Thursday, 11 June 2009

Briar Cottage enjoys new thatch thanks to Historic Scotland and Something Corny

Briar Cottage in Lochearnhead has a new reed thatch on the east end over the cruck timber ceiling in the byre room(now our lounge). Just in time too as the draughts in the winter were so bad that I could just about blow dry my hair on the inside. Thank you to Historic Scotland for awarding our B listed cottage a grant and to master thatcher Peter Brugge and his team for doing an excellent job. Elaine Lindsay from Something Corny ( in Inverurie also came up trumps when we challenged her to create straw finials in the shape of ducks in honour of resident mallard Daffy and her ducklings. We decided to place them on the west gable rather than the new section, in order that they could greet Little Briar holiday cottage guests entering the grounds. Anyone who would like a peek at our 17th century cruck timber ceiling should look out for the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Open Day on the 19th and 20th of September 2009.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Mallard chicks move to Loch Earn 2 days after hatching at Briar Cottage

Daffy duck (part time guest at Briar Cottages) sneaked off with her 11 brown and yellow fluffy mallard chicks just two days after hatching. They must have climbed down the fountain where the nest was, across the A85 and into Loch Earn. Only 10 chicks returned to our garden on Loch Earn and we wondered whether crows, gulls, pike or eels might have taken one. After feeding daffy returned to the loch over large rocks and the chicks rolled in faithfully after her. Two fell between the rocks. We could hear them cry but not see them and Daffy became distressed as they called out to each other. I followed the sound, picked up some small rocks to unveil two little beaks trapped and huddled together. I picked one chick up and our fisherman guest Danny handled the other. We quickly and gently placed them back in the water in the direction of their mum. Off she went with her 10 babes. This morning she only brought six back and this time they came safely up the slip-way. Nature must provide 8-12 eggs to ensure that at least two or three survive. I wonder if she will manage to protect the six that are left. Thanks to every guest who has stayed in Little Briar cottage in Lochearnhead, Scotland and watched out for Daffy and her male suitors over the last year.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Wisteria Hysteria, Lochearnhead, Scotland

Holiday makers in Lochearnhead, Perthshire often ask us how we get our Wisteria to flower every year on the west gable of Briar Cottage. We would love to respond à la BBC Scotland's Beechgrove Garden presenters, quoting Latin names, advising on pruning techniques and extolling the virtues of PH balanced soil, however, the truth is that they just appear. My husband Fraser does "chop" the plant back and we do water it after hot sunny days however I think that we are simply lucky to have inherited a healthy plant that enjoys its location and position. Well, it does grow on a 300 year old thatched stone cottage with stunning views over Loch Earn and the surrounding hills and forests so why wouldn't it? Beats "Wisteria Lane" any day.