Today we planned to be hopping in a car with my younger sister Viv, and brother-in-law Ray, to retrace parts of the journey I took with my parents and sister Linda, in August 1973. I was almost 14 years old and horribly hormonal! Sisters Kath and Viv chose to remain at mum’s parents in Sunderland.
Our great grandad, the Reverend Thomas Inglis Walsh, lived in Bon-Accord Street Aberdeen in the late 19th century. Thomas was a highly thought of preacher at the Wesleyan Church, Crown Terrace around 1874/75. I inherited his splendid ‘desk tidy’ after mum died – I remember dad always had it in his home office, and I’d yearned to have it since I was small. It now sits proudly in our boat.
I recall in 2014 Barry and I ‘discovered’ Thomas’s grave in Lindley, when we were moored on the Huddersfield Canal. I’d hoped on this year’s proposed Scottish trip to find the house he’d lived in. I’ve discovered the road still exists, and it looks as though number 59, where he lived, could be a listed building.
In 1973 I remember dad driving for miles without us seeing another soul in a car, or outside. The scenery was spectacular, even though as a teenager I longed to return home to see my boyfriend (I was heartbroken to discover he’d found an older girlfriend while I was away 😰). Said boyfriend, Steve Carter, emigrated to Taupo, New Zealand in his twenties I think. I bumped into him many years ago in Sutton Coldfield with his partner while he was on a UK visit – it was around the time I’d first investigated moving to New Zealand in 1996. Maybe someone reading this knows Steve? That’s not as ridiculous as it may sound. New Zealand is a sparsely populated country, so there’s only a couple of degrees of separation rather than the usual six! If you do, say a fond ‘kia ora’ from me.
Barry meanwhile, travelled to Scotland with a couple of friends a few years later, in 1976, when he did his ‘OE’ (overseas experience). He stayed in Edinburgh. He’s regaled stories of trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to get paid work, and in the end having to write a letter to his parents, to wire him some money. No swift international transfers in those days! At some point, he stayed with his girlfriend’s family in Liverpool. Another place we were planning to visit next month 🙁
Peeling Potatoes in a Castle
A unique experience that really affected me positively, was staying for a couple of nights in a Youth Hostel at Carbisdale Castle. The castle came complete with a gallery of full body armour, and in those days you were allocated ‘jobs’ when you stayed at a YHA. It could be washing up, peeling the potatoes, sweeping the floor. It was the most incredible experience. Unfortunately, although it remained a hostel until 2011, the castle was sold privately a few years ago, so you can’t stay there any more.
“The hostel closed for repair in 2011, and as of August 2014 was put up for sale for £1.2m. In April 2016, the asking price was lowered to £900,000, and a sale was completed in September 2016. The buyers are FCFM Group Ltd who stated they intend to make it “a world-class private residence”.”Wikipedia Carbisdale Castle
Once again though, if anyone’s reading who knows the owner, and could put a word in, I’d be over the moon to have an opportunity to visit again. Highly unlikely I admit, but you never know …
I found the map of our 1973 Scottish tour when sorting through dad’s things a couple of years ago. The whole journey was marked diligently by date on the map. In pencil though, so it’s not easy to see:
Viv and Ray had planned an impressive extensive itinerary, which included:
(1) 29/04/20 – Premier Inn – Carlisle
(2) 30/04/20 – Airbnb close to Loch Ness
(3) 01/05/20 – Airbnb in Applecross, West Scotland
(4) 02/05/20 – B&B in Laide, West Scotland
(5) 03/05/20 – B&B in Inver, Lochinver, North West Scotland
(6) 04/05/20 – Airbnb in Tongue, North Scotland
(7) 05/05/202 – Airbnb in Wick, East Scotland
(8) 06/05/20 – Airbnb in North Kessock, nr Inverness, East Scotland
(9) 07/05/20 – Airbnb in Aberdeen city centre
(10) 08/05/20 (Bank Holiday) – Premier Inn Preston, nr Blackpool
We’ll definitely re-book at some point in the future, though we appreciate it’s unlikely to be for a couple of years if things continue as they are. We’ll just have to all keep fit and well until then – Scotland, we WILL be back to visit as soon as we can!
Last night and much of today has felt very different from the past six weeks. It’s been overcast and raining; we got so chilly we even lit the fire this afternoon. Not long afterwards there was a sudden shift, the clouds parted, the sun shone and the birds sang once again! Amazing! If we’d have been meeting Viv and Ray somewhere this morning, we’d have got drenched …
From this at 2pm:
To this at 3pm!:
Happy to be Healthy
Once again, all is fine and dandy aboard Areandare. We checked into the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker with no symptoms – as of today, there are 2,743,703 people contributing in the UK. Wow! Awesome. Almost 3 million. The more people the better the data, the more likely we’ll be able to thrive through this transformational time.
Did you watch ‘The Economics of Happiness‘ yet? One day to go to watch it for free … I admit it’s rather lengthy, it took me a few sittings to digest it all. It was worth every minute though. For a more up to date and shorter summary, how about Russel Brand interviewing Helena Norberg-Hodge, the founder and director of Local Futures, previously known as the International Society for Ecology and Culture.
If this sparks a seed in your soul, sign up to ‘Local Futures here. https://www.localfutures.org/about/ I did today. It feels like something I can learn more about that could be helpful to everyone now and in future. I hope you’ll join me 🙂