England with Elly & Judy

On the 10th I said “Farewell” to my family, who all kindly gathered at the airport to see me off, and boarded a plane for Singapore then London then Edinburgh. With a 4-hour wait in London this was a very long journey, but the reward at the end was being picked up by Elly and her blue Clio outside Edinburgh airport. She had been up very early to drive from the Gloucestershire Moutaineering Club’s hut in Wales in time to meet me!

We spent just over a week together, travelling through Scotland and across to the Outer Hebrides (or Western Isles as some call them). Over 5 days we made our slow way from north to south of these wind-swept isles. It was a very absorbing experience. Our western “civilisation” is only a thin veneer over the original Celtic mythology and ways which almost ooze from the rocks here. This was apparent from day 1 when we wandered around the “Stone Henge of the Outer Hebrides”, the Callanish Stone Circle. And this was also a journey as mother and daughter. What an amazing place to take this journey.

We finished our time together back in Cheltenham, when Elwyn dropped me at the train station after we had spent the final night at her home – a gorgeous little nest which she has created out of a basement flat.

I took the train to Plymouth and Judy picked me up from the train station there. After the loss that she has suffered, it was good stay with her for over a week, chatting, walking together, sharing housework, shopping and visiting her friends, loving her dog Rosie and teaching her about her laptop computer. There is some bond we share, perhaps it’s just similar ways of looking at things… Whatever, time together is always like a continuing friendship for which I am truly grateful. One day I visited the Plymouth Mayflower Rotary Club – Rotary people are the same the world over, and it was as much a pleasure to meet this club as it is to attend my own club’s meetings.

Judy’s friend Di kindly put me up for my last night in UK. She has a flat in London, and picked me up from Paddington station in pouring rain, gave me dinner and a quiet place to sleep before taking me to the airport the following morning. I hope I can repay the favour some time.

And then I was back home. Rob had said he would be working the afternoon I arrived back in Perth, but there he was to greet me. A lovely surprise!

Yes, life is good.