Visiting Scotland

We had some English visitors for the weekend – and it was great fun meeting them for the first time (although we’ve known each other for years on Facebook!)  Being online friends sometimes isn’t enough and we invited Debra and her daughter Annette to come visit us – turns out to be a brilliant decision as we had a great time.

The ladies booked a sleeper journey from Euston on the Caledonian Sleeper and then came to us via the local Glasgow train service.  As Sandy and I waited at the station to pick them up, the squally rain showers were zipping along the Clyde – and we started to worry that we would be house-bound for the weekend.

First stop - Carman Hill, Cardross
Carman Hill, Cardross

Ok, the weather was dry when we got out of the car at the top of Carman Hill – hoping to see a great view over the Clyde estuary – the low clouds had other ideas for us, though.  As we drove along the banks of Loch Lomond, there was no sign of Ben Lomond at all and the weather seemed to be closing in completely.

low cloud on the rest and be thankful
The Rest and Be Thankful

So, ever brave, even though there wasn’t much sign of good weather, we decided to go on to Inveraray.  We commented that the roads were quite busy – and then realised that the Scottish schools were on mid-term break (Tattie Holidays!) and, when we reached Inveraray, it was really quite busy.  Bracing – but definitely busy.

Inveraray
Bracing weather in Inveraray

Yes – you’ve spotted that Debra and Annette found some sunshine – and, although it was bracing, the scenery was stunning.  The Clyde Puffer, the Vital Spark, was tied up at the pier.

Vital Spark, Inveraray - ParaHandy
The Vital Spark – star of the ParaHandy TV Series

 

 

Whatever happened to Iceberg Lettuce?

We’ve just been on a short trip to Yorkshire – we stayed in the Days Inn at Wetherby for most of that.  It was convenient for visiting the Harrogate Home and Gift Show and for visiting various towns in the surrounding area.

Wetherby Whaler
Wetherby Whaler – Large Haddock Supper

Wetherby is a lovely town – full of colour, plenty of good places to eat – and some lovely little shops.  OK, there’s a Morrison’s supermarket too but we only found this towards the end of our stay …  basically, we didn’t need to do any supermarket shopping, so why would we look for one!

We also explored Helmsley (would love to go back) and were enchanted by it.  We arrived on the same day as a vintage car rally so attention was divided between cars and walking through the quaint town centre.

I admit it – I’m a plain-eating sort of girl  😉 these days.  We had breakfast in the hotel and then headed out for the day.  It’s easy finding coffee shops to have a quick snack at lunchtime – and we found several which were excellent.  Then, because there was such a choice of places to have dinner, it became much more difficult.

Our first meal in Wetherby was at Sir Dukes Bar and Grill in Bank Street.  The restaurant was busy – but thankfully we managed to find a table.  Looking through the menu, and watching meals being served to other diners round about, it was clear that we would probably only manage a main course.  The portions looked huge.  It took as a few moments to figure out our choices.  Sandy chose the “This is Clucking Fantastic” – Roasted breast, stuffed thigh, crispy drumstick, Bearnaise and chicken juices, skin on fries and wild rocket salad.  I went for an 8 oz (seemed bigger!) sirloin steak with fries and added a couple of garlic prawns.  The food was delicious.

We visited the Harrogate Home and Gift Show – a trade show for retailers – and had a challenging time walking through the various show halls and marquees.  We placed orders, made contact with existing suppliers and, excitingly, found some potential new ones as well!  More of that later.

I know now that I’m not fit to do trade shows in the heat of the summer – and I was a total grump because of the layout of the show.  At some points, trying to walk from one category of exhibitors to another became a nightmare because the halls only seemed to connect to one another at one point – so if you wanted to skip products which were of no interest, it wasn’t always obvious how to get to the next area quickly.  I now appreciate the Glasgow Exhibition Centre so much more – it’s well laid out, the routes to toilets and eating areas are well marked out and it’s all one one level.

Having said that, the quality of most of the goods on display at Harrogate is very high.  I believe we wished we had visited many years ago.

We ate at several other restaurants (we were in the area for six days) – included

Sant Angelo in Wetherby – also good.  Sandy enjoyed his POLLO ALLA CREMA – Chicken fillet marinated with fresh herbs, shallots, mushrooms,
white wine and cream.

The Golden Fleece  in Thirsk – I had the most delicious Lamb Rump – it’s a long time since I had such a tender piece of lamb (salivating just thinking about it!)

The Wetherby Whaler – and this place was really busy too – with a traditional fish and chip shop downstairs, this restaurant served a “Fish Tea” bread and butter, tea, fish and chips.  All freshly cooked, the haddock was fantastic.  The chips were great as well.

The only thing that I really missed when out and about in Yorkshire was a salad with traditional iceberg or little gem lettuce – “mixed leaves” are everywhere and, while I appreciate that many people really like them, I’m a rebel – I just need plain old lettuce 😉  The same comment applies to meals out in Scotland.

I really am an old grump!