Monday, August 11, 2008

Bark: Ten days and two thousand miles later...

...and I'm back from my Grand Tour of Scotland. As you can see, I took plenty of photos. I will get around to adding descriptions later. Possibly.

As holidays go, we went for bewildering variety, rather than any consistent theme, taking in places as diverse as Glasgow's School of Art, an RSPB osprey sanctuary just outside Aviemore, a whisky distillery north of Inverness, several museums and no less than four castles. We even spent a day in the Lake District, where I tracked down the first house I remember living in. I found it fairly easily, mainly because Staveley isn't that big a village, and I distinctly remembered living within a stone's throw of the local Spar, which refreshingly is still a Spar.

At the weekend we broke up the journey south by paying my parents a visit, as it almost coincided with my Dad's 60th birthday (actually tomorrow). We'd kept the whole thing a secret, especially the part about my brother (who I'd not seen since he moved to the Outer Hebrides about five years ago) coming down with his wife and three boys too. We got my parents dolled up to the nines and dragged them out to York on Saturday, sending the girls off on a shopping expedition, while Rob, Dad and I went to the National Rail Museum with the boys. Later we took them to the Biltmore Bar and Grill for a slap up meal (Mum had never eaten fillet steak before and found it worth the wait), the bill for which (six adults and three kids) ran significantly into three figures. It was worth every penny, though - if only for the look on Dad's face when we told him what we were going to do when everyone got together on Saturday morning. Gobsmacked is not the word. Or perhaps it is...

Mum (who turns 60 in a couple of years) said that she didn't want nearly so big a fuss for her 60th birthday, which, naturally, was a red rag to a bull. Rob and I haven't quite started preparations yet, but I get the feeling we're going to do something much more grandiose for her. Well, you've got to be nice to your Mum, haven't you? Otherwise Mr. T would be very disappointed with you...
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