Caledonian Days

Thursday 8th June 2017

Fateful day – possibly my last in the life I have known. Funny because in Scotland we toured Statelies – Dumfries House was the first – revelling in the glory of the old ways. But Matt Driver wants total inheritance tax. It was much discussed.  I had to explain that the Gay Mother keeps her nearby post office going in the Far West, buying a cauliflower or a lemon cake with inherited money.

My whole life has been inheritance, now I think about it and its shape becomes clearer as it draws to its twilight years. Otherwise, it would have been entirely different and possibly nothing.

I digress: I had to have check-in luggage because of all the tartan I acquired for the Scottish visit – two tartan jackets, a tartan frock coat and tartan trousers. We arrived at the Premier Inn Ayr. A middle-aged couple were leaving for an Abba Fancy Dress party. The Laird distributed printed cards explaining our next rendezvous. At 6.45 the van would leave for Troon. It did. Moira MacMatron, Laura Malcolm and the Lairdess, at this stage, were militantly occupying the back seat as women only. In Troon they wandered off piste, taking photos of Matt Driver in front of a branch of the TSB bank. He is currently re-shaping the brand of TSB in UK and throughout the world. If only the young woman locking up the Troon branch in Troon’s flat bare streets so far from anywhere had known… The Laird swept up with the van to where they were dawdling and put them in. Even so we were the last at MacCallum’s excellent Oyster Bar in Troon harbour. The Scots are in bed by 10. My outfit stood out a little less than it had done during the passiagata at Troon. Matt Driver said, ‘I don’t think they’ve seen Zara before.’

The fish dinner was excellent. We could have been in London it was so artisanal. The Lairdess wanted more bread and they said they’d have to make it, it would take 20 minutes. She wasn’t best pleased.

The next day I wore a rain outfit but it didn’t rain. Dumfries House was glorious – very simple and cosy. It was built by Robert Adam but not in his style as we know it. It is more of a 17th century type of house, a series of box-like rooms with windows on one side, one leading on to the next. The furniture is worth more than the house. It’s actual Chippendale, made by him. There are only 600 pieces he made himself in existence and Dumfries House has got a good chunk of them. One chair is worth £1 million. I was struck that Chippendale often seems to hark back to the late 17th century or forward to the Victorian period, with his curves and elaboration.  Except that some of the furniture is rococo. Granny always preferred Sheraton or Hepplewhite for their simplicity. We heard much about Lady Eileen on the tour. She was the last of the Butes to live in the house until her death in 1993, and outstanding.  ‘Paint it battleship grey,’ she decreed and the exquisite decoration in the Pewter Corridor was obliterated. Her poker night was Thursday and she smoked 80 a day. She achieved great wreckage plus ring marks on the furniture, still there, and dogs on the best Chippendale sofa.

We lunched at Brig o’Doon House in the Robert Burns National Memorial Park. ‘I’m sure I’ve seen that water jug before,’ the Lairdess said. ‘That’s because we’ve got one at home identical in daily use,’ the Laird said. The Robert Burns National Memorial Park was very extraordinary – very nationalistic. Laura Malcolm liked the museum, but I was shattered.  Returning in the van, the women-only back seat began to lose its solidarity. ‘Oh, I can’t get in there,’ the Lairdess said as if she’d never heard anything so preposterous. Being stationed further forward possibly made it easier for her to lob intimate enquiries at the Laird re: his former girlfriends if any, as he drove the van.

Back at the Premier Inn, Ayr Racecourse, there was but a short time before departure (more departure cards issued) for Enterkine House Country House Hotel for a dinner in a private room filled with antiques to celebrate the Laird’s forthcoming birthday. Incredible elegance and grandeur: a vast dining table groaning with antiques, and the seven of us mere specks amidst all the ware: which is how it should be. There was a rumour that the Laird had been there before with a previous wife or some mysterious molecular scientist, who aged 19, and all of 34 years ago, when he was 26, had ragingly pursued the Laird and, as far as could be discerned, never even got a ride in the Triumph Spitfire, let alone prosecco in the glove box as accorded to a true love. But the Lairdess was soothed by the antiques and not inclined to seize one of the firearms on the walls for an armed pursuit of any traces of former women.

Back in the van, the all-women back seat suddenly was revived and they gave a tremendous airing to the short-comings of the warm white wine waitress.

The Premier Inn, Ayr Racecourse

The Premier Inn, Ayr Racecourse

Abba Fans in Car Park of Premier Inn Ayr Racecourse

Abba Fans in Car Park of Premier Inn Ayr Racecourse

My Outfit for Troon Passiagata: No Socks Victim

My Outfit for Troon Passiagata: No Socks Victim

Troon: the Passiagata

Troon: the Passiagata

Our Van was Marked in Troon

Our Van was Marked in Troon

Dumfries House: a Charming, Simple Villa

Dumfries House: a Charming, Simple Villa with its Little Friends it’s Spawned

Dumfries House: So Manageable and Simple

Dumfries House: So Manageable and Simple

Dumfries House: the Blue Drawing Room. Furn by Chippendale. This is the Sofa Lady Eileen Used for Dogs

Dumfries House: the Blue Drawing Room. Furn by Chippendale. This is the Sofa Lady Eileen Used for Dogs

Chippendale Chair Worth £1m. To Me it's Quite Victorian in Feel. Legs v. Splayed

Chippendale Chair Worth £1m. To Me it’s Quite Victorian in Feel. Legs v. Splayed

Chippendale Rococo

Chippendale Rococo

The Family Parlour at Dumfries House

The Family Parlour at Dumfries House

The Family Parlour: Here Lady Eileen Played Poker

The Family Parlour: Here Lady Eileen Played Poker

This is the Corridor Lady Eileen had Painted Battleship Grey

This is the Corridor Lady Eileen had Painted Battleship Grey

Bed by Chippendale: Val would Love the Hard Upholstery

Bed by Chippendale: Val would Love the Hard Upholstery

This is the Actual Brig o'Doon

This is the Actual Brig o’Doon

A Wedding was Taking Place in Brid o'Doom in the Robert Burns National Memorial Park - but Wrong Nationality?

A Wedding was Taking Place in Brig o’Doon in the Robert Burns National Memorial Park. A Male Guest group – but Wrong Nationality?

 

 

 

Posted Thursday, June 8, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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