Anyhow, today Balintore Castle hosted a visit of some 22 members of the Angus Art Fund. This tour had been organised some time in advance, and I took a few days holiday in order to be around to give the guided tour. My friend Andrew helped out and took one half of the group around. We agreed separate routes through the building, so the two parties wouldn't collide.
It was a wonderfully engaged group and this made the experience a great delight for Andrew and myself. One of the ladies recalled visiting Lady Langman at Balintore Castle when she was a child of 11, and this first hand testimony made my day. A "sit up straight" afternoon tea was held in the dining room for the visiting children, and Lady Langman demonstrated a swimming doll to the kids in a bath! This doll, however improbable this sounds, did the breast stoke. This spectacle of mechanical marvel must have taken place in the top floor bathroom, as this is the only place where there is evidence of a bath. Victorians did not feel the need to have a bath that often, and one-per-castle was more than adequate.
Andrew and I were very kindly invited to the buffet lunch that the group had brought with them. The weather had just faired-up enough, after rain in the morning, to hold the buffet outside on the castle terrace. Any lifestyle option which involves a free lunch, must be instantly accepted of course. The wine, pastries, quiche, salmon and figs were most agreeable - our thanks go to Mike and Viv for catering.
And now the time is right to come back to the riddle "What do you call a Scottish cloakroom attendant?" The answer is "Angus Mc Coat-Up". :-)
I was able to introduce the group to the two newest residents of Balintore Castle. At the back of the photo below is "Taylor" a fine and large fellow of a ten-pointer. He is called Taylor because he was mounted in the main hall at Taylor's Auction Rooms in Montrose for around 6 months, but never came up for sale. However, I finally spotted him for sale on their online catalogue when I was in England, and put on a low commission bid, without any expectation of winning him.
Another low bid at the same sale also "bagged" the rather useful deer in the foreground who functions as a coat stand. I guess you know where I am going now? This deer's name could not be anything else but "Angus". :-)
The Angus Art Fund brought me an amazing bottle of whisky (a Fettercairn Fasque Malt) as a thank-you present. This will be gratefully shared with Andrew and some Dutch guests who will be arriving in a couple of days. Angus is modelling the whisky and accompanying card, in best game-show tradition. One guest suggested that Angus had somewhat of a "fey" look about him, and that he would only be holding ladies' coats. Trust me to have bought taxidermy with attitude. :-)
|please join me in welcoming Taylor and Angus to Balintore Castle|