.. and this is what we did. Phip had organised for us to attend a Cabaret evening at Manderston, an Edwardian mansion at the nearby village of Duns.
The concert was in aid of Equibuddy, an organisation her friend Jenny put together as one step further on from Riding for the Disabled – her program has the disabled people actually doing gymnastics on specially-trained horses (ones used, actually, for able-bodied competitors).
Jenny lives in Greenslaw and we hope to have a look at what she does with Equibuddy.
Meantime …. the concert. But first of all, the house. Sumptuousness on a grand scale is Manderston, from marble floors and high marble skirtings and columns and architraves to ornate (in the extreme) plasterwork on walls and ceilings. There were murals on the ceilings and magnificent paintings on the walls.
The billiard room, where we gathered for drinks to begin with, had silk ‘wallpaper’; actually, so did the other rooms.
And the piece de resistance, a silver-plate balustrade adorned the marble grand staircase and entire upstairs balcony; the silver balustrade is taken down twice a year bit by bit and laboriously polished by hand.
This house, while not as grand by half as Floors Castle externally but extraordinarily more ornate inside, is also surrounded by a vast estate and a high stone fence which seems to go on for miles and miles.
Now for the concert. Not just any cabaret performers; international stars Dame Ann Murray (soprano) and Robin Leggate (tenor – he has performed often with Placido Domingo) and pianist Mark Packwood.
They sang a selection of Noel Coward and Cole Porter, and a selection of others – some sad, some hilarious, all beautiful. It was a wonderful experience. We went to bed satisfied with our day, and with unfamiliar stars glittering in the northern sky. Another good day tomorrow, hopefully. Perhaps Selkirk.