Yesterday delightful assistant no.1 celebrated her 80th birthday.

birthday wave
A cheery wave from the birthday girl at the breakfast table, with birthday flowers.

The day began with her usual fruit and cereal, followed by the opening of presents accompanied by freshly baked croissants.

freshly baked croissants

The excitement of it all was too much for some of the residents, but they had a little lie down to recover their energy and prepare for the day ahead.

snoozing on the sofa

Continuing the theme of tasty treats, a table had been booked for lunch at one of her favourite eateries, Strathmore Arms in Glamis. Before leaving the house the assistants sat nicely on the sofa together for a birthday portrait. Delightful assistant no.2 put the heart cushion between them. Aw.

heart pillow
Delightful assistants with heart cushion (actually meant to be a giant jammy dodger biscuit).

They arrived at the restaurant joyfully anticipating their visit.

pre lunch joy

Inside, the lounge bar was warm and welcoming. Following perusal of the menu, both assistants opted for the same main course: chicken in a mango and coconut sauce with rice, a regular portion for delightful assistant no.2 and a small one for delightful assistant no.1. Their chauffeur pounced upon a small haddock with chips and salad.

mango chicken
Assistants tucking into their birthday lunch at Strathmore Arms.

When the savouries were finished, the sweet menu proved too tempting for the birthday girl and her chauffeur. Delightful assistant no.1 chose one of the day’s specials, apple strudel with whipped cream, while her chauffeur opted for sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. Delightful assistant no.2 contented himself with coffee and a chocolate mint, and a small taste of each of the puddings.

Two hours after their arrival at the restaurant, the happy threesome were ready to heave themselves up out of their chairs and have a look at the surrounding countryside. They drove through the nearby town of Kirriemuir and on towards the peaceful surroundings of Glen Isla. Turning up a small side road, they stopped to get out for a breath of fresh air. Feeling soporific after his luncheon, delightful assistant no.2 decided to spend a bit of time dozing in the car while his spouse and their chauffeur took a gentle trot along the road.

The weather wasn’t ideal, being rather chilly and overcast, but it was dry and windily invigorating. They wrapped up well and moved quickly to keep themselves warm.

a small trot
Delightful assistant no.1 out for a birthday trot near Balintore.

As they walked along they came upon a peep of chickens pecking about in the grass next to a cottage. A splendid cockerel was strutting his stuff amongst them.


When they felt they’d had enough exercise, the walkers hopped back into the car and drove on along the road to have a look at Balintore Castle. The castle was built as a sporting lodge in the 1800s but at some point its owners moved out and it began to decay. Some years ago, an enterprising chap began to restore it. The presence of scaffolding around one of the towers, and glass panes inserted into previously empty window frames, suggested the project was continuing to make progress.

Balintore Castle with sheeps

Time was ticking on and the teapot was calling. The revellers made their way home and settled themselves in for the evening with a nice cup of tea and a slice of chocolate birthday cake.

chocolate cake

Congratulations, delightful assistant no.1, and many happy returns!

80 cake


25 thoughts on “80

  1. Happy, happy Birthday from Canada! Thanks for sharing your lovely day. You might like to know there is a blog that the current owner of Balintore Castle keeps to record the goings-on of the place, which I find intriguing, particularly as we are a bit thin on the ground in castles here: http://balintorecastle.blogspot.ca/

    Cheers! Tracey


    1. Thanks very much, Tracey. I remember reading that blog a couple of years ago but I haven’t checked in on it for quite a while. It’s an amazing project he’s taken on there.


  2. Happy Birthday from California! No castles here except Hearst Castle which is more of art museum than anything else.



    1. Thank you kindly, Ann. Balintore is a newer construction than many of the castles in this part of the world, but I’m sure it must have been splendid when it was in peak condition.


  3. A very happy birthday to your lovely Assistant No. 1! What a superb lunch, and oooh, that cake! 🙂 Looks like you all had a very enjoyable day out. PS ‘A peep of chickens’ – love that! A Scottish saying?


    1. Thank you very much, Jo. The cake seemed to go down well, although the decoration was a bit odd (admittedly, not my strong point). I don’t know if ‘peep’ is particularly Scottish, I confess I looked online to find the collective noun.


  4. Many congratulations to Delightful Assistant No. 1. And lunch looked to be everything it should be. Glad to hear that the chauffeur “pounced on” a portion of fish and chips. What a lovely phrase. Puddings look good too!


    1. Thank you, David, lunch was most enjoyable. The fish was very small so my paws pretty much engulfed it on pouncing. The puddings were delish.


  5. A belated but most sincere happy birthday to you, Delightful Assistant #1, from a fond long-time lurker in Fife (via the Borders via rural mid-America).


  6. Happy Birthday to Delighful Assistant 1! The birthday meal looks very tasty and is making me feel very hungry! Also making me feel hungry is mention of Kirrimuir. I always associate that name with gingerbread! We used to have it very regularly and when I first moved south of the border I would bring supplies back with me. Perhaps it’s just that my mum doesn’t buy it any more, but I haven’t seen it around for a while. Do they still make it I wonder?


    1. Thanks, Elaine. The lunch was indeed very tasty. Kirriemuir gingerbread is still alive and well, I’m glad to say. I think Tesco sell it, but perhaps not south of the border. You can get it iced or un-iced, I believe.


  7. Happy Birthday to your Mum! Mine is 80 this year too – in July. One of her sisters who she hardly ever gets to see is coming up from the South Island. My mission is to find somewhere really nice and different to go for lunch. I would have had the toffee pudding too. It looks so yummy. So does that choccy cake!


    1. Thank you, Trish, and a happy birthday to your mum too, when the time comes. I hope you find somewhere interesting to take the ladies for lunch, and with any luck there will be the option of a toffee pudding. I’m a sucker for that stuff and the Strathmore Arms version was utterly delicious.


  8. Ah Lorna, give your delightful assistant #1 a birthday hug from Canada and say hello to her hubby from me. I do love hearing about your rambles. Those pictures do make me hungry though. I think the suggestion just adds to my hips. 😀


    1. That’s most kind, thank you. I know what you mean about the pictures, I can feel my arteries blocking when I think about that sticky toffee pudding. The sauce is a combination of double cream, butter and sugar. :-/

      Liked by 1 person

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