All Hallows’ Eve

 

Do you think our carefully carved pumpkin is scary enough to keep all the ghouls and goblins away from our doors on All Hallows’ Eve?

The holiday of Halloween has its roots in the Britain but the word itself (Halloween is short for All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Saints’ Day on November 1), originated in Scotland. On this evening all evil spirits should stay away especially from houses with lanterns brightly light up.

Well our lantern kept away the evil ghouls but unfortunately not all the little the guisers, who came around. Still it was good to distribute the mountains of sweeties we had bought for the occasion! Our lantern also turned a few heads during our breakfast serving.

Day Out At Scone Palace

What a fabulous day we had yesterday as we took some guests around Scone Palace. The Earl of Mansfield had kindly given us (and probably the other guest houses in Perth) a voucher for free admission to Scone Palace so we decided to treat some guests to a visit. It was one of those rare weekends where all our guests were staying for 3 or 4 days so we were free to leave the house without worrying about new guests arriving.

Scone Palace, once the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in the history of Scotland. A breathtakingly beautiful place of power and mystery and the rightful home of the celebrated Stone of Scone – also known as the Stone of Destiny. Scone Palace is regarded as a national treasure and is revered as the historic jewel in the crown of Scotland.

On arriving at the Palace we were amazed at the beautiful white peacock roaming around the field of Highland cows. Unfortunately he wasn’t shaking his tail feathers and mostly had his back to us but he was still an impressive sight. We visited the Palace and then enjoyed a lovely lunch on the lawn (yes not raining in July and it was even sunny) before heading off around the gardens and getting lost in the maze.

T-in-the-Park 2012

Well it is Scotland and the annual T-in-the-Park music festival and the weather didn’t disappoint! Though our guests clearly enjoyed the weekend and have booked to come back next year. The music festival delivered a fantastic array of music and entertainment and the weather did not dampen their spirits. Normally the thickest mud is left until the final day however the mud brought back on day 2 was as viscous as I’ve ever seen though Some innovative guests even had the forethought to wash themselves down in the local garage before coming back to the B&B. Can you guess who from the wellies?

The Queen Is Coming Hurrah Hurrah

The Queen is due to visit Perth this week as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations and tour of the UK. She is expecting to be visiting Balhousie Castle, home of the Famous Black Watch, currently under major renovations for the extension to be ready for Spring 2013. The Queen will also be visiting Perth Museum and Art Gallery where she will be presented with a gift of the Keys to the City. The Queen will also be hosting a Civic Lunch at Scone Palace and I dare say she is hoping for better weather than the Palace received on Friday (29th June) the first day of the Scottish Game Fair. The day started off bright and sunny but by 11am the heavens opened and down came the rain in lorry loads. It was extremely heavy for the next 2 hours then it lightened up though it didn’t stop. So with many stuck vehicles having to be towed out, the organisers took the heavy decision to cancel the next two days. Unfortunately for our guests the news came too late to stop them travelling. However, they stayed and enjoyed the weekend. Seeing parts of Perth and Perthshire they don’t normally have a chance to see. But have booked again for next year to hopefully see the Scottish Game Fair once again. The irony is the weather was better on the Saturday & Sunday than it has been for the last few years of the Scottish Game Fair weekend!

Black Watch Laid Down Their Final Colours

At Almond Villa we always look forward to our welcoming our regulars back each years but no weekend is looked forward to more than seeing again our retired soldiers of the Black Watch.

The Black Watch and 51st Highland Volunteers meet each year in Perth around the end of June to remember their comrades and catch up on news. But 2012 was always going to be a special re-union, although no “official” decision has been made it is thought the famous name of the Black Watch is going to be lost to bureaucracy as the Ministry of Defence is considering merging the 3 Scots battalion with others as part of service cuts.

Both the past and present Black Watch (3 Scots) soldiers looked resplendent and proud as they matched past the dignitaries and there were a few tears in their eyes.

However, the weather on the day was brighter than had been predicted, only thunderstorms and rain had been on the forecast, and whilst many on the day found it a very sombre and poignant moment others thought we should be looking to the future. Joe Hubble, a former Regimental Sergeant Major and Almond Villa regular, thinks we should all still get behind the 3 Scots and give them our support. He says “even if it is sad to loose the Black Watch name, they are still our boys and they need our help”. Joe cuts a colourful picture in Perth with his famous moustache and regularly visits the city, a place he holds dear. Joe spent the later part of his working life as a Yeoman of the Gueard at the Tower of London and was often assigned as regimental escort to Her Majesty the Queen Mother. This may be of good news since The Queen is the latest royal to join the battle to save the under-threat historic Black Watch regiment. The Queen, as part of her UK Diamond Jubilee tour, has chosen to visit the battalion’s museum in Balhousie Castle, Perth.

Olympic Torch Comes to Perth

Thousands of excited spectators visited the street of Perthshire, the North Inch park and the South Inch to witness the Olympic torch making it’s spectacular journey though Perth.

