What a good couple of days.
We set out meandering our way to Moffat knowing that we have plenty of time and it was nice that it was just Mary and I for a change. I was not going to worry about what was going on at home or whether Mum was eating properly. I wasgoing to enjoy the company of my wife and relax.
We duly arrived and from the moment we got there we knew it was going to be special. The hotel was situated in a quiet cul-de-sac and it was definitely the old upper class part of the village as the houses were huge and dated back to Georgian times, so they would have been for the gentry or at worst, the upper middle classes. You will see what I mean as here is a photo of the front of the place.
However, I get ahead of myself. The first thing I had to do was to say a big thank you the our host as she had arranged for the the flowers and chocolates I had requested to be on the dresser. Mary's face wasa picture and that was worth everything for me.
Although you cannot reall y tell, therewere 12 carnations altogether and the florist did a really good job by packing them in gel so that they would last until we got home and could put them in a vase.
The back garden is the one piece of the place I would not like to get involved with. The next photo will show you why.
In order to mow the bank, the man of the house uses a hover mower on a piece of strong rope and lets it down to the bottom and hauls it back up again. it wasquite a novel thing to see!
During the afternoon we went into Moffat itself and got ourselves a meal as we were not going to eat until the evening so needed something to tide us over. After that it was browsing time and the first thng wenoticed was thatthe Edinburgh woollen Mill shop had a sale on. Now that is like a red rag to a bull, as you will undoubtedly know, and so we must have spent the next hour or so in the shop and it was my turn to buy today. I came away with a couple of really nice jumpers and for less than half price. Little did I know that this was to be the start of a go mad spree.
We sauntered up the village for a little while longer, but finally decidedto head back to the hotel for a rest before our dinner. As it turned out, Mary was so relaxed by now that she actually fell asleep, lol. I went to investigate the lounge and it was so serene with a lovely view out of the bay window.
Naturally we dressed for dinner, which is not something we do often, but it was to be special so we went the whole hog. I have got the menu we were given and all I can say is that food was absolutely divine. It was something that we do not have as a rule and Mary tasted things that she hadnever tried before, and enjoyed them. She will probably never try them again, but the whole experience was a delight.
baby goat’s cheese, chargrilled red pepper, marinated aubergine and vine tomato
with sherry vinaigrette, toasted focaccia
Provencal smoked haddock brandade, black olive tapenade crostini, Moffat leeks
wild garlic soup, crème fraiche
duck breast, salad of pink grapefruit and mint, sesame oil dressing
fillet of Glencaple sea trout, risotto of broad beans and dill; fennel and mangetout
roast chicken breast stuffed with black pudding and bacon, cream of celeriac and truffle oil mashed potatoes, Moffat chard, thyme sauce
roast chump of Cumbrian lamb with chorizo, casserole of green Puy lentils, chargrilled courgette and salsa verde
lemon vanilla panna cotta, poached pear, almond shortbread
salted caramel chocolate brownie, brown bread ice cream
rhubarb pavlova, lemon curd ice cream
a selection of cheeses, chutney and biscuits (£3 supplement)
homemade ice cream or sorbet
I did say to Mary at the end of the meal that I could definitely get used to this, lol. Although it looks it, the menu was not heavy on the tummy, although the portions were spot on, and both Mary and I were completely satiated. Needless to say we both went upstairs to ourroom feeling very contented.
So, after a great night's sleep. the first in a while for both of us, we got up bright and breezy ready for breakfast and for me to discover what Mary wanted to do for the day. Because we know the village so well Mary decided not to spend the day there but to drive outto a place called Gretna, which is quite near to the famous village of Gretna Green where couples who eloped got married over the blacksmith's anvil, as blacksmiths were allowed to perform wedding ceremonies in Scotland at one time. even today, ceremonial marriages are held over the same anvil and performed by the blacksmith, but of course are not legal marriages any longer.
