Happily Ever After

Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running

Earlier posts can be found on Adventures of a Lone Bass Player, where this blog began life. Recent entries can be found here.


Home, Snow, Books and Wrongful Imprisonment

by admin - 17:22 on 26 November 2010

The outskirts of Wigan is a bit of a contrast with honey-coloured Cotswold villages, but that's where Matchgirl and I spent Wednesday night, at the home of friends who on retirement a couple of years ago made the move from rural Drumnadrochit to urban Lancashire – a decision that seems less bizarre (but only slightly) when it's explained that that's where they're from.

Dot and Sheila ran Springburn guest house, a place I found many years ago on my first trip to the Highlands, and where I stayed several times after that until I moved to the area, so it was good to catch up with them.

But the weather news was sobering – snow already in parts of Scotland, spreading to England next day. Contact with The Rural Retreat revealed that the cat-sitters were considering an early departure, so Matchgirl and I forsook the last night of our holiday in order to get home and care for our pampered puss.

We left Wigan at 9.30am yesterday and reached home around 5pm; barely a flake of snow was seen and some of the UK's best scenery ignored as we drove up the M6, M74, M73, A80 and A9.

The trip was not without incident, though. A break at Abington services was a mistake, for that's where a clumsy 4x4 driver reversed into the back of Mr Ford. Damage was light. Another dent was sustained further up the road when a low-flying buzzard dived across the front of the car, then reversed direction just in time to collide. The volume of the bang suggested that he was unlikely to survive, much to my and Matchgirl's distress. Nature can be cruel.

Home at last, Bess was nowhere to be found, her food dishes untouched. We called into the dark garden, to no avail, so set about unloading the dirty and battered Mr Ford – until Matchgirl heard a plaintive noise inside the outhouse. Investigation revealed an indignant, hungry and hyperactive pussycat.

But something that did wait for us inside the Retreat was three shiny copies of The Bumper Book of Black Isle Snappery. Woo hoo! A few typographical changes are needed, and a couple of the snaps might be replaced, but on the whole it's good enough for me to make the preview public and the book available for purchase across the globe.

Today I'd planned to approach a few possible outlets for a locally printed edition, but real snow fell this morning and driving wasn't fun, especially after being told by the first place I entered that they'd expect to get 35-40% of the cover price. The shysters. Investigations will continue, so don't buy from Blurb just yet, unless you're impatient or live abroad.

Good news this morning was the restoration of our broadband line, which was out of commission when we returned home. Very frustrating.

Further good news is that Bess shows no psychological damage since her unjust imprisonment. This will be a huge relief to Soo, who's been wracked with guilt since learning of the moggy's eight-hour incarceration.

She claims the curious beast must have sneaked into the outhouse, but perhaps it's no coincidence that the drama occurred after the cat-sitters were awoken at 4am by insistent yowling – much as we were this morning, in fact. You've got to get your own back somehow.

Comment from Karen at 08:01 on 27 November 2010.
Well done-the book looks fantastic.I can't wait to buy a copy-well four copies actually,ideal for christmas presents.
We're lucky to live in such a wonderful place.
Comment from Lizzie at 11:51 on 27 November 2010.
The book looks amazing! Hope the printer side of things gets sorted quickly. Could be a great Christmas gift for the "in-law". How much does it weigh? Flying to Oz this year so the more I pack in my bag the more I have to wear on the plane!
Comment from Russell at 16:34 on 27 November 2010.
Thanks for the comments. Frustratingly, I don't think we'll have the revised book ready for Christmas. Buying from Blurb might be the only sure way of getting it in time. And it weighs 600gms!

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