Tag Archives: France

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

So Strawberry Caffé

The question is, what do you do when it is tipping it down with rain and blowing a chilly north wind .. go for a walk of course … well some of us do! Strawberry 07Those who read our previous post will know that, from time to time, we are prone to a spot of bird watching .. and Linlithgow Loch is as good a place as any to spot all sorts of water birds and sometimes the occasional rarity. Not this day however; the birds, having more sense than us, had obviously run for shelter .. just a few coots and swans braving the elements along with our good selves. Somewhat drookit, we eventually came round by the Palace and came across the recently unveiled statue of Mary Queen of Scots looking out over her former home … not sure about it, what do you think? She was born in the Palace and, because her dad died, became Queen of Scotland when she was only six days old; she also became Queen of France when she was seventeen.. not bad going for a mere teenager. Of course many believe she should also have been Queen of England but that is a whole other story. At the end of the day, her main claim to fame comes through our Canadian niece whose two favourite women of all time are Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Gaga. By now you will have deduced where all this is leading .. a scone refuge! Slightly battered, but nevertheless invigorated, we found our way here to the So Strawberry Caffé in the town centre, enticed inside by the banner ‘Happiness is Homemade’. Strawberry 08By the time we had discarded all our wet stuff our scone was on the table in front of us (we had opted to share one because they were quite big, but mostly because Pat fancied their gingerbread) … all their goodies are indeed home-baked. The scone was really nice with a slightly crunchy top and soft inside, just the way we like them, and loads of butter and jam .. no cream on offer, but sometimes you just have to make do .. life can be tough! Again it was a close run thing but unfortunately So Strawberry just missed out on a topscone award  .. you see how hard it is! The gingerbread was very good too.

Christmas is coming
Christmas is coming

So often, in places like this, the staff can be a bit on the surly side, but not here; all the young lasses  appeared to be enjoying their work … lending little festive adornments to the displays. They do something a little bit different here too … miniature cakes for children .. very useful for frustrated parents trying hard not to overindulge their kids.

Strawberry 05Today is St Andrew’s day which provides a convenient link between Scotland, France and Syria what with Mary’s french connections and Andrew being Syrian. The government seems hell bent on joining France in the bombing of Syria even though it is extremely unclear how this will help … and not at all difficult to see how it could make matters much worse. Cameron is using the old “Britain must do the right thing” trick to make those opposed to the bombing appear to be doing the wrong thing. Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria says “if we are not careful we will stumble into the Syrian quagmire and the people of Britain, not David Cameron, will pay the price in blood” .. and he should know better than most! At times like these wouldn’t it be wonderful if  the government had an opposition worthy of the name rather than the shambles currently masquerading as the Labour party! At least So Strawberry doesn’t have to masquerade as anything other than a great wee café.

EH49 7EY        tel: 01506 843333       So Strawberry Caffé FB