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It’s a Butey!

Tuesday 20 July

I sit at the window of a kitchen that is mine for the week, like a cat safe in the knowledge its curiosity won’t kill it here. On the table beside me a chicken fajita roll from the local Syrian deli/patisserie awaits my attention, as does the white wine spritzer  I keep forgetting to sip. The street below clamours with traffic, the unintelligible syllables (thanks Miss P) of passersby, and herring gulls. Squillions of herring gulls.  

A ferry comes in. A ferry goes out.

A faint smell of curry rises from the Indian Pavilion, two doors down. It reminds me of the back streets of cities and my mother’s kitchen. 

There’s a box of tiny, orange-flower water flavoured, pistachio filled, baklava behind my screen, and I can’t help peeking at it every few minutes. Earlier, I ate the best croissant I’ve ever had anywhere (France included) and, in a brown paper bag on the counter is a slender, vanilla cream filled, chocolate topped eclair. All came from Helmi’s, where, it would seem, one can’t buy just one thing.

Bute could just be my fantasy island. 

The ferry coming in to Rothesay.
View from my (temporary) kitchen window.

On Sunday we saw this:

And had this for breakfast:

Helmi's Syrian Breakfast Platter. In the dish beside the olives is the most fantastic halva.

On Monday we were dive-bombed by cleggs when we went here:

The cleggs were so many and so determined we had to leave the path and scramble down to this beach for respite. But I, for one, was glad because look at these amazing rocks! Not sure exactly where this is but it's somewhere between South Wood of Lenihuline and Kilmichael on the north west coast.

Wednesday morning:

Yesterday was a bit of a damp squib. We’d been to friends’ for supper the night before, and I drank too much beer, and we stayed too late. I barely slept because I had to keep getting up to pee, yet I still woke at six. I felt groggy the whole day.

Nevertheless, D went out to fish off a rock beside the lighthouse at Rubh’an Eun (see picture above) and I stayed back to pootle at my own pace. Hence the many foodstuffs described above, and this blog post. There is something to be said about just sitting beside a window, and not rushing out to see the sights all the time. I reckon I’d be perfectly happy to stay here again today. But I probably won’t.

When D returned, and after he’d eaten the left over curry from Sunday, we went for a short walk and saw this poster on the board fencing surrounding the Rothesay Pavilion.* One of the things I like about this island is its mix of urbanity and wild nature. It is much more diverse than, say, Arran, and worlds away from where I live in Moffat, which seems outstandingly dull in comparison.

As we turned from the Pavilion and looked out at the sea (or is it a river?), we saw porpoises! 

Not sure what the rest of today will give us, but my first course of action will be to toast the last of yesterday’s croissants for breakfast. 

The stairs that lead up to our flat are magnificently shabby, they remind me of Turkey.

*Sadly, the place doesn’t seem to be open and, it being one of my favourite types of architecture, I’d love to get inside! 


This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. steph newham

    Love the pics and the prose Eryl. Bute is delightful as your pics show, we’ve been a few times now and never regret getting pulled back. However, my fave island is Iona, autumn, winter or spring – less tourists and more chance of being stranded due to rough seas! Vastly different from Bute but where my heart is.

    1. Eryl

      Not made it to Iona yet, but it’s on the list!

  2. dinahmow

    Looks delightful and must have been sooo much cooler than some other places!
    Those stairs? Like an, old stained 18th century fan.Perhaps one that Jane Austen spilled ink on…

    1. Eryl

      It’s roasting here, but there’s usually a bit of a breeze by the coast, which is pretty much everywhere! We went to visit some outstanding gardens, yesterday, but it was so hot we retreated to the cafe!

  3. Scarlet

    Wonderful pics, Eryl! And that breakfast is rather large.
    Flipping hot down here as well – I think it’s lifting now, so back to moaning about being too cold again.

    1. Eryl

      It was rather large, but we got through it!
      I’m now in Kent, at my sisters, and the weather couldn’t be more different: torrential rain, wind, it’s like October has come early.

  4. looby

    Late for breakfast again — golly that looks lovely, and has got me wandering uselessly around the kitchen at gone 11 at night for something even vaguely as good as your Middle Eastern repas.

    Thanks for the word “clegg” — comes from Lancashire (my home county) but I’d never come across it.

    1. Eryl

      If you have a tin of chickpeas, a lemon, olive oil, garlic, cumin and some sort of nut butter in the house your never far away from a hummus feast. But it’s the bread I can’t seem to master 😕

      I assumed clegg was a Scottish word, but there are lots of words we’ve thought originated here that actually come from the north of England.

    1. Eryl

      How lovely to see you again in Blogopolis. Did you have a birthday recently, or am I muddling your alter ego with someone else’s?

      Your writing seemed more than restrained enough to me, considering just how marvellous Bute is. Port Bannatyne is much livelier now than it sounds like it was when you visited, nine years ago. There are lots of boats, several cafés, and a strong sense of a community that wants to ensure visitors have a lovely experience. Even the loos are wonderful!
      I think it’s time you returned for another visit! X

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