The torch was brought over the historic Perth Bridge by the Olympic cyclist hopeful, Kevin Stewart. 20yr old Kevin, from Dundee, has previously competed in the Commonwealth games presented the torch on the stage set up in the North Inch park where thousands had gathered. Prior to the torch arrival the crowds had been entertained by community singing groups performing, ‘The Things We Love’, a song adapted for the occasion by renowned Perthshire songwriter Dougie Mclean in welcome of the Relay. The torch was then carried on it’s journey by a group of pupils specially chosen from Perth Academy. In the lead up to the Torch’s arrival in Perth, up to 60 pupils from each of Perth & Kinross Council’s secondary schools took part in an olympic themed sports event on the North Inch and in Bell’s Sports Centre, organised by the Council and Live Active Leisure. Activities included rugby, football, athletics, hockey, volleyball, fencing, trampolining, gymnastics, tennis, table tennis, judo, badminton, basketball and zumba. There was also a “Faster, Higher, Stronger” competition for U15 boys and girls.

All our babies have flown the nest!!!

This week we saw our Blue Tit, Tree Sparrow and Great Tit fledglings leave their nests and successfully fly out of our garden. It was great to see the Tree Sparrows and Blue Tits flying around the garden getting their bearings and learning to use their wings. We tried very hard to take lots of pictures though they were incredibly fast so we only took a few good ones the rest are a bit blurred.

Art on the River – Perth Festival

What an absolute glorious weekend the art lovers, tourist and stall holders had for the Art on the River. The Art on the River event returned to Perth city centre on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May. The sun beamed down as temperatures reach above 25 deg C, it was a far cry from the rain drenched weekend of 2011.

The event will gave people an opportunity to buy artworks and crafts in the picturesque setting of Tay Street. It featured original works ranging from landscapes to portraits in watercolours, pastels, acrylics, oils and also photography. There will be paintings which are framed and unframed, traditional and contemporary styles, and every imaginable genre in between. Also, in conjunction the Perth Art Association held an exhibition in St Matthews church hall.

Fingers crossed that this weekend will also be kind with the weather for the 28th Scottish Open Volleyball Tournament for the players who play on the 36 outside courts on the North Inch, Perth. We also hope the weather holds for the fantastic free celebrations on the North Inch to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. From 11am onwards there will be 1,000 pipers, singers, samba bands, fiddlers, brass bands and much much more. Plus there will also be the Perth Kilt Run where kilted runners from Perth Scotland will be taking on kilted runners from Perth, Canada to see which Perth can have the most kilted competitors.

Gorgeous George Author Is Running In His Kilt!!!

Yes the children’s favourite author, Stuart Reid, is coming to Perth to celebrate his kilt by running in the Perth Kilt run. Taking part in the attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Kilt Race this Saturday 2 June 2012 in Perth, Scotland. The Kilt race has been performed previously both here in Perth, Scotland and also in Perth, Canada. But this it the first time the two cities have ran for the Largest Kilt Race simultaneously. for more information contact http://www.perthkiltrun.co.uk

Stuart Reid will be running as Grandpa Jock and staying here at the Almond Villa Guest House in Perth.

Gorgeous George & The Giant Geriatric Generator for ages 9 to 109 :)

Bogies, baddies, bagpipes and bums! Farting, false teeth and fun!

George witnesses something rather disturbing from his bedroom window late one night. People are disappearing fast and no one seems to care.

Why are the people of Little Pumpington so miserable? Why has his evil teacher started smelling of wee? Why is Mr Watt so fat? Why does Mr Jolly the Janitor collect hundreds of pairs of false teeth in a cupboard in his workshop? And what will happen when mad Kenny sticks two crayons up his nose?

During detention George discovers a secret stash of soggy tea-bags and a hundred boxes of broken biscuits hidden in a mysterious tunnel beneath the school. Can Gorgeous George (who’s not really gorgeous at all) solve these mysteries with the help of his Grandpa Jock, the wild-haired ginger Scotsman before Grandpa Jock deafens the whole town with his bagpipes?

Oh, and do not try the ‘burning brown bag of poo prank’ at home! You have been warned!

A fantastic read for anyone who loves funny, exciting and sometimes a little gross children’s books. Equally enjoyable for adults as it is for children.

Gorgeous George & The Giant Geriatric Generator is the first children’s book from author Stuart Reid. Featuring over 50 charming and humorous illustrations by UK artist Calvin Innes.

Scone Palace Hosts Potfest Scotland 2012

Potfest returns to the Perth area for its 15th year in Scotland. This years show is Potfest at the Palace, in the wonderful grounds of Scone Palace, the home of the Stone of Destiny, the crowning site of former Scottish kings.

This years show has a slightly different format, being held in marquees on the grounds at the rear of the Palace.

One of the key exhibitors is Perthshire’s own Julian Jardine.

Julian has been creating animal sculptures for the last 19 years and has owned his own gallery for the in Perth for the last 5 years. The gallery has a diverse range of sculptures from Julian’s own work to exhibitions from other artists. Julian was recently shortlisted for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Award.