Travels With My Niece’s Aunt

Recently, my sister Margaret moved to Mallaig, on the north-west coast of Scotland. Earlier this month my other sister, Sheila, and I drove up to visit her. This would be the longest period the three of us had spent all together since we were children.

Being without a laptop and an internet connection is an unusual experience for me these days. I surprised myself by reverting to a notebook and pen, finding words flowing much more easily without the option of continual editing and retyping. Over the next week, I’ll publish the results (after just a little bit of editing).

Day 1

I finally admit I’m not going to get everything on my ‘To Do’ list finished before I go. I pay the bills, arrange for my data files to be backed up – and pack. As usual, my packing list has been ready for days – but for once it fails me. I later discover I’ve left home without the housewarming presents I’d carefully selected; with no socks for my walking shoes (although I did find a couple of pairs in a handbag days later); and with precisely 15p in my purse – plus a wodge of Euros left over from a trip to Italy in February. Driving up the M5 towards the Midlands, I find myself wondering if Alex Salmond’s love of all things European will have led to the Euro being legal tender north of the border. 

At Sheila’s house, we pore over the map and briefly consider ignoring brother-in-law Geoffrey’s detailed instructions and taking what looks, on paper, like a shorter, quicker route. Our bravery fades at the thought of what our hosts would say if it all went wrong. We decide to do as we’ve been told!

[Tomorrow: The Road to the Isles]    .
By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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