After picking up delightful assistant no.1 from South Queensferry (see previous post), we all trundled across the Forth Road Bridge, admiring the Rail Bridge on one side and the construction of the new road bridge on the other (delightful assistant no.2 is endlessly fascinated by this process and gets very excited whenever we go anywhere near the Firth of Forth).
Our destination was the Biscuit Cafe in Culross, a little eatery attached to a pottery and gallery.
This next picture makes it look deceptively quiet but it was in fact very busy both inside and out (there’s a little garden area round the back). We sat at the table in the photo, which was the only one free at the time.
It was quite a cold day and I was in the mood for soup, but unfortunately it had all been eaten up by previous diners. However, toasted sandwiches were available on a choice of ciabatta or seeded rye sourdough. Delightful assistant no.1 chose the sourdough with cheese and I went for the same with the addition of chutney. The bread looked as it if was going to be solid and heavy, but in fact it was surprisingly light and delicious.
Delightful assistant no.2 opted for ciabatta with ham and mustard.
The last time I was in the Biscuit Cafe there was a very interesting and informative tea menu. I asked to see it on this occasion, but was told it was no longer available. The business seemed to have changed hands since my previous visit, but fortunately a good variety of leaf teas was still on offer.
After drinking so much black tea earlier in the day at Brodies in Linlithgow I plumped for a caffeine-free Rooibos. Delightful assistant no.2 went for Darjeeling, and delightful assistant no.1 had a mug of standard black teabag tea. The leaf teas came in small tetsubin (cast iron Japanese teapots).
My sandwich was excellent, as was the tea, but to my mind the teapot didn’t have enough capacity. I finished the tea before I finished the sandwich, but this problem was easily addressed by popping up to the counter and asking for more water to be put in the pot.
After lunch we took a little wander through the quiet streets and up the hill towards the abbey. The delightful assistants managed very well on the cobbles with their trusty sticks.
As we got closer to the abbey the cobbles were replaced by smooth tarmac.
Growing weary, as the ageing adventurers toiled up the hill…
… they were delighted to come upon an open gateway leading into a lovely garden. The garden was privately owned but open to visitors to raise funds for charity. On the gate it said that donations could be put into the box in the garden, but hunt as we might we failed to find any sign of a box.
Two tiny assistants can been seen coming into the garden to right of centre in the picture below.
After we’d all wandered round the garden for a bit, I left the assistants sitting on a bench looking out to sea while I went back down the hill to collect the car. En route I passed an old water pump, no longer being used for its original purpose but looking decorative.
Rather than go back down the cobbled road we’d come up, I opted for a narrow, somewhat overgrown, alleyway leading to a steep stone staircase.
When I got to the bottom I discovered that the staircase had a name.
Bessie Bar also has a well and a building in the village named after her. She was a local woman who ran a business malting cereal grains in Culross in the late 1600s.
When I had driven back up the cobbles to collect the assistants from their peaceful haven in the garden, I had a small task for delightful assistant no.2.
Culross has many narrow alleyways, known in Scotland as ‘closes’. Delightful assistant no.2’s task was to demonstrate the width of one of them. The alleyway shown below is called Cat’s Close and it’s part of a boundary wall with listed building status (i.e. it’s on the Scottish Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest).