As I woke on a bitterly cold February Saturday morning to the sound of my granddaughter’s singing voice I remembered I had something to look forward today. We are making the trip over the Queensferry Crossing, over to Fife, driving up the M90.
For me this is the best week for travelling, Evelyn had been in on Tuesday not only to service my gastrostomy tube but to administer my octreotide. This is a malignant suppressant injection I get every 14 days. It is licensed for every 28 days at maximum dose for people like me with added complications of carcinoid syndrome. My ‘numbers’ are on the high side with my 5hiaa, my symptoms are awful and so we have it – maximum dose every 14 days. The nasty injection is worth it. Fewer visits to the bathroom (reduction from 12 times bowel movements per day to 4) and looking less like a character thats on tour with Ribena Juice Company.
The Our destination is a few miles north of the granite city, Aberdeen. I have visited Aberdeen on numerous occasions. My Grandmother is from this wonderful area of the world and my great aunt after a great deal of travelling finally settled and ended her days in Aberdeen and I have such fond memories of visiting with my Mother as a child, playing in Duthie Park, building sandcastles at the beach. There is so much to do. My most favourite thing alrways a visit to The cathedral church of St Machar
We were travelling up to stay over with relatives, Steve and I are not always the easiest house guests, we both blether at a million miles per hour, talk over one another, and finish each others sentences. We bring an awful lot of luggage, I alone need a suitcase and a holdall for one night’s overnight stay, I have my pump, a lot of medication, syringes etc. I know I have my blog, however we are private folks and there are things we like to keep to ourselves. We very rarely stay with family or friends, we usually book into a hotel however we both felt we would feel comfortable staying with Pauline and Les for our first trip to Arthrath. Located 7 miles north of Ellon.
Pauline sent me a photo of the sign at the end of their road, heading to their house. The road is rough. To me if it was covered in snow it would be more suited to skis than a car, the large ditches in the road resemble the moguls on the ski slopes I have skied, it distinctly reminds me of the white lady I skied on the cairngorms, everywhere you turned there was another mogul to go down. Ah, such happy memories. As we drove down the road to the house the car bounced up and down, in and out of the ditches. I had the feeling I wanted to lift my legs, I could hear my ski race trainer from my youthful days, the wonderful Hanz Kuval, say bend, stick, turn. As the now not so shiny BMW’s wheels dropped into another deep hole. We parked round the back of the house as recommended by our hosts. And so it was so much easier to get in the house, sheltered from the wind, a straight walk from the car across the decking into the porch.
Where a very warm welcome awaited us. From the minute we walked in the door nothing was too much trouble. Thirty seconds in and the kettle was on. The most beautiful house with comfortable furnishings, welcoming signs of grandchildren; some toys, photographs, canvases, etc that made me feel very much at home, however, gave me a pang in my insides and a yearning to see my beautiful granddaughter. There is an array of animals located in various parts of the house – they are amusing and you feel you want to have a conversation with them. And I most certainly did. Although I’m not sharing any secrets. As I said our hosts were fabulous, they couldn’t do enough for us, coffee, tea, beer and wine on tap. Nibbles to munch on whilst lounging on the sofa and leisurely blethering. A lovely enjoyable afternoon to sit and have a natter, let me get another afternoon feed on pump and a bolus before getting ready to go out for the evening. Pauline is the constant nurse and continually picking up after me, a welcome help and yes you feel safe and secure in her company.
I go through to our bedroom for the night to get ready, the room is huge, I more than appreciate the space, plenty of room for all my gear. The bed is ever so comfortable with luxurious bedding and the most comfortable plump feather pillows. I was most appreciative of the large ensuite bathroom. It was bigger than most peoples family bathrooms. there was a stand alone bath, toilet, sink and bidet. With plenty of room to move around which is very important to me, especially first thing in the morning when the bones are not quite moving as they should be. The room is so inviting I could climb onto the bed and snuggle in and relax. However, I know I will enjoy the company of my hosts for the evening and get myself ready.
Les did the honours and drove us to Ellon . We were booked into The New Inn Hotel, Ellon for a meal. The hotel was bustling and nearly every table taken. We arrived half an hour earlier than our reservation. The staff greeted us with a warm smile and were very accommodating and set us up a table within a couple of minutes of us arriving. We ordered drinks. Looked at the menu. The delightful waiting staff were very efficient and very soon my three companions were enjoying their evening meal, Steve and Les began with starters which they enjoyed immensely and then fairly quickly the main meal came, our hosts both ate Seabass, my hubby ordered the house burger and I picked at the scampi. We had this delightful waiter that looked latin, he was tall dark and handsome. Most of the evening Pauline and I teased him, as we ordered our desserts we asked where he came from since we thought he had an unusual accent. He told us he was from Peterhead, Oh we thought you were from somewhere like Italy we said in disappointed voices, you are a “Peterhedien” oh what fun we had. The desserts arrived, and yes, naughty me had some, I had a little eton mess. And yes it was worth having. Steve had the cheese cake. A nice touch on top of the cheesecake is scottish tablet. We all enjoyed the food, the service was excellent. Would I go again. Certainly would.
On leaving the hotel we went a short walk across the car park to a friendly pub, The Tolbooth Pub, Ellon. As I walked in I soaked in the atmosphere; it was warm and friendly. It was busy with a variety of ages of folks. Sitting up at the bar stools were a group of ‘middle aged ‘ folks. At various tables were various people, as were in the lovely booths. We made our way to a table beside one of Les and Pauline’s friends. In one of the booths were five young lads, I’d say in their early twenties. They looked happy and were sitting blethering and laughing, next thing they started singing The northern lights of Aberdeen. I felt my heart pang, it was a song sang to me by my Mother, one we would sing together. They sang, when they got to the last line Pauline and I sang along “To my home in Aberdeen” I could feel the tears, however happy tears. I turned and looked over to the lads at the booth the young chap with the curly hair lifted his whisky glass in my direction, gave a wink and a cheeky smile – made my night.
On returning to the house Pauline and Les looked after us, we chatted into the small hours of the morning and before we knew it, 3am hit the clock.
I woke on Sunday to my FaceTime call with my 4 year old granddaughter, Alexandra, we had a wonderful discussion. Her first words of the conversation were you are coming home today and final words were I love you…. lots of stories in between.
At 10.30am we went to visit Steve’s auntie Margaret in Aberdeen before going out for lunch at The Cove Bay Hotel . There were 11 of us for lunch. And what a great lunch it was. It was so lovely to spend some time with Steve’s cousins and have time for a catch up and a blether. We had a table by the window with a beautiful view of the sea. Auntie Margaret and I were right by the radiator, we were toastie.
After lunch Steve and I made our way back to East Lothian. We had a quiet drive home. It didn’t too long at all. It was lovely to see our cottage. Spent a relaxing evening with our dogs at our feet.
A massive thank you to Pauline and Les for introducing us to Arthrath. And making us feel ever so welcome and not like visitors at all.
Big thank you for The Warm Welcome in Ellon