Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

And then…

…we had to say goodbye to our friends, as they returned home and we continued on our way. 

We headed south towards Melrose, one of the towns in the Borders. We spent some rainy days in the area, exploring abbeys and chapels, and most impressively a garden, which had the most fantastic apple orchard! A lovely surprise on a blustery afternoon. 

We also visited Peebles, where Charlie’s granny and grandpa had lived. Sadly it rained so much we didn’t explore as much as he had hoped; but we did get to Cocoa Black! An old school friend of Charlie’s has settled in Peebles and has a chocolate shop there. Ruth is a world master chocolatier; and we were lucky enough to enjoy some tasty delights in her shop and then to embark on a macaron class with her! Loved it! 

The apple orchard in the Priorwood gardens. Jedburgh Abbey

Dryburgh Abbey – we arrived early, it was quiet, the sun was sneaking out… loved it. wandering around PeeblesCoffee and cake at Cocoa BlackRoslyn Chapel
Macarons! 

The next installment 

…so after 4 nights with the Scottish family, we left with huge lumps in our throats and headed off for the next part of our holiday. I am just so thrilled that Thandi and I got to meet these cousins of Charlie’s; they were fabulous! 

all dressed up in Scotland! 
We headed south towards Argyll with some stops along the way. Checking out Loch Ness in better weather and exploring Urquhart Castle. So beautiful. 

Then we met our German friends who came across to join us for a couple of days. 

Loved the ceilings in Stirling Castle. The tribe outside Doune Castle the view over Loch Crenan on a perfect evening. James Bond’s filming site from Skyfall. Totally gorgeous drive. Crazy kids, so happy to see each other again! Jump for joy in a Henge.such great friends! 

Together we explored Kilmartin, Oban, Loch Etive, Glencoe, Inveraray Castle, Doune Castle, Deanston distillery, Stirling Castle and the William Wallace Memorial. 

So special to see our friends and explore this neck of the woods. To all our disappointments, the booked Seaplane tour from Loch Lomond over the West Coast was cancelled due to bad weather; and we unable to rebook that. But never mind; we had such special times. 

Eventually

…home; after a rather long and tortuous return; I am home. I will fill you all in on the details as I go along.

Holiday update 

… it’s been busy! We’re having a grand old time, with the Scottish weather playing interference. The highlands stole my heart, as we’ve come south and the roads have gotten busier, the villages bigger and the people just more, so I have realized how much I loved the solitude up north. Never mind, it’s all good in differing doses. 

The ScottishAfrican clanA happy husband at the distillery on Skye! Eilean Donan Castlechecking out the fishermanand his fish! Checking out cousin Neil’s fire truck! Jump for joy! 

The Loch Ness Marathon

…what a marathon. What a setting! What weather! How humbling!

Guys, I was in so much trouble, I knew that before I even pulled on my running shoes. My training was not up to speed, getting sick 3 weeks before the run did not help matters, but I was determined to have the experience. I only wish I hadn’t been so distracted by my (un)fitness and discomfort. Anyway. My race report follows.

So they asked that we catch a bus from the finish which would take us to the start. 7:30 the buses departed; 8:30 they arrived at the start. It was freezing. Icy cold wind, rain, fog; entirely miserable! And then we waited for that start at 10am. Oy! 

It was really miserable. I mentioned to someone that in South Africa we cancel raves when conditions are this bad, to which they replied that this was when they run them in Wales! 
Anyway, they lined us up 

And we were off. The first 5km went nicely. A long easy downhill, with no major drama.  The next 5km were fine, I was enjoying it all; but I knew in my heart of hearts that 42 was going to. E a long ask. By 21km, I was ready to ne done. It was the slowest 21 I’d run in years; and I realized precisely how deep I was going to have to dig. 

Repeating all the mantras I knew, I reached out to my running group via what’s app – don’t you love how small the global village is? With care, motivation, cheering and some tough love they got me to that finish line. It was not pretty, it was not my finest hour. But I did it. 


And now I will have a rest from running, regroup and get my head right to face the next set of challenges. 

1 week 

…into my holiday. 

Madrid was intense – the congress was outstanding, but all consuming. I got to meet some amazing people, listened to some mind blowing talks – pregnancy success after uterine transplant; artificial wombs; gene programming and resetting. The future is arriving far faster than I ever imagined. 

I sadly did not get to see anything of Madrid, but the glimpses I got seemed lovely – one day I will go back and hopefully have a better time with airport security than I did this time. (Profiled and screened for drugs – really?) 

A night out on the town – Place Orientalewith Anna from Copenhagen! I’m 
The conference came to a conclusion and it was time for me to whip across to Edinburgh to finally meet my family. Yay. I’m blown away by how different it was traveling without them. Really missed them. Especially I suspect because it was a foreign language country. I felt quite isolated. 

Planes, buses and a walk and finally we were reunited! A quick dinner, bed and my equilibrium felt restored. 


Saturday we picked up the hire car and then we were off to Inverness. To all those Saffers who moan about our country – there were occasional potholes, and a fair amount of litter on the verges. There were roadworks and delays… but we made it there in one piece. 

I registered, and we found the Nessie. 


Thandi had a great jump on this cool trampoline contraption, but at £5 for about 10minutes, it was a little dear. 

We checked into our accommodation and I headed off for a leg loosener. What a gorgeous run. I couldn’t stop smiling! 


This post is getting a bit long, so tomorrow I will share the painfest that was my marathon. 

Madrid day 1

Checked in to the lounge at homeboarding my domestic flight to JHBboarding my flight to Madridready to congress! 

After a long day of traveling, I have arrived at my hotel, I’ve had a shower,  a snooze, some lunch and now my congress is about to begin. 

I have yet to see anything of Madrid, it was dark when I arrived, but we are going to dinner tonight in Old Madrid. I’m impatient to see some of this city!