Monday, December 30, 2013

Hogmanay's Hogmanay


We had planned to go out tonight  to the torchlit procession which launches Edinburgh's Hogmanay , a terribly well organised mildly drunken revelry in which 10,000 people march through the city streets holding aloft flaming torches,  led by The Shetland's Up Helly  Aa Viking hordes. 


Yes, that's right, in America you are not allowed to jaywalk sober (I have been huckled for the aforementioned strut by the Santa Monica cops, I'll tell you about that later) but in Scotland you can indeed be exceedingly squiffy and strut down the cobbled High Street carrying aloft primal fire. 

The problem is, it's raining. Rain is my Moriarty, which can be a bit tricky living round these parts, even Sherlock Holmes didn't have to face his arch-enemy on a daily basis. So a cosy night in, curled up in front of the fire beckons. 

Last week we went out with mum to The Balmoral Hotel, to visit the  newly refurbished 'Palm Court'. 

The designer, Olga Polizzi has clearly been ogling my Pinterest interior board; pea green sofas, my favourite  en grisaille wallpaper, I'm putting my money on this one being Zuber rather than De Gournay (anyone?)  - soaring  palm  trees and Bollinger on tap but Olga,  where's  the  pink flamingo?

Never mind, you have  still conjured up the most beautiful public  room in Scotland. Afternoon tea at the Balmoral has always been a festive delight, for where else are scones and clotted cream accompanied by a harpist playing in the Heavens, well, an upper gallery? 
Now that the  surroundings are truly celestial, I'd quite happily lounge around  here sipping champagne for eternity. 


I wore this







Look at the palms and the wallpaper, I am ready to move in.








Mum sporting Pantone's  radiant orchid - the colour for 2014.

we luffed him


Everyone in this bridal party was devastatingly good looking.



Mum used to be  the same height as me and a very robust size 16, now the wee thing is the height of nonsense. 


If I loved the room with all  of my heart, my  mum who was having  a very frail day,  gave her's away to the staff; in particular,  to one very  attentive young waiter who was rewarded for his diligence by a declaration of love. Yes, my 92 year old mother announced in a crowded room: "I love you", to the chap above seen  flamboyantly pouring  our tea.  I turned crimson and  almost choked on my Bollinger  while simultaneously hissing: 'Mum, shhh." The waiter never missed a beat, he looked down at her  and said: ' "Well, I love you too" and of course that made me think, 'Well now I adore you." Yes, there was a lot of love in the room that day and not just for the soft furnishings. 

78 comments:

  1. I love good vibes and I used to love and respect anyone who treated my grandmother with care and attention. Your mum is so cute though!

    I actually prefer afternoon tea with relatives - for some reason it is civil and puts everyone in a good mood and there is less umming ahing and hesitating for ordering things on the menu.

    The place looks so nice and I am with you on the Zuber wallpaper. Happy new year Tabs x

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  2. Oh the humming and hawing that goes on with ordering can drive me insane, I used to have a chum who would take about ten minutes, I used to be close to tearing my hair out!

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  3. Your mum is lovely. I would give anything to have mine still with me. She's be 96. Enjoy every minute you can with her. The time goes so fast. Happy New Year, and glad you are back. The new posts since your return are smashing.

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    1. Mahala, oh I know, you must feel a bit weepy at this time of year without yours, I always wonder if this will be the last festive season together.
      And thank you!

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  4. Charming story and your mum looks absolutely loveable.

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  5. Afternoon Tea is such a wonderful ritual and one I plan on partaking in with greater frequency in the New Year.
    I can see your Mum wasn't her usual robust self that day but lovely and a soothing presence nonetheless. Whenever I come across a wedding party like that, I always compliment the bride and ask her where on earth she found such good looking people to turn up on a Saturday afternoon? It does have a way of making the next snap even more festive.
    Mahala is right on the money regarding your return.

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    1. GSL - that must earn you proclamations of love!

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    2. Tabs, you knew I had to have an angle!

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  6. I am putting Balmoral on my list for our next hop across the pond. Tabitha, you are looking gorgeous as usual! Love the cuff. I still know I am living in the wrong country! Happy New Year!

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    1. Cynthia - I am taking Dani BP there next next year!

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    2. I just read her blog for the first time about a week ago,[thanks to Mr. GSL} and its already one of my favorites.

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  7. I want to be your mother when I grow up. Heck, I'll be your mother right now and charm the pants off a cute server. What a spirit! And The Balmoral? That has always been a dream of mine.

