We were heading north for a few days but were caught up in some sort of cycling event for the first one hundred miles of our journey … a cyclist every two hundred yards with a queue of traffic waiting to overtake each one made for a very slow journey indeed. Having finally shaken them off at Ballachulish we thought a congratulatory scone was called for. Onich Hotel at the Corran Ferry was our destination of choice since neither of us had ever been there in spite of having passed it many many times in days gone by. It was sconeless, and the girl we spoke to, in her broken English, only seemed to have the vaguest idea of what scones actually were … aarrgghh! In high dudgeon we set off for Fort William but no sooner had we started than we came on this place, Onich Tearoom … just the ticket! The eagle eyed amongst you will have immediately spotted a K6 red telephone box, currently used to store baby seats for the tearoom. We couldn’t get access to the manufacturer’s label but it would almost certainly have been made in Kirkintilloch.
We say “almost certainly” because our indomitable Trossachs correspondents, on return from their K6 experience in St Kitts & Nevis, remembered a similar experience in Buenos Aires a couple of years back … what are they like? When they looked out the photos, however, they were surprised to see that it was made by the Carron Company in Falkirk and thought it might be a fake. Definitely not a fake … a few K6s were indeed made in Falkirk but the vast majority were made in Kirkintilloch … on the other hand all K4s (the ones incorporating a post box) were made in Falkirk … first to send a picture of one of these wins a prize!
To confuse things even further they had K2s for sale inside the tearoom … but they were almost certainly all made in China. Sconey purists are probably thinking that we are getting carried away with telephone boxes rather than concentrating on the day job … scones. Apologies but we do keep coming across them and they do raise a lot of comment. For the allaboutthescones definitive guide to telephone boxes click here. Anyway, enough of that for the moment, back to the job in hand! We ordered two fruit scones to go with our tea. Our friendly helpful host brought them with a generous portion of jam and a pat of Irish butter but, although freshly baked that morning by his wife, we felt that there was just something missing in the taste department … couldn’t quite put our finger on it … enjoyable enough but no topscone! Onich, lies on the shores of Loch Linnhe just short of Fort William and its name in Gaelic means ‘frothy bay’. At one time it was considered to be one of the prettiest villages in Scotland, however, on our visit it was a wee bit dreich (raining) so we did not see it at its best. Nothing dreich about Scotland’s economy according to the latest figures. It is both bewildering and amusing to see the media’s treatment of the news that Scotland’s economy is doing four times better than the rest of the UK after ten years of SNP government. After years of delightedly reporting that Scotland’s economy was on its knees they are still trying to spin this into a bad news story. The government’s spokesman, Rupert Murdoch, eventually resorted to saying in The Times, that it was all down to the influence of London … we hope they remember that when Scotland’s economy is not doing so well because then, of course, it is all the Scottish government’s fault.
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.
The intention was to go for afternoon tea to the five star Gleneagles Hotel .. but we were refused .. can you believe it .. for goodness sake, do they not know who we are? Actually they were very nice and very apologetic. A man spent quite a long time trying to fit us in but eventually had to admit defeat, they were sooo busy .. serves us right for not booking. By way of a consolation prize he directed us back down the drive to the Dormy Clubhouse which overlooks the 18th holes on both the King’s and Queen’s golf courses .. this means a lot to some folks but to us it is just grass that needs cutting. We had a look inside and decided that, if we were going to have to rough it, we could just about get by in here .. the cozy fire in the middle of the floor was more than enticing considering this was our first really cold wet day of the winter. By this time we had jettisoned the idea of afternoon tea and both opted for a simple fruit scone and a coffee … but, this being Gleneagles, it seemed to take a team of four to deliver this relatively simple order. Not complaining, we were just sitting by the fire reading the papers while they fussed around us. If nothing else the Dormy is notable for it’s sugar lumps … they are all individually wrapped? When our scones arrived they came with a little pot of butter and three different jams; raspberry, strawberry and marmalade. The butter was beautifully soft so that it spread really easily, which was just as well because the scones were so light that they almost needed to be pegged down to keep them on the plate .. absolutely fantastic! Now, being at a golf club, we had thought that this post might be about sport and the trials of the IAAF in particular … but unfortunately the tragic events in Paris have overtaken everything. In spite of wall to wall coverage by the media and the usual platitudes from politicians there is virtually no hard information as yet. Cannot help thinking of a recent Twitter spat between Rupert Murdoch and ITN’s Jon Snow. Murdoch was bitterly bemoaning the cruel state of the world and Snow rather aptly replied, “I find that in life one reaps what one sows”. When you consider that there are only 22 countries on the planet that the UK has not invaded at some time or another (France probably not much better) and that Paris is a bit like a doughnut, white in the centre and black on the outside, it is amazing that the West is constantly surprised when this sort of thing happens. Maybe you, like us, get angry when an advert comes on the telly from a charity asking us to send £5 for a mosquito net to completely transform the life of a child in Africa when our government simultaneously spends trillions on wars. For a tiny fraction of that cost they could supply every single child in Africa with mosquito nets .. and render the charity pointless. Until our governments start to find money to help people as easily as they find money to kill them these horrendous events will keep happening. They’ve got a bit of a cheek, we hear you say .. sitting there pontificating in their posh surroundings, eating their scones .. we know, we know! Anyway, you will be aware that our favourite scone comes from Fonab Castle but these Dormy ones, along with the recent ones from Olympic Studios, might be worthy rivals. Maybe we will have to check them all again to make a final decision but in the meantime our thoughts are with all those caught up in the disaster in Paris.
If ever there was a place that could not make up its mind what it was supposed to be, this is it .. the Crystal Cave Tearoom in Burntisland. It is very confusing. It sells everything from buckets and spades to all sorts of trinkets along with a fairly comprehensive range of agates and other lapidary items … hence the name presumably. The people here were very friendly and work extremely hard going up and down a flight of steps to and from the kitchen .. rather them than us.
But someone needs to determine what the core business is and concentrate on that because as a tearoom it was pretty good but could be even better if it wasn’t for all the … stuff. Decluttering would improve the overall ambience and help it look like a proper tearoom. Like the sign says we felt they were on their way to a dream alright but had got a bit lost. Anyway, enough of that, lets get on to the important things. We ordered scones and were told that if we wanted to wait a little we could have completely fresh ones straight from the oven .. otherwise we could have the ones that were done twenty minutes earlier!! We were tempted to wait but, in the end, decided that a twenty minute old scone was just fine .. and so it was, light, good texture and lots of jam and cream. Coffee was presented in a rather odd choice of cup, the tall glass kind we usually associate with gaelic coffee and Pat had to have hers reheated so it could have been better. All in all though we enjoyed everything and wish everyone at the Crystal Cave every good fortune. A crystal ball is what the Labour party needs as it wrestles with Corbynmania. Perhaps if they gazed into it hard enough they might actually see that Tony Blair’s revelation that he is godparent to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter may explain why people don’t want the old establishment Labour party any more, they want something fresh … and Corbyn is their man!