Transmission resumed after two weeks: a mixture of bliss away and frantic packing and travel beforehand and endless unpacking and catching up with everything from my mum to the insurance claim from you know what on our return. So sorry it's been so long. I've started writing this on Wednesday and have been editing down 600 photos over the past few days. Scotland already seems like a long time ago but perhaps posting about it will make it real again. The replacement camera arrived at noon on the Friday and was packed in the van unopened. M left for Glasgow at 1.00am on Saturday and OB and I woke to find the house empty of dogs and toothpaste. I drove us to Bristol Airport, congratulating myself on how early we were as I turned off the M5 motorway, only to discover it was another 45 minutes away on an endlessly winding A road whose number I have blanked from my memory. We were still well on time and parked, got the bus to the terminal, singular, with OB's excitement rising at the idea of his first flight. Quite a nice little airport..............
Because it's been so long since I flew (1998), I was not used to the security and had forgotten most of those airporty things that frequent travellers will know. I stupidly thought that we had to wait till our flight had boarding written next to it before we could go through security and saunter down to our gate at our leisure. As we wandered through the duty free perfumery with OB saying loudly,
"What is that disgusting smell?"
I heard an announcement:
"Last call for flight ****** to Glasgow boarding at gate 14"
Oh dear. We ran. I've been suffering from mild sciatica for the last couple of months and was wincing and grumbling away whilst my ten year old son laughed at me and sprinted ahead. We made it just as the queue of people walked out onto the tarmac. Phew. However, things were about to get worse. As we sat in our seats, OB's excitement started to turn into something else which wasn't helped by the emergency procedures demonstration. Tending to take things literally, he was also editing out the ifs and asking:
"Will be be crashing into the sea?"
"When are the oxygen masks come down?"
I thought I'd reassured him and he seemed fine as we took off, if a little hysterical. As soon as the seat belt light went out he said:
"I need a poo"
Of course he did and just prior to the extortionate drinks and snacks trolley started its crawl down the aisle. OB emerged looking green about the gills and was clearly suffering with the cabin pressure. We squeezed past the trolley, much to the irritation of the cabin crew............just wait till they visit the recently vacated lavatory.
For the remainder of the flight, OB was hyperventilating with the blind pulled down, convinced he was going to throw up but panicking every time I reached for the jauntily stripy sick bag. He refused to swallow so the pressure must have been horrendous poor boy. Getting off that plane was a huge relief for both of us and getting into a van for a two hour drive was an unlikely relief. The dogs were delighted to see us; poor M was exhausted and strung out on coffee and pro-plus after his 14 hour ordeal, but just happy to see us safe on the ground and we headed to our destination: Lochgoilhead. On the way there I managed a few pictures from the van:
And at last we arrived some 600 miles from home. This is our view from the garden. Amazing:
We did a little of the unpacking and then walked down to the village to explore and have a well earned drink at the pub:
Jack became the first of either dogs to swim....ever. Loch Goil is a sea loch, hence the seaweed and tidal nature.
When we started to look more closely at our house, there were a few issues. I think the hope is that its occupants will be so blown away by the spectacular views, that they will overlook the dirty laundry in the wardrobe, the extremely dodgy wiring, the slightly worrying stain on the sheet on my side of the bed, the two tumblers and one half pint glass meant to serve four people and too many other things to mention. M works for a holiday letting company whose standards are extremely high, so we were probably the owners' nightmare guests, but even so. The beds, despite the lack of bedside tables, were actually comfortable, so that was brilliant. Don't get me wrong, we had the best holiday I've had in many years, and at least we didn't have to worry about the dogs messing up the place....cleanliness was a big issue too!
After breakfast on the first morning I took the dogs up the lane which ran parallel with the loch. The second house along from our modest bungalow had this fantastic viewing gallery:
Eventually, we reached this little beach. It was slightly misty that day with dramatic clouds sitting just above the tops of the mountains.
When I got back, OB was out on the lake in our little kayak which we could launch from the end of the garden:
I joined them on the pebbly beach and met this Scald Crow (thanks to A Heron's View http://aheronsview.blogspot.co.uk/ for the correct ID and the following info) or Hooded Crow, mostly found in northern areas of cooler climes. In Irish mythology, the Morrigan, or phantom queen, would shape shift into a Scald Crow to take up the persona of Badbh (the war goddess who took the form of a crow) to scavenge the battlefields.
For the whole week, we were followed by a group of Mallards, more often than not snoozing in the sun. We were unbelievably lucky with the weather all week. It rained every day in Devon apparently and we saw virtually none.
On Monday, we were due to visit friends in Dunblane; a city whose fame for the terrible massacre in 1996 has been overtaken by its most famous resident, Andy Murray. There I experienced a ten minute rain deluge like nothing I've ever experienced before. I had to borrow clothes and came back looking like a scarecrow. Anyway, before we left, I took the dogs up the forest track behind the house which became our staple walk for the week. It was magical.
Look who we saw! Terrible picture but he ran off before I could get anything better.
Just as I was coming home and the sun came out, I heard the sound of Siskins chattering in the trees nearby and then spotted this juvenile who stayed there obligingly for long enough for me to snap him.
That's enough for this time. I'm going to have to split the pictures into three lots. I love the new camera but I'll talk about that more at a later date. Next time......I go kayaking, we hire a boat and chug around the loch looking for seals and climb a mountain. So, until then, here is some lovely Sea Campion and the dogs investigating their new environment. Snippet really doesn't do water.