LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Buck and I have turned in early, following a nice soft-scrambled egg, toast, strawberry jam and milk supper preceded by a couple of drinks. Short, and not too heavy on the ethanol.

On Friday we picked up our rental car, a Vauxhall Omega, and drove to the coast at Ardrossan without taking a wrong turn this time. We were just in time to drive aboard the ferry to Brodick. We split a ham, crushed pineapple and cream cheese sandwich on whole meal bread, a Diet Pepsi for Buck and a cup of hot tea for me. I enjoyed seeing the bright-eyed children and the shaggy dogs. The crossing was gently rolling with a thick wet mist surrounding us. It felt very familiar and comfortable.

We checked into Room 18 of the Auchrannie hotel, smallish but quite comfortable. It is in the old portion of the hotel, which was once the home of the last Duchess of Hamilton — Charles Fforde’s Great-Grandmother. One proceeds from the front desk through a sort of rabbit warren of doors, alcoves, cubby holes and a half flight of stairs to get to Room 18. We unpacked a bit, and then I call Lynn and made arrangements for them to join us for dinner at 7:15 for drinks in our room, then dinner in The Garden Restaurant at 7:45. Then we closed the drapes and set a wake-up call for 6 p.m. Lights were out about 3:30. I got up around 5:15 and took a leisurely hot bath. It was wonderful and sufficiently restorative that I was able to be a coherent dinner companion. Buck rose, showered and dressed. I went downstairs to the Brambles Bar and ran into Jason (Sonia’s son), now the manager of the new Spa Hotel’s Cruize Bar, who fixed me up with two additional glasses and a bowl of ice.

It was a pleasure to see Charles and Lynn and dinner was an unexpected  bonus. We sat for half an hour in the parlor by the fire — very cozy. Buck drank a Manhattan, while Lynn, Charles and I had a glass of Vouvray. A small tray of appetizers was brought and our dinner orders taken right there. Lynn and I had a goat cheese, pancetta and salad greens starter, Buck had the salmon and Charles a half partridge! For main courses, Lynn and I had a poached chicken breast stuffed with a langostine “parfait” and a delicious sweet potato mousse. Charles and Buck both ordered a nice halibut dish. It also came with bowls of steamed veggies.

Coffee was served with a saucer of fudge bites and homemade sugar cookies. Delicious. Fattening.

After hugs goodnight, we parted company, agreeing to get together later in the week.

1-Auchrannie entrance

Buck and I slept in, then ordered room service eggs and toast with milk, then hustled to be ready for a Noon check-out. Our lodge was ready by then and we moved over, unpacked, grocery shopped, came back and made love for an hour or more, then enjoyed a couple of Manhattans (Buck) and fine Glenmorangie Scotch (me) while we watched Sky News  and I prepared a supper of fresh salmon, mushrooms, new potatoes, sauteed cherry tomatoes and green beans.

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