In the third week of April (which seems a long time ago now), the delightful assistants had a trip down to the Scottish Borders.
[Since then, delightful assistant no.1 has unfortunately had a number of hospital visits, which is partly why it’s taken me so long to get round to doing this post, but I’m happy to say she’s getting better again now and is looking forward to more outings in the near future.]
It was a beautiful spring day when they headed south in search of sunshine and flowers, making Dawyck Botanic Garden their ultimate destination.
Before arriving there, they stopped at the Laurel Bank Tearoom in the small village of Broughton for a spot of luncheon. The Laurel Bank has gone through several incarnations since they started going there many years ago. Under the present management it’s about as good as it’s ever been and seems to be doing a roaring trade every time they visit.
They settled themselves at a table and quickly made their choices. Delightful assistant no.1 wasn’t feeling terribly hungry and felt a bacon roll would be just the right size. Her spouse opted for a cheese and onion toastie and their chauffeur went for a baked potato with cheese.
Having had only a small thing for her main course, delightful assistant no.1 felt she had room for a slice of apple pie and a jug of cream. Her spouse was intrigued by one of the special puddings: chocolate marshmallow pie, and their chauffeur decided she fancied a hot chocolate more than any sort of cake.
Highly satisfied with their lunches, they made their way with smiles of contentment to nearby Dawyck. The garden was bathed in sunshine and awash with glowing daffodils.
With a walking pole in one hand and a spouse in the other, the assistants set off at a leisurely pace along paths often trod in the past.
Rhododendrons were flowering magnificently and it wasn’t long before bench seats were starting to look rather inviting.
After a decent bit of walking, they succumbed to a bench seat pleasantly positioned in the sun next to a Tibetan cherry tree with striking red bark.
Delightful assistant no.2 was keen to see the wooden statue of a native American Indian, which meant getting on to a path above the level they were sitting at.
Having had a few falls in recent months which had left her feeling a bit unsteady on her feet, delightful assistant no.1 was nervous about taking the short cut up a steep grassy slope to reach the path. Encouraged by her chauffeur to use two walking poles, with the promise of assistance if she needed it, she gamely faced her fears and tackled the incline while her spouse dozed peacefully on the bench below.
At the top she heaved a sigh of relief and was rewarded with a swathe of daffodils cheering her along on the upper path.
Having concluded his nap, delightful assistant no.2 joined his wife and they made their way along to the statue he wanted to see. Getting up close meant tackling another steep slope, something delightful assistant no.1 had no inclination for. Her spouse made his way up with a bit of help, and posed joyfully next to the big man.
They continued their stroll through the garden, enjoying the sunshine and signs of new growth on trees and shrubs.
Eventually, the heat of the sun led to delightful assistant no.2 reluctantly divesting himself of his jacket, and he felt far more comfortable for it.
As they toddled towards the cafe by the entrance to the garden, they saw someone up ahead sniffing at a rhododendron. When they passed the same plant themselves, delightful assistant no.1 paused to inhale its scent. Her spouse is not one for flower-sniffing and waited patiently while his wife knocked herself out (so to speak).
Carefully negotiating a short flight of steps, they made it into the home straight and headed straight for refreshments.
Feeling warm after their walk, all three visitors opted for ice creams rather than hot beverages and sweet treats. The delightful assistants both chose Magnum Classics while their chauffeur went for a small tub of strawberry ice cream manufactured in a town just a few miles west of Dawyck.
When they had finished their ice creams and made use of the facilities, it was time for the long drive home. It had been their most distant day out of the year and they had thoroughly enjoyed the change of scene and the wonderful weather.