After my octreotide treatment today my sister, Hazel and I take a drive to my local single malt whisky distillery. Served with water from the Lammermuir Hills this local distillery was founded in 1837. It proudly serves as one of the Four Corners distilleries of Johnnie Walker. Set in well kept gardens and knowing there are a couple of sheep that are going to the Royal Highland Show I jump at the chance of a visit to Glenkinchie Distillery. The plants in bloom bring beauty and colour to the garden. The beautiful statue sheep are an additional attraction, alongside the wonderful sculpture of Johnnie Walker and his dog nearing the entrance. As we walk in a member of staff warmly greets us and welcomes us to Glenkinchie. I certainly recommend a visit to Glenkinchie Distillery. And perhaps sample the whisky earning the title of The Edinburgh Malt.
Glenkinchie Distillery is close to Pencaitland, East Lothian only 15 miles from Edinburgh. The red bricked visitor centre nestled in farming countryside. Originally the distillery was founded by two farmers in 1825, John and George Rate. Until 1837 it was named Milton Distillery. The Kinchie burn runs through the glen and so came the new name with new licensing in 1837 Glenkinchie.
The shop has something for everyone. Gardening tools, clothing, pencils, books, bags, diffusers, cocktail kits, glasses, of course whisky plus more. A fabulous cafe. The distillery can arrange wonderful tours. For us today it is a short visit. In the first instance to see the sheep. However, while I am looking around my sister catches a bargain or five. To say the least she got an amazing wax jacket, a sweatshirt and a bottle of whisky. After all you can’t go to the distillery without buying a bottle of whisky, can you?
Every day I am dependent on Lavita my Rig feed. Since 2015 I have needed the assistance of my lifesaving little tube morning, noon and night. When I want to go out and about I wear a backpack and carry my pump and feed around with me. Some things take a little more planning than others like going on holiday, taking part in certain activities. Since Steve and I love to ride the Harley-Davidson® together we make sure we are organised. Especially for longer runs, Chapter Events, weekends aways and foreign trips. In a weeks time we are leaving for Rudesheim in Germany for the Magic Bike Rally. I will be travelling abroad with so much enteral feed. I need to have my feed running when I am on the bike, especially on long journeys. And boy this is a long trip, first leg is Pencaitland to Hull to catch the overnight ferry. We have a cabin and sleep overnight on the ship. Steve will have to remember to put the bike in “ferry mode” Dock at Rotterdam and then second leg Rotterdam to Bingen am Rhein. Where we will be staying. I will need to have feed on for both legs, it keeps me well fed and prevents my blood blood sugar from dropping.
Rucksack to carry enteral feed
Steve treated me to a great rucksack made by Joules, looks fabulous in red. It has lots of handy pockets and its waterproof for going on the bike. The good looks of this rucksack takes away any medical issues. Such as the giving set connectors coming out of the bag attached to the feed attached to my stoma. Most people comment they never notice the cables. Saying they are discrete. It makes life so much easier when I am travelling abroad with so much enteral feed.
Finding the balance is important in life. I won’t pretend it is easy getting on and off the bike and riding with a feed running. The slight worry that something may go wrong. If we were to fall off the the bike the entire RIG could get ripped out of my gut. However that is something I don’t every want to worry about. I always take the necessary precautions, Steve rides carefully and sensibly. And we do everything in our power to make sure that the ride will be as safe as possible. Life is for living. We have been riding together since 1985, we rode together on our wedding day, the day before I gave birth to our eldest son, a few days after giving birth to our youngest son. And here we are still riding together through thick and thin, better or worse and sickness and in health….. Both our lads ride bikes and grandchildren love motorcycles.
We are so looking forward to putting the front wheel onto European tarmac and enjoying our time at The Magic Bike Rally. Enteral Feed and all.
The sun is shining, the days are longer what better time to take a trip across the sea. R ide the red machine and take a road trip to Holy Island. As we head down the A1 the sun continues to shine. Passing the big bear at Dunbar he sparkles in the sunlight. And since we were actually crossing the sea. We checked the tide times the night before. If you don’t get your timings correct you are either left stranded on the island or carted off in the sea. And we certainly didn’t want that. On seeing the sign Holy Island of Lindisfarne made my heart skip a beat. Well on our way to a road trip to Holy Island.
