The next morning Papa Dolf took us up to the castle. At the risk of making this sound like a Transylvanian idyll, the village of Thornhill is cruciform, and above it sits the rose pink ramparts and onion turrets of Drumlanrig, one of the many seats of the Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry: http://www.drumlanrig.com/.
I consider myself reasonably familiar with the stately homes of these isles but this gem was a revelation. There was nothing about it the slightest bit familiar to me but now, partly thanks to Dolf and Arthur taking over the kitchens, it is going to take its place on your Places to Visit list. The art collection is magnificent. They have a Rembrandt, a Holbein and a Gainsborough. The da Vinci went out through a window some years back so that is now safely in a gallery. Mr Wesley almost went out the same way with the curly horned ram's head snuff receptacle with little silver spoon, nostril duster and moustache brush attached by fine silver chains.
|Mr Wesley bows his head before the Rosy Queen of the Borders, Drumlanrig Castle; Dolf in his rosy sweater.|
At their house we noticed the same style, at once best and beautiful but entirely unselfconscious and comfortable, in harmony with its environment, that distinguishes the hotel. This is the skill of Arthur's mama, Caroline. Outside I took in the family crest in which two satyrs, like the goatish gentlemen on the buttons of the Last Emperor's Opium Smoking Jacket that brought our worlds together, stand either side of the shield. I mentioned it, amazed, to Arthur. "I thought you had chosen them deliberately," he replied. Ah, do not dismiss lightly the fateful properties of Grandma Ella's button box.
|One of a pair of glass buttons that adorn Arthur's lavish jacket that combines the curly horned snuff receptacle much admired by Mr Wesley in the castle and Arthur's own heraldic satyrs|
Back at the BQA Hotel it was time to set out our stall and in no time a huddle of the curious and clothes-inclined amassed.
What everyone else wanted to see was how their clobber was coming along:
|"Mr Whisky" David Stirk|
|Alasdair the hotel manager|
|Half belt at the back|
|A little button stops the pocket sagging|
game keeper of legend
|We love Arthur, he has brought good things to Bedlam so it pleases us to see him smile|
Arthur went half'n'half with his lining, one side blue for Scotland, the other orange for Holland
|The Dolf Vader himself, who is actually waaaaaay Yoda|
|Andrew being fitted in his chalk stripe. He has no intention of ever seeing London again before he dies (far off we hope) if he can help it so was glad of our bringing Bedlam to his doorstep|
|Harriet getting horsey in the "Megan" jacket that has proved to be a winner with the Ladies|
So don't simply take take our word for it, check out what they say on Tripadvisor:
|Eric & Ern take a turn about the urns|
|Cheeky little cherub, and a statue|
|Arthur and his hand maidens|
|Arthur, the finest bloom in the garden, in The Last emperor's Opium Smoking jacket amongst the Orientalis poppies|
Last Saturday there was another do to preview the sale at which Bentley rolled out some of their fleet. Mr Wesley put this one on his Christmas list: