An hour sitting in a hot tub’s eddying waters was yesterday morning’s staycation dainty, as my Loch Lomond break continued unbound. The balmy bath’s overhead covering negating the fact my meteorological companion was a steady Stirlingshire drizzle. This roof keeping the temperate water from being tainted by it’s unfiltered cloud sourced cousin.
I’d afforded myself this ostentatious dip after an equally leisurely start to the third day of my break in Scotland. That initial trinity of hours seeing me write a 600 word blog before breakfast, consumption of three slices of toast and marmalade, along with ringing my mother to wish her a happy birthday.
The matriarch spending her 81st birthday in the company of both my siblings, Ian and Helen. Her two youngest offspring planning a variety of treats to celebrate her special day; one of which was a dinner of a huge homemade steak pie and veg – Good old English comfort fare which never fails to meet our mother’s mealtime approval.
As I sat bathing for around sixty minutes I thought of little; this almost trance state allowed my brain a much needed defragmentation. Having a mind which is constantly seeking a quip, comment or literary topic is exhausting at times; this period of watery reverie allowing some mind reorder. However, a declutter which took so much out of my brain, on alighting the tub, I required a twenty minute snooze to complete the reboot.
After a cheese and ham salad sandwich lunch, Monday afternoon was filled with drawing/sketching in my lodge, along with a short walk around the local village of Balmaha. The latter’s meander affording my now decluttered mind views of local woodland scenes, along with always uplifting loch landscapes.
The three caricatures I drew were an arbitrary trinity of folk – Playwright/author Alan Bennett, along with actors James McAvoy and Christian Bale. Attempting to employ a versatility of sketch style, these pencil etchings drawn in a variety of styles – From the cartoonish, to the grotesquely angular, to the smoother exaggerated portrait format.
As 5pm approached I abandoned my pencils and sketchbook for a quick shower and dressing for the 5.30pm evening meal I’d booked at the nearby Oak Tree Inn. Perched at a table in the hostelries conservatory, a flavoursome chilli con carne with an accompanying two glasses of pinot noir chosen as my rations for the evening.
To free up a dining table upon concluding my meal, I took my nearly full glass of red outside where I sat at a table a matter of feet from the huge oak tree which gave the public house/hotel it’s moniker.
Footnote – Well I’m assuming this huge hundreds of years old oak is the inspiration behind the hostelries title, and it’s not purely coincidental the place has a bloody massive oak tree sitting within its grounds.
As I gazed up at this huge trunked oak I envisaged the following conversation between the deep rooted plant and yours truly:-
Me to the tree – “How old are you then?”
Oak Tree to me (indignantly) – “Don’t you know it’s rude to ask a lady her age?!”
Me – “I didn’t know you were female.”
Oak Tree – “Well you should never assume the sex of anything!”
Me – “I thought oak trees were monoecious. Which means they bear female and male flowers.”
Oak Tree (patronisingly) – “I know what monoecious means!”
Me – “Yeah, but my readers might not!”
Oak Tree – “Readers?… What do you mean readers?”
Me – “I’m recording this conversation for a daily blog I write.”
Oak Tree – “Oh, ok…. Well, if you want to enlighten your readership further on the topic of tree gender you can also reveal some trees produce what are called ‘perfect’ flowers. Meaning they have both male and female parts in a single bloom. This phenomenon tends to be quite common in hazelnut and apple trees.”
Me – “I can do, but suspect I lost them at monoecious!”
Oak Tree – “Heathens!!”
Me – “Oi, don’t you insult my readership. They are an erudite bunch who mightn’t have lived for hundreds of years like you, but’ll have an interesting tale to tell!…… They’re just likely uninterested in tree biology.”
Oak Tree – “Well they should be!…. If it wasn’t for us your ecosystem would be even more shafted!”
Me – “I’m sure many are interested in the environment. It’s just that I try to keep my writing light, whimsical and insightful ….. I’m merely pointing out tree biology maybe a bit too heavy a subject if you’re after a light read.”
Oak Tree – “Well it’s your blog, I suppose.”
Me – “Anyhow, I’ve finished my wine now. I must dash….. It’s been a pleasure.” ……..With that I walked out of the pub’s courtyard towards my lodge.
Oak Tree – “Bloody English gosh**e!”