All set to cross the causeway of approximately 3 miles. It is far from a straight line. Which makes it an interesting and at times eerie ride. Breathtaking views, we were lucky, no rain, sunshine, and most beautiful sand stretched out in front of us.
It is a wonderful ride and a super walk around the island. I can recommend it to anyone. There is adequate parking. Plenty of places to get a coffee, ice cream, some lunch, etc. Some examples to get you going, Lindisfarne Castle, Priory, Lindisfarne Natural Nature Reserve, and The Parish Church of St Mary the virgin, all worth a visit. On the whole the island is a great day out. We love it. Rain, hail or shine.
Why is Holy Island so called? The first abbey on the island was established around 634AD by an Irish monk. It became a centre of Celtic Christianity.
First Sunday of the year and its time for a ride up to Dundee to meet up with some friends. It’s the weekend of King Charles III Coronation. A bank holiday weekend so right on cue its raining this morning as I look out the window. Has it dampened our spirits, heck no. We are looking forward to a run on the big red Harley and a run over the Queensferry Crossing to meet up with some chums at Kinross before heading for an afternoon at Monikie Country Park.
We met up then had a very damp misty run. up together. As we head up the A92 and crossed the Tay Bridge the saying pea soup came to mind. I normally enjoy a view of the rail bridge, it was nowhere to be seen. As we left Dundee and head towards Carnoustie the weather brightened. Well signposted for the park we were nearly there. Riding in the entrance the roar of the Harley-Davidsons was unmistakable. I smiled it was going to be a grand afternoon at Monikie Country Park.
Goings on in the Afternoon at Monikie Country Park
As we arrived we unpacked the bike. Taking off the precious cargo; the Taylor guitar and the Ukulele. As well as music stand, iPad, music, etc. We had other stuff too, my feed pump, some provisions. Away we went to catch up with the others. I was absolutely freezing when I got the the decorated marquee. Set out with Picnic table and chairs and a lovely buffet. We were entertained by Syd and Steve singing some tunes. Yes this Steve.
To warm up we visited the lovely cafe that is onsite at Monikie Country Park. And what a grand cafe it is. Absolutely fabulous hot chocolate. Reasonable prices, certainly don’t break the bank. It was super having a natter with everyone. Steve and I enjoyed a walk before we headed back home. Really is a super day out. The damp weather certainly didn’t damper our spirits.
The150 acre park has a lot to offer for sports enthusiasts, walkers, families, etc. As well as the beautiful green woodland there are watersports available including windsurfing, dingy sailing, kayaking and rowboats. For the nimble folks there is an adventure playground. BBQ area. Really is a wonderful Country Park near Carnoustie for a day out either for a walk with the dog, on your own or as we did as a get together with a bunch of friends.
After our toddle we headed back to the car park, loaded up the bike and made our way back. A different route home. This time down by Perth riding down the M90 rather than the A92. We rode passed the many pollytunnels which will soon be full of fruit ready for the pickers. Back over the Queensferry Crossing and before we knew it we were home. As usual Bella was waiting to greet us with a warm cuddle.
If you are in the area or looking for going for a trip to a country park. Think about giving Monikie Country Park a visit. Dogs, children, and motorbikes most welcome. We definitely enjoyed our afternoon at Monikie Country Park.
Well four weeks today and we will be packing for our dream trip to The Rhineland. Such an exciting time to be going together on our big red machine to a country that holds dear to my heart. So many miles in France together, taking wonderful summer holidays with the children, now this is our time. Our first European trip together alone on the bike. We are going to Germany and the Magic Bike Rally in Rudesheim. These next few weeks will be the exciting ones planning for Rudesheim on The Harley-Davidson®.
We received our stickers for our numberplate this week. Every other day something else happens or arrives and brings some excitement. Turn on the computer and have a look at social media and brighten up our evening. Seeing the progress of the rally preparations.
