A few days ago the delightful assistants and I trooped off south for a little outing.
To make the most of the daylight hours, rather than call in at a tearoom en route we stopped at a service station to pick up takeaway coffees and biscotti to wolf on the journey.
Our refreshments kept us going until we reached the village of Broughton in the Scottish Borders, where there is a fine establishment called the Laurelbank Tearoom.
I ordered the soup of the day, which was carrot and courgette. It was accompanied by a soft, warm brown roll whose only down side was that it wasn’t twice the size. Still, it was very nice and slipped down a treat with the tasty hot soup.
Delightful assistant no.1 went for a ham salad which was delivered with another of the nice brown rolls.
Delightful assistant no.2 chose one of the hot specials: roasted peppers stuffed with vegetarian haggis and topped with cheese. A surprising combination, I thought, but he very much enjoyed it.
We were all very happy with our savouries and, although the Laurelbank Tearoom offers excellent sweet treats, we decided to toddle on elsewhere for a bit of variety and to allow out appetites time to regain their previous vigour.
On our way out of the village we stopped to admire some lovely autumn trees in the local park:
This park is, in fact, the local school’s playing fields, and is named after a Royal personage of note.
There are two gateposts at the entrance to the playing fields, and the one on the right features a lion:
While the one on the left has a unicorn:
This is one of 471 such parks throughout the British Isles dedicated to the memory of King George V, who died in 1936.
After the king’s death, in addition to a statue in London commemorating him, a foundation was set up with the intention of designating playing fields all over Britain carrying his name. It was agreed that a memorial of this sort was in line with the King’s thinking about the importance of exercise.
Of the 471 Fields set up in Britain, 85 were established in Scotland.
Heraldic panels were displayed at the gateway to each of these fields, and in England, Wales and Northern Ireland these were to be positioned with the lion on the left and the unicorn on the right, but in Scotland the positions were reversed, as in the Broughton playing fields above. Only the Scottish unicorns are depicted wearing crowns.
I think these differences are to do with the royal coat of arms, which features a lion and a unicorn; on the Scottish version the unicorn is always on the left wearing a crown, whereas in the rest of the UK the unicorn is on the right and crownless (the lion always has a crown, wherever he is, the bold beast).
We drove out of Broughton along a beautifully autumnal road, passing a very well kept farm with elegantly sculpted deer at the entrance:
After a mooch round the John Buchan Museum in Peebles (well worth a visit if you’re a Buchan fan), we headed off to the Scots Pine Tearoom in Eddleston for afternoon tea and cakes.
The choice was very good and I was in a quandary but couldn’t resist a mincemeat pie with crumble topping:
Delightful assistant no.1 had that enduring staple, the fruit scone:
Delightful assistant no.2 chose something he has a weakness for, and was in the right part of the world to obtain – Border tart:
I enjoyed my mincemeat tart very much but, unusually, I was still hungry afterwards. Perhaps I ate it too quickly and didn’t give my stomach time to catch up, but in any case I’m afraid I made a second trip to the cake counter and came away with another treat in the form of a fruit scone.
Rather full of treats and awash with tea, I rolled into the car with the delightful assistants and we headed home through lovely autumn countryside.