Monday, 24 March 2014

And risked going back....

Last winter we made repeated trips up and down the M6 and a journey that had been an exciting one, often ending with a family celebration changed forever. Often we needed to break the journey and once we found reliable places to stay tended to go back, we needed that sort of comfort. But when happy times are remembered returning can be a risk; that lovely hotel or charming restaurant may have changed hands, or perhaps it was just the moment and not the place. ( "....And sometimes retraces her steps" July 2013)

This year, for happier reasons we've been travelling to the west of Scotland and on our last trip returned to two spots we'd enjoyed before.

Now if you're not familiar with this part of the world there are a couple of facts you should know. It is very, very beautiful and it rains. A lot. But afterwards it's even more beautiful.

(Oh yes and there is the wee issue of the midgie, but another time....)

So after visiting a couple of prospective new homes, one only slightly less damp inside and neither with any heating we needed cheering up. I'd read all the community notices outside the shop waiting with Dogstarke while Mr S. bought the newspaper. One had announced that The Barn at Millcroft was open again for the season, dated just two days earlier. We'd had tea there back in the summer, the same day I'd swum in the loch. It had been lovely. This time we had to persuade Dogstarke that she needed to stay and guard the car, (no dogs inside; imagine her sad face) while we sploshed in, hoping we didn't just have sun tinted memories.

Lunch was lovely and we had it scoffed too quickly to take a picture.

Next day there was no rain and all the views were like this

Dogstarke got to play on the beach


And the house we viewed had rooms and a roof. Better still we took a drive into Knapdale and saw the "Open" sign outside the Kilberry Inn. We stayed there a few years ago for my birthday and had good memories.

We have some new ones.

And will be back for more.


Sunday, 2 March 2014

And enjoys ruminating on ruins

So it's a lazy Sunday morning in bed, back in my own sheets, remembering my recent trip; a fairly whirlwind affair squished into the half term break going from city buzz to desert calm and a wedding in between.

But what of those ruins?

I love ruins, I'm too much of a wimp to go exploring derelict and abandoned places myself I do it vicariously and so can you: (There are lots of similar blogs exploring these haunting abandoned places) But back to the ones I visited.....

The Ruins, that's how they're known, a deliberately ruined mansion in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. Built in the early 20th century by a sugar baron, the family still owns the estate and surrounding streets bear the daughters' names, it was destroyed during the Second World War to prevent it falling to the Japanese forces. Tales are told of the days and gallons of petrol and it took to burn the 20 metre long hardwood floorboards. Now all that remains are some of the tiles, the beautiful polished concrete and the gorgeous gardens.


It was pretty cutting edge in its day, there are no unsightly electric wires for the verandah lights; they all run in the original pipes. And how many modern "Grand Designs" sport polished concrete surfaces?

We had a lovely time wandering around and it was all the lovelier for not being restored, of course it's maintained, there were gardeners and sprinkler systems to keep it lush and beautiful but there was no need for rebuilding and recreation. What was left was beautiful and evocative

Understandably it's a popular wedding venue, ours (not mine and Mr. Starke's the one we were attending) was back in the city so after some refreshments

we headed back to the hotel.

On the way I spotted these

But there was no time to explore.............


Footnote. I hope to share more pictures from the Philippines but in the meantime for anyone out there planning a trip to South East Asia, please consider a visit. It doesn't have the profile of other destinations in the region (for Europeans at least, there were some tourists from the US) and the bride and groom made our local arrangements. In fact this beautiful country would never have been on my itinerary if it hadn't been for the wedding. So win win all around, one happy new couple and several happy old ones. Seek it out.


More photos and info here: