Happily Ever After

Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running

Earlier posts can be found on Adventures of a Lone Bass Player, where this blog began life. Recent entries can be found here.


Back From Boath

by admin - 16:32 on 19 September 2011

Matchgirl was most relieved when we arrived home from Boath House today to be met by a cat who appeared genuinely pleased to see us. After receiving texts from Squirrel James, describing how well he and Bess had bonded while he carried out cat-feeding duties, she'd feared that our moggy might be pining for the stand-in.

Boath House, as always, was a luxurious and culinary pleasure. We even stayed clear of the downpour while walking in Culbin Woods and beside Findhorn Bay, haunt of several dozen curious seals (the bay, not the woods) and some gorgeous spiders (the woods, not the bay). Even Matchgirl was interested, from a cautious distance.

The Pentax saw action for the first time in a long while and as well as wildlife I tried my hand at some arty shots, of which one survived quality control.

Culbin Trees

Trees, Culbin Woods – it's deliberately out of focus, by the way

For the record, here's the Saturday evening menu:

Onion Squash Soup, Seeds & Oil
* * *
Pork Belly, Apple, Chorizo
Apple, Celery, Cobb Nuts
* * *
Tongue Oysters, Champagne, Avruga Caviar
* * *
Poached Duck Breast or Halibut, Pak Choi, Radish, Anise
* * *
Cuddy's Cave Cheese, Crispbreads
* * *
Vanilla Rice, Coconut Yoghurt, Apricot


Seal, Findhorn Bay

At school I was put off rice pudding for life so the final menu item was rather a worry. I need not have fretted – it was fantastic. However, the highlight was the oysters, served in their shells (over crushed ice) with the Champagne and caviar.


More seals, Findhorn Bay

An anniversary bonus was the complimentary glass of dessert wine served by Johnnie, the friendly maître d' who remembered us from previous visits. Who knew the Canadians made wine? I didn't, especially Vidal Ice Wine by Peller, from grapes that have frozen and thawed several times before being harvested. The intensity of flavour is incredible.

Sunday evening's menu was equally enjoyable:

Celeriac Soup, Avruga
* * *
Cured Roe Deer, Tarragon, Sorrel
Artichoke, Lentils, Sorrel
* * *
Salmon, Beetroot Jelly, Quail's Egg
* * *
Speyside Lamb or Turbot, Peas, Onion, Potato
* * *
Golden Cross Cheese, Oatmeal Biscuits
* * *
Alpaco Chocolate, Cocoa Nib, Ice-cream

Highlight here was a toss-up between the deer and the chocolate. And Johnnie came up trumps with more complimentary Peller ice wines: a riesling and a cabernet franc. You really should try them.

Common Spider 1

Common Spider, Culbin Woods – the underside

Back at The Rural Retreat, real life intruded quickly when Mr Rayburn paid a call this afternoon to service our ancient kitchen appliance. The reason for its curiously grubby pipes was traced to the even more ancient oil tank outside which contained an inch or two of water beneath the oil. (Oil and water famously don't mix.) He attempted to syphon out the water, but after a mouthful of Highland Fuels' finest he understandably called it a day. He'll return tomorrow with a mechanical suction device.

Common Spider 2

Common Spider, Culbin Woods – the top side

This means that Matchgirl and I will have to bring forward installation of the secondhand replacement tank we'd already been offered by Mr Renderer's Mate. This means that we'll have to bring forward clearing and levelling of its proposed site, near the soon to be ex-shed. Concrete or paving slabs may also be involved.

But it all makes work for the working man to do, as Flanders and Swann told us many years ago.

There is a silver lining. Our lack of oil-fired heating means that tonight we can make use of the fireplace for the first time since last winter, and we've lots of willow logs waiting to be used. Our romantic weekend continues...

Comment from BikerMike at 13:54 on 20 September 2011.
Great seal photos!

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