Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Adventures pt3

I had a wonderful weekend over in Fife and Edinburgh.  There is something about the women you spend those early, crazy years of motherhood with.  They were there when I had to be in 2 places at once;  reassured me that my child wasn't the only one;  kept me sane; they were there when I had a miscarriage and took 3 bouncy boys while I had appointments, they cried with me;  they celebrated new babies and laughed when I told them I was pregnant again unexpectedly (that's YOU Wendy!), some knew to avoid me or I'd just start gubbing in the street again!  We've had picnics, walks, adventures, plenty of tea and coffee, cocktails, cinema trips etc.  They are special ladies.  It was so good to see them and sad to have to leave again.  Thank goodness for Facebook where I can still see most of them everyday.

But then I had to go home and prepare to say goodbye to my parents and my brother again.

We're a family that has always been very close, despite the many miles between us all.  I went to university in Aberdeen, which was about as far as I could have gone from the New Forest, where Mum and Dad lived at the time.  We came back to Cambridge for 6 years when we did our postgrad studies, and the 2 big boys were born during that time.  In the meantime Mum and Dad had moved to Kent so were able to pop up and down easily, then we went back to Scotland, where my brother now was too, and then to Australia.  For that reason when we see each other it is usually for a couple of weeks at a time, in houses that were not designed for 9 or 10 people.  Amazingly we all still get on!  There are obviously moments, all the celtic blood ensures some feisty discussion at times.

Being on my own with my parents was very special,  I can't think of a time when I've ever been with just them.  Occasionally I did have to remind my father that I am in my 40's and have 5 children, but I do appreciate that he is always going to be concerned about me!

This is one of my favourite photos of Mum, we got her a Google Nexus Tablet while I was there, but found that the only place in the house with decent wifi was the stairs!  This is her trying to play Candy Crush as some kids at church on the Sunday had shown it to her and she wanted to be able to play it next time!

My last day was spent trying to close my case.  I had managed to get clothes for everyone at my favourite outlet centre at Livingston - fab place if you hate shopping- and had got the required Percy Pigs, Jammie Dodgers and Jaffa Cakes.  The final result was a case that looked like it could split open at any moment, but weighed in at 29.9kgs.  My limit was 30kgs so I was very pleased with myself.  My hand luggage also squeaked in at just under 7kgs - I was on fire!

We had one last walk along the front at Largs, to the marina where we had a fantastic lunch.  It was just as well we had to walk home!  I chose the Gateau of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties which was fabulous.   We're definitely missing our haggis in the Southern Hemisphere, in fact I don't think Robert has even tasted it!

I was determined to get a good shot of the Pencil Monument, which commemorates the Viking Battle of Largs in 1263.  In yr 7 the 2 big boys have both had to do a project on the Vikings and have both downloaded pictures of the Pencil to explain that Largs was a Viking settlement.  When Joseph goes to high school and has to do the project next year, he can use one of mine!

The world famous Nardini's art deco ice cream parlour.  Hasn't change since Dad was growing up here!

And then that was it.  A quick meet up at the airport with my brother to discuss when we'll all see each other again, Dad retires this summer so we 're hoping that they'll be able to come out before Christmas...  There were tears, it's a very long distance to be apart from family and I think it gets harder every time I have to say goodbye to them all.  Having said that, the long flights gave me the chance to get back into 'home' mode.  Being away was like being in another dimension where the family didn't exist (except first thing in the morning when they sent me messages and every available smiley!) so I felt like I had a chance to properly recharge my batteries for the first time since becoming a mother.

By the time I was back home, it was like I'd never been away.  Noone had suffered, been injured or starved while I was away and everyone was delighted to see me.  Apparently the house is much tidier when I'm away, and John even managed to, not only conquer the laundry, but due to having one arm in a sling, set in motion a fantastic new system where all the kids make/prepare their lunches the night before.

They were so organised I now feel able to plan my next getaway...

PS in case anyone is interested, I flew with Emirates from Sydney to Glasgow, through Dubai.  The A380's on the Dubai -Sydney leg are amazing!  Thanks Faither xx

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Adventures pt2

*disclaimer - there are many, many photos*

The town that my parents now live in is about 3/4 from Glasgow centre and on the coast overlooking Bute and the Island of Cumbrae.  On one side the Clyde and on the other, gorse covered hills.  May/June is definitely the time to see it, everything was in bloom, green and beautiful.  I also really enjoyed the long evenings, which we don't get even in the summer in NSW.

When we were kids, we would jump on the ferry and head over to Cumbrae, hire bikes and spend the day cycling around the island.  Dad decided to take a day off work (ahem - the phone still buzzed with emails fairly regularly... just sayin') and the 3 of us jumped on the good ol' CalMac with a coffee from a new wee Nardini's and had a walk around the island.  The views of Bute, Arran and Ben Lomond in the distance were fabulous, and there was plenty to see on the island itself.


Sunset over Bute

2 CalMacs going to and fro

North end of Cumbrae looking towards Ben Lomond in the distance

Ready with binoculars

Arran from Cumbrae

Painted rocks.  This is over 100 years old according to my father.

Seals off Millport

Beach volley ball at Millport!

Crocodile Rock

Paddling - it was freeezing!

Having a wee break before catching the bus back to the ferry.

Largs from the ferry.

We finished the day off with a fish and chip supper from Nardini's.

My last weekend was spent heading over to the east and catching up with our gorgeous friends in Dalgety Bay where we lived for nearly 9 years, and where 3 of the kids were born. 

This is the view as you head in.  We lived in one of those red-roofed houses at the bottom of the picture.  

We put out the word and Wendy declared an open house for the weekend.  We started off Friday night with pizza and cocktails, and moved on to breakfast, lunch and many, many cups of tea on Saturday.  It was wonderful to catch up with people who have made me laugh, kept me sane, shared pregnancies, toddlers, dramas, etc.  They've seen me at my worst and still love me!  The weirdest thing was how weird it didn't feel.  As Wendy said later "Friendship is picking up where you left off" and she's absolutely right.

Saturday night was a girls' night out on the town in Edinburgh.  We got the 'happy train' home!

Sunday was a quick whip around Dalgety Bay to see what was new, visiting our old puss cat (who, at the grand-old age of 18, I had honestly expected to be deceased) and heading back into Edinburgh to 'do lunch' and generally be a bit touristy.

Believe it or not, I have deleted a lot of pics but there still are loads - feel free to not bother!

New College on The Mound, where Hubby used to work.

The view from New College - you can see why he loved it!

Peering in through the gates

Princes Street Gardens

My Granny's favourite shop

The Bank of Scotland building

Piper and Scott Memorial.  It would have been rude not to.

Ladies lunching at the National Gallery

St Giles' Cathedral

Some tourists...

The Royal Mile looking towards the Forth.

I love these buildings, and look at the colour of the sky!

Royal Mile looking towards the castle

I love all the Closes

Edinburgh Castle entrance

Mews hidden behind the castle

and from the other side.

It's a beautiful city.

I think I'll leave it there for now, I can squeeze another post out of the remaing pics!

Back soon!