Friday, 21 September 2007


Ah, the 3 Chimneys.

How many superlatives leap to mind at the glorious chime of those three words, resonating in my head like the strike of a golden bell? How soft grow my eyes, velveted by memories. How light my life, how joyful my noise unto the lord, how gilded my lillies ...

You get the idea.

Upon arrival, we creaked our way out of Keith and checked in. I was amused to turn round, while at the check-in desk, to see two damp walkers teetering together on the small welcome mat, unwilling to put muddy footprints on the wood floor.

Our rooms were divine. While I felt a small pang of guilt over the fact Koios, Phid and Janus were all sharing one room, with two single beds and a sofa bed, my conscience was eased somewhat by the size of their bathroom! You could have parked a small aircraft in it. Meanwhile, the squeals of joy coming from the three of them put a mighty grin on the face of the woman showing us round. I imagine she's very used to the blasé attitude of the snooty chattering classes, who don't want to show how impressed they are. I think we charmed her.

We put supper back to 8pm, the better to enjoy all our rooms had to offer. I had a bath of such depth I actually managed to float a little! (Ok, so I sank quickly and the water went up my nose, while my legs flailed in the air - but still!) I wallowed, feeling every muscle in my body groan in relief, reading my book and periodically adding more scalding hot water. Then I scraped 4 days' worth of skank from my person, followed by a hair wash. Then I got out. Hurriedly. I do not, ever, want to see bath water than colour again.

Fisher took over the bathroom and had a shower, while I struggled not to fall asleep on the huge double bed, with its piles of cushions, crisp linen and fat pillows. I was almost looking forward to supper being over, so I could return to this paradise of slumber. I say almost ...

When 8 o'clock rolled around, we picked up the lassies and headed over to the restaurant. Fisher and I had been there before, and well I remembered its low ceilings, beams and byre-like feel. We were shown to a round (hurray!) table at the rear, after sipping pre dinner drinks. I attempted to make a toast, but failed dismally to be the urbane, charming speaker I'd hoped to emulate. Phid was somewhat taken aback to be described as 'stoicism personified' - but it was meant to be a compliment. Anyway, it was better than 'like Bin Laden's faith - utterly unshakable' which was what I originally thought.

The food was superb, although my cod wasn't particularly flavoursome. I did like the squid accompaniment though, and everyone else's was fantastic, so no complaints. Special mention should go to Phid's marmalade pudding, which I adored. We supped some champagne, a pleasant bottle of Fleurie, and I had a glass of tawny port with my cheese. I had a choice of either 'tawny' or 'vintage' but when I asked 'which vintage?' the waitress just told me that tawny was a little less rich than vintage. I'm not sure which one of us is clueless here.

After supper, bed beckoned ... and was everything I'd hoped it would be. Joy of joys there was even some football on the telly, and I learned that England had progressed to the quarter finals of the women's world cup after securing a 0-0 draw with Germany. I watched Korea go through after a feisty match with Sweden, then fell asleep to Family Guy, just managing to wake up enough to swith it off.

With oblivion came the knowledge that the next bed I would sleep in would be my own, and that, no matter what luxury or hardship you experience, there is nothing like it in the world. It remained only for me to get us home without driving Keith into a ditch - which, I am happy to report (and which you've probably deduced, as I'm not writing this from the graaaave) I managed to do.

It remains only for me to say it was a privilege and a joy to travel with such eternally optimistic companions, all of whom who, when faced with a challenge, rise to meet it with grace.