So we have survived the Christmas and New Year onslaught, gotten through blue Monday what else does January have to bring us?  The start of the year has begun the way the last month ended — unseasonably warm and dry. The end to 2016 saw one of the mildest Decembers in Tayside since records began in 1910. It was 3C warmer than normal and the region only experienced 31% of the average rainfall for the month. Surprisingly in the beginning of January, Perth has been one of the warmest regions in the UK this winter. We are hoping that this continues to the summer. Or at least we are optimistic a balmy summer is due (well we deserve one at any rate.) Today was one of our coldest days of the year at -5C which was a 15 deg C shift from yesterday and although a shock to our system it did make for a spectacular display of glistening frost.

Here is some photographs from our morning walk through the Bield Estate, it was looking like a scene from Narnia.

Jan 2017

Southern Fried 2016Southern Fried Festival 29-31st July, Perth

Great headiners, free gigs in city centre venues, an outdoor stage, all-day rockabilly event (‘cos you can never have enough rockabilly), and a programme of themed films: the 2015 Southern Fried roots music festival in Perth has announced a bursting-at-the-seams lineup. The eighth annual event kicks off Thursday 30 July and runs through Sunday 2 August, and the headline acts playing Perth Concert Hall are: Punch Brothers, Rhiannon Giddens, McCrary Sisters and The Fairfield Four. Hot off her recent tour and collaboration with Swedish sensations First Aid Kit, Samantha Crain completes the Late and Southern Fried Songwriters Sessions in The Salutation Hotel on Fri 31 Jul with her quirky, earthy interpretation of folk music. She joins Canada’s Meaghan Blanchard and ex-Phantom Limb lead singer Yola Carter for the intimate upstairs gig as Della Mae and Speedometer featuring James Junior rock out downstairs. Festival director Andy Shearer says of the programme, ‘We’ve wanted to stage a major rockabilly event for some time and we’re very happy we can make it happen this year. Part of an extension of the programme is to include evening gigs at two of Perth’s best-loved venues, The Twa Tams and Greyfriars Bar, for the first time. ‘We also have another addition to the lineup with a great cinema programme in partnership with Perth Playhouse, with a mix of feature films and music documentaries which all have links to some of this year’s festival artists, as well as a couple of great kids’ movies with great American roots soundtracks.’ Add to this an all-women celebration of the songs of Dolly Parton, home-grown acts, and many more performers, and you soon run out of excuses to not visit Perth at the end of July.


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Solas Festival 



Solas is Scotland’s midsummer festival which has been running since 2009. The all-age weekend-long celebration of music and the arts is designed to entertain, inspire and challenge. The programme also makes space for challenging debate with activists, writers and thinkers from across the political, cultural and religious spectrum. Solas Festival offers a creative and entertaining programme for festival-goers of all ages in a safe environment.

It’s here! Our 2016 line up is shaping up to be our most eclectic yet with the return of Solas favourites Stanley Odd and Blue Rose Code alongside the riotous energy of Skerryvore on the main stage. The field will host leading artists from the roots, folk and world scene including the multi award winning Karine Polwart and mercury prize nominee Sam Lee and Friends. Revellers can also look forward to stints from some of the UK’s top spoken word artists, Hollie McNish and Harry Baker, as well as talks and performance from Cat Boyd, Andy Wightman, Gerry Hassan, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Kirstin Innes, MacGillivray, Alan Bissett, Miss Irenie Rose, Sultans of String, Zoe Bestel and Bdy_Prts.

See the Solas website for full details and the ticket information.


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Scotland from Space

I always thought Scotland was beautiful but this stunning picture tweeted this morning by Major Tim Peake from the International Space Station (ISS) just goes to prove it. Sending the tweet with the caption ‘Scotland, Northern Ireland and Isle of Man looking good this morning!’ This may be our hottest day of the year so far!

Scotland from Space


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Black Watch Museum :- Weeping Window.

30th June and run until 25th September 2016weeping window

Imagine my absolute delight in discovering yesterday that our very own Black Watch Museum (500 yards away from Almond Villa) will be hosting the Poppies: Weeping Window display at Balhousie Castle.   I was first moved at seeing the poppies on the TV as thousands of people streamed passed them at the Tower of London and was swept away with emotion when I actually saw the Wave, live in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.   The cascade comprising several thousand handmade ceramic poppies is something to behold.   The Weeping Window exhibition is currently in Orkney at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.   Orkney was the first venue in Scotland to host Poppies: Weeping Window, where the sculpture was installed on the Cathedral’s west end in perfect timing for the commemoration of the Battle of Jutland.

