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  • Kylie Sprott

The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it

One of the great joys of my little flat on Bute has been welcoming friends, new and old, to spend time there. Making local friends on Bute has been a treat, and I feel very welcome each time I return.

It also brings me much happiness to know that I am introducing others to Bute and that they are also enjoying their own discovery of this magical place. On my last trip, I welcomed friends from Australia, Glasgow, Edinburgh and of course, Rothesay. And although I really enjoyed some much needed solitude, visits from cherished friends reminded me to stay grateful for genuine friendship and kindness.

During the entire renovation journey, my fabulous friend Gianna has been a frequent visitor. Gianna and I became friends through the purchase of the flat (she is my Scottish solicitor and lives on Bute) and she has enjoyed watching the steady transformation of my wee holiday home. I am very grateful for her friendship and I can't imagine visiting Bute without a catch up now.

On my last trip in January, I also enjoyed entertaining my neighbour Harry, and a super brief visit from my other neighbours Vicci and Mark. They were all understandably curious as to how I had renovated the attic flat which once stood vacant for a decade. I think they were happy with the final result.

One of my favourite visits was from my friends Walker and Lorna, who journeyed down to Rothesay from Edinburgh. It was very a frosty day and there was ice everywhere - but that proved no deterrent for our enthusiasm! It was a beautiful day for a visit to the markets at Bute Yard and a bit of a drive around the island. Like me, Lorna particularly loved the markets. Forgetting that most of the stalls prefer cash, I was grateful to Walker for spotting me a bit of dosh to buy these Viking cups for my brother Cam and his wife Tracy.

Anyone who has watched the Vikings series on Netflix will get why these were a must buy!

Bute Yard markets were not as busy as they are in the warmer months, but it was still a fun place to visit and see the local wares of Bute artisans. And although chilly, we ventured outside to purchase some of the smoked salmon goodies from the Isle of Bute Smokehouse.

This photo is taken from the Bute Yard courtyard, where the Isle of Bute Smokehouse is located.

I was also happy to introduce Walker and Lorna to the Kingarth Hotel for a spot to eat. This has long been a favourite haunt, and I often take my visitors there to sample their haggis! So far that has included my children, my Mum and my friend Sarah. Now I can add Walker and Lorna to that list. It is a no fail option, that is for sure.

Despite the magnificent day, my photography did it little justice. The skies were clear and blue, but there was no mistaking the icy bite in the air. Here we are outside of the Kingarth Hotel, attempting a selfie before jumping back into the warmth of Walker's car.

I do have a lasting reminder of Walker and Lorna's visit, as they presented me with a magnificent gift for the flat. Along with a gorgeous bottle of red, they gave me a set of stunning slate placemats and coasters, featuring highland cows, Scottish stags, hares and pheasants. They are truly beautiful and will no doubt be used frequently.

Fiona from Bute Property, who sold me my flat back in July 2022, also paid me a visit. It was really lovely to see how pleased Fiona was with the transformation, as she had only seen the flat before any work had commenced. As someone who sells property for a living, her obvious delight was wonderful.

And I was thrilled to bits to welcome Marlene, Pete, Audrey and Jim from For Bute over for afternoon tea. As at least 50% of my flat has been furnished with pre-loved finds (most from For Bute!), they were genuinely happy to see the final version of the flat. Pete had delivered the very first purchase back in August 2022 - so he appreciated the transformation the most.

Finally, a post of appreciation of friends would not be complete without a mention of David and Lewis. David stepped in to help finish off the renovations and I could not be more grateful for both his impeccable taste, but also his sense of urgency and attention to detail. He has been a God send!

I loved introducing David to my friend Sarah (who swiftly whipped up an impressive charcuterie board paired with the best Rosé wine we could find on Bute) - it was so enjoyable watching them talking together, whilst solving the problems of the world.

And I also loved meeting Lewis, David's partner over dinner, at Scotts in Greenock. Lewis is worthy of David and equally delightful - so much so, that I ended up driving down to Prestwick to visit him on my last trip. And although David doesn't love this photo, I have no others at this stage to post up! That will be remedied shortly on my next trip. I promise David!

So, many thanks to the friends who have given life and meaning to my Kyles of Bute flat. Your presence has truly made my flat into a warm, inviting haven that I enjoy sharing.

Tapadh leibh!

Ps. the title is a famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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