Sunday, 12 September 2010


The last week was spent having a wonderful week in Edinburgh. I had hoped to update things from the hotel, but at £18 a day for wi-fi, I chose to wait until I got home.

The city was home to Amanda for a number of years before she met me and as such has quite rightly been in her heart ever since, not least because of her Scottish ancestry. The granddaughter of a tough Glaswegian man who had grown up in The Gorbals, and further down the line related to James Nasmyth who invented the steam hammer, and Alexander Nasmyth the renowned scottish artist with works in many national galleries, it is not hard to understand why Scotland conjures up some very strong emotions in her. And so it was, that finally after fifteen years together, we finally went up and across the border to this amazing place.
We did so much in the week that all manner of ideas for this blog came to mind, and so I thought that I would break it down into a sort of series of experiences and put them on here over the coming week, as work will mostly involve just catching up with various things and probably send you all to sleep. As getting away properly is quite hard, what with the type of work that I do, when we do it is essential that comfort is one of the main issues covered and so before we moved into our suite at the five star Scotsman Hotel in the heart of Edinburgh, we had one night to acclimatise at a beautiful little bed & breakfast cottage in the scottish countryside. Of course, gardens and plant life figured throughout our holiday at various stages, but before the city let me tell you a bit more about Milton Cottage.
Milton Cottage is owned and run by a lovely South African lady named Peggy. After a very long drive, we arrived here in the early evening and fell in love with the place straight away.
Located towards the top of the Tweed Valley, after several hunderd miles of motorway driving, the final fifty or so was along a tiny winding road through some absolutely stunning scenery.

Peggy made us feel so welcome as soon as we arrived, and was so concerned to hear that we hadn't yet eaten. But after we had reassured her that after a quick shower and change of clothes we would head to the nearest pub for a bit to eat, she made us a pot of tea with a plate full of a selection of shortbreads......very delicious......and made me feel a little like one of the 'Famous Five' I have to say! As you can see from the picture, we had an absolutely lovely room, extremely cosy and with everything one might need. We did feel at this stage that maybe we should have booked ourselves into here for the whole week.
And so that evening we headed into Peebles for a bite to eat and found a very nice place where I had a very nice scampi and chips whilst Amanda had chicken breast stuffed with haggis......Yum! It wasn't long after we returned to Peggy's that, after another tea and bikkies in the lounge, we went to bed and sleep enveloped us.

Morning came and with it a hearty breakfast. I plumped for the full fry-up, and Amanda had her favourite of porridge, which apparently only get's made properly north of the border. Interestingly, her grandfather preferred it done traditionally, so thick that you could mould it with your hands, and with salt. Quite rightly, she likes hers made with cream and drizzled with honey and some raspberries sprinkled on top!

Afterwards, we both walked with Peggy around her garden whilst we all talked about our lives in general. Bless her, she had been so concerned on learning that we were gardeners, that she had been out in the dark during the night, dead heading and de-slugging!
Her garden is simply beautiful. It merges with it's surroundings perfectly, a thing that so many people get wrong, turning their own into an over colourful blot on the landscape. Not so with Milton Cottage. Here Peggy has informal borders filled with numerous herbaceous perennials that were just starting to turn for the autumn, but nonetheless still looked amazing, especially in this wild setting. Earlier, on the bench in the picture above, a male pheasant had stood calling his lady friends, and what an exit he made when he spotted them....Zooooooooom!

This is the view from the back end of her garden, looking south and down the Tweed Valley.

The gate to Milton Cottage, looking north.

And some of her lovely wooden ornaments in the hall.
We had an amazing time and such a shame for only one night. THANK YOU PEGGY...We will return!
But for now, it's on to Edinburgh, and 'The Scotsman Hotel'


  1. Dear Gary, The wanderer returns. And do not think that you have not been missed although somewhere, in the back of my mind, I had the impression that you were foot loose and fancy free for a week or so. And how wonderful your Scottish holiday appears to have been and I shall certainly look forward to reading about it as a mini series.

    Milton Cottage looks delightful and clearly Peggy is one of those very warm hearted and generous hostesses. The glimpses of the garden do look wonderfully romantic, blending so well into the landscape. I was much taken with the view from the end of the garden over what looked to be parkland.

    Now, I shall sit back and wait to hear all about the adventures you have had, and the sights you have seen, based on the very luxurious, and well known, Scotsman.

  2. What a beautiful place to visit. Gorgeous photos Gary. I am glad to have found you here at blotanical. ;>)

  3. Hi Edith,
    Yep, back again I'm afraid! Milton Cottage was magical, and being so remote in the scottish mountains made it lovely and wild. Just gearing up for work again now is the problem, as always after a nice holiday. Nice to hear from you.

  4. Hi Carol,
    Thanks for dropping by. I hope you feel like visiting again as the holiday tale is about to begin!...

  5. I am quite certain that envy is a sin, so I am not going to say anything.