Admittedly, this is not the first place that comes to mind when seeking out a good scone a) it’s a huge furniture warehouse b) it’s situated in a pretty uninviting industrial estate … but, like us, you might be surprised. We used to come here quite often looking for the odd quirky piece of furniture but, hallelujah, since our last visit they have reorganised everything and added Café Belgica … and it seemed like the busiest part of the store. It is well set up and there is a good range of food and drinks on offer … including scones. Ours fruit scones were good and served with a generous tub of clotted cream. The friendly lady who was looking after us, however, was having to work very hard negotiating a rather odd table layout – definitely something they need to look at in future. Not topscones unfortunately but enjoyable nevertheless. Café Belgica is providing something of an oasis in what is really a huge refreshment desert … a place to chillax away from the cares of the outside world and, perhaps more importantly, away from the Winter Olympics. Never mind the brouhaha about Kim Jong-un’s sister making Mike Pence look like a bit of a plonker, or the fact that banned Russia is competing … but not as Russia? Even more ridiculous is the sight of commentators working themselves up into a lather over whether Team GB might beat Team Nigeria by 1/1000th of a second … at sledging! Does anyone seriously care? Maybe we just don’t understand. In common with 99.999% of the population we don’t know anyone involved in ‘skeleton’ (head first on a sledge) or ‘luge’ (feet first on a sledge) so are not in a position to discuss the finer points. As youths we used to take part in our own Tin Tray Championships which consisted of a group of idiots sliding down the Ochil hills on beer trays totally out of control … a bit like Brexit negotiations! Could Brexit become an Olympic event … a gold medal to anyone who can find a way to keep us in the EU.
EH51 0PU tel: 01506 243954 Café Belgica
We are very familiar with Westminster Bridge so our thoughts go out to all those caught up in yesterday’s tragedy … a kind of re-enactment of the horrific events in Nice which are still very fresh in our memories. In spite of our frequent moaning about Westminster we have to hand it to all the MPs and the security forces who seem to have responded admirably. At the end of the day it is virtually impossible to protect against religious zealots whose mind set is totally irrational … but it is important that the Palace of Westminster, as far as possible, remains a public place.
Anyway the village of Muckhart is about as far away from such events as it is possible to get … a sleepy little corner of Clackmannanshire in what is known as the ‘hillfoots’ of the Ochil Hills. It actually consists of two small adjacent villages – Yetts of Muckhart and Pool of Muckhart and the ‘Muckhart’ bit seems to refer to the surrounding fields being used for pig farming at some time in the past. What happens in Muckhart? Well not a lot but it does have a 27 hole golf course and nice wee pub whose doorstep is exactly the same height above sea level as the Wallace Monument … not a lot of people know that! Today however we are in Mona’s in Pool of Muckhart on that never ending quest for topscones. It is difficult for someone of our age to utter the name “Mona” without getting an immediate rush of nostalgia for the Rolling Stones and their Bo Diddley track of that name … don’t worry if you’re under sixty, it’s a generational thing. This Mona has nothing to do with the Stones but everything to do with the current owner’s grandmother whose name was Mona Cram. You enter into a nice little shop selling jewellery, knick knacks and lots of home baking before continuing through to the café area where we discovered a solitary plain scone with three cheese scones keeping it company … all they had left! I decided to put the plain one out of its misery leaving Pat no option but to go for cheese. The lady looking after us was a joy … you know how it is when you meet someone and you just know that nothing is going to be too much trouble – and even if it is it will be done cheerily and with a smile … she was one of those! My scone arrived with generous pots of jam and cream and Pat’s had been nicely warmed up and came with butter. In other words, everything was just as it should be. We enjoyed them but Pat felt her cheese one was slightly doughy and try as I might I just couldn’t raise mine to topscone status either. The friendly atmosphere more than made up for any disappointment with the scones … Mona’s is definitely worth a visit. Here in Muckhart on a lovely day it is impossible to even begin to imagine what possesses someone to perpetrate the events of Westminster Bridge yesterday … long may it remain so.
FK14 7JN tel: 01259 781322 Monas of Muckart