Thursday 18 October 2012

Midnight The Bunny

Driving back home to the castle at night after work, I would often spot a "midnight black" rabbit at the same spot: on the right hand side of the single-track road, just on the approach to Balintore House - reputed to be the earlier mediaeval incarnation of Balintore Castle.

Anyhow, as I was often passing this spot at midnight, the rabbit was clearly "Midnight the Bunny", and a sighting of "Midnight at midnight" would greatly gladden my heart. 

I am an animal lover, not in the sense of putting polka-dot dresses on chihuahuas, but in the sense of taking great joy from my fellow creatures with whom I share this planet.

I was explaining to an acquaintance that this must be a  biological "sport", given that the colouration differs from the normal "wild" one. I was told that this was rubbish, and that the rabbit must be the descendant of a Dutch Rabbit that had lived at Balintore House in the past !!

The web and an animal expert neighbour have told me this mutation is indeed quite common, and one can find parts of the country where black is more prevalent that others colours.

A wild black bunny!


  1. Hi David, I was staying near the castle during the beginning of October and I actually saw the black rabbit and was really amazed. It was by the side of the road below the castle.

    I also saw a white pheasant by the the sharp corner after the farm buildings at the bottom of the hill.
    It was such an amazing bird and so brilliant white.

    What a fantastic place to live and I wish you success with the restoration project.Follow your dream and it will come true. All the best Sandy

  2. I'm delighted you spotted Midnight as well, Sandy. There are those who might say he was a figment of my imagination. :-) I will have to watch out for the white pleasant. I thought all pheasants were orange until I came to Balintore. I have now seen green. blue and black.

  3. David, I am glad I am able to confirm Midnight's in residence.
    He was moving quite quickly as there were hunters in the area and gun shots in the air. I hope the pheasant is able to vanish as he was rather special and have never seen a white one before.
    Do you have any idea where you will find the architectural pieces to put back in the Castle? Will you use new or old,or a bit of each?

  4. As you say, most fixtures and fittings have been removed or destroyed. There's not really much option but for the windows and doors to be bespoke in order to fit the gaps exactly - at commensurate cost sadly. Other items e.g. fireplaces are more amenable to architectural reclaim. I would like to ONLY go for genuine antiques, but reproduction is OK in my eyes if the quality and authenticity is there. The aim is get the "feel" of the building absolutely correct. This is actually not as difficult as it may sound, as the building "speaks". :-)

  5. It would be good if you could find a self employed person who can recreate using old reclaimed timber to make doors and the mullioned windows or whatever. Its always exciting to visit reclaim places to see the types of things you can find. I have experience with in this field. And I know that old buildings have a way of communicating with you. Do you have photo's of the inside and how it use to look? Do you know where any of the interior has gone?
    I know when I first saw the Castle I saw it as magical, and could feel that it was once filled with children.It kind of draws you into itself. I always find it amazing how people manage to build something so magnificent as this, in beautiful empty spaces.
    How much of this can you do? I wouldn't worry about the furnishings as this is something I could advise you with one day.What a joy and a burden at times, I know. Having done restoration projects of passion too.I always see the beauty and some how the rest seems to fall into place.

  6. I have just 3 interior photos from the 60's when things were relatively intact - so a very poor record indeed. I have sent feelers out to people who apparently have photographs, but nothing has come back as yet. I do know where some of the interior has gone but I'll be discreet! I understand that in the past that there were children's parties at the castle. Delighted you are into restoration too - you are correct that one has to keep connected to the beauty of the building - there are enough people who are negative about what I am doing and even people trying to sabotage the project. I know some good local craftsmen - but this type of work comes at a price. One-off this is not a problem, but the castle has over 50 rooms to sort out! I need to pick up skills!

  7. I have come up against this with people and I have found away of using this as an indicator of my commitment to to my project and you have to understand it takes the path of being a visionary when you undertake something of this size and financial tasking. From my experience of Life these people just help to spur you on. It takes the positive and the negative but the trick is not to go into the stuff that pulls your energy down. So know, they are doing you a favor which really gets them know where.

  8. As for pictures, there must be servants or grown children or outside family members who would have something.Have you ever posted adverts in free newspapers or anywhere asking for pics or info?
    Have you ever thought about starting a restoration fund? Where people could donate to? online? I know some amazing stories about how people have helped big projects. I think your's is unique and would cause a lot of interest. Why did you decide to take this on?

  9. You can have a look at my property dating from 1577

    My back ground is 17th to 19th century furniture and Architectural. I have contacts everywhere.

  10. I have just checked out your property/antique shop. This is a stunningly beautiful building and to have such a wonderful setting for your place of work is a privilege afforded very few! If you come across anything large and baronial in your auction visits ... :-) There are rumours of a original surviving table from Balintore Castle, so this is an ongoing investigation, nothing remains at the castle itself.

    I absolutely love visiting antique shops. The Internet is a both a blessing and a curse in this regard. As business moves online, it is undeniably more convenient, but the joys of rummaging and the quality assurance of seeing goods "in the flesh" are lost. :-( It can be impossible to tell period from a low resolution photo. I bought an "Edwardian" oil lamp on eBay for £10, as soon as I picked it up I knew it was 80's repro! Of course, my bid reflected this risk so there was no point in complaining, and of course I did like the item as it fits well at the castle.

    I had a recent first visit to Portobello Road. I was hugely disappointed as I had been expecting a Valhalla of the antique/vintage. My older friends tell me that it is a shadow of its 70's self.

  11. One reason I asked the questions about photo's I could help you find things. eBay is a mind field it helps to have knowledge.There is a lot of repro. Some people do not know what they are selling however dealers will give you answers and more photo's.You could always email me a link and I can tell you what I think.
    I work with dealers all over the county.I have to look far and wide these days. Portobello has changed and so have the dealers.
    I love property and I came up your way cause I was looking at property for sale near you. I would like to help as it is fun for me. I love the search. So you can always ask.

    Now is a good time to buy as prices are really reasonable.
    Did you find my business website?

    1. I've emailed your business address the only interior photos I have - as you can see there's not a lot to go on. These were taken in the 1960's when things were already being stripped out. I bought a brass bed almost identical to the one in the photo - long before seeing this photo - so I was delighted at "reading" the building correctly. You must come and visit me at the castle when you are next around. There is an amazing building that needs saving in Arbroath (not far from Balintore) called "The Elms"

      I have, of course, already looked at your superb stock online. :-) Your items are generally earlier than Balintore, but good pieces transcend era and I particularly like your Charles II chairs!