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Pensioner’s garden blooms into accidental tourist attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert Burns and his wife Lizzie spent 16 years working on the flower garden. SWNS

A great-grandfather has seen his beloved garden bloom into a bustling tourist attraction after transforming it from a weed-ridden jungle into a beautiful oasis.

Robert Burns spent 16 painstaking years working on the flower garden and now has queues of holidaymakers lining up to take selfies outside his home. On an average day, the 75-year old can look past his begonias and see swathes of people turn up by the coach load.

“At first I was quite excited but I’m used to it now,” he says. “They’re here all hours of the day. Even at night I see cameras flashing and wonder ‘how can they take photos when it’s dark?’, but they do.”

It has become so popular, 53-seater tour buses regularly stop outside his door in the hamlet of Aldochlay, just so that passengers can hop off and take photos – much to the amusement of Robert and his understanding neighbours.

“One neighbour said to me, ‘You’ve built a monster tourist attraction’ but they don’t really bother,” says Robert. “The old lady next to me is turning her garden into mine. They’re happy to have people taking photos.”

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert Burns spent 16 painstaking years working on the flower garden. SWNS

Robert moved into his pretty cottage on the banks of Loch Lomond with his wife Lizzie in 2000 and inherited a front garden which was a tangle of weeds.

“It was a jungle,” he says. “An old woman of 90 was in the house and it was a bit of a mess.”

Lizzie and Robert got to work and within a year their handiwork started getting some attention and it just kept getting busier and busier.

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Tourists turn up by the coach-load to snap Robert’s garden. SWNS

“I do it because I enjoy it. I don’t do it to be better than anybody. Other people get pleasure out of it,” says Robert modestly.

The green-fingered great-grandparents had unassumingly spawned a holidaymaker hot-spot, with increasing numbers of American and Japanese tourists flocking to see it. The astonished couple even had a friend who discovered that their immaculate garden features on coasters and jigsaws for sale in gift shops.

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

obert moved into his pretty cottage on the banks of Loch Lomond with his wife Lizzie. SWNS

“The people at the coasters and fridge magnet place make a fortune out of it,” says a bemused Robert.

“I get half a dozen coasters and fridge magnets for all my work.”

Sadly, Lizzie died in 2011 after the pair had been married for 50 years. But Robert has carried on tending lovingly to the picture-postcard garden which looks across Loch Lomond to the island of Inchtavannach.

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert has worked hard on his garden but credits his wife as the one really behind it. SWNS

Robert was finally recognised for his horticultural prowess this year, when he won a gardening competition in recognition of his hard work – after being entered by a friend, as he “would never do that”. However, the great-grandfather-of-six loyally credits his late wife for the attention the garden receives, saying: “My wife liked the garden, she was a good gardener.”

There has been a price to pay for his garden’s fame, however, with swathes of tourists often blocking or causing traffic issues on the road.

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert enjoys meeting the people who travel to see his garden. SWNS

Robert has been forced to lock his front gate and put cones on the pavement outside to stop people from parking there and blocking his view.

“I locked the front gates as tourists were letting their kids in and they were running around,” says Robert.

“They were attracted by the fountain. I can’t have them doing that.”

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert has been forced to lock his front gate and put cones on the pavement. SWNS

But overall, Robert is enjoying the attention his garden is receiving, although he admits he “isn’t getting any younger”. He suffered from cancer in 2003 and had to stop working for 18 months while he recovered, but the disease returned in 2010 and he had to have a kidney removed.

“I’m still here,” he insists cheerfully. “I’ve only got one kidney. I still keep going.”

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert is enjoying the attention his garden is receiving. SWNS

His popular creation has also allowed him to meet people from all corners of the world and “have a blether” with them while giving them advice on the best part of Scotland to visit – which he says is Oban. Though there is one common gardener’s plight that Robert has struggled to shake off.

“I have to have plants rabbits can’t eat. It used to be nicer before the rabbits came. My wife had a good hand in that,” he says.

“I have begonias, dahlias, impatiens, fuchsias and nasturtiums. But the rabbits have started eating the nasturtiums.

“I don’t know if I will be able to keep it going.”

