A Fat Purple Fig

The Never-Ending Story


Last stop: Edinburgh. My taxi driver was Scots-entertaining.

What would you see if you were only here for 24 hours?‘ I asked.
Ah’d get pissed!‘ he replied, ‘Ah’d come home covered in sick, with a donor kebab in my hand.

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Take Me Home, Country Roads


Because of my decision to pop back down and see Uncle Jimmy on my way to Edinburgh (note: not on the way), Dundee became little more than a stopover. It seems really unfair to relegate a city to stopover status…to arrive late and tired, and leave as soon as you open your eyes. So, I at least went for a late night walk, both to honour Dundee, and because there was no chance I was missing seeing Kengo Kuma’s V&A Museum.

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Living on the Edges


The day started later than I would have liked. So late, in fact, that when I told Jane my plans over another foodie’s breakfast, she looked momentarily surprised, then said, ‘you’d better be on your way!’. Hangovers are not pleasant travel companions.

(I regret nothing.)

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Ghosts of the Past


A visit to Inverness wouldn’t be complete without a trip north east to Drumossie Moor, the site of the Battle of Culloden. In fact, visiting Culloden was one of the main reasons for coming to Inverness, given I wasn’t planning to search sincerely for a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster.

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Human Nature


I can hit the extremes of both loving and loathing the time stamps I have set for myself. On the one hand, they give my days structure, and often set me on a pathway to wonderment. On the other, they prevent me doing what I would rather do, a lot of the time, which is settle into my little bolthole and avoid leaving as much as is humanly possible.

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Not Drowning, but Waving



Friday began well, with this cracking bowl of ‘Scottish Porridge’ for my breakfast at the B&B. According to my host, Susan, the secret is not only in the oat itself (they have to be Scottish, naturally), but also in soaking them overnight. I ate mine with fresh strawberries, thick yoghurt, and a sprinkling of all kinds of wonderful things from the small bowls in front of me. Amazing.

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The Soloist


And, just like that, it was time to leave.

I had a 3pm ferry to catch and a four-hour drive to get there, so I stopped for one last breakfast with Uncle Jimmy, and whittled away any time I might have had up my sleeve for taking photos, or stopping for a stretch, or (please, no) losing my way, which, granted, is difficult to do with Google Maps.

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Rose, Donna, Fiona, Bob

Taking photos here feels tremendously successful, as I’m snapping them – it’s only when I get home and pore through them that I realise it is just one landscape after another, poorly represented. I’m starting to realise why there are artists that paint landscapes all their lives.

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An Ode tae Auld Dogs


“But pleasures are like poppies spread:
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow fall on the river,
A moment white – then melts forever…”
Robert Burns, ‘Tam o’ Shanter’, 1790

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Castles in the Air


Another day, another road trip, its soundtrack pulled from the stack of CDs in the console; the Bee Gees, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, ‘Tartan Tops’, and ‘Country Classics’, which leads with Jimmy’s favourite, Dr Hook’s Sylvia’s Mother. We pulled into a truck stop for breakfast, which provided yet another in a long stream of opportunities for Jimmy to demonstrate the art of being a Grumpy Old Bugger.

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