Driving along A9 in pre-dawn light with a dear friend I am headed for Elgin to meet with Johnstons to pick up the production sample of the St. Andrew's Cross, Adapted. In spite of the fact that it's late in October I have my window completely down and we've just passed through a magical stand of Caledonian Pines - dew and pitch scent the air. Kristian asks if I have brought my camera and then motions to his right; a golden line of light is framed against the blue-grey Cairngorms. We stop. In mules, fishnets and shoulder to toe in thistle hot pinks and purples I walk back down the A9 to the most logical place to capture 'the shot'. Whereupon as I shuck my shoes and step into the meadow Highland dew engulfs my feet and my bliss heightens. Everything before me is ready for winter brown and dry, except a lone thistle plant in full glorious bloom with fresh as May-green leaves. As I announce this to my friend Kristian, he informs me that 'tis nay th'right season' - umm, yes, well tell that to the plant! Kristian joined me, duly knelt down in the dew, focused and shot October's most unlikely thistle as seen above - it was the last frame of film in my camera. (By the way, a Scot's Broom was also 'late blooming' directly across the A9, and given the auspicious nature of picking up the St. A's throw I was particularly glad for 'signs' of endorsement offered by the namesake plants of my company.)
Ah, the humble thistle. No one knows exactly how long this prickly plant (regarded as a weed just about everywhere else on the planet) has been synonymous with Scotland. Legend holds that an invading Viking trod upon a thistle in his bare feet as he screamed in pain he thus roused the sleeping Scots to subsequently defeat the Vikings in battle. The thistle has become a symbol of protection against evil and harm. Used by the early Kings of Scotland as their personal heraldic crest and borne by the Arms of the Realm, a number of ancient Scottish clans and families include the thistle as part of their coats of arms. In 1687 James II instituted The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle as a distinct Scottish Order of Knighthood, making this one of the oldest of all surviving British orders.
With the blood so close to the surface at the wrist I can't help but wonder if wearing Malcolm Appleby's stunning thistle cufflinks wouldn't succeed in protecting the modern day boardroom warrior from harm. Edinburgh hallmarked, 925 sterling silver or 18Kt gold these cufflinks are suitable for ladies or gentlemen whose love of country needs to be subtle but omnipresent.
Malcolm’s Thistle cufflinks remind me of the swirling greenery and highly detailed carved stone of Rosslyn Chapel as such your purchase will serve to benefit the restoration efforts of Rosslyn Chapel.