It started brilliantly. I sat next to Gill who had thoroughly enjoyed a wedding in Cascais. She was chatty and friendly and we traded stories and the flight was over in no time. She was from Glasgow and her pick-up drop-off schedule was impressive. You know when you meet humans like this, ones that can manage the trip, the children, the partner, the job, the plethora of friends, the family and the dog. I can only imagine how thrilled Penny, the dog, would have been to see her. The hold up had been in Lisbon but it wasn’t too bad. Our flight wasn’t cancelled and our luggage turned up. Bargain!!! While we waited for our luggage Gill came over with a cold bottle of Irn Bru. It was delicious. We had talked about the iconic soft drink only available in Scotland and she found time to bring us a sample before she embarked on her circuitous journey home. I was impressed!

We arrived at our destination. Our hosts were waiting to show us around before they set out on a mini holiday-family catch-up. Wonderful, thoughtful, generous people…umm ..are all the Scotts like this? Well the ones we met in the first forty-eight hours, were. Alan from the Ile of Arran off the west coast, who lived in the village of Lamlesh and was a dedicated Dundee United fan shared his story and life on the island as a Postie having left the mainland and teaching years before. Then there was Bob and Marilyn who were racing fans and invited us to the races at Perth at Scone Castle and of course Riley- but he doesn’t count because while he had been in Scotland for six years, he was a Briso.

Continuing the pattern of arrival and departure, within forty-eight hours of arriving in Dalkieth, just outside Edinburgh, we had our car and were in Dundee. The V&A is a stunning building designed by Kengo Kumo. It is an amazing community asset. Here all are invited to create. It is amazing. Nothing like we expected but wonderful just the same. Next door is the Discovery- Captain Scotts ship and its story and the story of Antarctic exploration. Again, a wonderful museum.

On our return from Dundee to Dalkieth we had to check out the Meikleour hedge…at 30m tall and over 500m’s ..big! Actually the largest hedge in the world! Recently it took four men six weeks to trim it and costs the owners GBP 90000.

The Meikleour Beech Hedge

It was time to eat so we called into Ballathie House because we thought it looked alright but they only serve meals to outsiders on Sundays so we had a drink, took photos and posed like it was our home exchange and moved on.

Perth was also on the way home so popped in there too. Again we met a random couple who were also struggling to use the parking machines but gave us the heads up on where to go off the High Street (George Street) The Provender Brown-very good. We met them again as we left and they greeted us like long lost friends and waved enthusiastically as they left, obviously charmed. I looked at John. It must be him. I have to take more notice.

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