Has It Really Been A Month?

It’s been longer, actually, by a few days.

I’m filled with the same paradoxical sensation that I always have at the end of one of our holidays, particularly the summer ones. On the one hand, it seems quite recent that we set off from Amsterdam for a month in the Scottish highlands and islands. On the other hand, Edinburgh, our first destination, feels as if it was months ago. The dismal defeat of the Dutch at the hands — or rather the feet — of the Spanish, which we watched with a friend in the restaurant of our Edinburgh hotel, is now but a dimly painful memory. It really does feel like three months ago, not one.

Tomorrow’s a long drive, from Inverness to North Shields. It will clock in at about twice the distance of our longest day of driving so far.

We’ve been quite good at keeping the number of kilometres driven on any one day reasonably low, with only three days peaking above 200 km, but this has also been dictated by the geography of the region and the nature of the roads. The distances I’ve been noting in my phone also exclude any travel by ferry.

This has been one of the best trips we’ve ever done and I’m certain it won’t be our last to Scotland. Indeed, we’re already talking about coming back for more next year.

By and large, we’ve been quite lucky with the weather. Rain was forecast for virtually every day of the trip and, whilst we had only a handful of gloriously sunny, dry days, we also had mercifully few that it rained for the entire day. Even when this was the case, we were not confined to our hotel, so the misery we suffered during our May trip to Italy wasn’t even vaguely hinted at during our travels around Scotland.

The whole family have enjoyed this trip to the hilt. No-one wants to go home. Eloïse said today that she would like to remain on holiday for as long as possible. I’m the downer here, forcing us to go back for yet another Brendan Perry gig.

Still, a month on the road is nothing to complain about, is it? It’s a good length of time. Whilst I’ve loved every minute, I’ve also adjusted to the idea of going home and am now even looking forward to it. It’s not often that we get to spend twelve days of summer in Amsterdam, as we often leave the day after school breaks up and return the day before the new term begins. It will be a novelty to be in the house without needing to set the alarm clock on the Sonos.

Our last day in Inverness was a lazy, but oddly tiring day.

We started after breakfast with a walk along the east bank of the Ness to the Ness Islands. We then looped and returned along the west bank, watching anglers at work in the water. The entire circuit was completed under a blue sky. The sun shone brightly and it was an unusually warm day, perhaps the warmest of the whole trip. I even had to remove my jacket. It may have been the first > 20°C day that we’ve had. I’m not complaining, though. We like it that way.

The afternoon was spent browsing through the streets of Inverness, doing some final shopping. The pound is still fucked, so everything is cheap. I bought a pair of sandals, a Snow White dress for Eloïse — she’s ecstatic about it — and a warm autumn coat for the wee man.

We have a very early alarm set for tomorrow and six hours of driving ahead of us before we get to the ferry. I’ll be very glad to get to our cabin and throw myself down on my bunk. We’ll be back home in Amsterdam Thursday morning.

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