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Whitmuir Organics*

If you are down this way (from the north, where the mountains are high) or up this way (from the south, where there is only one mountain and therefore much lower, statistically), then call in at the farm up the road from us. If you have kids with you then so much the better, as there are things for them too. As well as a well-stocked farm shop there is a superb restaurant / cafe / coffee shop. Ducks may well follow you around, as probably will Lily the sheepdog, who in the absence of sheep likes to keep her hand in by rounding up the free-range chickens.

Sometimes I cook. I have even been on a one-day Nick Nairn course, which made me into an expert fish cook. Well okay, not an expert… the filleting of that white fish didn’t go particularly well, but you can ask fishmongers (do they still exist?) to do that for you. I did manage to open scallop shells without cutting off my fingers. I also killed a lobster. I didn’t plunge it into boiling water, that isn’t the best way, apparently. No, you don’t want to know… you really don’t.

Where was I?
Sometimes I cook. I am (really!) a dab-hand at small soufflés, but they have never looked as good as those I have made lately with the fresh eggs I get from Whitmuir. They have hens with attitude, I’m told, which is probably why my soufflés rise. Compared to the chef at Whitmuir I am a mere infant, of course.

In a month or so the Princess Royal (Princess Anne to those of us over a certain age) will be dropping in at the farm to look around. She will arrive by helicopter, but that’s not compulsory because you can also visit Whitmuir by car. Let’s hope Lily doesn’t attempt to round up the PR and her protection officers. Stick to the chickens, Lily, there’s a good girl….

* other Whitmuir posts:


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Pussy cat, pussy cat. There, despite Edinburgh airport, go I…

I have been up to London, not to see The Queen but Princess Anne, HRH the Princess Royal, who was holding a garden party to celebrate her 60th birthday. I wasn’t invited, my wife was. I have said before that I am one of those people who gets taken to things as a guest. HRH is the patron of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (The Caley), and Pam is ‘involved’ with them. I used to work in London, and the thought of visiting the place voluntarily, in midsummer, in a suit, held little attraction. The chaos at Edinburgh Airport’s security check-in, clearly incapable of handling summer traffic, despite our arrival 90 minutes before check-in time, did nothing to convince me that the trip was a good thing. We were advised by airport staff to push our way to the front of the zigzag queues, past a hundred-odd waiting (and hissing and booing) passengers. Ever tried that? In some countries we would have been lynched. Edinburgh Airport, get your act together, it was an appalling experience.

Buck House was super. If you want to see how things can be organised to perfection, get on one of these visits. Though if the Queen and the Establishment can’t get it right, I don’t know who can. No photos of course. I’m sure you know what the place looks like.

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