Following on from Top Temperatures the other day, the delightful assistants and I made our way back northwards, heading in the first instance for a purveyor of treats and beverages.

We got slightly sidetracked en route, however, by this:


You may well wonder what on earth there is in the above picture to warrant keeping one back from one’s snackerels, and if it weren’t for what’s over the road from this field you might never know. Here’s a delightful assistant having a look at it:


It’s a sort of sculpture, put there to mark the start of the River Tweed, which is what you can’t see in the field across the road due to it being just a trickle hidden amongst foliage.

The sculpture is made from a lump of sandstone, with various information plaques like the one above stuck onto it, and little scenes from the river’s history carved into it:

Little rowers, one of many interesting carvings on the River Tweed sculpture.

What fascinated the assistants most of all, however, was a small carved bridge through which they were determined to poke things. First up was a paper tissue, the choice of delightful assistant no.2:

Delightful assistant no.2 with his hankie trick: “Watch closely as I take a paper hankie, crumple it up at one end, and manoeuvre it effortlessly through the little bridge arch. Ta-da!”

Delightful assistant no.1 was very keen to get a stick through it, which she did with some success:

See – it comes right through nicely!

Delightful assistant no.1 chuffed beyond words with her stick-through-a-tiny-bridge demonstration

When I managed to drag them away from this most diverting of entertainments, we set off again for the quiet little village of Broughton in the Scottish Borders.

Some of the attractive stone cottages lining the main street through Broughton.

Although Broughton is very small, with a population of apparently around 300, it contains a brewery and an excellent tearoom.


Assistants toddling into the tearoom

Since I was still a bit full of lunch, I decided on a hot chocolate as a sort of compromise between a drink and a cake.

With something this sweet and filling a cake wasn’t absolutely necessary.

But when I went to look at the cake counter ‘just to see’ I was drawn in by a flat jammy almond affair:

Flat and utterly delicious: a very jammy almond slice.

Delightful assistant no.1 declared herself interested only in coffee, but when I told here there were small and enticing bits of tiffin on offer she caved in:

Tiffin, when made well (as this one was), is arguably the king of traybakes.

Delightful assistant no.2 left it up to me to choose his cake for him, and I plumped for a lemon and coconut slice, because he has a penchant for them:

If you’re stuck for what to choose in a tearoom and you fancy a sweet treat with coconut in it, my advice would be it’s always worth trying the lemon and coconut slice.

I’m delighted to say that I tasted all of the cakes and each of them had its own special charms. Often, when I’m in company and trying a variety of cakey options, there are some I like better than others, but this was an occasion when I would happily have chosen any one of the three because they were all equally tip top.

One thing I noticed about the Laurel Bank Tearoom this time that I haven’t been aware of on previous visits was the unusually good selection of veggie options. There was a specials menu with 5 main courses on it, and 3 of them were vegetarian; a couple of them may even have been vegan for all I know. Good job, Laurel Bank!

Back on the road through the Scottish Borders yellow heads nodded to us as we passed, and we nodded back contentedly.

Thank you for visiting….thank you for having us.


28 thoughts on “Broughton

  1. I’m left asking myself why you and the delightful assistants are not the size of houses, given the quantity of cakes you consume! Mind you the jammy almond slice does look rather fine.

    • We take small portions of main courses wherever possible to allow room for sweet treats and we eat salad every night. That, and regular soups when at home prevents us from burgeoning too much. The jammy slice was very fine!

  2. Isn’t that an amazing thing about rivers – how they up in fields? Apparently the Thames does something very similar. It baffles me completely even though I know there’s water underground so it should make total sense. My favourite coconut thing right now is custard and coconut twists – like buns, but long twists of dough with abundant amounts of coconutty custard in between, though I think I might just buy the next lemon and coconut slice I see since now you’ve made me recall that lovely tanginess …

    • It’s something I very rarely think about but you’re right, all rivers have to start somewhere and it’s quite a mysterious business. Those custard and coconut twists sound magnificent! I think I know the type of thing but I’ve only seen them made with custard and chocolate chips; I would definitely want to try a coconut one if I saw it. I hope you come across an especially good lemon and coconut slice, when they’re well made they’re hard to beat.

