September sees us celebrating both Ady and I’s wedding anniversary and Davies’ birthday each year. Ady and I also celebrate the anniversary of being a couple in June – this year it was 25 years. Our wedding came six years after we’d first gotten together, we already had a mortgage, joint bank account and many other grown up relationship commitments together but decided making it official would be a good thing to do so we went off to Vegas and on 9/9/99 we became Mr & Mrs. It was a fantastic day and one well worth celebrating the anniversary of each day even if we consider our relationship far more than just sharing the surname. We had a fabulously American Las Vegas wedding chapel style preacher man pronouncing us man and wife and as we put each others wedding rings on he told us ‘Never let these rings only mean you’re married. Remember the symbolism of what being married actually means’. We’ve come a long way from the couple walking around Las Vegas looking at each other and laughing as we reminded each other we were married now.
We celebrated our anniversary with a meal out with my parents, who had been there with us 19 years ago in Vegas, and Davies and Scarlett, who have come along since. We were able to be with Mum & Dad and go out for a meal because we were off island again – this time for a week in Aviemore. We had a holiday cottage so that the six of us, along with Bonnie the dog, could relax, spend some time enjoying celebrating and explore a corner of Scotland that we’ve spent a fair bit of time in but Mum and Dad had not visited before. Our anniversary was on our first full day there. During the rest of the week we visited Inverness, went to Loch Ness, walked into Aviemore several times for a mooch around the shops or to visit the very lovely gelato parlour or the sweet shop, failed to complete an enormous 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle, went to the pub for a live music night and bumped into a friend from Rum, cooked nice food and enjoyed the bath.
Ady, Davies, Scarlett and I spent a day at Landmark Adventure Park, a very charming low tech theme park. It has just one traditional rollercoaster but no lack of thrills. There is a range of rope adventures from the family friendly to the white knuckle. We started with the Ropeworx trail, secured with harnesses we walked tight ropes, rope ladders and bridges all high up. Our resident daredevil Scarlett scampered up the Skydive pole twice – a 50 foot high telegraph pole with a tiny platform at the top that you simply step off and freefall down from to the ground. The rest of us looked on with no desire to join in but my own inner daredevil finally gave in and I did it too.
The rest of the park includes a triple water ‘coaster’ – three high high slides that you come down in a dinghy. Davies and Scarlett did them all multiple times, Ady and I were put off rather by needing to climb all the way up the steps to the top, so just did them all once!
We did all climb the Fire Tower though, for spectacular 360 degree views around the area.
There was also a butterfly house, including parakeets and painted quails, which we walked round several times admiring the stunning tropical butterflies. A large woodland area with interesting sculptures and a topsy turvy cottage in the woods with skewed perspective and wonky floors and the Bamboozalium, a fantastic walk through with optical illusions, neon and electric interactive displays and a vortex tunnel. We had an excellent day and pretty much had the park to ourselves in the sunshine. Perfect.
The real reason for the holiday though was on our last full day there when it was Davies’ 18th birthday. A landmark celebration as our wonderful first born becomes an adult. As is traditional in our family the birthday person gets to choose food and activities. Davies chose bacon rolls for breakfast, pizza for lunch, a return trip to the Gelato parlour in the afternoon and a meal out for steak and chips in the evening. Having access to a huge TV for his games along with some more games and controller among his birthday gifts he was more than happy to hole up with Scarlett and enjoy the technology for a large part of the day, but we walked to the town for ice cream and a ‘you’re never too old for a sweet shop’ visit to the sweet shop. In the evening we returned to the restaurant we’d enjoyed earlier in the week for dinner before retiring to the bar downstairs so that Davies could buy Ady and I a drink at the bar. Davies is a resolute tee totaller but was happy to produce his ID and prove his age to get me a gin and tonic and Ady a pint. Another landmark moment in parenting!
As a very good friend who has known Davies since he was a small boy said – the world really needs more adults like Davies. We’re very proud and honoured to have shared his childhood and look forward to being the proud parents of the amazing young man he is now.
More lovely happy memories made, a brilliant week of adventures and fun and it was back on the replacement ferry for us returning home to Rum. Our usual large ferry is off for it’s annual servicing which always means something of a lottery of ferry services as the freight / vehicle service runs alongside a passenger service on a smaller faster boat and all of this seems to coincide every year with the equinoctial gales (fact or fiction? much debated but our time here certainly bares out the theory!) blowing in. We had a fairly rough and rather wet crossing as the boat was full for the first part of the trip so we had to sit outside and got splashed by the waves. We moved inside once the boat had emptied out at Eigg but were already cold and wet by then so it was a slightly shivery journey home.
Despite that, and the extreme weather forecast for the week ahead meaning some disturbed nights sleep ahead it’s good to be home and back picking brambles, making jam and planning the season ahead.