Old Place of Monreith, pt.1
This is the place. Not so much of a castle this time. More of a fortified house nestled amongst the gently undulating green hills of Galloway – even in the midst of winter.
I was there only a month ago! Not even that. The experience, for me personally, was that of deep relaxation and peace. This was in a striking contrast to the bustle and hassle of the pre-trip January period filled with a ton of admin. I came back from Rosslyn, was immediately plunged into pre-Christmas preparations, enjoyed a lovely Christmas break, and promptly emerged into the New Year, only to realize that I have been distracted from work for what seemed like weeks on end. There was very little time to pull the last trip together in every sense but as, thankfully, I am not counted among the reasonable or the faint hearted, I just carried on… The perfect group of women came together and off we went to the magical land of The Dowies. I cannot put my finger on what exactly made it so very special for me, especially that all the previous trips were fabulous too – each in its own unique way, but somehow this was just what doctor ordered. I can only guess that it was the alchemy of all the ingredients that made it what it was.
Firstly, and very counterintuitively indeed, there was the fact that I have just emerged from a very intense period of several months when life has placed many demands on me, which I have bravely juggled to the best of my abilities. Why counterintuitively, you may ask? Well, because it is not necessarily the most obvious action – to take yet another commitment on on the tail end of a long string of commitments when all one part of me wanted to do was to just stop. Well, as it turned out, it was well worth going the proverbial extra mile, following the lead of the part of me that is a non conformist and a dreamer.
The Old Place is well out of everyone’s way. Even locals don’t know about it – it is such a well kept secret! I liked the energy of the place the very moment I walked into its spacious and welcoming kitchen. The house was on a much smaller scale than Rosslyn Castle, but that was precisely what made it so warm and cosy. I LOVED sitting and knitting in a salon upstairs, feeling almost cradled by the strong thick walls of the house, with windows overlooking misty landscape. We would throw the windows open to let the soft breeze in on a sunny mild day. All this when the Continental Europe was in a strong grip of frosty weather and London was brought to a halt by a gentle snowfall.
The remoteness was a blessing. It created a feeling of timelessness. I only spent 10 days there but, in some ways, it felt like a whole era has passed.