We have our cabin booked on the overnight ferry there and back. Hoping to get good sailings and not choppy seas. Already we have sought out The Harley-Davidson® dealerships. They are nearby to the fine little house staying there the 10 days we are away. The dealerships in Wiesbaden and Frankfurt looks fabulous, so looking forward to walking through their doors.
All in the planning for Rudesheim on The Harley-Davidson®
As long as I have a notebook and pen and a camera packed I will be equipped for our holiday. I will leave the bike prep to Steve, I know the bike will be in safe hands with Steve. Its going in for a service, MOT and new tyres the run up before we go. Essentially Passports, insurance, registration document etc is all in hand. Clothes as always we won’t have much clothing with us as our web address says ‘Travelling Light UK and Beyond’. My feed is getting posted this week in good time. Most importantly it will arrive at our holiday destination, our hostess kindly said the boxes of feed and be stored till we arrive.
It’s feel good Friday I am riding pillion on our beloved Fattie. Heading for Elginhaugh Farm to meet up with a group of friends for a leisurely ride on motorcycles. Most of us became biking chums at at Dunedin Chapter Scotland HOG #9083. It is the end of the working week, the sun is shining with warm temperatures, we are in our beautiful country Scotland, the restrictions are easing and we are riding Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. What a great way to wind down on a Friday night. The suggestion for our regular weekly run is an evening bike ride to Eyemouth.
We congregate in the car park, have a seat at one of the outdoor tables. I sit down by Deke and we blethered about our trip to London and his adventures with his new controls on his bike. The waitress comes and takes orders or those who want a drink, although my feed is on, the temperature is fairly hot and I take advantage and get a soft drink. As the rest of our friends arrive I take advantage of sitting without all my protective gear on in the heat. Everyone is here and we are ready for the off, I put on my jacket and helmet. Switch on the Sena Communication Kit. Enabling me to talk to Steve on our bike ride to Eyemouth. And what a journey it was.
A trip down the city bypass
We head onto the Edinburgh city bypass for a very short distance and turn off at the junction heading for the A68 signposted Jedburgh. The most direct and quickest way to Eyemouth is straight down the A1 however we are riding bikes and its Feel Good Friday. We have beautiful roads in Scotland shame not to use them.
As the group of us ride up the A68 in convoy, we climb uphill and away from the beautiful view of Edinburgh, we turn left at the signpost for Haddington on the A6093. The lush green verges, tall hedges and stunning rolling farm fields. Fabulous scenery to ride along to after a difficult week. As we approached our home village Pencaitland, the only set of lights at the bridge changed to red, giving us a few seconds to stop, all bunch together and take a breath.
At the end of the village we took a right hand turn towards Gifford, and headed up the winding road . We headed up and drove through East Saltoun, the road to Gifford, riding along the most stunning scenery, beautiful trees overhanging the road. We took the scenic route to Spott, driving through Papple and Stenton and onto Spott. As we approached Spott at the roadside there is a witches stone. Spott plays host to the last executions of the Scottish witch hunts of the 17th and 18th centuries when several alleged witches were executed at Spott Loan in October 1705. As we arrived at the roundabout we took the A1 and headed for Eyemouth.
And onto the A1……
The ride down the A1 was fairly fast on the two lane 70 mile per hour road. Although the cool air was a welcome breeze on this very warm evening. As we approached the sign for Eyemouth we turned left and drove into the small Berwickshire town. This fine town is only 5 miles from the English border. It boasts a working harbour; fishing still takes place and has been doing so since the 13th century. Tourists visit the harbour to see the seals. With its location the small town makes a lovely holiday destination, it was evidently busy the Friday evening we arrived.
When we parked up the bikes there were 32 people queued outside the fish and chip take away. Some of us went to the Indian restaurant, others bought a pizza, burger or kebab out of a different take away business. They were very busy too. Others had a pack up with them. All in all there was food for all.
