Thursday, May 03, 2007

"You'll not beat this place, Johnnie"

Gllian never calls me Johnnie unless she is happy. New place just opened in Glencoe village street, Carnoch Restaurant. (They do Take-away too – very valuable if you are fed up with cooking for yourselves)

Our meal bill totalled £26 for a Salmon dish of superb quality and beautifully cooked , and Haddock and chips, but with a very light batter, followed by Banana pancakes, and cream, two lattes, two large glasses of wine. The ingredients were of the highest quality and so was the cooking.

The owner’s eye – it makes a big difference
They are lovely people, too, and unlike all the other restaurants in the area, the young owner is out front mixing with the customers. Book 01855 811140

This might not be too fair on David at Crafts and Things across the road. He is always around welcoming people, saying hello, but he does not do full meals.

Our lady at our table was from Glasgow, as you can tell probably from the following exchange.

“Did you take the tip from the change?”
“No, I never touch your money, I’m not married to you.”

For quick with you’ll never beat Glasgow people. I was brought up on it, because I was raised there and am proud if it.


How to stop big burly Scotsmen in their tracks

This is Springtime in Scotland. the weather is gorgeous. This is the local megalithic stone near our cottage. How old? Well, let me see, would 3,000 years old impress you?

Imagine the scene. I have just been overtaken on a single carriageway road by that most lethal of drivers, a white van man from Glasgow, doing 60mph.

Coming the other way is a monster truck full of pine trees just harvested, at the same speed. Closing speed of the two vehicles 120mph.

Neither of these men would you want to make angry in a back street of the Gorbals on a Saturday night when they’ve had a couple of drams.

Both of them screech to almost a halt – 5mph, and pass within centimetres of each other, very gingerly.


There was a tiny lamb, sitting on the side of the road with its feet rubbing together on the white line, bathing its head in the sunshine. On the other side of the road is Mother sheep, blissfully unconcerned, munching away at the grass thinking “Got to get some sustenance, the little sod has been keeping me up all night.”

That’s how you stop even the most formidable Scotsmen in their tracks. They are just big softies.


Ps Mind you, I wonder what their speed would have been if I had been sat on the roadside myself instead of the lamb, with a sign around my neck saying “Sassenach”
(Google it, if you must)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I might regret saying this - few midges this Summer?

You heard it here first. There will be few midges around this Summer.
Great news. I'm thinking of putting out a press release on this. We are at the cottage now and there are no signs of the dreaded midge. They usually start around May, build up to a ferocious climax in August, and die off in Septemer having feasted on human blood all Summer.
You won't believe the next bit, but I promise you it is true. Although we are on the West Coast with its notorious reputation for midge atrocities, and you can see the human remains from countless bites all around the Glencoe Lochan in the Summer - why do you think they put the Glencoe Hospital there? - we get virtually no midges where we are at the cottage.
We have not had one guest complain about midges here, at this spot. No I can't believe it as I write. Neither Gillian nor I, in all the nineteen years we have been here, have ever complained about the midges. and we are wimps. The first to scurry off to bed if there was any danger of a bloodsucking female around. It is the females who bite. As ever.
Why few midges this year, then?
We now have a comprehensive midge measurement service for the first time in Scotland. In the Spring of last year they were forecasting that midges would be bad in a dry summer. They weren't. they were very light. They know this because there are machines around that kill off midges, and the scientists can collect the remains and get a count.
To their amazement, they collected significantly fewer than the year before.
If we are to get aother long dry hot summer, then starting with a lower population and breeding stock then I think we should get fewer still.
The midge forecasters don't start until this month, so I'm getting my forecast in early.
Nothing like hot news - a scoop in fact.
Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
  • Short Breaks Glencoe
  • Stories about Appin villages blog