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July 1 – Day of the Midges
Morning at Oaklands

Early morning; very early (yawn). Dana and I have found our way outside to the sunroom which Penny has designated as our smoking area. Situated between towering trees and surrounded by a lovely garden full of colorful plants is a glassed in structure of aromatic wood furnished with an upholstered swing and lawn chairs. This is a very pleasant way to start another day.

Before making ourselves comfortable in the sunroom, we peek into the windows of the French doors at Penny's private sitting room, which could easily be mistaken for the drawing room at Traquair House. It's lovely and luxurious.

Penny has a passion for Scottish artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which is evident throughout the house. There are additional touches of the Art Nouveau style here and there, which makes me smile. This style of art and design is one of my favorites and I smile in wonder at what seems to be an additional case of kismet in finding another kindred spirit in our hostess.

Before long it's breakfast time so back into the house we go and seat ourselves in the dining room.

A clock on the mantle strikes 8:00AM and as if on cue, Robin appears. Penny arrives, right behind her, and takes our breakfast orders. In addition to the standard "full cooked breakfast" fare to which I've grown accustomed, Penny also provides a platter with a selection of cheeses, each of which we are tempted to sample.

By the time the clock has struck the half hour we're sated. We have a very full day ahead of us; another of our "circle tours" which will take us as far north as we will journey on this trip – into Perthshire and its environs.

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