggs. You are probably also aware that the whole ‘TV thingy’ caught on in quite a big way and when the BBC was formed, the rest, as they say, is history. The BBC is about to get it’s new charter and whereas this transmitter probably does a good job for London it remains to be seen whether the BBC can adapt to the new politics of the UK and reflect a Scotland where all but three of it’s MPs support independence. So far it has done a miserable job … for instance, reporting a big independence rally in Catalonia whilst completely ignoring a similar rally in Glasgow on the same day is not a service, it is a disservice. With Scotland raising more than £300m in BBC licence fees and only getting £83m back, an urgent revision is required. RTE, the Irish broadcaster, buys all BBC channels for £21m a year so it does not need a brain surgeon to work out that an independent Scotland would be much better off  doing it’s own broadcasting and simply paying for the BBC in the same way as RTE … if it wants to. Do you think this transmitter could have anything to do with the mysterious lack of scones in the Crystal Palace Triangle?

SE19 3RY     tel: 07515 126190     Roasted Bean FB