Posts Tagged ‘orchids’

Tigh Na Leigh and their orchids

April 18, 2017

We went for an overnight stay last week to the village of Alyth (good photos) in Perthshire. As we drove towards Alyth, we passed many fields of raspberry canes and others with polytunnels for strawberries. We were now in the area of the Berry Fields O’Blair –  a famous Scots song about the people who used take a holiday in July and spend it picking berries. Another song is When the Yellow’s on the Broom (contains old photos) which is about the travelling people in Scotland who spent the winter in scaldy (i.e. non-travellers) houses, often in very poor conditions, but went berry picking in the summer. The song describes the travelling people as the gan(g)aboot folk, who tak tae the road when the broom flowers. We were booked in to the Tigh Na Leigh (pr Tie Na Lee) Guest House. You have to take the Guest House part with a pinch of salt. This is no ordinary guest house, it’s more of a boutique hotel, with luxurious accommodation. The website has several photos of the interior of the house and there were some exquisite touches such as the egg tree shown below in one of the very comfortable guest lounges.

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Egg tree at Tigh Na Leigh (Click to enlarge)

Also in this lounge, is a log fire built into the wall, with a glass front. Many years ago, we used to live in a house with 2 wood stoves, and there is no better heat than that which comes from burning logs. Also, there is the fascination with the action taking place in the fire itself. The logs attract the flames and are consumed by them, after changing shapes and colours many times. It’s hard to look away from the wildly exotic aerobics of the flames. Sitting by the fire with a glass of wine before dinner was a real treat.

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Log fire at Tigh Na Leigh

The owners, Bettina and Chris, made us very welcome and if you like aeroplane business class service, then Tigh Na Leigh is the place for you, as that’s what you get. We opted to eat in and were sent a menu the day before. For starters, I had a delicious twice-baked smoked haddock (smokie) soufflé, pictured below. This was delicious, with a creamy cheese sauce to enhance the light and delicate soufflé. Our main courses of duck comfit and salmon fillet were also very tasty and the food and wine is very reasonably priced

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Double baked “smokie” soufflé at Tigh Na Leigh

The large dining room, which also has a lounge area, looks out on an extensive garden with a large pond (photo below) and while we had dinner, there were a succession of birds appearing on the lawn or the pond. Behind the pond is large stone fronted mound which was built by the present owners but looks as if it’s been there for centuries, and it has a very natural looking waterfall emerging from it. You also have breakfast in this room and there were numerous bowls of fruit – raspberries, strawberries and blueberries – and fruit compote, as well as yoghurt and a range of cereals. This is in addition to the varied breakfast menu, which includes some of Chris’s excellent omelettes. When you stay here, you start the day very well. Bettina did tell us of one very unwelcome (and non-paying!) guest – an otter which ate all the fish in the pond and threatens to return if the pond is re-stocked. We cannot recommend this superlative accommodation too highly, so if you are travelling in Perthshire, don’t miss it.

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The pond at Tigh Na Leigh

Tigh Na Leigh has flowers in every room and on the stair, there are two beautiful orchids which were instantly attracted to my camera. According to the RHS “Indoor orchids are mainly epiphytic (growing on trees) or lithophytic (growing on rocks)”. So, two new words for my vocabulary, although don’t test me anytime soon. The orchids I saw were beautifully balanced and delicately coloured. In the first photo below, the petals appear to be made of whipped egg whites and stroked with purple food dye, while the centre looks like a small stage with an ornate backdrop.

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Orchid at Tigh Na Leigh

In the 2nd photo, we move into the surreal. The more you look, the more different images you are likely to see. A tiger’s head? A Daliesque set of tonsils? The colours are numerous shades of purple and yellow. The 3rd photo is perhaps more dreamlike and the top half could be an imaginary creature in a SciFi film. What of the bottom half? Purple moons from a planet hundreds of light years away? As ever, you are bound to see something else or different.

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Centre of an orchid at Tigh Na Leigh

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Centre of an orchid at Tigh Na Leigh

 

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Botanic Gardens and bookshops

November 12, 2013

My wife and I went to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh this week. This has been on our list for years but, as many people discover, visiting places which are near you (Edinburgh is 28 miles/43K) from Dunbar, often takes much longer to achieve than visiting other countries. The gardens are a wonderful place to visit. Firstly, you can walk – for free – along the many paths within the gardens. At this time of year, the autumn colours in the gardens are at their peak and there are great swathes of fallen leaves on the grass. Both children and adults can be seen walking through the leaves and experiencing not only the feel of the leaves but also the rustling sound the leaves make. (See photos 1-3). As you walk along the paths, there is a very good chance of seeing grey squirrels squatting on the grass and eating beech nuts as if their lives depended on it or famine was around the corner. This is furious eating. (See Photo 4).

Secondly, there are the glasshouses, which contain a huge variety of plants from all over the world. You do need to pay to visit the glasshouses but it’s a nominal sum. There are many glasshouses, so it’s not possible to visit more than 2 or 3 on one visit. Nor is it desirable, as I think that if you try to pack too many visits in one day/afternoon, you forget what you’ve looked at. We went into the orchid house first and were greeted firstly with a damp warmth and then a scintillating array of orchid plants and flowers. I think that orchids are very plain plants that transform themselves from dull cygnets to dazzling swans when the flowers appear. (See photos 5 and 6). The next glasshouse (Photo 7 6869) had a large pond, on the surface of which floated large green circular leaves and small, delicate flowers (Photo 8 – I like the patterns in the water).

For my recent birthday, I was given 2 very welcome book tokens. Now, probably like most of you reading this blog, I like bookshops and frequent them whenever I am in Edinburgh. However, again like most of you, I have got into the habit of using bookshops as a) a café and b) a library i.e. you go into e.g. Waterstones in town , pick up a new book from the display and take it up to the café upstairs. You enjoy your tea/coffee, read the first chapter, put the book back and leave the store. Then you might order the book online to save money. I think that this makes many of us uncomfortable because for the bookshops, it’s an unsustainable model and we’re going to end up with no bookshops at all. So we should all resolve not to buy books online but from bookshops? Mmm – on that principle, maybe we should not book flights online in order to get our local travel agent – remember them? – to re-open? So, I guess it means we have to ask ourselves how important we feel it is to have bookshops. I  bought 4 books with part of my book tokens, so felt a bit better.

mnal tree at RBGE

Autumnal tree at RBGE

Leaves at RBGE

Leaves at RBGE

Walking at RBGE

Walking at RBGE

Squirrel eating furiously

Squirrel eating furiously

Orchid heads

Orchid heads

Orchid heads

Orchid heads

Tropical pond at RBGE

Tropical pond at RBGE

Water lily and reflection of roof

Water lily and reflection of roof