No.1 hubbie has been watching Michael Portillo’s Great British Rail Journey’s on BBC 2 satisfying his fascination with such programmes. Last week, my attention was grabbed by the sign Garve in the opening shot. Britain’s smallest train station. The journey being featured  was the railway journey from Garve to the Kyle of Lochalsh. My memory worm set to work and uncovered a wealth of treasured memories of our last family holiday with my mother.

We had driven from Yorkshire to Scotland in our Hillman Husky, taking three days. We stayed in Garve with a delightful lady,  Mrs McKenzie and her family. Our hostess not just a super cook but also a font of all knowledge of where to go, what to see and, most importantly, who to contact. Fisherman or ghillie, her contacts all helped us to have a memorable holiday.

We discovered Rogie falls, supposedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s waterfall mentioned his classic novel ‘Kidnapped’. A scary rope bridge needed to be crossed before  scrambling down to the water’s edge.  Here, beneath the waterfall, my father tried his luck dry fly fishing, to no avail! Salmon rose all around his fly but never  succumbed to its lure. Leaping in the pool next to the my father’s fly floating downstream. Frustration for my father.

We watched the salmon on their journey to their spawning grounds as they tried jumping up the falls. only to be unsuccessful most of the time. It had been a dry summer and water levels were low. It was only when there were two or three exceedingly wet days that water levels improved and the salmon began to be successful and head onwards.

One day, on Mrs McKenzie’s recommendation, we took the train to The Kyle of Lochalsh. To go where no road followed or led, here we had to meet a fisherman who was to take us out on his boat. Here my memory lets me down! I think that the weather was very windy and we went for a shortened version of the usual trip. However, I do remember that before catching the train back  to Garve, we had to collect a parcel, wrapped in newspaper. Fresh haddock for supper that night! Thank you Mrs McKenzie.


Mrs McKenzie had Cairn terriers, one called Rogie. After my mother’s death my father contacted Mrs McKenzie and asked to find us a little dog like Rogie. Mission accomplished, Cafaig, aged 12months, was put on the train in Garve. Travelling in a tea chest, in the guard’s van of each train he travelled on. Finally arriving down to Knaresborough, Cafaig became a much loved member of our household and scourge of our neighbour’s cat or indeed any cat who dared to venture into our garden.

January 15, 2013

We only have two donkeys could they be a herd of Two?

Morning Bray Farm

It was Thursday evening and I arrived home just as the sun was setting.

I found seven donkeys playing, grabbed my camera, and jumped out of my truck as fast as I could.

Joy to my heart. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Our New Year resolution was to read the books we received for Christmas. So books now all read and there is an overwhelming need to stop being a ‘couch potatoes’ and get on with ‘things’.’Things’ is a wonderfully all-encompassing word, which covers many tasks. On this occasion it includes tidying the garden ready for guests, pruning roses, cutting down the last of the herbaceous plants, pruning apple trees,  having the donkeys feet and teeth trimmed, sorting sheets and pillowcases, making marmalade  and planting young oak trees grown from acorns, etc.etc.etc!. Quite a mixumgatherum of chores!

Easter week 2 030

Anthony, the blacksmith came and trimmed Holly and Noddy’s feet last week. I gather it was quite a struggle! Noddy takes exception to anyone going near his feet. The following day Mark, the vet came in his role as dentist.  Neither donkey could be persuaded to come anywhere near the barn, so the job was put off until the following day. Mark only being called once the reluctant pair were actually in the barn and the gate closed! It reminded me of one of my early visits to Mornington when I attempted to get close to the work horses, Betty, Colley and Joseph. Once I climbed over the fence and began to slowly walk towards them with a pan of oats the threesome took off to the other side of the Lawn Meadow. So much for the offering of oats!

Work horses at Mornington

Betty and foal Joseph. Work horses were bred at Mornington

In the garden, the garlic, shallots and onions planted last autumn are now showing their first shoots.The broad beans appear to have survived thus far. The rhubarb is well on the way, the translucent stems a flash of colour in an otherwise dull day. I’m looking forward to it’s sharp taste in the first dish of oven poached rhubarb; we serve with yoghurt and granola for breakfast.

March pics 008



Celebrating Christmas 2012

January 1, 2013


Yet another Christmas has come and passed into memories preserved on i-pads, i-phones and yes even cameras. Events carefully planned are over and gone. only the half consumed boxes of truffles left, sitting on the desk in the library, waiting to be offered to any caller not on a New Year de-tox! Meanwhile, the bluetits and finches are keeping Warwick busy refilling the containers on the bird feeder. The house is quieter now as our young have returned to their workplaces. So we are kept busy walking, keeping the fire fed and reading the books given to us for Christmas.
We are always so pleased when our daughter and son can manage to get back ‘home’* to Mornington for Christmas. As Christmas Day itself was to be celebrated with the Peters Family at Ladestown House Stables, we decided to catch up on some family entertaining with a Curry Lunch Party on Sunday, 23rd December.


Curry Lunch 2012 008


Traditional puddings – Trifle, mincepies,  florentines,   chocolate roulade, apple tart and meringues

Late afternoon sun in the orchard and a treat of carrot sticks for Holly and Noddy.

Donkeys and carrots-2012 002

Full of good intentions I had planned to finish this blog before 2012 ended, however, the ‘glitch gremlin’ got in the way and I managed to delete an almost completed blog to the dustbin of history; so I decided to look again at some of the photographs taken from the front steps at Mornington in 2012.

Coffee morning 2012 002

September dawn over Knock Eyon

Marrows and courgettes 2012

A great crop of marrows and courgettes 2012