The castle turned to out to be Castle Blair or Blair Athol, which is an ancient stately home. It boasts not only ballrooms and corridors filled with deer-skulls and antlers, but a private army, lots of wonderful furniture and paintings and a guide called Mo who was probably the best guide of any sort I have ever come across. I’m surprised that some TV company hasn’t snapped her up already. I loved her and wanted to take her home so that she could guide people round our flat and say witty things about the paintings and objets d’art.
We had lunch (a fish and chips tea for £6.95… Haddock, chips, tea, and bread and butter) in Pitlochry, having already been warned by the bus driver not to be late back, (‘When the big hand is on the two..’ he said.). We then set off for ‘The Queen’s View’ which is more or less a ledge with a railing which afforded a fabulous view of a river winding past a range of mountains.
Luckily for us, cloud was creeping around the mountain-tops which afforded opportunities for some nice photographs.
This evening, the ME & D consisted of a blind woman (plus dog) and an organist who were alternating between Karaoke and Scottish Country dancing. The blind woman was teaching the dancing. Luckily a large group of men and women (many of the men were sporting shirts that read ‘Blue Knights) arrived to take over the singing and dancing.
Who could have predicted that we would be staying in a Scottish hotel at the same time as a convention of Police and Prison Officer Bikers? We chatted to one called Ross, who was very nice and reminded me of someone but I haven’t worked out whom yet.
It turns out that our tour guide lives in Holland Park (literally). He said something about looking after the peacocks, but he’d had two pints of the local brew by then and was becoming slurred, so it could be that he actually looks after Peacocks which sells cut-price T-shirts in Shepherds Bush precinct.
The feisty barman seems determined to be angry about everyone and everything. He showed us a stick that he keeps behind the bar to threaten rowdy residents with. Last year, he told us, they had the army staying at Christmas and he had to employ the stick to stop the soldiers stealing hotel memorabilia. I somehow doubt this as the hotel has very little memorabilia that one would wish to steal and had this man threatened soldiers with a stick they would no doubt have squashed him like a small English gooseberry.
I think I would like to live here. It’s full of my kind of people.