Charlie's Bird

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

Archive for Scotland 2017

The final installment

…so back to Edinburgh we went. I will just say at this point that navigating the city with a car is not easy! The roads are complicated narrow and not fun. Buses and trams are far more fun. Anyway…

Edinburgh Castle, walking the Royal Mile, finding Thandi’s kilt, walking up to Arthur’s seat, eating at the Scran and Scallie, seeing Charles’s old haunts when he left bed in Edinburgh all made for a great last few days. 

An amazing city that we really enjoyed. 

Then it was time to come home; and that is when our nightmares began… arrived in good time at the Edinburgh airport, did a last bit of shopping; flew Edinburgh to London; arrived, went through to the transfer desk to be referred to the BA desk to the news that our flight had been cancelled. A truck had driven into the cargo door in San Diego and the plane was damaged and could not fly. They stuck us into an average hotel near Heathrow, sans baggage to survive the night until our new flight in the morning… this meant that we missed our connecting flight home, it was going to be too late to fly, so we needed to find a hotel for the night before we could catch the red eye in the morning. And I had patients booked who needed to be rescheduled, we were now arriving home 18 hours later than anticipated. 

Argh! Talk about a kick in the pants at the last minute! Round it off by an eager Heathrow security man confiscating the honey I had bought in Edinburgh because the people there did not seal the purchase; and then our seats being jumbled up on the plane. I had a weep as we were preparing to board; I was DONE! 

Anyway, all was well, we made it home, I love my bed, I missed my Home. And now life is back to normal. 

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

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. 

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.