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

His popular creation has also allowed him to meet people from all corners of the world. SWNS

“I’m just an ordinary guy. I’ve never had difficulty with the plants I’ve put in,” Robert adds.

“I just buy the plants and put them there and get the garden into shape.

I’m not Beechgrove Garden. I couldn’t give anybody any tips.

“Sometimes it takes me ages to remember the names of the plants I’ve put in!”

Download: The STV News app is Scotland’s favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store1 and for Android from Google Play2. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

References

  1. ^ the App store (itunes.apple.com)
  2. ^ Google Play (play.google.com)

Search goes on for missing tourist in Mae Sai cave

Search Goes On For Missing Tourist In Mae Sai Cave

Despite days of searching by several groups, there is no answer to the disappearance of a tourist described as being of Asian descent who is reported missing in a deep cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district on Aug 12. (Photo by Chinpat Chaimon)

CHIANG RAI The continued search for an Asian man thought to be missing in a deep cave in Mae Sai forest since Aug 12 has still failed to turn up any sign of him, and rescuers believe he could be dead as they can “smell a decomposing body . The latest search of Saithong cave was carried out by village defence team members and residents of Moo 9 village in Pong Pha subdistrict, the closest community to the cave. It came after park officials ordered the search suspended on Saturday to wait for police to look for the missing tourist in other places in Mae Sai. Village defence chief Boonrang Chomphupor, who led the search, told Daily News Online, ground searchers and divers had so far failed to locate the missing tourist but thought the man was dead because they could smell an odour like that of a decomposing body at the cave s mouth.

He said part of the cave in that area was flooded with about two metres of water after heavy rainfall, which impeded the search. Mr Boonrang said the tourist s body could have been washed along to the cave s mouth by floodwater, given the foul smell that filled the air in the area. Because of the water, his team will survey other routes and discuss new plans before resuming the search, despite park officials suspending their search, he said. Souvenir vendors near the cave alerted park officials that a foreign tourist, aged 50-60 and believed to be either Chinese or Japanese, entered the cave on Aug 12 and had not come out.

The man, who speaks nominal Thai, had parked his bicycle under a tree near a food stall and asked vendors to look after it as he was going into the cave to meditate for a few days. Get full Bangkok Post printed newspaper experience on your digital devices with Bangkok Post e-newspaper1. Try it out, it’s totally free for 7 days.

References

  1. ^ Bangkok Post e-newspaper (www.bangkokpost.com)

Man ‘injured by harpoon’ during riot on Corsica beach after tourist takes photo of woman in burkini

Riot police were summoned and a man was injured by a harpoon when a mass brawl broke out on a beach in Corsica, apparently triggered by a tourist taking a photo of women in burkinis .

The incident came after the mayor of Cannes banned women from wearing the full-body, head-covering swimsuits on beaches of his Riviera town. The riot in Corsica took place on Saturday in a cove near the village of Sisco in the north of the French Mediterranean island.

It happened because a tourist was taking photos, said Ange-Pierre Vivoni, the local mayor, on TF1 television.1 And the Maghrebins (North Africans) didn t want to have their photos taken. It was quite a trivial matter to begin with. Things got out of hand when young men of North African origin harangued the tourist who took the pictures, prompting local youngsters to intervene in defence of the visitor.

Man 'injured By Harpoon' During Riot On Corsica Beach After Tourist Takes Photo Of Woman In Burkini The beach in Corsica where the brawl took place. Credit: AFP

Police are still trying to establish how the incident turned into a riot, but local media said that a group of older North African men soon arrived, some armed with hatchets and harpoons, and took on the young Corsicans.

The unrest lasted for several hours, during which three cars were burned and four people had to be taken to hospital, one of them for a wound caused by a harpoon. A pregnant woman was among those hospitalised. Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, was forced to issue a statement calling for calm. Tensions were still high on Sunday, when a crowd of around 500 gathered in the nearby town of Bastia and tried to enter a housing estate2 with a high immigrant population.

They chanted: To arms, this is our place and we will go where we want.

Riot police held back the mob, which eventually dispersed.

References

  1. ^ Ange-Pierre Vivoni, the local mayor, on TF1 television. (lci.tf1.fr)
  2. ^ enter a housing estate (www.discountholidays.info)

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