We visited this 1800 style house last weekend. Next door is the First Minister’s official residence (she’s the head of the Scottish Government). You can learn about the life of a wealthy family 200 years ago, and try on clothes from that time. Of particular interest to those of us who love Jane Austen’s novels and the TV and film adaptations.
We spent an exciting day at this wonderful safari park. This is probably the closest I’ll come to an African safari. We drove past all kinds of animals – including lots of lions, monkeys (some jumped onto cars) and a huge male rhinoceros that came very close to our car.
We spent the rest of the day going to talks by the zoo-keepers, including an impressive diving and leaping display by one of the sea-lions, and flying displays by several of the birds of prey, flying so close to us that we had to duck! There were elephants, giraffes, zebras, lemurs, penguins, a tiger and lots of other favourites. There were fairground rides, a boat trip and a zip-wire across the river too. This is now our favourite local day out.
The Highlands town of Aberfeldy combines a traditional British livestock and produce show in the morning with a Highland Games in the afternoon.
There was a lot of noise – sheep, cows and horses were all competing for prizes. And all kinds of pet dogs were competing in the dog show, with categories such as “cutest dog”.
One large tent was full of flower arrangements, home-grown fruit and veg, home-made cakes, and all sorts of other things, as the locals competed for yet more prizes.
In another tent you could buy craftwork or food. I bought some delicious hot-smoked salmon and a slice of carrot cake.
In the ring, there was the impressive Strong Men competition, which is the highlight of any Highland Games. The men (usually very burly) have to throw a variety of very heavy objects as far or as high as they can.
There were running races for adults and children, Scottish dancing competitions and Tug-of-War.
The final event of the day involved picking up and carrying an incredibly heavy stone. Anyone could have a go. Plenty who tried couldn’t even lift the stone off the ground, let alone walk with it. The stone was wheeled around in a specially designed wheelbarrow – because no ordinary person could move it any other way.
It was a great day out – so much to see and do, in a town which is already one of our favourite places to visit, surrounded by beautiful Highland scenery.
Last week we held a fun concert for family and guests. We managed: songs with organ and clarinet, poetry (including a funny poem about a little boy who eats a whole chocolate cake), a song from Italy used to encourage a rider in the famous horse races held in Sienna, and a lesson in Spanish flamenco dancing.