Road Trip

I recently accompanied Only Daughter on a brief road trip over the border.
Experiencing gale force winds and biblical rain(typical tartan weather),we decided to break up the journey with an overnight stay,heading straight for the dining room on arrival(lets get our priorities right..),it was busy with proceedings already in full swing.

Don't be misled,I snapped this photo at breakfast,we were first up and RAVENOUS,note clutch bag centre above fireplace.

We were met with a strange mismatch of an identity crisis.The obligatory high back(faux)leather dining chairs teamed with cast iron bar tables(watch your knees on the iron legs) and patterned bench seating a remnant from the days this was clearly a bar not a pseudo posh pub hotel.
'Look over there' says Only Daughter,'someone's stuck a handbag to the wall'
'That's a sporran' I say
'Really?Its huge,looks more like a clutch bag'says Only Daughter.

Rudolph kept a watchful eye over proceedings.
The menu boasted the usual suspects,fish n chips,steak and ale pie,Steak n chips,Bangers and mash.
A pleasant Polish fellow came over to take our order.
There then followed a lengthy wait for food,in the interim a slice of (Co-op?)bloomer and some butter appeared at our table perhaps to stave off the hunger pangs.
Supermarket slice.
As we waited,OD noticed a strange coincidence.The dining room was manned by two be-suited chaps of Eastern block origin,assisted by a very able young Scots lass who exclusively delivered drinks.
Every time an order was taken by either of these two, they then disappeared behind the swing door to the kitchen never to reappear for several minutes.
'They're cooking the food' said OD 'they're taking the orders,then going in the kitchen to put the food in the stove'
We both observed the next few orders being taken,then the disappearance into the kitchen despite the very busy dining room.We were both mesmerised.
OD was highly amused.
I must admit it did seem that the waiting staff were putting the food on.

The elderly couple at the next table requested their bill.Twenty minutes later the same was not forthcoming,the lady donned her coat(always a sure indication to bring over the bill).She sat for a few more moments then stood up muttering to hubby 'I've lost patience..'
Pastry crust displaying crumpled paper bag characteristics,please note a similar effect can be achieved by leaning over a mirror(over 40's only..)

OD opted for the pie.The sad bit of parsley perched atop the sallow and wrinkled pastry crust said it all.As the unappetising  crust was declared inedible and flipped off,a congealed glutinous interior was revealed.Clearly insufficient time in the oven to break down the gelatinous gravy.
'Just pick out the meat' I say 'It'll be fine'
OD is not a fussy eater.The meat required the teeth of a far more primitive specimen than she to masticate.

Steak and chips,a minimalistic presentation.
Not very attractive but in fairness the actual steak was nicely seasoned,it had a bite of a bite but was quite tasty.It was advertised as sirloin.Looked more like a sausage.
The presentation was basic to say the least and did nothing to dismiss OD's theory....
We passed on puddings,we had far too much empathy with the waiting staff/chefs to impose even more pressure.
We retired to our room to catch Inspector George Gently,me with a small Talisker and OD with a consolatory packet of Cheese n' onion crisps.
View of Ben More
'Look' I say as we traversed the long corridor to our lodgings,'There's Ben More '
'Where?' replies OD(looking around nosily) 'Who's he..?'
We had just settled down when an unearthly buzzing disturbed our relaxation.OD was quicker than the Quickest  McQuick in Quick town.Out of those covers and into the hotel corridor in her PJs, I've never seen her move so fast.
I stood still maintaining some sense of decorum in my M & S Winceyettes,observing the monster hovering in a circular motion before alighting on the wall light above OD's bed.I grabbed the very useful hotel information directory(which obviously I had previously read from cover to cover including the very important fire evacuation procedure....)I swatted the critter with a force previously unseen.It dropped to OD's bed and took refuge in the pillow case.
I flung the pillow into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
OD tentatively re-entered the bedroom.
'Its your turn' I say'Its trapped in the pillow slip-go in there and whack it with the hotel directory'.
OD retired back outside leaving me with no choice other than to re enter the bathroom .The force with which I tackled that pillow was phenomenal.Norman Bates( EE EE EE EE) didn't have a look in..
Flushed with success I exited the bathroom and beckoned OD's return.
'NOW its your turn.Dispose of it down't loo please...'
Several flushes later and the creature refused to die,still swimming determinedly but unable to get airborne.
'Cover it with loo roll and close the lid'  I say 'just in case it escapes.'
Finally.'Its gone;' shouts OD triumphantly.
Thanks to the mobile I pad which Chef had kindly provided me with, we were able to identify the intruder as a Carrion Beetle otherwise known as an UNDERTAKER BEETLE due to its habit of capturing and burying small mammals then subsequently making itself a cosy nest inside...
OD was inconsolable.'What if there's a nest of them under my bed??
'Don't be ridiculous' I say(convincingly)..then stayed up all night keeping vigil whilst reading ODs current book of choice..
OD slept like a log.
Next morning,propping my eyelids up with matchsticks I encouragingly advised OD there was nothing like a good Scottish Breakfast...

