I love to get away. Who doesn’t like a little escapism, whether it be in your mind or in actual real body form. It helps me to be inspired, not just by my new surroundings, but being away from home reignites my love for my own home and indeed my home town, so a win, win situation, yes?
In the summer when a great friend of mine returned to her Scottish roots (sad face a plenty) I was determined that though there were now many miles between us I was not going to let her become a stranger. So in half term, with the husband and the small boy firmly all organised with half term adventure based activities, I found myself train bound for North Berwick.
A solo train journey or indeed even better a solo flight to me is quite a treat in itself, it makes me feel so grown up pulling my suitcase along, in my ‘best’ coat and Lady Danger lipstick with not a little person or trunki in sight. Small pleasures I know.
So onwards and indeed northwards I was…
The pretty seaside town of North Berwick in East Lothian, a mere 30 minutes from Edinburgh, I was about to discover, did not disappoint even if the drizzly weather did.
I was keen to explore and Lindsey was keen to show me the delights of her new home town of which I can now see why. One hundred and eighty seven metres of vertical stomping (and puffing) up the Law Hill was well worth it for the amazing sight from the top, with views across to the left of the Fife coastline to Edinburgh Castle and the Forth Road Bridge. My sudden onset of vertigo was helped immensely by clinging on to the impressive whale bones which adorn the summit as a nod to the town once believed to having been a whaling port.
To the right an equally impressive panorama of the Bass rock, home to Britain’s largest gannet colony, was stunning, glistening in its wash of guano.
Glad to come back down to ground level and sample the local eateries,. The town is full of small independent retailers and galleries which is a welcome reprieve from the Costas and Nero’s. I have to say the huge slab of cake and tea at The Steampunk was well earned after my climbing escapades. The aroma in this warehouse style eatery was intoxicating as they roast their own coffee, oh and then there is the beautiful concrete bar and copper pipework….it’s always about the interiors details for me.
But the highlight of my trip had to be one I was not at all expecting, a surprise outing to Fletchers Spa, a belated birthday treat par excellence.
Now even from the car park this place had me all a flutter. The landscaping was so well executed I just knew this was not gonna be one of those spa experiences with a sterile environment and inane chatter. There is a reason that it has been voted one of the best six spas in Britain.
Greeted with a fresh carrot and orange juice by the lovely ladies who were adorned in blush pink t-shirts, natural linen aprons and clogs we were then allowed to wander through to the sauna, steam room and lounging area, complete with huge linen chaise chairs covered in crisp white feather duvets to wrap ourselves up in overlooking the garden.
The pair of huts in the garden where we enjoyed our seaweed bath were just the icing on the cake. Roll top bath, log burner, amazing chairs all wrapped up in a wooden panelled cabin that quite frankly I didn’t ever want to leave.
All dressed, wrinkly toed and smooth skinned we returned to the reception area. There, I didn’t just drink in the complimentary sherry (got to try it once eh?) but the amazing interior design. Devoid of any pops of colour it was all about texture and lighting, cow hides, central fire, wall lanterns and potato crate clad walls. And this room has really stayed with me, I think the Danish call it Hygge. But it can’t forget how comfortable and cossetted I felt, so much so that I am just designing a bedroom and bathroom annexe for a fab client based on the joys of Fletchers Spa. Seaweed bath optional.
So I had had my bit of the countryside, amazing seaside walks, dipping through the dunes at Yellow Craig and climbing the hills, (always a treat as we don’t really do hills in Suffolk) so my trip homeward bound was beautifully interluded with a cheeky trip to Edinburgh. I had heard a great deal about the BP Portrait Award 2015 at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery so thought I would visit and it did not disappoint, each of the fantastic pieces, of which there are fifty five, with a short descript of its owner. I loved many of them, the amazing intracacies of ‘Juanito’ left me breathless, as did the painting below entitled Genesis by Jerome Lagarrigue.
But not quite as much as the Law Hill. Till next time Bonnie Scotland.