The Good, the bad and the ugly of retirement. That’s what I said I would write about right from the beginning of this blog over three years ago. It strikes me there has been a fair bit of the latter two aspects of retirement in recent blogs so I’m putting on hold one or two further examples of retirement problems / challenges and focusing on a more positive aspect – retirement means time to travel. Don’t worry though the undesirables will form the basis for future blogs so you won’t be missing any of the fun.
By the time you get to read this blog we will have packed up all our bits and pieces and be heading north, not to Ireland this time as we did this time last year and earlier this year, but to Scotland. Not for the first time though, in years gone by when we holidayed as a family we used to alternate our summer holidays between France and Scotland.
We always had good weather in Scotland wherever we were so removing, at a stroke, the main supposed disadvantage of a holiday north of the border. During this time we stayed in many places all up the west coast from the very north – Cape Wrath (years later we once took the train from Edinburgh right through the Scottish Highlands to Wick and Thurso again right at the top but on the east coast, really enjoyed it, no children continually asking are we there yet?), to some of the many islands – Mull, Lewis, Harris (Fingal’s Cave even) and others I’ve forgotten, Mull of Kintyre, Glasgow, Edinburgh and to the very south – Dumfries and Galloway to where we return for this latest Scottish venture. For those of you unsure of its location, it’s as close to England as you can get but still in Scotland. One of the reasons we chose this area and not another return to Ireland, was to reduce the amount of travelling involved for the pups, good travellers though they are. And not forgetting while Scotland is still part of the UK we don’t have to suffer a devalued £ against the euro all brought about by bloody Brexit but I won’t go there again.
I did try to find a cottage as isolated as possible within the parameters of ‘only just in Scotland’. So I was a little chastened when, on showing my son-in-law where we were going, he said oh, yes, we used to go there every year as kids and stay in a caravan. Still, on the Ordnance Survey map, it looks grand as we would have said if we were in Ireland. One of the joys of a certain kind of travel, let’s call it travel rather than holiday because then it makes it feel more like the activity we had planned to engage in when we retired, is buying an OS map of the area and spending a bit of time prior to the hol.. sorry, travel experience, planning where we might explore.
It’s always a bit of a risk choosing a house from a website when you don’t know the area although as I say we have been in this general area before. We once stayed in a cottage near Stanraer, our daughter was of an age when she preferred the company of her friends on holiday than her parents and brother. Ungrateful wretch. So we were stuck with the brother aka our son. It was not a good week, he was perpetually bored. In an effort to entertain him as it so happened that the fast ferry went from Stranraer to Belfast we hopped on the boat and went over the sea to Ireland. When we got to Belfast it was at the time of ‘the troubles’. The quayside was lined with armoured Land Rovers. I thought briefly about giving the boy a fiver and telling him to go off and explore but then thought it would probably look bad so we stayed on the boat and went back to Scotland. That’s as close to Northern Ireland as we’ve ever come. I’m sure one day we will return.
But back to Scotland again and from our map, see picture at beginning, the area seems to have a bit of everything for dogs and humans – views for Mrs Summerhouse to paint (she’s out buying canvases as I write this), beaches and forest walks for the pups, trains, castles and pubs for me, and Mrs SH of course, you can’t leave her at home can you? I won’t go on, I don’t want to build it up too much because as we know this way lies disappointment but the fact is, it is nice to be going away again. It’s been a while (since May) that we’ve been away and after all the trials and tribulations of recent weeks in our retirement (yes, you will get to read about them), it will be nice to have a change of scenery beyond our usual change of sceneries with our 4 properties. And, at the risk of repeating myself, we really did plan to travel when we retired but then I (as Mrs SH reminds me from time to time) got the doggies and we’ve had to become more modest in our travel plans.
I’m not too sure how writing or rather sending this blog is going to work out next week. The cottage we’re renting doesn’t have wi-fi, I do know that because it says so in the ‘brochure’ but then neither did the Irish place we stayed in and I found somewhere that did have internet connections there so hopefully the same will apply on this hol.. travel experience. I can honestly say that a desire /need to keep moving has always featured in my life, hence time spent living in the USA, New Zealand and Australia, now I’m retired, that need ( a sort of dissatisfaction with what I have you might say) still remains as a part of my psyche. It’s just that now, in my retirement, it has a certain irony to it. We have, theoretically at least, more time to travel and yet, with one obligation and another, less actual opportunity to do so. Weird times, retirement.