One of the things I really look forward to when we come to the Highlands is the day we spend at Cromarty.The journey takes you from the west coast to the east and is a 140 mile round trip. Nothing is a quick jaunt in this area but the scenery ensures that the journey never palls. There are all sorts of things that draw us here, the light, the architecture, the waterfowl reserve, the walk around the point to name but a few.
For most people of my age our first introduction to this place would have been the shipping forecast at 6 o'clock (marking bedtime) broadcast on the radio in the fifties. Fortrose and Cromarty among others were just evocative names that formed the soundtrack to our childhoods.
The journey this morning started with scraping the ice off the car and the temperature remained at freezing until we got into Cromarty by mid morning. Our first port of call was Gardiner and Gardiner ( just google it - lovely website!) our favourite antique/curio shop. A roaring fire greeted us and coffee was made and the most knowledgeable and friendly owner - Helen Gardiner as always, made us feel really welcome. This shop is my kind of paradise she has such an eye for the unusual and desirable. I came away with my usual small haul of goodies.
Scraps of old fabrics, traycloths of the finest linen and a stamp that will fit into my timepiece theme beautifully. It is an aluminium block advertising Ingersoll clocks and watches - in old money. Definitely my best 'find'. Amongst the more serious antiques there are piles of linens to tempt, and fragments of ancient tapestries and tarnished gold fringing. Some gorgeous original copper etched stamps depicting intricate ironwork gates for grand residences caught my eye as did a tapestry seat cover (Aubusson) that showed the most fascinating workings on the back. Helen offered it to me at what I thought was a very reasonable price but alas budget had already been blown at James Hawkins studio last week.
I came away feeling very pleased with my find and can't wait to start some work around this stamp.