Poppies: Weeping Window by Paul Cummins, Artist and Tom Piper, Designer will open at The Black Watch Castle and Museum on 30th June and run until 25th September 2016, specially presented by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of the First World War. Weeping Window is a cascade comprising several thousand handmade ceramic poppies seen pouring from a high window to the ground below; Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks (currently on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park until January 2016, to be displayed at Lincoln Castle during 2016). These two sculptures, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper are now brought to audiences at venues across the country as part of the 14-18 NOW programme. As with all 14-18 NOW projects, the presentation of these sculptures to new audiences across the United Kingdom aims to prompt a new, nationwide dialogue around the legacy of the First World War. The breath-taking sculptures were initially conceived as the key dramatic sculptural elements in the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in the autumn of 2014. Over the course of their time at the Tower, the two sculptures were gradually surrounded by a vast field of ceramic poppies, each one planted by a volunteer in memory of the life of a British and Colonial soldier lost during the First World War. In their original setting they captured the public imagination and were visited by over five million people. The original installation was conceived of as transitory, the sea of poppies growing in size until the final one was planted on 11 November 2014. On completion, however, it was agreed that the works of art at the heart of this broader act of memorial should be preserved for the nation. 14-18 NOW is grateful to the Backstage Trust and Clore Duffield Foundation for their support in securing these sculptures for posterity. For the remainder of the 14-18 NOW programme, Wave and Weeping Window will be on view at selected locations around the United Kingdom finishing at IWM North and IWM London in the autumn of 2018. The sculptures will then be gifted to the Imperial War Museums. The Black Watch Museum is a focal point for remembrance and learning about the Great War and other conflicts. A stunning setting easily accessible from most of Scotland’s major population centres, Weeping Window will flow from a second floor turret window onto the Castle grounds.   Weeping Window from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ Poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins Installation designed by Tom Piper By Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces, originally at HM Tower of London 2014



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Sparrowhawk! has he scared away the sparrows!


So far this week our garden has been a proper hive of activity with blackbirds, blue tits, great tits, coal tits and the tree sparrows which live in our hedge have all been flying gathering material to build their nests. However that may have all changed since our Sparrowhawk (who is now a frequent visitor to the garden) made a successful kill in front of the little birdies. But he seems to have become a little bit nonchalant. No longer is he content with sitting on the fence at the back of the garden watching and waiting. No he is sitting on the tree stump we hang the bird food from and is staring into the hedge.





Spring Time in Perth

Now officially Spring has Sprung in Perth and, though I may be biased, Perth has to be one of the most beautiful cities to enjoy the sunshine and natures flower show.

Spring Time














Photographs taken by Marysia MacFarlane and published on Scotland from the Roadside

Happy Shrove Tuesday everyone!!!

As a special treat this morning we served freshly made pancakes with blueberries and a swirl of golden syrup, delish!

DSCF7188 (3)

Storm Henry brings colourful nacreous clouds

nacreous clouds

What is it they say? Every dark cloud has a silver lining? Storm Henry was predicted to bring high winds and heavy rain (as though we haven’t had enough of that in the 3 months since they started naming storms) to which Henry didn’t disappoint. However Scotalnd wasn’t prepared for the beautiful nacreous cloud displays it brought as well. Twitter and Facebook were inundated with stunning pictures of this phenomenon.

Nacreous clouds, also known as mother of pearl clouds, were seen last night from Perth as well as most other towns in Scotland.

Nacreous clouds form in the lower stratosphere over polar regions when the sun is just below the horizon. The iridescent nacreous clouds are as captivating as they are rare.

These eye-catching rainbow coloured clouds form in the Earth’s stratosphere at around 70,000ft, way above where other clouds are normally found and in much colder air, around -78C.

The BBCs weather presenters explained it is far too dry at this height for clouds to form, but during the polar winter the temperature can drop low enough to promote the cloud’s development.

“Here in Scotland, the recent storms have probably helped too, with strong winds driving moisture up into the stratosphere.

“Their colour comes from ice crystals refracting the sun’s rays to give the rainbow effect.”

He added: “They’re most vivid before dawn and after sunset, as they’re in sunlight longer due to their altitude. They’re sometimes referred to as ‘mother of pearl’ clouds or otherwise known as polar stratospheric clouds.”

Almond Villa would like to wish all our guests past and future a very Merry Christmas xxx

Remember, please don’t over do it           wink smiley


santa cake