I was puzzledas to why Mary would want to undertakewhat would be an hour's drive but she said there was a retail park she wanted to have a look at. Here we go, I thought. I have tried to give you a get away break and you want to go shopping! What I did not realise is that thisis one of several simialr places that get in good quality and sometimes designer goods, but sell them at proces you would not believe. Once we got there we found we were early, but luckily there was a Costa Coffee place open, so we went fora drink whilst we waited. Now whether by coincidence or design or what, but almost opposite the cafe was a cookware shop; one of a chain that Mary had used before to buy me things for the kitchen. Now I started to get a little more enthuisiasm for the place, lol. They do not sell rubbish either and all of their saucepans even come with a 25 year guarantee. So, naturally, I was drawn inside as I was in need of a couple of things to replace items I had been forced to get rid of because of long term wear and tear. The lady behind the counter was so helpful and got me exactly what I wanted and again, I came out with some bargains which would have cost at least twice as much elsewhere. Other than that we visited a Cadbury's sweet shop where Mary bought some chocolates and stuff for the grandkids, and we spent some time in a discount book shop where I bought some books which I knew Mum would read. Mary also got some bits and pieces whcih will be stored as gifts for a future occasion as it also sold other bits and pieces suitable for children.
The park was not that big so we were able to get through it quite quickly, but it was still around noon when we left. Neither of us felt hungry aswe had deliberately had a good breakfast, so Mary suggested we tried to go back via another but more scenie route. That was fine by me, although it was to take longer than we imagined to et back in the end.
We set off and pulled off the motorway and into the countryside, and basically headed in the general direction of north. After a short drive we came across a place that you will have heard of but for the wrong reasons.
On the surface, just another town. However, this is a place where in 1988 Pan Am flight 103 was brought down so tragically. This is Lockerbie. Although you would never think it to pass through or even spend an hour o so there, the people of Lockerbie still remember and it was unfortunate for us that the memorial garden that has been created in memory of this tragedy was closed.
From there we were not sure which way to go and so basically flipped a coin. Unfortunately, the coin came down on the wrong siude and itsoon realised that we were heading back south once more.This time, however, we hadno choice but to follow the road as there were no turn offs or villages that enabled us to go in the direction we needed to. still, the day wasn't so bad, and we werenot pressed for time, so we just sat back and enjoyd the ride. We ended up in Dumfries as Mary wanted to see what the town centre was like. We nearly got lost there as it is full of one way systems and it took us to get out of the place. Neither of us feltas if wewould be going back there again.
in the end we spent most of the rst of the day on the road and did not get back to Moffat until around 3pm. By this time I was thirsty and a little p[eckish so we went to the Moffat woollen Mill shop cafe fora snack. Well, i am afraid to say that the highlight was the tea and coffee. we opted for what we call a high tea, but what wegot was nothing like and we left really disappointed, although Mary did get ehrself a change purse at the shop itself and also boughta couple of tops.
Knowing that time was egtting on I decidef to go and have a decent cup of coffee in the cafe we normally use whilst it was Maary's turn to visit theedinburgh Woollen Mill shop. We had arranged to meet at thecafe, but Mary did not come in or else she would have seen me as I was otherwise engaged when she got there. So, she went looking fo me at the gardenc entree as she knew I did want to pop in. I had not been there yet so she wandered up abnd down until I finally had to leave the cafeandwe met up. I still had the garden entre to go to and just made it as they were cashing up for the day. Luckily I knew what I antedas it is the one place I can get my natural extracts from which I use in my baking. This trip was not for plant or seed buying. Mary had also been successful at the Mill shop and had bought herself a couple of really nice cardigans.
Since we had dined so well the evening previous, we did not want to do it again, so we simply went and had dinner at a place we have used in the past. Whilst the food was tasty enough it was like chalk and cheese, and we could not help but compare the two meals.
Unfortunately, we were not going to have time to spend in town the following morning as along the way Mary had picked up a slow puncture, so we needed to get home and get the car into a garage. There was not one in Moffat and the nearest meant a trip south again. Fortunately, it was a really slow puncture, butwewere not prepared for the findings of the garage. It transpired that three of her tyres needed to be changed, which was going to be expensive and something definitely not budgeted for. However, we had to get the new tyres astheonesthat Mary had on the car were quite worn. Still, at least I know she is a lot safer now.
So, apart from the tyres, the trip was asuccess and we have found a bolt hole which, although a bit more expensive, is well worth going back to in the future should we ever find the need to get away from it all. Oh, and I only used my wheelchair once during the whole trip. I was able, for the first time, to walk the rest using my walker, and without penalty. Needless to say I was pretty pleased with myself for that.
Hopefully I have managed to convey the essence of the trip for you and just why it is that we delight in going back to this place time and again, as there are always new delights to discover.