Which era are you living in?

In the medieval period a knight had a squire to shine his armour, oil his chain mail and care for his horse. In the Georgian, Victorian, Regency periods the Lord of he Manor had a valet, a footman and a coachman.

In the modern period, Peter has a wife!  

In a room of 16 square meters reduced down to a personal possession occupied area of less than 1 square meter I’m answering to where are my jocks, where is my toothbrush……he’s just taking history too far!

We have loved being in Edinburgh and truly two days is just not long enough to see all that the city has to offer. One event is an all day one and we haven’t had a chance to go to see the Falkirk wheel, which high on our must see list, another days excursion, we just have to say that some things we will experience though the eyes of others or a TV documentary, and that’s ok.

I’ve discovered that much of Scottish architectural heritage was built using sandstone and at one time, 1500 sandstone quarries were operating in the country, however these beautiful buildings been been blackened and stained by the soot created during the time of the industrial revolution. It is said that Edinburgh furnaces belched smoke and soot into the air constantly.  Coupled with haze from the chimneys of tightly packed tenements, the pollution gave the city the name Auld Reekie (Old Smokie). I remember reading about that and The Clean Air Act of the mid 50s in history classes when I was at school.

I had wondered why the buildings have not been cleaned, no evidence of cleaning was visible anywhere? Apparently Glasgow having the same issues underwent a stone cleaning campaign in the mid 1960s, the cleaning appeared to cause damage to the fragile porous sandstone which will overtime weather and deteriorate naturally. Edinburgh opted not to go down the same line of cleaning which pleased the locals and the classic and gothic buildings remain blackened lending to the gothic imagery. 

If ever you have the opportunity visit beautiful Edinburgh but allow more time than we have and see it all.

We certainly made an impression when we walked into swank Rufflets Country House at St Andrews today. They’ve never seen anything like us! Arriving at Leuchars Train Station 6 1/2 miles (10.5kms) from St Andrews town centre we transferred by bus to the bus station near the town. The bus was overfilled with bodies, at least 20 people standing and I had to wonder if the driver would at some point put up his hand and say “enough, next bus”. I had read that there are lockers at the bus station where I thought we would store our bags, wander around the town and then retrieveing our bags walk the 30 minutes to the hotel, as we discovered there were only six lockers which a group of just four friends hastily occupied leaving us with no option but to change plan and carry our packs.

The weather put paid to ‘looking around’, what do you see when rain is coming at you and the wipers on your specs don’t work? Better idea, we opted to go directly to the hotel and then decide what we would do with the rest of the day. We arrived chilled, probably red nosed and cheeks, me in my glamorous olive green coloured poncho, hair frizzed by the rain and both of us of in our very fashionable hiking clothes, back packs and boots. I know the dumbstruck receptionist/concierge did a double take. I announced us as early arriving guests, the poor flustered receptionist Peter thought lacked generosity in her attitude however under the circumstances I thought she did well. 

She offered to store our bags and we could go and play golf. ???? She has no idea! We thanked her and suggested we will have tea in the “drawing room” (that’s what they call it) and wait for our room to be prepared. 

We continued to raise eyebrows when guests watched us heave our backpacks onto our backs as we left an hour and half later to go to our now ready room.

You have to remember dear friends that we have been slumming it in all sorts of accommodation for the last few weeks. I’ve seen and done it all short of wanting but unable to relocate in the middle of the night, leaving a hovel where I previously mentioned the indiscretion of my host. This 24 hours of luxury is going to wipe it all away and bring back the balance to our vacation and no raised eyebrows or offers to play golf 2 miles away is going to make a scrap of difference to me, to us!

The same receptionist/concierge showed us to our room, explained all the finer details and was now settled and I think exceptionally hospitable and it has been perfect.

I know that some of you will be scratching your heads wondering how we are going to fare over this next week with the weather on the turn and rain forecast everyday. We are prepared (I think!).  John, the fellow who help me look for gravestones back in Cornwall said “in Scotland there is no such thing as cold or wet weather it’s whether you are dressed right!” There is so much truth in that statement. So people stop making excuses, if it’s wet put on a rain jacket and grab your umbrella, if it’s cold dress warm, if it’s hot dress cool and get out there and go for a walk.

The country house or hotel we are staying in has an interesting history having been purchased in the mid 50s for £8,000 by a family who cleverly converted it to an hotel. It has undergone renovations and restoration, was once a drawcard for world renown golfers, we’ve seen images of Jack Nicklaus on the walls and other famous people. Today the professional golfers we’ve been told prefer to stay adjacent the golf course or rent a large house for the entire team and entourage. However the hotel is also an award winning venue for weddings and functions providing a number of external suites on the property and the beautiful formal and informal gardens surrounding it building provide the perfect backdrop for weddings. 

I’ve been wondering where the name Rufflets came from and though I have no idea I have thought that the two large bay windows overlooking the gardens give an appearance of ruffles, it’s just my imagination I’m sure.

Monday 6.00 a.m.

We are spending the next two days in Tayport in Fife with some new friends Tony and Irene who are parents one of Emilie’s friends.

I’ll catch you up in my next blog.

Cheers to you.

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