A star under blue skies in Braemar

At this time of year in my part of the world we don’t expect the weather to be up to much, and we certainly don’t expect clear blue skies with no clouds. However, to the delight of many, this is what we’ve had lately, along with record breaking temperatures.

With such amazing weather yesterday, I thought it only right to take my delightful assistant out for a jolly jaunt, and to give my poor pained wrists a rest from typing.

It’s not only typing that aggravates them, it seems that whatever I do, or don’t do, the pain persists. While having a moan to a friend about this the other day, I suggested rather sarcastically that perhaps I should stay at home and twiddle my thumbs, but, as he quite rightly pointed out, twiddling my thumbs is one thing I probably shouldn’t do. So, even thumb twiddling is off the menu at the moment. Am I tugging at your heartstrings yet? Cue sad violin music:

Thank you to Musicasa2ndlanguage for that beautiful little interlude.

We chose to go north, to the village of Braemar (featured in a previous post) for our first refreshment stop. Next to the tearoom there was a wee hoose with window surrounds that matched the daffodils in the garden.

I wonder if the owners change the paintwork with the seasons, to match whatever’s in the garden. Unlikely, but you never know.

Braemar is blessed with three tearooms, which is impressive for such a small place, and this is probably my favourite one.

The main body of the kirk, so to speak:

There was also a little side area boasting a superfluity of paper lampshades:

Up at the counter there was an extremely tempting vanilla sponge on display, but because we were already looking forward to lunch we resisted it and instead shared an attractive plain scone, which came with some very nice plum jam:

The tearoom had done a little Easter decorating, with lights and tiny fluffy yellow chicks perched amongst a pile of logs in an old fireplace:

I thought the chicks were delightful:

In the main room the tearoom was quite plainly decorated, with solid cream or dark brown walls and not many pictures. This provided the perfect backdrop for the table decorations: a single beautiful yellow daffodil in a vase on each table:

We sat in window seats, partly to look out and partly, I think, because we were drawn by the cushion covers:

There aren’t many days in the year when I’d choose to sit outside a tearoom in Scotland, but while we were taking tea indoors the staff put seats outside in the sunshine, which looked very inviting:

Before we left I made use of the facilities and was amused by a glass framed photograph (I couldn’t altogether avoid reflections, unfortunately) on the wall outside the toilets.

I don’t wish to be unpatriotic, but when it comes to bagpipes this is a child after my own heart:

From Braemar we drove east towards the Royal town of Ballater, stopping en route to admire the wonderful Invercauld Bridge or, to give it it’s quainter name, the Old Brig O’ Dee, but I’ll keep the details of that for another post.

In the meantime, here’s a shot of the lovely old bridge to whet your appetite:


51 thoughts on “A star under blue skies in Braemar

  1. Hello Lorna, Braemar looks like a lovely spot. I’m with you and the little girl though regarding the pipes. One set is just about tolerable at a distance but a pipe band at such close proximity must have sounded like Armageddon.

    BTW I’ve found that real ale and fine single malt can have wonderfully soothing properties when the bones are aching

    • Thanks Finn, I like your medical advice! Braemar is a lovely wee place, very quiet at this time of year but pretty busy in the summer. A sunny day in March is the perfect time to be there.

  2. Loved the details yet again. From the quaint beauty of the yellow shutters and daffodils, through to those little yellow chicks perched amongst the firewood. I doubt there’s ever a detail that escapes your photographer’s eye! Bonus for the very attractive star scone and they gave you two pats of butter, double bonus!!!

    • Thank you! You’re very kind, but I’m sure I miss lots of things other people would pick up. I think of myself as generally very unobservant. I thought the little yellow chicks were a lovely touch. You’re dead right about the butter, a decent helping for the beautiful scone!

    • It’s a nice little place isn’t it? It has an old world charm about it. This really is a good tearoom to my mind, and it’s signposted as you come into Braemar, which is very helpful because it’s a bit out on a limb at the edge of the village and I’m sure people wouldn’t know it was there otherwise.

  3. Hi,
    What a strange house you discovered, I didn’t pick up on the matching daffodils until you mentioned them. πŸ™‚

    Looks like a great little place to have tea, and I thought the star scone was a natty idea, and the little chicks in the fireplace, very cute.

    I love the photo of the bridge, it all looks so peaceful and relaxing.

