Douglas!Posted: August 13, 2011
We certainly landed on our “Scottish Visit” feet when we met Douglas Harrison. You may remember Douglas. The baby faced Scot we met at Casale le Crete in Abruzzo Italy. (March archive, Many Hands Make Light Work). We bonded, like war buddies, over moving bucket and shovels full of donkey poo! A keen commenter on this website, it’s been wonderful to continue our friendship.
We were really looking forward to spending time with him again and he could be living in a tin shed for all we cared, so it was a delightful surprise to discover he is of the “Scottish Landed Gentry” and lives in a beautiful old estate home that he, and his wife Anna have restored. Arriving at the stately moss covered driveway with mouths agasp, we find “Renagour”, a Gaelic name literally translated as “reidh na gobhair” “meeting place of the goats” is as warm and appealing as it is grand.
And so are the Scots – in fact now rivalling the Danes for outgoing, openhearted inclusiveness. All in irresistible Scottish brogue accompanied by a cheeky glint in the eye! Our first port of call is the local pub for fish and chips. (Beer battered Haddock with creamy peas and chips!) We meet the “men in kilts” and whilst not known to Douglas or his friends, they were delighted to volunteer to model for our website!!! A few pints were had at the local and conversations about travels with new friends.
Aberfoyle sits at the base of the Highlands and the Trossacks National Park. It is very close to Glasgow and Edinburgh and a prized tourist destination for the beautiful country side, lochs, and walks nearby. The village itself is tiny but very well resourced. It is a centre for many surrounding villages that use Aberfoyle as their topping up point, and congregate at this pub – a warm, community feel and clearly an extension of peoples homes.
We also briefly became a part of the Clan Harrison with drinks at his sister home, a short drive down the road, sitting right on the Loch. His brother in law had just returned from business in Australia and we felt his jet lag pain. His mum and dad joined us also from a nearby village. Vibrant and youthful in the vicinity of 80 years of age, they arrived, roof down, in their blue Mazda convertible. They were wonderful company and we were disappointed not to spend more time with them. Douglas’ mother is French, and his wife is Swedish. Douglas is fluent in both languages, as well as Russian!!!
For 3 days with Douglas we enjoyed doing domestics, (4 loads of washing and a good scrub for Cubby), short local walks, some sight seeing in the area, long conversations, and Italian (Antonio) chef meals. The hardest decisions we had to make was which room for set for lunch and dinner ……………. the dining room, the sitting room or perhaps by the beautiful window in the ballroom. Coffee – the library with a small fire or the “snug” with a good movie?
Douglas was so kind and generous to us. We felt completely at home in his divine home. I loved the exercise of just walking from room to room, upstairs to downstairs, out into the garden. His wife Anna, was in Sweden with their two daughters visiting grandparents, so we have not met them this time. We certainly want to thank them for allowing us to roam freely in their beautiful home.
And to Douglas, to finish!
“We’ve had a wee smashin good time. ThNks a lot !”
Ps. I’d like to put pay to that old rumour that scots grab every chance to save a pound. Douglas was extremely generous to us in many ways, the Scots in kilts would not even accept a beer as a modelling fee, and a camper cook specialist spent 45 minutes righting one of our burners and would not accept any payment. Not only that, I had a visit to the doctor re an annoying eye issue and in Scotland, they do not charge Australians anything. PLUS, as of the 1st April this year, ALL prescriptions for ALL people are FREE!! Clearly only a nasty rumour, I’ve heard said, created by the Poms!