Today never went as expected. I really hope tomorrow doesn’t go the same way. No, I am not repeating yesterday’s blog. Stephen said that I was tempting fate by typing that yesterday. Last night we slept remarkably well and much better than I expected. There were at least 2 “party” groups staying in the hotel – one bachelor’s party and one hen party – so I was expecting a noisy night. In addition, because our room faced East, we expected the early morning sun but as the room was so hot we needed to leave the window and blinds open so that we could get a minimal amount of air into the room. As the sun rises at around 4am, I expected to be woken up early. However, despite the lumpy bed we all slept well (probably the 5:30am start) and while I woke up a few times in the morning due to the sun pouring into the room, I went straight back to sleep again. I got up at around 8am and the rest of the family followed at about 8:30am though I had to actually wake the boys up by going into their room (we had an extra key for that purpose). We went down to breakfast at about 9am and the breakfast turned out to be more extensive than we originally thought and there was no charge for the kids.
We could only pick the motorhome up at 12pm today and we fortunately only needed to check out at 12pm so we decided to kill the time at the hotel. As our room was about 5 degrees warmer than the boys’ room we decided to rather move everything into their room and everyone settled down to read, play on their computers (4 laptops travelling with us) or in my case do some CBD work (as it might be the last decent internet connection for about a week.) At about 10am, the fire alarm went off! I told the kids to grab the important things (everyone went for their laptops!) and we headed down the 4 flights of stairs to the assembly point. As we went through the reception area we could smell burnt toast and so we figured the alarm went off due to someone burning their toast (and we weren’t far wrong). Incredibly we were one of the first people out and we were on the 4th floor. Everyone else was obviously waiting to see if it was a real alarm or not. I can see how people get trapped in buildings that are on fire if they simply don’t leave when the alarm goes off. The fire department came and we were let back into the building about 10 minutes later. It turns out that someone tried to toast a croissant even though it very clearly says above the toaster that croissants must not be put into the toaster.
After the eventful morning we left to collect the motorhome. When I gave the taxi driver the address he asked whether we were going to stay in a flat. I said no, collecting a motorhome. He said, no businesses around there, only flats. My initial thought was this guy has no idea where this address is and I was going to phone the owner so that he could get instructions but the taxi driver insisted he knew where it was so I left him to it. He kept muttering about it being flats and no businesses. We found the address and he was right, it was flats (and council ones as well) but outside the flats were 2 motor homes. He was very surprised (as were we) but we figured we had the correct place. William (the owner) was sitting in the one motorhome (the one we were getting). I suspect the guy is the on dole but running a motorhome rental company on the side. I cannot believe that in the UK that it would be allowed to run a company renting motorhome from your flat (especially given all the regulations they have). Anyway, we got the motorhome from him, got our instructions on how everything works, turned on the GPS (or SPG as Brian calls it) and headed for the North.
We were on the motorway for the first 30-40 miles and so we stopped at a ‘Services’ to get lunch. Helen chose the ‘Roast Ox’ crisps. This choice followed her ‘Builders Breakfast’ ones previously and I am starting to get concerned that she might start growing a beard or something soon. Let’s hope it is just her curiosity and the intrigue of trying out new flavours. Soon afterwards we came off the motorway and started our travels on more minor roads. The SPG decided that a very minor B road was the fastest way to go (probably because it was shorter and the speed limit was the same but there was no way you could travel at the same speed on that road). The “A road” ran almost parallel with the B road we were on so it was clearly not a good decision by the SPG. We have learnt our lesson now and so when it later tried to do the same thing again we ignored it.
Our plan was to try and reach the shores of Loch Ness so that we could (ideally) spot Nessie, get our photo and get rich. We had to stop for supplies (not for Nessie – for us) and so we stopped at Fort William where Helen remembered there was a good supermarket (from our last trip to Scotland about 10 years ago – Chloe wasn’t around then yet). Not sure how she remembered that but I guess there is a special part of a woman’s brain that only remembers shops. We got what we needed for a few days and continued to head north. We had managed to pick up a Scotland caravan park guide so knew there was a park on the side of the Loch and we hoped they would have space for us. We found it and it really is on the side of the Loch. We filled up the water tank and then hitched up the van to the electrical supply. We then unpacked both the groceries and our suitcases so that we could get rid of the suitcases into the storage space under the mobile home. Helen then set about making supper which turned out very well given the limited space. Stir fry sweet & sour chicken was our first meal in the motor home.
We also had to figure out sleeping arrangements. There is a double bed above the driver’s seat, at the back of the motorhome are 2 single beds (though they are probably 1.5 beds actually) and where the table is, that makes into another 1.5 bed. Helen felt claustrophobic in the double bed so we have the 2 single beds at the back and after a lengthy negotiation, Chloe and Michael are sleeping at the top and Stephen where the table goes. We will take some photos and try and upload to the blog when we are able to so that you can see how it all works out. (PS: Stephen took some photo’s of the evacuation this morning from the hotel but in the downloading process managed to lose them….sorry…they were quite entertaining.)
So we are currently parked about 3 meters from the Loch and I hope that the park brake doesn’t fail or that it doesn’t rain too much tonight. I am reminded that we ought to find a flat parking in future – I remember that from the Ireland motorhome trip and it took me 1 night to remember it. I won’t forget again. It is now 10:50pm and there is still enough light to see the sky which is becoming more cloudy. Bad weather is meant to be approaching tonight and will be with us until at least Tuesday. The wind is howling at the moment and the motor home is swaying back and worth. Regardless of what the weather is like we will enjoy ourselves. They already has been much laughing and fun and everyone is enjoying it.
Yours from the travelling Temples.