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.‘
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.