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Tuesday, 22 July 2014


I thought of including the photo of the peacocks at Scone Palace in my last blog post – and didn’t -  but because Katrina mentioned them in her comment I decided to show my photos after all!  peacock white5The white peacock was beautiful but there was no way she was going to have a face on picture peacock white3taken!  I turned this way; she turned the other. I turned that way; she turned away!  I’d love to have seen a white display tail, but as I think she was a SHE  - no long tail feathers spreading out behind – that wasn’t going to happen!

peacock However, this was the big show off though!  He was all for showing his magnificent tail feathers to all and sundry.  peacock2What a beautiful bird strutting around between the tables and chairs of the overspill tearoom! peacock3



He didn’t mind in the least having his picture taken! 

peacock tail

I wonder why it is considered unlucky to take peacock tail feathers indoors?  I googled the question, so look here for some of the comments.

peacock cushionLast week I saw a beautiful cushion with a peacock feather design  on it.  It reminded me of the Scone peacocks so just thought I would add it in here…peacock cushion detail



and here’s a bit of the detail.

Talk again soon.

Friday, 18 July 2014


I bought a barn owl!  Yes, really!  I bought a barn owl!

my barn owlOK, it isn’t a real live one.  It is a beautifully simple pottery owl, sitting on a post, looking as if he is dosing, but you know he has his hearing tuned in to any wee movement that could be a mouse, and is ready  to fly and pounce!

I had come to Scone Palace with a group of U3A Arts group members as there was a spare place on the minibus and I had been invited to go along. scone palace I really didn’t have much of a clue about what we would see, but it would be nice to see the Palace, where past Kings of Scots were crowned on the Stone of Destiny, in the days before the union of the two countries of Scotland and England (Yes, we had our own monarch before 1603 when Elizabeth I of England died having named her heir as James VI of Scotland).  In earlier days than that even, in 1296, the stone of Scone was captured and removed from Scotland by King Edward I of England, to London where it was incorporated in the throne of the English (and later British) monarchs.  It was finally returned to the Scots in 1996, and now resides in Edinburgh Castle, while only a replica can be seen at Scone.

marqueesAnyway I didn’t get to see inside the Palace or the replica  of the Stone, as the event we had come to – Potfest – was being held in marquees in front of the building.  There were maybe 50 or more stalls, exhibiting and selling their pottery – so many ideas, styles, shapes, textures, sizes…..  trad pots Some was very traditional: plates, cups, saucers, mugs, vases,  but even then the styles varied from fine to chunky. vase3containers




There were a few different styles of planter too.planter










dollsNovelty items included these figures, and a chess set.chess pieces







These heraldic pieces were interesting!




There was also a variety of stalls selling animal pottery, and again the styles differed incredibly. boxing hares

Aren’t the boxing hares wonderful? And what about this fox?  fox3There were a few foxes by different potters, but I liked this one a lot.


I liked this one too; quite a different style.  Then there was the orang-utan, very small and absolutely adorable.orangutang





Small pandas! and a life size badger! badger




What talent!  blackbirdThere were birds like the blackbird robinsand the robins,




wrenthis wren and plenty more,   

and owls…. masses of owls, barn owl2owlswhich I liked a lot




barn owl

but I was blown away by these owls…..

more owlsmy barn owl


…..and so after a long debate with myself, I bought a barn owl!

Talk again soon.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Dr Neil’s garden

Another of the Gardening group visits took us up to Edinburgh where we found Dr Neil’s garden in the small village (now engulfed by the city, but retaining its village feel) of Duddingston. duddingston loch It is situated right beside Duddingston Loch, a glacial lake (we call lakes “lochs” in Scotland) which sits garden6at the bottom of the volcanic (extinct for 350 million years) hill known as Arthur Seat, now surrounded by the city. 

garden8Duddingston Kirk (or Church) commands the highest spot in the village and dates back in parts to the 12th century, and beside the kirk is the garden that was created in the 1960s by Dr Andrew Neil, and his wife Nancy, on what had just been an empty piece of rocky waste ground sloping down to the loch.

curling tower2In the southeast corner of the garden is a hexagonal tower, designed by William Playfair and built in 1825 as a home for the Duddingston Curling Club, and it was here in what became known as Thomson’s tower that the official rules of curling were established. curling c1907 The loch froze up sufficiently for games of curling to take place each winter in those days.  Not nowadays, that’s for sure! Jock Tamson



The minister of the kirk at that time was Rev. John Thomson, who the tower was named for.  Apparently  he used to call his congregation “ma bairns” (my children), so the expression that now we use to mean we’re all the same and equal,  “we’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns” stems from him  - Jock = John and Tamson = Thomson, in Scots.

dr neilAnyway when Dr Neil began work on the garden in 1963 the curling house was derelict and in a fairly ruinous state, but far more recently it has been restored and now houses an exhibition of curling history and another in the upper room on Thomson, and his contemporaries, as well as the development of the garden.

garden7The garden itself is on a slope with small exposed outcrops of volcanic rock .  Paths weave around the space connecting different levels and the planting is pretty informal.   garden14I can’t decide which of the many photos I took to put in here – a mixture of garden scenes and flowers, I think.grp in physic gdn

This is a small group of us in the physic garden where all the plants were used for medicinal purposes.geraniums



grdn seat






2014-06-19 Duddingston 060



wild rose







What you can do with a piece of wild waste ground!  There is now a Trust set up in Dr Neil’s name, which looks after the garden now.  I am sure there was more to the garden than we saw.  There were all sorts of paths going off in various directions so it was hard to choose which ones to take.  Each would be a revelation, but I think we had a very good flavour of the place.

Talk again soon.