A week in Sunny Scotland with a first experience of sailing and a recap on our drinking skills, with my beloved by my side. What more can a man ask for, short of singing rude songs and a side platter of nostalgia?

Drove up to Dumfries on the Friday afternoon with the traditional stop at Tebay services, now featuring a snazzy and posh Deli/Organic/GorgeousStuff counter. Drove on with the traditional “wooohooooo we’re in Scotland!” when passing the Iron Bridge.

Maw and Paw chuffed to see us, of course. Spent a cheery Friday night nattering to them and being fed to within an inch of our lives.

Shona arrived on Saturday so more nattering before Sophie and I went for a mooch round Dumfries. There was some sort of street theatre going on which was probably very entertaining but I got distracted by the woman in a ringmaster’s outfit and stripy tights “training” another woman in a Lion suit which appeared to be slightly too big for the pert bottom she ended up virtually baring in the High Street. Hence my distraction …

The centre of Dumfries is a bit of a sorry sight. So many boarded up shop fronts and what’s left is mostly charities and cheap tat. I remember it being a lot busier and the shops being more varied. Whether this is a trick of my memory or a sad symptom of the growth in out-of-town shops, I don’t know. There was a market behind the steeple which was quite cool but I did leave town feeling a bit sad.

Saturday night and it’s off to the pub with Tracy and her new man, Jack who turned out to be a semi-pro musician and a top bloke all round. We spent the night discussing guitars, music, songs and generally boring the arse off of the womenfolk. Smoking is banned in Scottish pubs now so as I was with 3 chain smokers, I spent more time than I care to outside in the freezing cold – and I don’t even smoke.

Once we’d out-stayed our welcome in every pub we could find, we headed back to Tracy’s flat where I strategically passed out on the floor. We somehow managed to get lost between her flat and the main road which is quite an impressive feat, but eventually found the taxi and made it back to my parents’ house.

Sunday, as you may imagine, was quiet.

Monday morning, and we said all our goodbyes before heading north. We decided to take the coast road which, to Sophie’s relief, only referred to the part around Largs and not going via Stranraer. On reaching the road approaching Ardrossan, my excitable driver spotted something:-



“what? oh yes, those…SEAGULLS!! I CAN HEAR SEAGULLS!!”


“WOOOWWW!!! Proper ROCKS!!! I’ve never SEEN a ROCK POOL, d’you think there’ll be a rock pool? maybe i can get a bit closer … “


“you’re not even Catholic, smart arse”

“…ofourdeath – i don’t care, it’s worth a try – LORRY! LORRYYYYYYYY!”

” I saw it, I saw it. Calm down. Honestly, what a wendy”

“you mean Jessie. No, wait …”

200 miles and Four of my Nine Lives later, we approached Greenock. Or Gourock. One of the two. I get them confused. Just as we were coming in, my phone goes.

It’s the police.

in Holyhead.

in Wales.

… to be continued