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  • Kylie Sprott

Feasting with friends

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

As my Mum and I left Scotland, I asked her to name her top 5 moments of our visit. Unsurprisingly, she named a very special dinner party in Rothesay as a highlight. And I had to agree with her - it was a wonderful experience that we will always treasure. In my humble view, being invited into a friend's home for a home cooked meal is right up there with the most memorable of moments.

Gianna, my superb Scottish solicitor, has become a good friend and no trip to Bute would be complete without a catch up. We usually catch up for a coffee or afternoon tea at my place. There is always an exchange of gifts and goodies - but the real present is the conversation and friendship. I trust her implicitly and her advice is always spot on.

So, when Gianna suggested an outing on her boat with her husband Michael, I was very keen! Especially as a "wee run up the Kyles" (Gianna's words) would be a new experience for my Mum and I to share. The Scottish weather had other plans, and the boating adventure was sadly cancelled until my next trip.

However, the invitation to dinner at Gianna and Michael's home was still on offer and we gratefully accepted. Laden with sweet treats and Australian wine, we happily arrived at their beautiful home, with incredible views over the bay. There are many gorgeous abodes on Bute, but this was truly a special one. And the warmth of Gianna and Michael's welcome coupled with the delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen made us feel right at home!

Here is the lovely view, also showcasing the weather that dashed our boating plans:

We were joined by Chris and Hazel, both born in Scotland, but now residents of Canada. It was interesting to hear the Canadian accents coupled with extensive local knowledge of the island and beyond. Like me, they bought a holiday home on Bute, although theirs is located at Port Bannatyne and sounds a wee bit bigger than mine!

Chris is the Chair and Founder of the Baird of Bute Society - a Scottish registered charity established to proudly celebrate the achievements of Andrew Blain Baird, a son of Bute who historically achieved the "first attempted all Scottish heavier than air powered flight" in September 1910 in a flying machine of his own construction. The Society inspires the youth of Scotland to aspire to achievement through a series of programs, awards, scholarships and activities. It was really interesting to hear about the truly positive impact of the Society, especially for those who have come from a disadvantaged background. I was very impressed.

The food was superb - all made by Gianna and included mackerel dip (from mackerel that she and Michael caught themselves), a superb chicken dish and an unbelievably grand berry roulade. The conversation was so much fun and engaging that we stayed far too late and even indulged in post dinner liquors and chocolates. When we finally left and shared a taxi with Chris and Hazel, it was no real surprise that the taxi driver knew Chris by name. Happily Chris and Hazel will likely be back in Bute in January, so I am looking forward to catching up with them again then.

And not surprisingly, my Mum adored Gianna and Michael. They knew how special this trip was for her and they made her feel very welcome in their beautiful home. Mum was so delighted at the whole experience, that she hasn't stopped talking about it. How amazing to think that such a strong friendship was forged as a result of engaging Gianna to help me in the purchase of my Kyles of Bute flat.

Thank you Gianna and Michael for creating such a beautiful memory for my Mum. Everything was so warm and welcoming - from the delightful table setting to the magnificent feast. I am very grateful to you for your kindness and friendship. Until next time!

Ps. Our dining companions were photo shy :-)

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