Holidays in Cairndow by Elizabeth Brodie, May 2014
I am writing this in the month of May. May always reminds me of holidays at Cuil Cottage, long dry spells of weather and no running water as a result of that. I found that hard going but to my husband, Jim Brodie, it was not such a trial. He had been in his twenties before there was a water supply to his home, so he was well used to carrying water from the Loch to flush the toilet and water from the well for drinking.
It was more of a home-coming than a feeling of going on holiday, but we enjoyed the beautiful surrounding scenery as much as any tourist – perhaps even more so as we loved it so much. Our two Daughters never tired of going to “Granny Cuil’s” and spent as much time as they could outside beside the burns, down on the shore or in the woods. Such was our daughter Isabelle’s love of it, she returned there to have her wedding in the church where she had been baptised. Six years ago, shortly after her Father died, Judith wrote a poem which began –
“Driving up to Cairndow
On a pitch black winter’s night,
The back door light, the blazing fire
A warm and welcome sight”
Whatever the time of year, returning to Cuil Cottage was always a joy for our family.
In the seventies Isabelle Brodie decided to do ‘B & B’. It was very much the thing to do at that time. People had become more mobile with the wider ownership of cars and it was quite the norm to stop at a house with a B & B sign and survey the accommodation for an overnight stay. For several years Cuil Cottage was a popular place for this – who could deny that the view on a summer’s morning was one of the best. I am sure the breakfasts were also memorable. People certainly returned for visits, including a German couple who kept in touch even after Mrs. Brodie stopped her little business.
The one problem she had was her beagle dog, ‘Marquis.’ Marquis (or Markie for short) would eat anything and everything. So guests were asked to please keep bedroom doors shut. Of course they did not always obey this rule and some went home minus – well, minus perhaps a sock, a pair of tights or a pair of knickers!!