    • Thank you Mags, I thought that was a great idea for the scone too, I’ve never thought of making mine that shape. I’ve been past that bridge lots of times but never stopped until yesterday and I’m really glad I did.

  4. That does look like a jolly jaunt! How cute are those Easter lights. The weather has been wonderful down here in London as well. It is seriously hurting my work ethic πŸ™‚ I hope your wrist feels better soon.

    • Thank you, I think the weather’s been great all over the UK hasn’t it? I feel very sorry for people stuck in offices, does that include you? That used to be me but I wouldn’t want to go back to it now, not on a day like this.

      • I used to work in an office in the States. Now I work out of an office in my flat and I have a balcony right here. I can’t complain one bit. I don’t know if I would want to go back to the corporate world…only time will tell.

  5. I’m sorry to hear that your wrists are still paining you. I hope you’re on the mend–and at least your writing talent is still intact. πŸ™‚ The violin is a clever touch. I enjoyed the jaunt to Braemar and that spectacular blue sky!

    • Thank you Robin, very kind. It’s such a rarity, no clouds in a Scottish sky! I felt as if I were on the continent, more in your territory. We had a walk in a forest that reminded my mum of Germany.

  6. Excellent observations and photos once again! We rarely visit Braemar but it does look an interesting place. I now have a craving for some fluffy chicks and a star-shaped scone! (The chicks only as a cute decoration, I should add).

    • Thanks Jo, it is a nice little place, well worth a visit. It was an exceptionally good scone, quite apart from being an interesting shape. I don’t think I would have thought of putting those little chicks all over the place, but I like the idea now that I’ve seen some in situ.

  7. Absolutely LOVED this post! A very dear tea planter friend of mine, Davey Lamont is from Braemar. He has written a wonderful book about this wee town – full of quaint people and funny stories, so I am very familiar with this place. Davey helped me with the research for my book “Teatime for the firefly.” Lovely, lovely, man. I have forwarded your blog to him. I love your tearoom stories, Lorna. Love the chicks on the log! Oh, and the little girl with bagpipes, so cute.

    • Thank you Shona, I’m delighted to have taken you somewhere so familiar. I’m always really chuffed when I find somewhere I know in a blog post. Your book sounds intriguing, I read a bit of the first chapter, and would like to read the rest of it. I’ve never been to India, but I did spend more than a year in Pakistan and at the time your novel starts it was part of India, wasn’t it? Did Davey Lamont move to India from Braemar to become a tea planter? That’s a long way from home!

  8. Lorna, do you think lifting teacups and scones is good for your wrists ;-)?? I guess one must carry on! I like the tearoom, though not exactly cosy, it’s clean, bright and the fireplace w/ logs and chicks is very cute.

    • I will struggle through the pain for tea! (It’s worst in the morning and I do have a bit of a problem filling the kettle for breakfast but I’m soldiering on.) You’re absolutely right that the tearoom is not exactly cosy, in fact it was a bit cold, but it was such a warm day that it didn’t matter. I loved the chicks!

  9. Poor chickies in the fireplace! Hope no one lights it. I wonder if the wee house is as cute on the inside as is outside. Beautiful bridge, but what I especially like is the clear sky and how still the water is beneath it. Also, I sympathize with the child holding her ears. My mother once visited Edinburgh and brought me back an all bagpipes tape!!! I think I may have listened to a third of the first track…

    Sorry your wrists are still bothering you!

    • It was a nice little house wasn’t it? Days like that with a brilliant blue sky are few and far between over here, so that bridge photo was a bit of luck. I sympathise re: the bagpipes. There have been occasional times when I’ve enjoyed them, mainly during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, but it has to be the right setting with lots of space and my ears a considerable distance from the instruments. I can’t imagine I’d ever want to listen to them on a tape. Thank you for your concern about the wrists, I keep hoping they’ll just get better.

  10. Do you ask for permission to take the pics? I would like to do this where I live but would probably need to do that.

    • I very rarely ask permission, I just do it. If I get the feeling that people don’t want me to take photos (as occasionally happens) then I just don’t take them, or if I really do want to then would I ask and explain why. I tend not to take pics of people, especially children, without asking, because I know that’s unacceptable to a lot of people. I suppose the motto should be ‘if in doubt, ask’ and most people will be happy to agree if you explain why you’re doing it. Also, I think if you’re friendly and chatty when you go into a tearoom or wherever, you’ve already made the contact that allows you to take photos, but if you were trying to do it secretively that could make it awkward. Maybe it’s worth trying it where you live and seeing what happens? So many people have cameras in phones, etc. these days that it’s become far more normal to snap away in public.

