So I went to Scotland. It has been way too long since I was last there, and I have friends on both sides of the country who were happy to have me to stay, so off I went. The trip up was the day after the general election, so the entire time travelling, listening to analysis and debate, was enough to make one contemplate emigration. To a desert island. Population One. Me.
I stayed with friends just south of Glasgow (my grandmother was born and raised in Glasgow) and on the Saturday, they took me on a ferry trip across the water to Bute. I had never been there before, so that was very exciting. The fact that ferries tend to vibrate enthusiastically was unexpected, but we found a spot as far toward the bow as we could go, which was the least problematic. And if you keep moving, it helps. The trip wasn't long, and the scenery was so beautiful, so we rose above the disadvantages.
I mean - just look at how gorgeous it is......
We drove along the coast to an estate - a beautiful stately home in stunning gardens. My friends went on a tour of the house, while I wandered a little outside and then sat in the sun. it was just lovely. I did take loads of photos, of course.
There was a regatta on at the time - plenty of yachts!
I stayed on the west side of Scotland for a few days and I was introduced to the joys of The Whole Food store - I have never been in one before, and it was amazing! There are apparently a few scattered around the UK. I must search for one nearby to me as well. That may be London, though. We will see. It was great. So, with a trip to Ikea tossed in as well, and time spent in the village where my friends stay. It was just lovely. The weather was not great - but Scotland is beautiful in the rain too.
So I set off to cross over to the other side of the country. I had a choice - going via Stirling, which I love - it has the most amazing castle ever or via The Kelpies. I wanted to see them too. I chose Stirling Castle. If you find your self in the UK and want to see a castle, bypass every single one and head for Stirling. Especially if you have children (of any age at all). Believe me, this one is the very best. There is nowhere you can't go. Roped off sections just do not seem to exist, and you can go into turrets, into cellars, everywhere. Even at the advanced age of 61, it excites me!
If, as I do, you love history, it is so easy to visualise how things once were.
Robert The Bruce
It was a trifle damp, but that was fine. I watched a costumed re-enactment in one of the halls, and then spent a huge amount of time, in the exhibition centre, where the time line came to life, together with the forensic examination of bones discovered, and how, using the kind of technology David is trained to use, they could even come up with real faces for the people. It blows your mind, people.
I am glad I chose the castle.
There will be time for the Kelpies soon.
And so I set off eastwards to my friends - Cheryl and Robin. Cheryl and I met when we were 5 or 6 on a rock at Clifton Beach, Cape Town, at a birthday party. We went through half our schooling and all our university days together, she was a bridesmaid of mine, and we have remained friends for a lifetime. Our friendship is one of those amazing kinds - nothing alters it. It just expands. But more of that next time.....
Did I mention that I love Scotland? My name has strong Scottish connections as well.
One of my favourite places.
Even when it rains......