BACK TO THE MIDLANDS
When I first bought Thebus I had a three months warranty, but as I explained to them I didn't want to get all the way up to Shetland and then return in a few weeks, so we agreed I would let them know any problems then return early in June to have things sorted, so once my trip on the Waverley had been enjoyed it was time to head back, and I have to say I felt just a bit resentful about not being able to stay up in the Western Isles for longer, and also I found that I didn't actually like retracing my route and preferred to be ‘going forwards’
So the trip to Kilmartin and then Loch Fyne was the beginning of my ‘going back’. Then we went on down past several lochs, in particular Loch Lomond, though the roads there were beginning to feel quite busy compared to what I had become used to.
I did pull into a couple of lay-bys along the side of the loch, but most times there were motorhomes already there, and once a caravan which looked to have been set up for several weeks. I understand they will be, or already have stopped folk from stopping by the loch, and looking at the caravan, with barbecue, large generator with cables everywhere, tv arial, outdoor tables chairs and a garden umbrella plus evidence of fires at the lochside and at least four unattended fishing rods, I can see why. Oh! and two children's pedal tricycles
For some reason I couldn’t get good photos of the loch, though it is very scenic and absolutely huge.
Then before long we were getting down towards Ayrshire, and seeing the signs I couldn’t resist stopping and phoning Dorothy and Peter (who had given me my first wonderful Scottish breakfast after the Burn’s Night Supper on my inaugural trip) to say I was close by and would they mind me popping in for a cup of tea. And I am happy to say they were at home, and made me most welcome. Phoebe got to go indoors again, which made her happy, and by this time I had learnt enough to park Thebus so his steps opened onto the pavement instead of straight out into the traffic. It was lovely to catch up with them and tell them of my travels - I somehow feel they were the ‘start of my new life’
But I couldn't stay long though I did pop back for another quick look round the Burn’s Cottage, which I only saw in the dark last time. Now it was June the garden was in full and beautiful bloom, whereas last time it was under snow!
Then past the dreaded layby where I ’slept' after the nightmare journey on the Scenic Route of Galloway, though in the daylight and without the fog, snow and sleet the Scenic Route was much easier to negotiate, plus I have a few thousand miles under my belt as well.
Getting onto the motorway system at Gretna Green Strict Lady wanted me to take the A road, and then at every succeeding junction tried to get me to leave the motorway again. Though I just ignored her I found out why later on when the motorway was completely jammed, presumably due to an accident. Still it cleared in the end and I stopped for a break at the nice services at Teebay, though somehow now I had got so far just thought I would press on.
Before long we were over Cannock Chase and down into the midlands conurbation, but it was very late. I had intended to stay a night with Sally and Niner, before seeing my brother and his family for lunch on the Sunday, then it would be straight over to Wolverhampton for first thing Monday morning, but as I had pressed on so quickly I had arrived a night early. It was too late to phone them. So I parked up with the lorries in a layby just over the road from them and texted to say I where I was and would see them in the morning. And feeling tired got ready for bed when the phone went.
Sally excitedly told me they had got my message and come straight over. I explained I had my pyjamas on - so have I - was the reply! So over I went and needless to say we were up till about four in the morning laughing, chatting and exchanging news.
As Sally was working the next day I popped into the office for a natter, and was vastly entertained when she put on the chicken costume they had used to advertise their Easter opening at the farm by parading round the centre of Stourport handing out leaflets :)
Though it was all a bit of a culture shock after the quiet of Loch Fyne.