Me being me I needed to go to the loo, all that soft drinks, my peg feed running, my bladder thought it was about to explode. I found a local and asked if there were public toilets. They pointed me in the right direction. Not far from where we were parked. I toddled to the loos. Open, clean, fresh paper, etc, excellent.
After food and a blether, it was time to go home. It was decided it would be straight up the A1 home.
Staying in Boggs Holdings, Pencaitland it didn’t take long to get home.
Midweek, mid month in April, the sun is shining Steve has just returned home to Sunny Boggs Holdings after a busy day. Bella the Labrador fetches his wallet runs up the hallway wagging her tail excitedly. She comes back down looking not quite as happy. Something else in her mouth, I spy it, she is gently carrying my make up bag. I can imagine what’s going on in her head, ah ha Mum and Dad are going out, that dreaded bag is a give away. And yes she is spot on. We are heading into Auld Reekie to see Mike and The Mechanics.
We have an absolute love for music, both playing and listening. As a teenager Genesis was music that was played, listened and purchased. Vinyl, cassettes, CDs and videos. Coming out Initially as a side project from Genesis. Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford formed Mike and The Mechanics in 1984.
We have followed this group since the beginning. Loved a great many songs written by these talented song writers. Vocals sung in fabulous tune and instruments played in rhythm to a beat that makes me feel at one.
The concert was in The Usher Hall in Edinburgh. A majestic building in the capital city. Edinburgh is the city of our birthplace. A city that we hold so dear. The one that I gave birth to both our sons. We got married in. Got our first flat. So many memories we have. Auld Reekie you have a special place in our heart.
Driving Into Auld Reekie
Driving into Edinburgh is a fairly simple one from East Lothian. Leaving our Cottage in the Boggs and drive up the single track road. Its a grand time 6 o’ clock in the evening the sun is still shining however the road is fairly quiet. As we drive up the country road its pleasurable to see the last of the daffodils hanging in there and the blossom on the trees coming out in full flow. Taking a slow drive up passed the farm fields to enjoy watching the spring lambs galloping along, chasing one another wagging their tails. As we take the approach onto the A1 I gaze at the height of the crops in the fields, the beautiful carpet of yellow taking my breath away. Now getting tall enough the heads of the oil seed rape look as though they are dancing when swaying in the wind.
To see Mike and The Mechanics……. bringing back memories……….
Approaching the city we pass the multi purpose sports centre, Meadowbank Stadium, I speak of how I remember going to the stadium as a youngster with my parents to watch the wresting. Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, oh my those were the days. As teenagers we used the stadium to play badminton, we hired courts. There is a super running track around the stadium. Meadowbank was originally built in 1970 to accommodate the commonwealth games.
Around the area of the sports centre is highly populated with a good amount of flats, colony houses, schools, churches, etc. Not to mention a wide selection of shops including, hairdressers, barbers, grocers, etc. As we vere to the left we head in the direction of Holyrood Palace, sitting at the bottom of the Royal Mile. We drive up the High Street and I’m heartened to see at 6.45pm in the evening shops still open, people walking around. The high street has a wonderful selection of shops with cashmere sweaters, Scottish jewellery. There are certainly quite a few places to sit and have something to eat and drink.
Along the Grassmarket, take a turn then find a parking space!
Heading for the Grassmarket, passing people carrying cases going to their hotel. Others walking along looking like they are heading out for the evening. Lots of inviting places to eat. Edinburgh looks busy. Driving up the Grassmarket, then hey presto we are taking a turn to drive down Lady Lawson Street. Looking for a parking space – too much hassle, for the price of it, the NCP car park. Quick and easy. Get parked and then a short walk across the road to The Usher Hall.
Taking our seats and a step back in time
As we were warmly welcomed by the staff at The Usher Hall we had both been looking forward to this Gig since we got the tickets in 2022. Super seats, excellent view. Steve goes and gets himself a cola and me a pink gin. Got to get the priorities right. From the moment the band stepped on stage they did not disappoint. Oh my goodness, the room was rocking. Of course it helped they sang my ultimate favourite Genesis song Follow you, follow me. The memories came flooding back and I thought of myself belting out as I was walking back from the university library all those years ago. The rendition of Beggar on a beach of gold was outstanding; I can visualise my Mother singing as she is dusting, the hifi playing so loud she didn’t notice me walking in the sitting room. As they sang the tears ran down my cheeks. And when they did I can’t dance and someone from the audience did the actions on the floor in the stalls. Absolutely fabulous. Yes goes without saying they burst out Living Years.
