Get Out The Thick Socks – Scotland Calls!

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I don’t know whether I’ve got writers’ block or I’m just feeling lazy.  Yeah, actually, I do know.  I’m lazy.  Blame it on this March sunshine.  It’s easier to mess about, browsing, leaving messages that won’t get a response on forums I wouldn’t normally visit.  Or I could agonise over holidays I can’t afford, or look for another slimming site that might just have an answer that doesn’t include cutting down calories and exercising.

The crux of it is that I don’t want to be doing anything at all – except bongo-ing.  Sea, sun and sand is calling. And that other things that essential for a few days in the sun (even when it’s cold and you know it’s going to change at any minute) – wine!  And chocolate.  And crisps.  But, instead of day-dreaming, I should be doing something worthwhile and constructive like writing.  Or at least ironing. Just the sight of an overloaded ironing basket is usually guaranteed to get me back to the keyboard.

But, I think I’ve lost my mojo.  I’m pretty sure it’s in the Bongo.

Last time out was Scotland.  The Aurora Borealis called.  We answered the call.  They didn’t show up!  Didn’t matter, October in John O’ Groats isn’t that bad.  Really it isn’t.  A lot of the sites are closed, but we found one.  Pretty basic but the the facilities were sufficient and very clean.  There was – well basically us.  Until a group of cyclists – charity run from somewhere to John O’ Groats – joined us.  We expected a late night, singing, drinking, noise – but no.  We were dissapointed.  They were very well behaved – probably exhausted.

We had this plan.  If the lights were going to shine in our bit of the heavens, we weren’t going to miss them.  So, we spent the mornings walking, finding amazing little nooks and crannies along the coast where we found all sorts of wild life. The sun shone.  It did!   I know there’s a tendency to think that Scotland isn’t that well blessed, weather-wise.  It’s a myth.  I suppose I shouldn’t be trying to dispel this particular myth because it helps keep the roads quiet, the towns a joy to walk through and the pubs uncluttered and free from rowdy groups.  But in the years we’ve been visiting Scotland, usually in September/October, we have had wonderful weather.  It might be a bit chilly at times, but when the sun shines – magic!

There was a bit of a chill wind, but we did have ocean on three sides of us, so that wasn’t a surprise.  We did need a good coat.  And hats.  And gloves.  And I admit I slung a scarf round my neck.   Bracing doesn’t really cover it – but wow!  The views were amazing.  The solitude is like a healing process – even if you haven’t been bad!   And the quiet – the main road ran outside the gates to the site; it was a bus route.  We saw more ferries going across to the Shetland Isles than we saw buses!

Then, after lunch, while the sun was still shining and the Bongo was warm, we decided to have a doze.  Between 4 and 6 – snooze time.  The sun warmed us up like no heater or blanket could.  And when the sun disappeared and we woke up freezing again, we spent ten minutes hugging a hot coffee wondering what we doing there.

Later,  showers and tea done and dusted and a couple of hours with a paper/book/suduko etc. and then it was show time.

We packed what we needed for the big move – from the back of the Bongo to the front.  Thick jumpers, blankets, chocolate, wine, whiskey, DVD – this bongo has one on those in the dash, and we sat snuggled up like two old dears watching Bruce Willis (I never get to pick the DVD’s – I take a Kindle), nibbling chocolate and sipping – yeah who am I kidding – drinking  wine/whiskey.

At about 2am.  we’d slide into bed and lie watching the skies.  When I say ‘we’, I shouldn’t really  include me.  There’s only one two-o-clock in the day as far as I’m concerned and that’s when I usually watch re-runs of Criminal Minds.  I slept, or tried to, while hubby kept up a running commentary on what wasn’t happening in the heavens, which, regardless of the clear blue skies in the daytime, were usually very cloudy come the night.  Sod’s Law.

The only problem we had was nighttime.  Cold doesn’t describe it.  Doesn’t help that we lay in bed with the blinds open, just so we could watch the skies in case the lights crept up on us while we were sleeping.  But we sorted it.   A furry blanket next to the skin, several on top of that and then the sleeping bag opened like a duvet with a couple of blankets on top of that.  We were warm all night, but we needed a crane to get the covers off in the morning.

We spent 10 days hoping for enlightenment.  Down the coast about 100 miles away, they had a wonderful display.  We had a hint of colour behind the clouds, but that could have been the whiskey/wine talking.

Were we disappointed?  Well you add it up.  No annoying salesmen on the phone, no bills dropping through the letterbox screwing up your day, no noise from next door neighbours, no dogs yapping at 6.20 in a morning, no ‘can you drop- everything- and- bail- me- out- of- jail’  type phone calls and the chance to sit up like two college kids having a secret alcoholic picnic under the covers.

We didn’t see the lights, but what an amazing 10 days.

So good that, now the sun is shining, thoughts are once again centering around Scotland.  And yet, France beckons too.  Because we’ve always said we would.  And that would be warmer.  But it doesn’t have dolphins, or haggis.  And you can’t see the Northern Lights that far south.  But it is warm.  Damn!

And then what about Malta?  We always said we’d go back.  Can’t do it in the Bongo – got to get a good deal.  And weren’t we supposed to be doing Ireland at some point.  And Cornwall to retrace family holidays?

People, mainly grandchildren, tell us that we’re not getting any younger.  Wrinkles have been mentioned – several times.  And we have reached the point where there are special chairs for us at family functions, wedding and the like – in the dark corner, near the door,  with the other oldies. We all sit together, Darby and Joan style and try to make ourselves heard over the DJ.

What is garage music?

Anyway, getting older isn’t qualifying for a free Parker pen if you sign on the dotted line, it’s about doing what you can do while you can still do it.  So, time to get out the bags, stock up on the essentials  and head for the hills.  Or the Dales, the rivers, the oceans, the forests, the lochs and lakes – the anywhere you want to wander.  For a day or a week.  Doesn’t matter.  Why wouldn’t you.  Why aren’t we?

We are!  Here comes Spring.  Whey hey.

What ironing?

What writers’ block?

Get out the thick socks – Scotland calls!

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