After a 15 mile drive through a beautiful countryside, Mike stopped at a lovely old granite block farmhouse where we were greeted
by Wilma and Sam, the black Labrador gun dog who lives outside in a kennel.
We talked for a while. When they asked how long we
were planning to stay, we tried to weasel out. You know the drill – "well, probably Sunday morning because…etc." They seemed very
disappointed. They had made a lot of plans. They seemed to genuinely want us to stay, and of course we did. And they had certainly
First let us tell you that Mike and Wilma live in one of the houses on an enormous estate. The house is in a beautiful
valley, surrounded by pasture land. It is an enchanting place. The pasture is part of one of the farms, and there was a herd of cattle
grazing in the far corner. Mike called to them, and they all came running to see what was up. There they all stood at the electric
fence line, watching us with great interest. Somehow, we never expected that they would be curious, but Wilma pointed out that the
expression "Nosy cow" has a basis in fact.
The estate has a mansion, which, like many of the buildings in the area, is built
of gray granite quarried on the estate. This manor house dates from the 1800’s. There are thousands of acres of farmland, many tenants,
a golf course, a pheasant raising (and shooting) operation and a bunch of other enterprises aimed at making enough money to support
the estate. The mansion, as it happens, is not being lived in. The family that owns it lives elsewhere. The entire thing is like being
in the setting of a Dorothy B. Sayers mystery or a BBC costume drama.
Wilma is very involved with both the people and the enterprises
of this estate, and both of the Donalds seem to know everyone around.
We talked till way past our bedtime. Friday morning, we
went into the garden and had coffee and tea with the freshly baked bread that Mike makes. Wilma went off to work while Mike took us
in his car to show us the estate buildings, the towns nearby and a Bronze Age burial site! Lunch was at a restaurant cum market that
had been started by close friends of theirs. The assortment of things that they sold in that huge establishment is worth noting. There
was everything from things needed by farmers to a second floor full of clothes that are comparable to those sold by L.L. Bean, and
a marvelous assortment of delicacies, deli items etc. And a line waiting to get into the restaurant! All this in the middle of nowhere!
we returned home, Wilma was there. We all had to get ready to go to a party. Actually, the Donalds had to attend two separate shindigs.
Fortunately, they were both on the same street. We were free to either go to both or stay at the first party at their friends’ house.
never left the first party. We felt very comfortable, even though we were the only people in the house who hadn’t either played the
bagpipes in a band or been a drum major, male or female, Scottish style. There was a lot to talk about. The funny thing is that when
Mike & Wilma introduced us to our hosts, Doug and Fiona Findlay, we found that we had a lot in common – besides the fact that
both Doug and Adelle are Gordons! The first point of interest was that they too own a caravan and have been to many of the places
we know. But the second point was an amazing coincidence