The boys are back at school today after their October break. Last week we had a lovely little holiday up in Aberdeenshire.
When John and I first met (11 years ago in Peru….for some more explanation see here) I was living in Aberdeenshire – working in Huntly and living in a little stone cottage off a farm track. Six months after I returned from my holiday in Peru John came back to the UK for a few weeks over Christmas. He asked himself up to visit and I said yes quicker than a very quick thing (I have a habit of speaking before thinking, for evidence see here). Then I panicked. This was a man who I’d met for a sum total of 3 weeks, had since communicated with by a) letter which took two or three weeks each way, b) a few hard-won emails – I had to drive 45 mins to the nearest library with internet connection and then wait until a PC was free and c) once by telephone. And he was coming to stay. Gulp.
Anyhow I duly picked him up from the train station in Aberdeen and drove him back up to my little house. He was introduced to Murphy my beautiful German Shepherd (who was in all likelihood a greater attraction than me – she died in happy old age 4 years ago) and then I wondered what to do with him. We decided to go for a walk.
It was a beautiful crispy northern day with a light dusting of snow and we went to one of my favourite places, Findlater Castle. It is a wonderfully dramatic castle, on the north Aberdeenshire coast, and dates from the 1200s, and has a great walk along beaches and cliffs to Cullen – home of Cullen skink, which we, of course, ate for lunch before making our way back. This gave us lots of time for talking and we finally admitted we really liked each other and the rest, as they say, is history.
So, first morning last week we made a pilgimage to Findlater and walked the kids along to Cullen. The walk is only maybe 3km but it is rough going, especially, like last Tuesday, when it’s wet underfoot and very very windy. We were really proud of Islay for walking all by herself but didn’t push it by expecting her to walk back again.
It was so fun to go back again to visit old haunts and relive our first few months together. After that first visit John went back to Peru and returned, permanently, 10 months later and settled with me in Viewfield, my lovely little house. We had almost a year there, before moving down near to Edinburgh for my work. And then Finn arrived, much to our surprise, shortly after – so our time in Aberdeenshire always feels like a much more carefree and relaxed point in life – not that things aren’t good now, just very different!