We are back in Troon, and as I walk into town for my dental check-up (carefully planned to fit in with our visit home), the first thing I notice is the air. There’s so much of it. Its cool and fresh and very sniff able. I breathe in deeply and I’m filled with joy. There’s a strong south westerly wind which is fondly known as ‘blowin a hoolie’ in Scotland, and I’ve missed it, along with many other things that I didn’t realise I had missed until I was back. Of course, we have both missed family and friends and our home comforts. But there are other unexpected ‘missing’s’, like ‘ginger beards’ (aren’t they so amazing… how do all those colours of copper, gold and red find their way into one beard?), the light from our Northern sky’s, the vast expanse of green countryside and then there’s the colloquial use of ‘wee’ frequently added to describe little people, objects and units of time…. but most of all I have missed the good old-fashioned Scottish banter, which is so much part of Scottish culture.
On a bus journey back to the ferry on the Isle of Cumbrae after visiting Johns brother and his wife, a conversation made me smile. It’s a short journey and 2 minutes in, the bus drivers’ phone (which is on speaker phone), goes off. He answers, and on the other end a Scottish twang says “Are you there Dougie, its Jimmy here…. it sounds like you have a bus load tonight.” “Aye I do”, says the driver “Any chance you could pick Wullie and me up from ‘The George’ (a local drinking establishment) once you’ve finished your run to the ferry. We’ve had a few wee drams you see, it being a Friday night an all.” “No problem” replies the driver, “see you in 10”. It’s like a scene from the well-known Scottish TV series, ‘Chewin the fat’. Only in Scotland would the local bus driver be swinging round to pick the locals up from their ‘local’, to take them, what would be a maximum of a 10-minute walk, back home!
As our house has been rented for the duration of our ‘seniors gap year’ we are staying at an Airbnb in the centre of town. Great for accessing public transport, plenty of room for visitors and parking at the front for our motorhome which we’ll be packing for our next adventure to Europe, I thought. Only there’s a wee problem…. we think there might be a ghost living in the house. My daughter who was meant to be with us for the weekend promptly refuses to stay and we sense a presence in the front bedroom. The house is odd, full of personal photos, DVDs, books and magazines. There’s a cupboard in the kitchen full of out of date food and many of the drawers still have personal belongings. I meet a friend for dinner, and she tells me that her mum (who lives in Troon) knew the old lady who lived in the house and that she has recently died ……spooky or what? As the week goes on any foreboding presence dissipates and it feels like we rather get used to living side by side with the ghost, in this quirky haunted house. On the other hand, perhaps it was just the jet lag wearing off!
It’s been a busy fortnight catching up with many friends over breakfast, lunch, coffee and dinner. We’re part of some amazing celebrations, my dad’s 80th birthday meal, and I also got to see my first grandchild (via a 4D scan), who will be arriving some time in late July. We experience one of the hottest February days (15 °C) on record and feel the tail end of storm Freya battering against the windows in the night…. but of course, this is Scotland and 4 seasons in a day is a frequent occurrence. We have enjoyed our fresh fortnight and now we are all packed, leaving Troon behind and ready to set off on the next chapter of our adventures. This time we are heading to Europe in our van……so, watch this space.