WE thought that in January, just before midday, the garden centre would be quiet.

That assumption was correct but the adjacent café was full. We were lucky to get the only vacant table.

Since our last visit to this venue some eight years ago, the servery has been altered.

The café, as before, extends into a conservatory (also full) but understandably at this time of year the patio was not being used.

The café was not decorated with artificial flowers but live foliage.

Perhaps our memory is failing as we both thought the menu was not as extensive as it had been.

Selecting a tray, we had to make certain not to impede the flow of food and dirty dishes to and from the kitchen.

Breakfast costs £4.55. Between 11.30am and 2.45pm, sandwiches or hot dishes are on sale, some of which are immediately available; others are prepared and brought to the table where you place your numbered flag.

I chose the tomato, peppers and Wensleydale cheese soup with a roll and butter (£3.99).

This was a very thick, reasonably hot and strongly flavoured soup, but not entirely to my liking.

Other options included specials of the day, ploughmans or salad (all priced £5.55) and jacket potatoes with various fillings, toasted ciabatta with mozzarella cheese and ham or the cheese with roasted vegetables which cost £5.25.

Lighter bites included bacon, lettuce and tomato in a roll (£4.50) and scrambled egg or beans on toast (£3.15).

We noticed that rice pudding was on offer and later saw quite a few customers tucking into steaming bowls of it.

For Ann, it was to be an excellent cheese and salmon quiche with salad and chips (£5.55). It was not long before there was an empty late although most of the chips came my way.

There was a range of cakes and pastries,but our eyes strayed no further than the Ecclefechan tart.

We wondered why this café should be be the only one we knew that provided this Scottish delicacy. Decisions were over.

Two portions please. We were not disappointed and enthusiastically recommended it to a former Lord and Lady Mayoress who arrived as we were leaving.