Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A watery day

The first geese of the season, skeining overhead with echoing cries, caught me on a fresh damp walk up and out of Ballater (seen here looking back with Craigendarroch looming) on the South Deeside Road, Patrick Napier's commute to see his patients at Pannanich Wells Hotel. The air is still a tonic, and the wells are still there beside the hotel. These days they are cared for by Deeside Mineral Water, who bottle the blended produce of the springs and send it around the world, proof that it is a pleasure to drink. Fiona arranged the visit and Rob, the production manager, showed me around. The water, which runs clear and colourless but leaves russet iron deposits as it goes, is said to rise from the level of the Dee itself, far below, pumped by natural pressure: it never changes temperature nor force all year round. The hill runs with burns, but this is the magic one.

Back in the village I walked the same street as H.M. the Queen did the day before, as she visited those whose homes and businesses are still suffering after last year's floods. Deeside Books is still not open, though operating on line. Barry the Butcher, or Sheridan's, is up and flourishing. Everyone has to go at a different pace.

Though the rain had eased, I popped into the centrical church, too modern for Hippolyta just yet even if she were Presbyterian, and was greeted by two friendly flower-arrangers. The stained glass is a lovely mixture of old and modern, and this one in particular caught my eye, portraying as it does the Dee in spate past the town. It was gifted by Mike Sheridan in 2006.

'I am the Light of the World', it says: 'Is Mise Solas an T-Saoghil'. A delight.

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