Microwaved bacon.
How wrong I was.
Microwaved bacon.A plastic wrinkled sausage which had clearly been flung in the deep fat fryer ,eggs as rubbery as the wellies we needed to make the hasty foray to the pick up.And self help toast via the automatic machine which provided the most entertainment of our stay due to burning every slice.
I was asked if everything was OK as we checked out.
We never complain.
Didn't you mention the smell of gas in the bedroom corridor?...enquired OD.
Now here's the thing.
This place has an AA rosette for food.What does that mean??
We wondered how long it had been since the AA Inspector had chanced by.
Continuing with our journey.
Palm tree in the rain

Further heavy rain
Next day there was a break in the clouds.
Spot the deer

If you look closely you can spy two deer in the above photo.

Perfect light for artists methinks

Stunning scenery
Seriously,autumn is the best time to visit Scotland, gold and garnet across the landscape, dramatic weather and stunning scenery.

On my return an email popped into my in box from the hotel we'd visited.
Asking for feedback on our stay.
I replied very politely that the room and the staff were very good,but the experience as a whole was let down by the standard of the food(I even e-mailed the photo of the bacon).
To date no reply.
Perhaps they were only looking for positive comments.

OD remains convinced the Chef had been locked in the walk in freezer and the waiting staff had forgotten to let him out....


That bacon looks revolting, shame the food was so dire and even more of a shame they did not get back to you.
I have been chuckling all morning about this . . . perhaps you can blame it on the Tartan Weather! (Genius experssion, by the way!)
Wally B said…
That food looked bloody awful. I hope it got better on the trip.
I received some local lamb last week for helping with the butchering. It reminded of me of the best Lamb Chops I've ever tasted at the Rat.Now that's food
Oh goodness, I feel so ashamed with my native country.
I remember glorious breakfasts at Stakis hotels. The wall to wall hot buffets of crispy bacon, succulent sausages, divine black puddings, mounds of beans, scrambled egg, fried eggs, kidneys, haggis (not for the delicte of stomach), kippers, hash browns and fried potatoes.

I weep for my native country.

I weep for my native country's tourist industry.

I weep for you and OD.

Unfortunately you're not alone.
see here
and here

Thank goodness the scenery is so stunning, otherwise everyone would have left generations ago.

Why do you think there are so many Scots in Canada, Aussie and NZ?

I blame the midgies and the sheep.

Actually I'm surprised that the midgies hadn't eaten the Carrion Beetle already.
Alison Cross said…
Oh God what terrible looking food. I apologise on behalf of the entire Scottish nation for that travesty. That bacon is the most anemic-looking thing I've seen outside of the Addams Family.

Never seen one of those beetles...and long may it continue to be that way!

We have huge numbers of keen Eastern European types working in the hotel/restaurant trade. We did a little jaunt around the Highlands a couple of years ago and were NEVER served (not in a tearoom, bar nor restaurant) by a Scot.

*shrug* They're all off on their gap year to India, I think.

Hope the rest of the trip went well!

Ali x
Young at Heart said…
oh dear ....oh deer.....!!
Millie-still no reponse...
wally-It did get better,lovely meal the following night.
TSB-Haven't you heard of Avon Skin so Soft?Keeps even the most determined midges at bay.
Ali- the eastern workers were very efficient and pleasant,they just NEED some cooking lessons....
Never mind Norman Bates, I think I'm most frightened of the microwaved bacon. Yuk!
Carrion Beeetle? Oh my word, that suggests many, many horrible things. And that breakfast looks revolting.
Carry Demaggio said…
At least the road trip was still punctuated by the scenic landscapes. The choice may not have been the best, but sometimes, you can also find hidden treasures along the road.
Mark said…
Does the place have a name? Then everyone will be warned.

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