Thursday, June 13, 2013

Adventures pt1

Since we last chatted a fair bit has happened our way.  Smallest Boy has started school with great success (phew!), we’ve had a couple of birthdays, more sporting achievements and sporting injuries (resulting in husband having 4 hours of surgery on a badly fractured collar bone) and most recently I’m just back from a trip to Scotland  BY MYSELF!

The trip had been discussed back in January when I took my brother back to the airport in Sydney.  He told me in no uncertain terms that not only was I a bad sister for removing his nephews and niece to the other side of the world, but also a bad daughter for not coming home in 4 years.  I did remind him that it’s not just 1 air fare we’re talking about.  He informed me that it was my duty to come home for our mother’s 70th birthday in May and I replied that I would love to but doubted my ability to save enough for even 1 fare that quickly.  To cut a long story short, without discussing it with each other, I had a phone call from my father a couple of weeks later to say “Come home for Mother’s birthday, I’m paying”.  Well it would have been churlish to say no!

In the meantime, my oh so sensible husband was playing football for 2 different teams, while coaching one of the boy’s teams.  We all knew it was just a matter of time and sure enough, week 1 of the season, he tackled someone who then landed on him, leaving him with a collar bone that was smashed to smithereens.  Surgery to try and pull all the pieces together and inserting a metal plate (that disappointingly doesn’t set off any alarms) meant no driving for at least 6 weeks, overlapping with when I was due to be away.  We live in a lovely suburb but everywhere is a drive away.  Thankfully the kids can get buses to school and he was able to get buses to work, but I had to arrange lifts to football training, matches, youth group etc before going away.  We are surrounded by some fabulous people who have fetched, dropped off, brought groceries, and gone above and beyond the call of duty.  This made going away, which was always going to be hard leaving 5 kids, hubby and Dog behind, that bit easier.

Flying into Glasgow

So I left Sydney in autumn and arrived in Glasgow to a beautiful spring day.  I'd never actually seen my parents' house as they only moved back to Scotland 3 years ago, after 35 years in England, so it was great to finally be able to picture where they were.  I know the town very well as my Dad grew up there, we spent many spring half terms there as kids and I used to visit my granny during university holidays.  I knew where they were but it was lovely to see it for myself.  

Jetlag meant that I was awake at 5.30am for the first week or so, which sounds awful, but due to the sun being up it was actually fantastic to have the house to myself for a couple of hours, breakfast in peace, no-one needing me for anything - bliss in fact!

Day 1 required shopping - urgh.  I had tried to find an outfit for all the socialising before I left but failed, despite the valiant efforts of a good friend and her mum!  To say I dislike shopping would be an understatement while to say my mother likes it ok would also be an understament.  So we hit Braehead just outside Glasgow.  Hours of trawling (well at least 1 and a half) unsuccessfully we finally tried Monsoon.  Why we didn't just go straight there, I'm not quite sure.  Top, tousers and a cute cardi, done, done and done in record quick time.  All ready to hit the town to celebrate Ma's Big Birthday.  

We got home with about 1/2 hour to change and head back to Glasgow to Blythswood Square Hotel where we had cocktails and a fabulous meal, just the 4 of us.  We think the last time it was just the 4 of us must have been before John came on the scene full-time, 20 years ago!

The outfit

The Birthday Girl!

Brother and me

Mother and Brother and me

Mother and Faither

The food was a bit good

It was very strange to leave at 11pm in daylight!

 There was a party planned for the weekend, so we did some prep the following day then I was allowed some time off to go play in Glasgow with my brother on the Friday. The schools were closed for the long weekend so he was glad to have a day to just chill out.  The weather was glorious.  We wandered around the West End, had the best soup and pizza in Firebird on Argyle Street, walked around the university, through the Botanics and down Byres Rd where we were obliged to sit outside a cafe (Kember and Jones) drinking coffee and eating cake in the sunshine.  

Far too many photos were taken, many were instagrammed.

The day of the party arrived along with the top temps in the UK and enough sunshine to eat our canapes in the garden.  

The Birthday Girl looked lovely!

with her younger sister

oh dear...

That's better!

 Another nice one of the 4 of us.

16 for lunch

Cake and sparkler,
(I thought my brother was saying "Calm down Mother" but apparently it was more a case of  "Ooooooh, sparkly...!")

She had a lovely weekend with more people for lunch the next day, loads of flowers and gorgeous gifts and the sun split the heavens.

The same can not be said for the next day!

We hit Glasgow again to do a spot of Very Important Shopping of the undergarment variety.  I had an hour and a half fitting at Bravissimo before having to rush off to meet my lovely friend Claire (Godmother of the kids) for lunch.  So good to meet up with very special friends and pick up where you left off!  She headed back to work and we headed off to Buchanan St for a spot more shopping at one of my favourite shops, FatFace, and then we met up with one of my uni flatmates who I've not seen in 14 years, but have been in Twitter contact with.  There were many laughs and lots to catch up on.

Cat and me - just a little soggy...

The Pencil Monument taken from the train

After all the excitement of the birthday celebrations, Mother had decided that we would need a day to recover so booked us in for a spa day at The Marine Hotel in Troon - what a treat!  We swanned around in bath robes, had champagne with lunch, were massaged and smoothed, swam, steamed and sauna-ed.  It was tough to have to leave and drive home!


I'll leave it there for now and post the rest later.  Pics of Dalgety Bay, Edinburgh, Largs and Cumbrae to follow!


ps if you fancy having a nosey, you can find the instagrammed versions at sandramcdowell.


  1. What a fabulous time! Bet you are sooo glad you that you went and now you know that you have endowed your mob with good survival skills!

  2. Loved reading about your trip and you went to my favourite cafe Kember & Jones! Am putting you on my favs


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