The Lights were tremendous. Only disappointment it went far too quickly. Blink of an eye and it was over. How does the saying go? Time goes quickly when you are enjoying yourself. And yes was certainly doing that. The trip into Auld Reekie to see Mike and The Mechanics was an enjoyable emotional one.
Where are we going today then? Not only one of our favourite beauty spots, but one of the most scenic drives; St Mary’s Loch. Living in the country is a blessing and I never tire of the single lane roads, winding turns, humps and bumps giving the tummy a thrill when driving certain speeds. Reminding me of my childhood in Glenshee when my Father would drive the car over such similar roads, he would say to my sister and I close your eyes girls know what was in front, Hazel and I would say in unison bumpy bumpy whee …… and no street lights to be seen, for me utter paradise.
Surrounded by beautiful countryside and not seeing a person, shop, house or a car for miles or hours. The beauty and tranquility of our surroundings brought the most fantastic memories flooding back. Such wonderful thoughts and recollection of amazing trips with our sons, paddling our feet in the water and building a dam. As I planned our trip to St Mary’s Loch and two reservoirs.
Our first destination for the evening drive from our home in Sunny Boggs Holdings, Pencaitland, East Lothian was St Mary’s Loch in the Scottish Borders. Accompanying Steve in the Mini rather than us driving our Harley-Davidson® is always a delight for our happy labradors. Our labs are always a welcoming addition to any trip. They were excited and eager. Bella is a beautiful golden lady, gentle and very loyal and loving. Husband Buddy, a fox red Labrador is my ever so handsome assistance dog. He is an amazing lad. If he got his way he would never leave my side.
Location of Beauty
St Mary’s Loch is a location of beauty. The drive is pleasant regardless which way you are coming from, either Edinburgh, or down south. The loch is the largest natural loch in the Scottish Borders, its 5km long and 1km wide. It lies on the south side of the A708 between Selkirk and Moffat and is only 45 miles from Edinburgh, well worth the drive. The loch was created by glacial action during the last ice age. Why is the loch called St Mary’s? There was once a church dedicated to St Mary which once stood on its northern shore. Unfortunately only the burial grounds are now visible.
St Mary’s loch is fed by Megget Reservoir. The reservoir in the valley in Ettrick Forest in the beautiful Scottish Borders. The 259 hectares reservoir is held back by the largest earth dam in Scotland. The reservoir collects water from the Tweedsmuir hills.
A firm favourite with all
The drive to the loch was such a pleasant one, filling the car with the sound of our singing voices at the top of our voices, the dogs slanting their heads from one side to the other. Glancing at us, and I’m not too sure if they could speak if they would say “come on give us more” or would say “for goodness sake Mother, give it a rest, our ears are bleeding”. Driving through Innerleithen with the infamous ice-cream shop had our dogs slavering in the car. I swear they know every place that has possible food stops. Labradors would eat non stop……
They look out the window and you know they remember every last stop and treat they had the last time they were in the car. As we drove through Innerleithen and passed the ice-cream shop they got excited in anticipation, thinking we should stop at the shop and treat them to a cone. No such luck, shop was closed. Buddy’s face fell like a sulking child getting the wrong toy. However the elation when we opened the boot when we stopped and they got out into the open space.
They ran about 10 yards, both of them came right back to me. Buddy gave me one almighty slobbery kiss so hard on the lips he almost knocked me over. Their way of saying we love you guys. You could see the happiness on their faces. buddy my ever so handsome Fox Red Labrador and Bella, Golden Labrador, she is sensitive. Both dogs are very loving.
