I like to rise early on a Sunday, even after a hard week’s work, so I would sneak out the sleeping house with my spaniel Harper and head to Perth’s South Inch for a wee run around then straight to the terrace at the Parklands Hotel.
Of course, the sunshine would be beaming and I would feel thoroughly refreshed and content ready to tuck into the best Perthshire breakfast going whilst looking out over the stunning private gardens. There would even be a bowl of chopped sausage for my dog.
Full-bellied, I would head back to the house to wake up my two children and Mrs P, who wouldn’t mind that I had just selfishly scoffed a full Scottish quietly on my own. We’d jump into the car and drive to Fife to take in the fabulous scenes along the coast of fishing villages before arriving at Elie, where we’d play games on the beach, watch the Sunday cricket match, then visit the Ship Inn for a much-needed lunch.
I have always been a little jealous of England’s pub food culture, and The Ship is about as close as it gets in Scotland – and so beautifully situated, you can easily laze the afternoon away.
My children would then happily produce an envelope with tickets for me and my wife Fiona to dine onboard the Hebridean Princess, and they would not be in the slightest bit jealous, or moan that they were going to Granny’s for tea instead! We would enjoy dinner onboard at the Farewell Gala, moored at Bloody Bay off the Isle of Mull complete with sunset, champagne, a ‘piped haggis’ scallops and turbot.
A couple of hours later we would all be together again, hungry once more, in Kenmore. Not a midge in sight, just the stars, Loch Tay and a roaring outdoor fire.
I love eating outside; food takes on a different feeling that way. The perfect ‘paper plate’ food for me is a venison pie my good friend’s business, The Wee Pie Company. Her pies are jammed with brilliant slow-cooked venison haunch and gravy. I’d have it with beans and buttered crusty bread. My children love Murrays of Perth’s award-winning Scotch pies, and I would happily eat my daughter’s crusts. For some reason she never finishes a whole one.
I love it when something as simple as a pie can completely blow your mind and make you grin the entire time you are eating it.
We would finish the night with a personal fireworks display by John Kettles of Blast Designs (they came second place in the world championships) over the loch whilst sipping hot chocolate.