Friday, 26 July 2013

Playing with colour

I was going to post some pictures here yesterday but with one thing and another it never happened. So this post covers two days instead. Today we had a quiet day at home (going out only for a pub lunch) and enjoying the garden. The roses are still looking fabulous (above a detail of New Dawn) and so is the rest of the garden despite having a thunderstorm going over recently. We didn't have the worst of it, just rumblings and a few very short torrential downpours, and as a result the flowers didn't suffer too much.
Yesterday I took my mother to Lochcarron Woollen Mill in Selkirk as a result of picking up one of their leaflets at Edinburgh airport when we collected her. Tours were advertised at set times from Monday to Thursday but if you are planning a visit I strongly advise phoning beforehand anyway just to make absolutely sure the tours are happening. Sadly I had to resort to being quite forceful with the staff who told me there was no one available to take the tours. And yet, when I insisted and pointed out their leaflet does state them, the self same person did prove capable of taking us around herself. Had I been by myself I would have left in disgust but as my mother wanted to see the mill we did go ahead and saw it in operation.

I do get rather down when faced with such a example of dismal customer service and felt like asking them if they thought this was the way to get people into their mill but I have accepted that apparently this attitude is sadly still wide spread in Scotland. I was further depressed by the fact that the person taking us around was unaware of the fact that cashmere comes from goats. Tragic or what!
On the plus side I enjoyed seeing how the yarns are dyed and looking at all the beautiful colours they produce. By the way, this Scottish Woollen Mill is owned by a Korean company who saved the place. The wools they use come mainly from Australia and South Africa as the Scottish wool is apparently too rough.  They also use cashmere, alpaca and silk. You can have your own tartan custom designed and woven and they provide their products to very well know names in the fashion world such as Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. I suspect they get rather better service!
Although there is one computerized  warping machine, most of their warps are still done by hand as this is one job people can do better. The staff there start straight from school and it takes about 6 years to train as a warper. Above you can see those warps ready to be put onto a weaving machine. It's fascinating to see the machinery in action and it's too bad that more is not being made of what could become a great tourist attraction in other hands, and with a completely different mindset regarding looking after their guests.
That was yesterday and I'm pleased that I managed to secure the tour for my mother although it has to be said that I strongly suspect it has been my one and only visit. If you have to go to such length to get something that is guaranteed in brochures I had rather give it a miss.

To end on a positive note, John bought me a fabulous dahlia plant which is a joy to behold (see it above) but  not only that, it's also blessed with the name Moonfire! What's not to love about that!

1 comment:

Linda said...

Frieda that beautiful rose looks like a confection on a cake! I'm sure you and your mother enjoyed the mill despite the people issues. Perhaps you need to take the helm here? That dahlia is stunning!!

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