Islay blog: The Persabus Breakfast Kitchen

The ‘Persabus Breakfast Kitchen’ has been working overtime. It started last month. Having just finished clearing away the guests’ dishes, we were sat enjoying a morning coffee when a car rolled into the yard. Out stepped a couple and when the Happy Farmer went out to greet them he found they were from Germany and were calling by looking for ‘breakfast’. The Happy Farmer was quite entertained. In no time at all the Aga was reloaded with bacon, sausages and black pudding. Eggs and potato scones frying gently on top. A cafetière of freshly ground coffee and a hearty Persabus welcome was served up.

A few days later and another party of six people, this time all the way from Singapore, arrived at the farm and were also looking for a hearty ‘Happy Farmer breakfast’. The breakfast ritual is nothing new to Persabus. Cooked breakfasts in farmhouse kitchens are an important part of the morning and there’s always plenty for any visitors who happen to be passing by. When the Happy Farmer was a youngster the kitchen was often filled with farmers calling in. Tractors would be parked with trailers full of draff from the distillery.  An important source of feed for the livestock. Before they knew it , the farmers would be sat in the farmhouse kitchen with a cup of tea, and a cooked breakfast would appear in front of them, on the table.

The Happy Farmer would of course get the same welcome from many a farm. Esknish, Blackrock and Octomore Farms always had a hearty breakfast on the go. Old Hughie and Baldie at Ardnahoe Farm, along the road, had a huge frying pan at the ready. Calling by, in my early days at the farm, I would have to duck as I entered the Ardnahoe farmhouse kitchen. A line of mackerel would be hanging across the room drying, before being carefully stored away. The frying pan, thick with lard, had the bacon and eggs cooked in no time. We would sit at the kitchen table as Hughie chatted away, tea, toast and jam at the ready. It was a sociable time. A time for a ‘blether’, as Fraoch, the playful Jack Russell, ran around your ankles, looking for any crumbs or bits that might ‘happen’ upon the floor.

Hughie would often bring Fraoch on his visits to Persabus. On one such occasion I was busy serving up coleslaw with cheese and jacket potato. Hughie wasn’t impressed, but the Happy Farmer insisted he stay for lunch and try some of my coleslaw. All I can remember is Hughie gingerly placing the coleslaw in his mouth, pulling some very interesting faces, muttering about it having a ‘foreign name’, before placing the whole plate on the floor to get a second opinion and Fraoch’s seal of approval. Hughie was beyond delighted when Fraoch eagerly jumped at the plate, sniffed around and then pushed the plate away with his nose without even tasting a drop. This ‘galvanised’ Hughie’s opinion of coleslaw. It seems even Fraoch didn’t like coleslaw, or maybe it was just my cooking.

Until next time…