  11. Your picture of the chair in the sunshine outside the cafe makes Scotland look a much warmer place than Australia at the moment. I hope the warm weather continues in the later months of Spring and early Summer.
    My favourite time for bagpipes is on Anzac Day when the lone piper plays at the ceremony.

    • You’re going into winter now aren’t you? Hard to imagine Australia being colder than here, mind you. My mum and I were talking about people having holidays up here in March and being amazed by the weather, which made me think of you and I’m just hoping that when you come over you get weather like that! I’m afraid you might not but hopefully you’ll enjoy it regardless. Make sure you bring a couple of warm things with you just in case!

    • They have a lone piper at the end of the Edinburgh Tattoo, and I must admit it’s very moving when the sound fills the entire stand and the spotlight is just on this one chap puffing away.

  12. Hello Lorna, I’m the Davey in Shona’s blog and know well the cottage with the yellow windows in Braemar. I ‘met’ Shona a few years ago when she was researching Mariani Tea Planters club in Assam where I had been a member and we’ve been friends ever since. She is a lovely, very special woman. Her book ‘Tea time for the Firefly’ is great reading! You’ll love it. I’m surprised that so many folk comment about blue skies in Braemar. Being in the Grampians, Braemar gets it’s share of wintry weather but also a good share of the fine warm days—- tho’ not as many as we get here in Australia. The wee girl is cute but I just LOVE THE PIPES—the more the better. I’ve seen New Guinea natives walking along normally, then on hearing the bagpipes, straighten up and walk with a spring in their step. I suppose it’s a sound, music you can’t ignore!I’m no longer the Sporranmaker in Braemar.

    • Hi Davey, delighted to make your acquaintance and thank you for calling in at my blog. I do in fact associate Deeside with sunny weather, but the cloudlessness of the sky was what really surprised me. All day, from when I got up in the morning in Blairgowrie, to when I arrived home after a day in Aberdeenshire, there hadn’t been a cloud in the sky, which is pretty unusual, certainly for Perthshire. But yes, Braemar does seem to have quite a continental sort of climate with good summers and harsh winters. I know what you mean about the pipes because I have been moved by them when I’ve seen massed pipes and drums at Edinburgh Castle during the Tattoo, and seeing New Guinea natives responding like that must indeed have been a sight to see. Shona’s blog and book are really unusual and certainly the start of the book had my attention from the word ‘go’ so I would like to read more. Your life seems to have taken a most unusual course, from Braemar to Assam to Australia! I hope I’ll be able to give you a few more memories with my next post, which will include shots of the Old Brig O’ Dee and Ballater. Are you going to do anything with your blog? I’d be most interested to read your story.

  13. Oh yes, that place is great. I hope your wrists get better. (Could it be repetitive strain injury? Sorry if you’ve already ruled that out.)

    • Thank you Christine, I suspect it is indeed repetitive strain injury. I was diagnosed with something similar years ago in my right hand due to mouse use, when I got shooting pains up the back of the hand. This has a similar feel about it and it’s worse when I’m typing, which makes me think it’s the repetitive nature of the movement that’s to blame. I used to be a typist and I think perhaps I’ve just overused my hands and wrists. Unfortunately, however, in this day and age using a computer is a big part of life and unless I completely change my lifestyle it’s going to continue to be. I think I need to learn to take more breaks and listen to my body. When the pain increases I need to stop, and that’s it. I’m not sure how this is going to work if I go offshore again though, because I won’t have a choice then. I’d be doing 12 hour shifts at a computer, 7 days a week. At the moment I’m putting off going back to work as long as possible!

  14. What a delightful post! I think that the driving and enjoying the scenery must be (almost) as enjoyable as the tea and treats. What fun! I’m glad I came along… πŸ™‚

    • I haven’t made it that far north yet! I’ve been concentrating on Perthshire, Angus and Dundee for my first book, and I think it will be Fife next, but I hope to get up there eventually…so many tearooms to visit in this great country of ours!

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