This time last week we spent 14 hours driving almost from one end of the country to the other.
We left Rum the day before, waved off by friends as the ferry pulled away. Thanks to a quiet word whispered in my ear as I hugged one friend and the tears in the eyes of another I too was a bit leaky of eye. But this is not goodbye, this is see you later…
As the ferry approached Mallaig, the mainland port the skies opened with a downpour of rain which had been rolling towards us across the sea for most of the journey, while on the mainland the sun shone. A stunning rainbow, over a sea of houses. It all felt rather symbolic.
We were only travelling 50 miles along the road on that first night, to Fort William which was less than would have been sensible, given the length of the total journey but necessary as we all had dental check ups and Scarlett had a brace progess check up the following day.
It meant the start of what seems to be a series of Kira the cat goes travelling photos as she settled into the Travelodge
Bonnie also did very well with all the travelling but she was at least able to have regular ‘get out the car for a wee’ stops along the way whereas Kira was in her cat carrier for the duration.
The early stop did mean a meal out for Ady and I (Davies and Scarlett were much happier with fast food in the hotel room, served with a side order of hotel wifi and TV) and a bonus beer with a Rum friend who we had not said a proper goodbye to as he was off the island looking after his poorly Mum who happens to live in Fort William.
Then to Friday. There were moments in that epic 14 hour drive south for the winter, cat in carrier mostly quiet and still but occasionally with a pitiful meow, dog curled across my feet bringing on pins and needles, a 50 mile diversion with some mis-read signage meaning it became nearly 100 miles diversion, it already being dark before we hit the sign telling us we’d reached England, the oil light pinging on about 80 miles from our final destination, when it felt like David Attenborough should be voice-overing the trip. I know birds migrate for days on end to head south but surely in people years that was days on end? It certainly spanned two days as it was the early hours of Saturday when we finally pulled up at my parents house in Sussex.
Which meant that settling in the cat and dog, having some food and catching up even in brief with my Mum and Dad took us to a very late bed time indeed.
Saturday and Sunday was rather a blur of dog walks, supermarket trips, spending time with my parents, my brother and his family and a speedy trip to our old house to check on an overgrown hedge intruding onto the neighbours garage. It was odd to see the house (which we still own, hence checking up on it) and not feel any pull to it – it’s just somewhere that we used to live. On Saturday morning I was woken by unfamiliar sounds including an emergency services vehicle with siren blaring as it drove by. I counted 12 sirens over the course of that first day. A sound never, ever heard on Rum but as much of a soundtrack to life in that house – where I lived from ages 4 to 19 – as the cockerels crowing to announce morning, cuckoos calling to herald spring and stags roaring to signify autumn are the background noise on Rum.
On Monday we headed west, driving past Stone Henge and arriving in Glastonbury in the early afternoon. I feel as though Glastonbury and our planned time here is worthy of a post all of it’s own and frankly the first leg of the trip away from Rum was exhausting enough that just recounting it in a blog post has me feeling tired again.
So we’ve landed. Back on the mainland, starting to remember things and slowly take stock of where we are, where we want to be and how we might get there. We knew this would be a lot to take in and we were most definitely right.