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    1. Tiffany, I want to be you, I'm sure we can work this out.

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  8. "The height of nonsense"...how devine! But, yes that old spoilsport age does shrink one, as I watch my father (88) shrivel in size. I do agree with you about the en grisaille, but can't help you about its author.

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  9. You looked perfect for that perfect tea and in perfect room. My mum is now so little too at 89 and was 5'8" like me at one time. We are indeed fortunate for every day with them.

    We visited Balmoral, the royal digs, the day before the Q arrived for her summer holiday; I pinched a ripe gooseberry. Have not been to the hotel but looks divine.

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  10. columnist - one day I'm going to use that paper somewhere.
    Lane - I only dress for comfort now, I have gotten rid of everything that was too tight.
    Wow, your mum was a giant! Is there anything we can do to stave that off?

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  11. First the orgy and now pyromaniacs...punkin chuckin and shooting fireworks from your butt (have not personally done this but it happens way too often around these parts) doesn't compare to your revelry. So glad you and Mum had a great time.

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    1. BB- one day I will be in your part of the world and I want it all!

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  12. My mom says some strange things too and they are always more profound when uttered in public!
    The tea looks delicious as does the venue.
    Happy New Year Tabitha!

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  13. Oh, it's all so divinely elegant! My mouth is watering and now I love that waiter too..what a mensch!

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    1. Une femme - that man was the definition of mensch! Well said.

      Hostess - it's like having really really really old children!

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  14. Oh I LOVE that your mum loved him, her being so stiff upper lip. Sometimes we just gotta say it I hugged my butcher before the holidays when he passed me the prime rib roast, which was NOT eaten by foxes I might add and so I think I need to get you over here, and Mum and the beloved hubby as well! This place looks magical and I just love seeing your Mum out! We will stay in on New Year's Eve - our pals have scattered hither and yon which is not a bad thing actually and we scatter ourselves across couches with champers and little bites!

    Oh and your toys are in the mail!!!! I expect great things from the two of you with them!

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    1. WMM- Oh how I laughed out loud at this comment! My butcher would have apoplexy if I hugged him.
      Behold the puppet show...

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  15. Oh the glamour!! Those scones look amazing and i loved that jumper you have on. Your Mum is adorable, tell her i love her too :) I was born in Edinburgh, never get back there and never done the whole hogmany thing. One Day.
    Happy New Year, so glad your back :)
    Sharron xx (two kisses, one for your Mum)

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    1. Sharron- oh you made me laugh too, this is the joy of blogging.
      Scones with clotted cream and jam are my one and only weakness.

      You must be retuned to the fold!

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  16. Flame wielding viking hoards outside and graceful afternoon tea inside....
    ..le sigh...
    I MUST get to the old country tout de suite.
    A beautiful room, with wallpaper from my pinterest board as well, made even more lovely by your elegant mother.

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  17. it kills me to think that i may have never heard this wonderful story if you hadn't come back to us!

    i love the photos and i think i love your mum too.

    what beauty!

    ps - went to the BH hotel yesterday and had so much fun. thought of you...

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  18. Vanessa - we all need to buy a roll of that walloper and you need to be dragged back too.

    Janet : I am palm tree green with envy - 6 months and counting…

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  19. Afternoon tea has to be the most civilised meal of the day, a meal that can consist of only cake and chocolate, it doesn't get much better! A visit would be worth it just to meet your lovely waiter. PS Have you seen the Oscar de la Renta collection on the Outnet, every frock made me think of you!

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    1. Just peeked, I love the palm tree brooch, twas made for me, I have so few fancy dresses now, I just don't have that lifestyle, Dani & Heidi, have the fancy dresses lives!

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  20. What a lovely day and so sophisticated. High tea here is offered at a few hotels for the price of a 5 star dinner, so we have never indulged. I love your outfit - so chic and cozy. You mum looks amazing in purple. Happiest New Year to you and yours!

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    1. Julie - high tea is different altogether, it was a full meal for the working class held between 5 and 7pm I think but you rarely see it offered here anymore.

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    2. I didnt know that either. I would love to have 'a lesson in tea a la B&P'. I will ready my creamer from the coronation pattern of Elizabeth II.

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  21. I want to enjoy just such a tea, in just such company - I will put that on my list of Things That Must Be Done, and enjoin my family to emulate you and your mum. And I must say, your writings lately move me very much.

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    1. Marsha - it has been a weepy season so far, must pull it together before tomorrow night or I'll be beyond help.

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  22. You look great! Your mom is adorable.