Megget and Talla Reservoirs
St Mary’s Loch and Megget Reservoir are super area and firm favourite with us to either drive the Harley-Davidson® or take the dogs. Most certainly a place to favour walking in the evening with the dogs, not a person in sight. So easy to park, peace and tranquillity. Only sound to be heard was the birds.
After a walk, cycle or drive, St Mary’s Loch is a scenic place to sit and rest. There is a fabulous cafe opposite the loch, you can park right beside it. Food is excellent, and fills the belly of many a biker. They serve a lovely cup of coffee with cake. Delicious sandwiches, homemade macaroni, curry are on the menu. Food is good and prices are extremely reasonable.
After sitting by the loch, I reluctantly left the scene of beauty and headed toward Megget Reservoir. On the road from the loch to the reservoir it is narrow and somewhat uneven. Let’s say I felt the bumps in the road and was glad it was a very quiet evening and we didn’t pass anyone coming the other way. It is a fairly steep incline to get up to the reservoir, the landscape scenery is one of beauty. The road gets a tad hairy at times and you have to remember what goes up usually comes down. Lets just say we were going slow enough to take in the stunning scenery and manage to take photographs without stopping and getting out. Once we arrived at the Reservoir we took in what was on offer and boy it did not disappoint. The labradors enjoyed running around too.
Heading home… ice cream at Innerleithen on the way
We grudgingly took our seats and made our way on the beautiful scenic five and a half mile journey to Talla Reservoir, only one mile from Tweedsmuir in The Scottish Borders. Opened in 1905, Tala Reservoir is an earth-work dam fed by Talla water. It is supplemented by water from the Fruit Reservoir nearby. To help bring in materials for the Reservoir construction the Talla Railway was built.
If you have the time take a journey to either St Mary’s Loch and have a cuppa or enjoy one of the reservoirs. We managed the three of them in an evening. Had a wonderful relaxing time. Recharged the batteries. Took some photographs, enjoyed the peace and quiet.
…..Finally ice cream in Innerleithen
The ice cream shop at Innerleithen is Caldwell’s Homemade Ice Cream. You can find them at 88 High Street, Innerleithen. They have a fabulous array of homemade flavours. They do vegan for those that has such requirements. Tastes amazing, in my opinion be hard pushed not to satisfy anyone that likes ice cream. I most definitely give Caldwell’s 5 stars. Hoping they are hoping the shop is open the next time we are driving through Innerleithen and we can stop and buy some.
Above is Bella and Buddy. Sadly since taking this journey my beloved Buddy has passed way. Wife Bella is doing well. Loves her walks and journeys with Mum and Dad. When we are away she stays with Sally at Sals Pals. Could not ask for a better place for her to be looked after.
Finally Friday evening has arrived it feels as if it has been a long week. The body and brain are tired. Even have some physical and emotional symptoms. In this hectic world most of us have a lot to contend with and feel stressed at some time or another. When the going gets tough perhaps a visit to the GP is needed. Some counselling or medication are on the list. However getting together with friends, having some time out. Enjoying a good old fashioned blether can be just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine.
time with friends & family
Loneliness can have a real negative impact on our mental health. Meeting up with buddies and family can help in time of feeling low or anxious. In times of feeling depressed having someone to talk to and share the burden really helps. However sometimes it isn’t always necessary to unload your problems. Just going out and having a coffee with friends or family may be all that is needed to turn that frown upside down. A simple chat and forcing yourself to get dressed and see people is sometimes what’s needed. Talking about things with likeminded people does you the world of good, share a sense of humour, got many things in common. Really do get a good laugh together. Most definitely the doctor will say getting together and talking – sharing a joke or six. Laughter is the best medicine.
A little activity
Getting together with friends and doing something can be great fun. Whether its a walk in the park, riding in a group on motorcycles or singing together in the pub. It can all be a lot of fun and really get those chuckle muscles moving.
Smiling is infectious. When you see someone do it you can’t help but smile back. Grinning from ear to ear at times can be just as potent. And boy when you hear someone laugh doesn’t that inquisitive part of you want to know why . You never know if you go find out you may just join in and start to laugh to.