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

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.

The JK weekend - Scotland 2012

The JK weekend came to Perthshire (Friday 6th – Monday 9th April 2012) where the Scottish Orienteering hosted the Jan Kjellström International Festival of Orienteering. The JK is one of the largest events in Orienteering in Britain and regularly attracts more than 4,000 competitors. Jan Kjellström (born 1940[1], died 1967) was an orienteer from Sweden who played an important role in the development of the sport of orienteering i

n Great Britain.

From feedback from the guest we had staying here, the event was triumphant, I can only apologise to them that the weather didn’t really play it’s part in the success of the weekend. I hope it didn’t put them or indeed any other competitor off from returning.

Photograph by Wendy Carlyle.

But the the JK isn’t the only large orienteering event to be held on the east coast. The World TrailO Championships in Dundee & Tentsmuir (6 – 9 June) will also offer a full 4 Day programme of public events with prizes generously donated by CompassSport. Enter online via

The 4 days will comprise a TempO event in Camperdown Park (TempO is the sprint equivalent of TrailO, where all the controls are timed), and a model and two TrailO events at Tentsmuir. On the final day the course will be the same as the World Championship course – so a rare opportunity to compare your skills with those of the world’s best. Following on from the Jubilee5 weekend, and with a couple of extra FootO events thrown in as well, there will be a total of 11 varied events in a 9 day period.

Black Watch Home Coming Parade

Soldiers from the Black Watch 3rd Battalion made a spectacular visit to Perth today with a homecoming parade. Friends, Families and members of the public turned out in force to cheer on our brave soldiers, even the rain stopped and the sun shone for an hour so as not to dampen the spirits of the parade.


A huge crowd turned out in force to welcome them back and to watch the parade set off from Rose Terrace and marched in a loop down Kinnoull Street, along South Street and then onto Tay street where they performed a salute to local dignatories.


The regiment marched through the town to the tunes of the pipes and drums of the regiment. Amongst the soldiers in the parade was injured Private Stephen Bainbridge a Kirkcaldy soldier, who lost both of his legs below the knee after standing on an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Helmand Province on Armistice Day last year.

The accident happened just seven weeks into Pte Bainbridge’s first tour of Afghanistan, having joined the army in October 2010.


It was great to see such a large turn out from the public for the Black Watch, lots of youngsters, children, older people, and people who have themselves served. It was chance for the whole community to come together.


And let’s not forget, bringing up the rear in the parade was Cruachan, the Shetland Pony, who is the mascot for The Black Watch 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland.


Another Beautiful Day in Perthshire

It was a beautiful day in Perthshire again yesterday so we decided to go on a drive up the A9 originally planning to stop and walk at the Hermitage. But just our luck it was closed on that day only to allow the removal of cut trees. Still not to be disappointed we headed further up the road to The Queen’s View and were very impressed with the new wheel chair ramp they were laying from the car park to the very top. The view from the top is absolutely stunning no wonder Queen Victoria stopped at the top.

Spring Equinox

Today marks the calendar at the Vernal Equinox the point when night and day both (approximately) equal 12 hours. Then from now on our days will be longer than nighttime and the time of year when new life begins to “spring” into action.

Though we have had such a mild winter Spring seems to have started already. All the daffodils in my garden are completely out and some have even wilted. But imagine my surprise yesterday when I saw Mr & Mrs Mallard and their 11 ducklings yesterday swimming on the canal, it looks like they though spring started a month ago!