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  23. Hi Tabitha, what a sweet story! I love that photo of your tiny wee mum with the tall Mr. BP (I'm assuming).

    Happy Hogmanay and Happy New Year!

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  24. You look great Ladies. I like how your mum in some point became a part of this Blog. I wish to both of you a Happy New Year!

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  25. Hey! Took a quick peek and here you are again. All the best to you and high hopes for a happy and healthy 2014. It is the day before the Eve and here I sit fighting about money. I will win, however, so there is that.

    Welcome back.

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    1. Karolina- I should have made a video of the afternoon I spent trying to explain the blog to her and who the commenters were, she loves it and Face Time.

      Thanks Rose & yes Patricia, that's Mr Tabitha, he is mum's manservant.

      Michael - er yes, histrionics over, carrying on now, won't do it again.
      Good to see you!

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  26. Thank you for the Hogmanay post! I had just looked at photos from the 2011 trip with my husband. We loved every step of the torch parade. We also did, with a laugh, question the sanity of providing the tipsy mass with lit torches. However, we just had another drink and the worries passed. Although we are missing the event this year, your post helped me feel a bit more connected to holiday. Happy holidays from my cold (-10) dark home to your soggy (yet beautiful) home.

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  27. Love all these photos! The room is gorgeous and the food looks almost sinfully delicious. Your mother looks beautiful, and I had to laugh when I read that she declared love for the waiter! It sounds like a wonderful afternoon was had by all. Best wishes for a very happy New Year!!! :-)

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  28. I am so with you Tabs! I am loving the color palette and furnishings. Could I join you in sipping the bubbly and welcoming in the New Year ? Have a said I m glad your back? Happy New Year to you and your family!!
    xoxo

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  29. Scones, clotted cream and Bollinger - dreamy, and a beautiful outing with lovely Tabitha's Mum. She looks a treat in orchid, and I for one love that she loves a nice man when she sees one! My Dad likewise comes out with some funny lines in public, but everyone is so kind, and we all enjoy seeing a person in their 90s enjoying life. Best Wishes for the New Year of 2014!!!

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    1. Lake - oh that's awfully cold, I used to think it got cold here until I started to blog and realised what some of you had to contend with at this time of year. What fun that you got to experience this.

      Louise - I was mortified for ten seconds until he made it all better.

      Patricia - that's the first time she has ever said anything like that but I have, just in recent weeks noticed that she is getting a little muddled for the first time ever.

      Mistress Maddie - well if you're drinking too we'd better smash both of our piggy banks!

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  30. Hello Tabitha
    You look beautiful as does your dear mother. Afternoon tea looks delicious and it was a good day for people watching and waiter watching too ...Ha Ha. I am proud of your mother to acknowledge a handsome man when she sees on.

    A very Happy New Year to all of you.
    Helen xx

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  31. Great photos ...so a New Year full of a lot of Love...Cheers!
    Auguri!

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  32. How I adore Afternoon Tea, its my "happy place", lovely pics as usual

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  33. Helen Thank you, Happy New Year to you too.
    neds - hello there!

    Aure - well said!

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  34. I love the way you take such good care of your mum!
    Each moment you have together must be such a special treasure!

    All the best to you and yours for 2014.

    Does look like Zuber. Very White House.

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  35. Gorgeous! And that wedding ensemble with the fur stole: divine! Pity about the rain: I do love a good villagers-with-torches scenario.

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  36. I just informed my dear husband that he will be going to Afternoon Tea at the Balmoral Hotel. I don't have much on a so-called "bucket list", but this just got added. Showed him the photos and when he saw your mom he said, "a satisfied customer". Yes indeed! She's beautiful in her Pantone 2014 colorway. And you are gorgeous, as always! Glad you enjoyed yourselves and here's to a Happy New Year!

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    1. Vava - when you do let me know!

      Jen - I know I wish I had managed to take a better photograph, the bride and her bridesmaids were so beautiful.

      Curator - my mum did everything for me when I was growing up so I just think of it as my turn now, but she's very difficult, she won't ask for help even at her age, last week she climbed on a chair in her flat to reach something!

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  37. I indulged in afternoon tea at the Palm Court in June. It was divine. I was too full to partake of the cake trolley, but everything looked wonderful.

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  38. Tabs this post is the best! I can't get over that young man saying the perfect thing to your Mum, well he's a champ and I adore him too. Is this the place we're going next year when I visit you? I think it will suit just fine! The rest of the BP household, from "the castle" as they are, will certainly like it very much. MrBP says his treat NO arguing.
    Kisses to Mum, bless her!!