      • Agreed. I might propose the whole chocolate chip and custard idea to the people at the bakery. That sounds very yummy.

  3. What a cool way to mark the start of a river! And I was very entertained by the stick-under-the-bridge trick. I’m glad you explained your diet in your answer to David as well, I’ve been wondering the same thing.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a lemon and coconut slice, and now I’m really wanting one! Often the effect of reading your blog…

    • It’s quite unusual, that sculpture to the start of a river, isn’t it? I was amazed by the entertainment potential of the little bridge.

      I think we’re all aware of the amount of treats we indulge in, and the assistants are very good about taking their salads and soups as a good balance. I really hope you can seek out a first class lemon and coconut slice. I can think of a couple of tearooms that sell really excellent ones, and I’ve only very occasionally had a less than satisfactory one.

  4. Lorna…I was just thinking the same thing as David (top comment)…am envious that you all can partake of so many wonderful scones, cakes, and sweets yet are so fit and spry…I love almond and coconut…those cakes would have both been on my preference list. Difficult to choose…I so enjoy reading about your adventures.

    • Thank you Linda, it might look as if we pack our faces with cakes all the time but I do try to make sure we eat a balanced diet. Because I do the cooking, the assistants nearly always eat vegetarian (and quite often vegan), and I think that makes up for the high levels of saturated fat indulged in on occasion. It’s all about moderation and balance, I suppose; my mum drummed that into me in my youth and her mum was a dietician who drummed it into her, so that’s been a very useful education for me. If I were to go back to that tearoom now and have to choose a cake I’d struggle to know what to go for.

    • I agree Heather, and the Borders is a part of the country I feel a particular affinity with. That’s a good question about the planting of daffodils, I’ve wondered about that myself and I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. My mum thinks it’s local landowners or volunteers who take the initiative, but in some places it could well be the council.

  5. I’ve never even heard of Broughton, and it looks a delightful little place. You always discover the most tempting treats! And the enthusiasm of your delightful assistants at the miniature ‘bridge’ over the Tweed is really contagious. It is wonderful to see so many glorious displays of daffodils at the moment – I hope they’re not getting shredded by the wind and rain this morning.

    • Broughton’s lovely, and famous for its connection with John Buchan, author of The 39 Steps, amongst other things. There used to be a museum to him there but it’s recently moved to Peebles, to a better venue. Dawyck Botanic Gardens are nearby too, I think the area has a lot to recommend it for a day out. The assistants surprised me with their enthusiasm for poking things through the little bridge, they do entertain me. I hope you’re right about the daffs, it’s really windy today and cold here. My dad said to me this morning, after I’d commented on the chilliness, “If it’s any consolation, the forecast is that temperatures will rise later in the year.”

    • There’s nowt wrong with soup and sandwiches, but I hope the galley is nicely refitted soon. Just think of all the wonderful things they’ll cook up for you with their revamped workspace. 🙂

  6. We live beside a very old meandering river,the Nation River in Grenville County, Ontario. The creek at the end of our acreage flows into it and we are always amazed at how full it is in the spring. Our water comes from a well, as does all the water for the homes nearby and we are all grateful for the rain that falls, since we had a drought last summer. Your photo of the rolling countryside is lovely. I hope I can visit there one day.

    • Thank you, your river sounds like a wonderful resource. I was just thinking the other day how useful water is (bit of an obvious statement, admittedly). We’re very lucky in Scotland not to have a shortage of it, and I would far rather have lots of rain than periods of drought. My Canadian geography is pretty poor, but Niagara Falls is in Ontario, isn’t it? The pictures I’ve seen of that are spectacular.

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