A week ago, having business to attend to in Edinburgh, delightful assistant no.2 left his dear spouse in the capable hands of his eldest daughter, while he and his chauffeur popped down to the capital.
They set off just before 09:00 and made their first stop at Le Jardin Cafe, near Kinross, to partake of morning refreshments.
The cafe had not long opened for the day and they had their pick of the tables. Choosing a quiet corner, they perused the drinks menu and both opted for Darjeeling tea. After a look at the sweet counter, delightful assistant no.2 decided on a cherry and coconut traybake, while his chauffeur fell back on her old favourite, the fruit scone.
Refreshed and invigorated, they drove on to Ingliston Park & Ride, next to Edinburgh Airport, where they planned to leave their car and catch a tram into the city centre.
To their dismay, the car park was absolutely stowed out, with vehicles parked up off the road on pavements and daringly positioned along double yellow lines. Undeterred, delightful assistant no.2 encouraged his chauffeur to follow suit. Although not quite brazen enough to park on a double yellow line, she compromised by parking on the only bit of free pavement available. Happy to have succeeded in this venture, they hopped out of the car and made their way to the tram stop a few minutes’ walk away.
After the stresses of the car park, they enjoyed the smooth and soothing half hour journey into Edinburgh city centre, spotting familiar landmarks on the way.
By the time they had concluded their business in Edinburgh, they were ready for a spot of luncheon. Being in the unusual position of not having to find a parking space, they stayed in the city centre and tried a Turkish restaurant they hadn’t been to before on Hanover Street.
They settled themselves in at a table by the window in Yeni Meze Bar and perused the tempting lunchtime menu. While they waited for their food to arrive they enjoyed the drinks they had chosen: elderflower and pomegranate juice for delightful assistant no.2 and a glass mug of steaming Turkish apple tea for his chauffeur. The tea came with a piece of Turkish delight, which they sawed in half to share.
The restaurant had a special lunch deal of 3 mezes (small snacks, like Spanish tapas) for £10.50, and there were plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
It being a cold day, the corba (lentil and vegetable soup) was appealing to both diners. It came in an interestingly-shaped bowl with a slice of lemon on the side, and was unlike any lentil soup they’d had before. It slipped down very nicely with pieces of complementary pitta bread.
Along with the soups they both ordered falafel, and borek (fried filo pastries stuffed with a savoury filling). Delightful assistant no.2 tried the sweet potato and roast red pepper borek, while his chauffeur opted for the feta and spinach.
Neither of them had ever had borek before and agreed that the sweet potato and roast red pepper version was a particularly delicious dish.
It had been difficult to choose from the menu, but when they had finished their meal they left content with the prospect of returning on another occasion to try different dishes.
Well-filled, but surprisingly not over-full, they trotted out into the sunshine and took a short stroll along George Street and into Frederick Street. Rather than have a pudding and/or coffee at Yeni Meze Bar they fancied the idea of calling in at one of Edinburgh’s chocolate cafes for a hot chocolate.
They plumped for Hotel Chocolat, and found seats at the back of the shop in front of a serving counter. While they were sitting there considering the drinks on offer, the chauffeur’s camera batteries ran out. Thankfully, she had her mobile phone and was able to snap the drinks when they came along.
Delightful assistant no.2 chose a dark mint hot chocolate, while his chauffeur went for a hazelnut affair. Each drink came on its own wooden tray with a shiny silver spoon and an interesting serviette describing the different parts of a cocoa plant.
The hot chocolates were sublime: just the right temperature for swift consumption, and not too sweet, but subtly flavoured with their chosen ingredients.
While they were sitting in the cafe, a young man came up from the shop adjoining it, carrying a large tray and offering free chocolate bunny samples. Delightful assistant no.2 and his chauffeur gladly accepted a bunny a-piece.
The bunnies were filled with runny caramel and were very sweet. On being offered a second bunny as they left the shop, the delightful assistant and his chauffeur both declined, feeling that one had been just enough.
Having a little time available before they needed to catch the tram back to the car park, they decided to call in at the Scottish National Gallery, to have a look at some pictures and make use of the rather grand facilities.
They both enjoyed revisiting this old haunt that had, at various times in the past, provided a place of peace and contemplation for their more youthful selves.
They departed the gallery feeling relaxed and ready for a pleasant journey home in the late afternoon sunshine, well pleased with their day and looking forward to telling delightful assistant no.1 all about it.