Gretna to Glencoe

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Falls of Falloch, on the banks of Loch Lomond. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

To illustrate today’s blog, here are some pictures of our journey from Gretna Green to Glencoe. It took us about half a day, driving via Glasgow, along the banks of Loch Lomond – where we picnicked at the Falls of Falloch and had our picture taken by one of the national park rangers there – but we made very good time.

Our hotel was “okay”, drawing on its stunning location for its 4 stars rather than its own service. It was very clean and tidy, but the bed (or 2 pushed together) was a bit uncomfortable down the middle and we had a 5-mile hike to anywhere in the hotel – pool, restaurant, reception, etc – and the room was a bit chilly. But the location was faultless and the food was very good. (Postscript: Okay, so it may not have been quite 5 miles really …)

We stayed in the Isles of Glencoe Hotel in Ballachulish for 3 nights and I’ll write more about our few days there when I post those¬†pictures. Meanwhile, back to the blog …

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Our first picture as a married couple, after the wedding.

We’d promised ourselves at least one do-diddle-day over the weekend and that day turned out to be Saturday. We’d worked out that we hadn’t had a lie-in for about 4 weeks, because even on holiday we had to get up for breakfast. But we were still up by 10am, pottering around.

We nipped out to get some bits and bobs, and when we got back we walked up to the lake with the dog and had a chat with the one and only angler there that day.

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Our first sight of Glencoe. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

On Saturday evening we headed off to find a cinema we’ve never been to before, Cineworld at Sheffield, and decided we’d definitely be back. Parking was difficult, but there were plenty of restaurants to choose from, and we ended up in our old favourite, Pizza Express, because our film was starting at 8:20pm and we know we can always rely on them to get us in and out in time whenever we go.

We went to see Big Game, starring Samuel L Jackson, and had to go there because it wasn’t on at any of our other regular cinemas. We were very impressed with the amount of seating room we had, and the cleanliness of the place and general good service.

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Our hotel. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Sunday morning we were up and off to Birmingham to see my parents, to take them our souvenirs for them from Cyprus, and to do the same on the way home for the poet’s parents in Doncaster.

This also gave us the chance to show them all both the wedding pictures and the holiday pictures, as I took the tablet/notebook switch.

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Around the loch outside our hotel. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yesterday was a bank holiday for us, and so we went “window shopping” for new settees (as the old ones are nearly 10 years old now and not doing our backs any favours), a new bed (as I think we both need a proper divan now to support our aching, ageing bones) and a trailer tent (because we want to hitch up and take off at a moment’s notice and I can’t really sleep on the floor in the dome tent for longer than 1 day).

I say “window shopping”, but we ended up buying 2 out of 3, and they should be delivered in 7 – 10 days. That’s the bed and the settees. We couldn’t find a single showroom in the area for trailer tents so may go off to Manchester next weekend to have a look there instead.

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The view from our hotel window, at night. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

On Saturday my lovely new 2015 – 2016 academic year diary arrived, and when we got home I spent a few hours filling that in with birthdays, bank holidays and Monkey Dust gigs we already have in.

And so to today, when we’re both back at work. It’s a short week and I have a lot to pack in. I’m starting a new edit, which has a deadline date of 3 June, and I’m cracking on with the writing. So keep an eye on those progress meters in the sidbar.

Enjoy the pictures. ūüôā

Lots of news today

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Picture: Billy Rodgers

Such a lot has happened in the past few weeks, I hardly know where to start.

We got back at just before 2am Sunday night/Monday morning after a 4-hour ¬†non-stop drive from Glasgow airport in pouring rain. The poet was straight back to work for 8:45am on Monday, and while I’d given myself the morning off to empty cases and do the washing, that clearly wasn’t enough and we’ve been in a bit of a tired whirl ever since.

So, from the beginning …

On 30 April my dad and my sister arrived to look after the animals and for Dad to have a bit of a break. The poet was at work until 5pm and I’d spent the day changing beds, washing crocks, packing suitcases, etc. By 5:30pm we were on our way to Gretna Green for our wedding the following day.

At some point along the A66 we wondered how our friends Billy and Sharon were doing. From the moment we told them we were getting married they’d said we weren’t getting married without them, and while we wanted a small, private ceremony, we were happy to have 2¬†friendly faces with us and the poet gave them a job each – best man and maid of honour, and also our witnesses. At almost the same moment we had a phone call from Billy. They were only in the car in front!

We all arrived just in time to have dinner in the restaurant, and we arranged to meet at breakfast the following morning too, which the poet and I managed with about 5 minutes to spare. At about 10am we all went off on an orientation drive of the area and were back by 3pm because the flowers were due at 3:30pm.

Ian and Billy went off at 5pm to be collected from the bar at 5:15pm, and we were to be collected¬†at bang on 5:30pm. They came to see how we were doing at 5:20pm, and as we were ready and there wasn’t a ceremony before ours, they were able to fit us in a little early. And one of the nicest things of all was that our registrar’s home town was Barnsley, the same village as Sharon and Billy, in fact. So that made for a nice atmosphere.

Ten minutes later we were married.

We weren’t married in the usual centre of Gretna Green but a smaller hamlet just outside. But we all agreed that the ceremony was lovely and the accommodation and food was great.

On Saturday morning, we waved Sharon and Billy goodbye, and Gretna Green, and while they went home, we headed further north for the first leg of our honeymoon. We had 3 nights in Glencoe, 3 nights on the Isle of Mull, and 2 nights in Oban before driving down to Glasgow at 5am the following Sunday morning and catching our flight to Cyprus by the skin of our teeth. (The parking people had sent us directions from Yorkshire, not knowing we were coming from the north west of Scotland, and the M8 doesn’t have a J28a coming that way, so we got a bit lost.) Then we spent a lovely, sun-filled week in the Protaras area of the island, squeezing 3 day-long excursions in as well.

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Detail from the bouquet. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There will be more about the places we visited, and lots of pictures, over the coming days. But, for now, I need to crack on with some work.

Yesterday, instead of my half a day I managed to spend the entire day sorting out washing into piles – we had 2 lots of cases from 2 completely different types of holiday – and I only did 2 washloads that could also be tumble-dried. Late afternoon I had to nip out to get some food, and that put paid to doing any work in the afternoon after all.

This morning has been spent mostly changing my name on as much of my online presence as I can think of. And I still need to do the official stuff, like banks, yet. I’ve also done 2 more washloads, but unable to hang any of it out.

So a busy few days ahead still, catching up on work and washing – if the rain lets me.