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    1. Yes this is where we are going, I just mentioned that above to Cynthia!
      The revamp has made it even better than before.
      Say thank you from me, to Mr BP!

      Cubbiccino - Really? We must be piglets!

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    2. Piglets? Surely not! I blame it on having a late (and rather substantial) breakfast that morning. Next time, I will be better prepared. ;)

      Be sure to take DaniBP to Walker Slater's new women's shop. Swoon!

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    3. Oh yes Dani and her husband will love that shop.

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  39. I love to tease my European colleagues that their "Christmas holiday" is basically two weeks long. Inevitably someone mentions that the Scots get Hogmanay as well so they have everyone else beat. Happy New Year Tabitha!

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  40. Gorgeous - all of it! Your Mum's a delight. Many years ago Sister and I took our Mum to the Ritz in SF as she had never been - when I announced our arrival to the Hostess, the Hostess says direct to my mother with a perfectly executed little nodding bow of deference, "How nice to see you again, Mrs. Rogers." And my mother lite up like a Broadway marquee. Then they proceeded to wait on her like royalty. So right there it was worth every dime of the final bill (consisting mostly of my personal champers consumption, really) but still, I had to drag her out of there, she was so in love.

    Rock the New Year!

    QCUP
    PS - even from behind it's easy to tell your Mr. B&P is super hunky and well trained. Excellent hair.

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  41. Why not?at your darling Mother's age,stiff lips be damned she has earned the right to say what she thinks,and the divine waiter was bang one cue!Good eye for the men.

    Wishing you and your mother a very Happy & Healthy New Year.

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  42. Looks delightful. Have moved in in spirit. It's not afternoon tea, but this afternoon I enjoyed the charms of ordering a freshly piped cannoli from a venerable east coast Italian deli. I love the deep appreciation that the deli owner showed for his delectables; nowhere but in New Jersey is the adjective "beautiful" reserved for a sandwich.

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  43. I love that waiter too! Your mum looks just lovely, as do you (of course). What a stunning room, I love the whole look of it.

    Cheers to a happy new year!

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  44. Happy New Year Tabitha, your Mum and Mr T! So wonderful to see how much you and your mother enjoy each other's company - and special outings to lovely places. You will always treasure such happy memories!
    When my Mum was in her mid 80s I used to take her almost every week to lunch at her favourite place, the restaurant at the Canberra Hyatt. The head waiter and other staff always treated her so well, as though she were visiting royalty. After she died it was too sad to go back for years. Just recently we met old friends there for Saturday brunch and the former head waiter (an older man now) was back helping out. He remembered me and was so kind and looked after us so well. Can understand your Mum telling the waiter she loved him - it's not so often that you find a genuinely kind and helpful waiter who lights up a great dining experience. You and your Mum looked fabulous, not to mention the Balmoral. Best wishes, Pamela xx

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  45. doesn't Olga's brother Forte own that hotel Hix is in?Luff ti there. Your mum is adorable and prices are so CHEAP in Scotland. Why is Aust so 'spenny? WHY? x

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    1. Yes he does but FF you don't have our heating bills!

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  46. One of my most favorite things in life ... afternoon tea! Love that there was so much love all around, kisses and hugs to you and your mum and some for the lovely young waiter.

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  47. What a delight, loving Mum and the Vikings and did I see a stray Visigoth?

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  48. My son and I had a lovely tea at the Balmoral in 2012. Thank you for sharing your photos. Theresa

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  49. Looks like a wonderful time that was had ~

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  50. Such a lovely post my dear! I so enjoy traveling vicariously with you all! Sorry to hear about your dreadful weather! I answered question on my SOCAL pinterest board … I real think you would LOve the Montage!

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  51. Anyone who shows kindness and love to a person of longevity (I hate saying old people!) is a smasher in my book. So many are dismissive or our senior citizens but hey when you get to that age, you have earned love, care, respect and kindness. I absolutely fall in love with a PoL every day, and make it my mission to tell them so. I love seeing photos of your Mum, she is so well turned out and her hair is beautiful, what a Dame as the yanks would say.

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  52. Glorious post. Sorry I missed it when you first posted it. It made me drool, laugh and and cry!

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  53. We did tea there in November. Viola was there for the occasion, too. :)

    Your mom is so sweet- I wish I could meet her in person. I think I may profess my love for her, too. :) Happy New Year, friend.

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  54. Hello Tabitha! I really like your blog. You have a new follower from Rome.
    Greetings
    laura

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