I have some precious me-time, for The Urchins and The Genealogist are off to the northern wastes – no, that was not an opinion of the matriarchal relatives, so don’t even think it. But the sun shines still and The Grasshopper will appear. First on the agenda though is a visit to the bespoke tailors, for it is long overdue for FirstBorn to be fitted out for his first highland outfit. Promised it was, for his coming-of-age; but it is only now, five years later that he calls in that promise and it is met with huge pleasure. It’s a must in every Scot’s wardrobe, and he’ll wear it well.
But as the house quietens down, losing that spark of life, I can look back on some precious hours enjoyed together these past few days.
Those Cadzow Oaks remain un-hugged, but an afternoon in the woods was followed with a clamour for more. And off we went, another flask, another choccy-fest. Loudoun Hill it was, and with the sun up we were not alone. Calls came back over the gully, red fleeces disappeared up the steep slopes, and the summit evidenced stronger winds for those who made it.
‘Twas not us though, for we stayed on our side of the burn, and headed along the low level paths, from the Wallace Arch and beyond. The new pathways add a great dimension to a landmark everyone knows, but few visit. As we wandered two buzzards danced and soared, circling us and each other. And above those crags two more took flight, distant. But this flight was different, mesmerising. The peregrine was on the wing, escaping the red fleeces. No, no, you two finish the soup. Let me watch this.
On the walk back I realised that the summit may have rung to a different tune a few days earlier. The Queen of Hearts may have been there too. Absent friends.
And there was more to follow. For The Urchins had book tokens and they nagged and nagged and nagged again, until finally they had to drag me off to spend an afternoon in Biggar; My Favourite Bookshop once again; kicking and screaming I was. The town was looking splendid, surrounded by hills and with Tinto’s snowy slopes shimmering in the sunshine.
But first to Atkinson-Pryce Books, which is the sort of shop that gives you faith in what remains of retail. The Urchins were well remembered, having scooped the Where’s Wally prize last year; and complimented on their behaviour.
It was good, the behaviour, for they settled down, and rummaged and read, quietly, no bickering. Then they made their selections, and off we went, up the hill for ice creams. See, there’s a reason for best behaviour, and it’s usually bribery and corruption, and ice creams up the hill. But I do like our visits to Biggar. And, you may be surprised to learn, there’s an addition or three to the bedside table. One of them promises some wise words on nature, essays by the great and the good. Can’t wait? Me neither, and I’ll tell you about it one day.