Gullet....

.... the main priorities of visiting Montrose, Scotland....

1. Smoked sausage supper from The Grove
2. Deep fried spicy beef with fried rice from The Peking Palace
3. Cajun chicken sandwich from Candies (with mayo, onions, and cheddar cheese)
4. Sunday Carvery from The Links Hotel
5. King prawn korma & garlic naan from The Indian Cottage
6. Nachos and cheese burger from Roo's Leap

... check, check, check, and double-check....... my goodness..... is it time to come home yet??.....

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Olde....

.... had lunch here, and enjoyed it to the max..... and yes, the restaurant in St. Andrews really IS perched on the edge of the cliff...... the beach below is where they filmed the final "beach running" scene in Chariots of Fire.....

.... the eatery is actually only about one hundred yards from the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse - for all you golf fans out there.....

... anyway, I had the smoked salmon appetizer, the rock bass entree, and the poached pear dessert.... all chased down with lashings of coffee and Nimbus Blonde pale ale.....

.... quite a civilized lunch, if you ask me.... more later - with photos once I get back home....... I swear. it's hard to have fun in a place like this, but I do so try......

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Clockwork....

.... overcast, rainy, thunderstormy day here, folks... and the jungle that surrounds The Compound here has been washed clean and is shiny...... I've spent a few hours this afternoon sorting through yet more photos of The Auld Country.....

... so, now, in completely random fashion, away we go....

... here's a in motion shot of the infamous Glasgow subway system.... the original "clockwork orange".... the smell is quite amazing, really.... an unusual mixture of mold, mildew, and transient Scottish people..... you truly have to visit to completely understand.....

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... we also took advantage of our being in Glasgow to visit the Art Gallery and Museum at Kelvingrove.... it is a maze inside, but a GREAT place to get lost in when you fancy hiding from the rain for an afternoon..... and it also happens to be the home of one of my favorite paintings.... Rembrandt's Man in Armor.... here's a shot of the main atrium looking down from the third floor....

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.. and with that, I'm off to whip up a batch of stuffed strawberries for dessert tonight..... cointreau, confectioner's sugar, and cream cheese stuffed inside freshly chilled strawberries...... hell, they should more than make up for the fact that I'm making pork chops for dinner, no?.....

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Shots....

.... well, since I am back relatively unscathed by either harsh weather, overindulgence, OR volcanic eruptions, here are a few piccies of my latest misadventures......

... first up (and further to this post), I give you a few shots of the chalet that I tried to describe.... and, of course, the view from the veranda.....

.... the mountains and field....

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... the view down from the balcony (with my finger in foreground...) ....

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... the second floor of our chalet at Craigendarroch....

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.... I'll be updating this as I find the time today between laundry and napping.....

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Humor....

.... after a large Jura and a gigantic Chinese meal, I humbly offer you some Scottish Humor.......

...... bloody hell, aren't we all a bit like that from time to time?........

..... and really, we should be ashamed of ourselves........

..... still, though, it WAS quite funny....... even if you arent Scots at all, you should be able to see the angle Rev. Jolly is taking..... right?.....

... hmmm.... mebbe not....

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Misty....

..... the chalet is in the Scandinavian style.... bedrooms on the first floor, and kitchen/living room taking up the entirety of the second floor.... the second floor has a huge, high vaulted ceiling clad completely in stained fir boards..... a central beam runs along the ceiling and extends beyond the south-facing glass wall for about ten feet... and beyond the glass wall lies the verandah.... wood and glass and high, open space is the general feeling in this room where we spend most of our time....

... looking out through the glass wall, you see a row of adult Scots pines and the occasional skinny birch... a moss covered stone wall runs parallel to the trees and separates the civilization of the chalet from the open field that lies beyond.... grouse, rabbits, hooded crows, red squirrels, wood pigeons, and pheasants fill this space with a constant flow of movement..... walking onto the verandah gives one a kaleidoscope view of the wildlife - with the trees both blocking and revealing your view of the animals as they jostle for pecking-ground and airspace....

.... daffodils, dotted here and there, provide a contrast of color against the green and gray of the land and sky.... both yellow and white, they grow naturally in small clusters around the border of the field.....

... the bright green field extends two hundred yards or so, and bustles with life and activity.... damp this morning, it's springtime buds have halted their growth due to last night's cold snap.... and the view of the snowcapped mountains in the distance have been completely hidden by this morning's thick blanket low cloud and mist.....

.... a road runs alongside the field..... a turn to the left would take you to the village of Ballater... a turn to the right would take you further inland towards the ancient Celtic settlement of Braemar - famous for it's annual Scottish Highland Games....

... crossing the road, a steep, heavily wooded ravine falls 200 feet down to the peat-rich waters of the River Dee......

.... Scotland - especially on days like this - exudes an almost claustrophobic aura..... the chilly breeze sweeping down from the mountains seems somehow out of place underneath the heavy, impenetrable clouds and mist that hide the view of all but the closest countryside.... the air is dense and cold...... and the very faintest of rain is falling slowly...... the sky is a heavy, gray blanket that makes you want to kindle a fire, pour a whiskey, and barricade yourself inside until the sun returns...

.... they call Scotland the "Big Country" because of the extreme skylines she proudly displays - and the nickname is very well deserved..... but today, she is the "Small Country"..... quiet, cool, and brooding, she is hiding today....

..... thank goodness I am inside, dry, and have scotch coffee...

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Chili...

... a General Election is scheduled for today here in the UK, and half of our group is off down south to vote.... leavine myself and a few other slackers to arrange tonight's dinner at the chalet...... and so what would a group of hungry Scots need to warm their tummies after a hard day at the polling booths?.... why, a hearty bowl full of my homemade chili, white rices, and buttery slabs of warm garlic bread, of course......

.... well, at least that is what I would have wanted after a day at the polls!.... and since I'm cheffing it today, well, that's what THEY are getting as well.....

.....two Rolaids and a glass of milk is currently slated in for dessert......

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Kildrummy

... made it safe and sound to the Auld Country in spite of enormous ash clouds & way-too-tight to catch-your-flight layovers......

... off to Kildrummy Castle Hotel for lunch and a pint....

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