Saturday, 24 June 2017

What I did on my Summer Holiday . . .


I think it had probably been a good five years since Todd and I had been anywhere on a holiday together, so we were really looking forward to getting away together this summer on a brief break thanks to the McMillan Cancer Trust who awarded Todd a grant for a respite holiday. We were so very grateful for this opportunity and neither of us had really been to Scotland and so we took ourselves on a coach holiday up to the beautiful highlands!  We have done coach trips in the past and we thought this was one way of holidaying where Todd would not have to drive. They are also all-inclusive, which is even better, with your breakfast and suppers being included in the price along with the travel and hotel, etc.  All you need to pay for is any extras, lunches, additional excursions, etc.  I had also won a cash award from a recipe I had submitted to My Favourite Recipes and so this meant that even our optional extras would be covered.  Win/win all around!  Yes, we are blessed.

This was a quick selfie I snapped on the coach right after pick-up.  We had to be at the pick-up point by 8:30 am on the day we left.  Not too hard, except we neither one of us slept much the night before. Too excited I suppose.  That often happens!  We were really excited to be on our way and thought we would maybe doze on the coach. No way, we were both too excited to sleep and neither one of us wanted to miss anything! One of the ideas behind Todd not having to drive was Todd being able to enjoy the scenery!

We had four more pick-ups  . . .  Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Wigan and Warrington . . .  after which we well and truly got on the road. The coach was full by that point!  We had a cheeky chappie for a driver named Paul.  He was so nice and so funny, and so very knowledgeable!  He kept us in stitches and well informed about everything!

There was one brief toilet stop halfway up to the Scottish border, but our first major stop was going to be right across the border in a little town called Gretna Green. This would be for lunch. Todd and I had been to Gretna Green before and we were both looking forward to seeing it again.  We were not there for long, only about 45 minutes.  Just long enough to use the loo and have a quick lunch and boo around.

Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings. It is in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk and was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh.We had driven up to visit it the last time we were in Cumbria on holiday so a good 7 or more years ago now!  We did enjoy the brief stop and opportunity to stretch our legs.  My knee was still very poorly, but I had bought myself a brace which I was hoping would help.  It did, a bit.

Down the motorway we went until we started to hit the Highlands and the Trossachs National Park, where our coach began to wind its way up hillsides and glens.  The scenery was absolutely stunning. I cannot even begin to describe it.  Breathtaking perhaps might start to do it justice.  It was very overcast and misty by then, and most of the hilltops were shrouded in cloud and mist, but we were both falling totally in love with Scotland.

Our destination was the Ben Doran Hotel, situated in Upper Tyndrum in the Trossachs, and we arrived there about 5:30 PM, so a long drive, but steeped in history and scenery. Not boring in the least.  One thing that they do on coaches now is make you use hand disinfectant before getting on and off the coaches, and in the hotel as you enter, as you enter and leave the dining room, etc.  I guess this is to prevent illness. (Didn't stop me from coming down with a massive cold however, which I am still battling.)  We had an hour and a half rest before dinner was going to be served, so just long enough to freshen up and take in our surroundings.

This was the view from our room.  So just gorgeous.  The room itself was nothing spectacular.  Just a room with a double bed and an ensuite, but clean and comfortable.  We are so used to sleeping in Twin Beds that we found the double bed a bit awkward and it made for a few sleepless nights as we are used to each of us having our own space and covers, lol.  But eventually we were so tired and exhausted we could have slept on a sidewalk!

We looked out the window at one point and Benjamin Bunny had come out to greet us.  So cute.

The food at the hotel was fantastic.  Each night there was a different menu with several entrees to choose from, as well as a choice of starters and desserts.  I enjoyed Chicken with a peppercorn sauce, a turkey dinner, roast lamb, roast beef, fried haddock and some really scrumptious starters and desserts.   Breakfast each morning began with oatmeal in the Scottish manner with salt added, toast, rolls, fruit juices and a choice of a big Scottish breakfast which usually included bacon, sausage, beans, mushrooms, tomato, eggs . . . you could have your eggs done any way you wanted them.  I would have liked to be able to have a muffin some days or a croissant, but really it was nothing to complain about. 


Each night after dinner there was entertainment provided in the lounge/bar area.   We didn't take it in on the first night as we were too tired, but we did go on two other nights and greatly enjoyed it.  This man was particularly good. I can't remember what his name was, but he reminded me a lot of Billy Connelly and he was funny and a great singer and had everyone joining in.

Each day we were up bright and early and then taken off on excursions to see some of the sights and scenery of Scotland and the highlands.  This was the Kelpies. The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland. They were designed by the artist Andy Scott at a multi-million pound cost and are ginormous! They are composed of sheets of metal and almost glitter in the sunlight.  We were fascinated to say the least!  After them, we were taken into Edinburgh.  What a beautiful city!  We both said we would like to go back and visit it one day.  We took a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

To be honest there was a lot of walking involved and by that point my knee had taken all it could take, so I ended up sitting on a bench and just listening to the recorded tour while Todd walked through it.  I literally was crippled up and could barely walk.  It was like that the whole time we were up there.  I was so annoyed with myself.  We both felt however that the cost of going onto the Royal Yacht was exorbitant (£16 each) and not worth it.  That was one excursion we wish that we had skipped for the price.  It was crowded and there were too many stairs.

The next day we were taken to LochNess.  There was a piper in the parking lot where the coach dropped us off.  We had fish and chips . . .  to be honest my knee was giving me so much problem at that point, I told Todd to not let me hold him back. I could tell that he was getting frustrated with my pace and so was I.  I told him to go on and see whatever he could in the town and I would wander as I could wander, which eventually he did, walking down to the locks and seeing the lake, etc. I managed to get down to the river . . . and a small bridge.  

 This is a photo I took from the bridge. It was really pretty there and I watched swallows flying and swooping and eating insects en flight.  It looked like there had been an older bridge at some point as there were still the pylon fittings in situe.  I really felt bad that my knee was causing us so many problems. I really did.  It was annoying, but I still got to enjoy the scenery which was so beautiful. 

The next day we went to Loch Lomond, which was stunning and one of the largest lakes in the Highlands. We took a cruise on the lake.  I felt bad again as I had to stay on the ground floor of the boat because (again) the stairs and Todd felt obliged to stay with me.  


This was Stirling Castle.  And we saw the William Wallace Monument from the coach and again the scenery was stunning. 


We drove through Rannoch Moor which is one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. The area is a vast stretch of land composed of blanket bog, lochans, rivers, and rocky outcrops which makes it a very challenging environment which still supports varieties of flora and fauna. A wealth of plants, insect, bird and animal life can be seen here ranging from curlews and grouse to roe and red deer.  We both were in awe of the scenery.  Words cannot adequately describe all that we saw.

On that day, on our way back to the hotel, we spied (through out coach window) about 6 stags making their way through a Glen down below the highway.   We were treated to beautiful vistas of mountains and glens wherever we looked.  Simply amazing scenery. We would love to go again on our own and take it in at a more leisurely pace as there were things we would have loved to stop and see, but because you are on a coach and it is moving, you cannot.  On that day we also went to Fort William.  I thought we might see a fort, but we didn't.  Just a shopping mall.  There  might have been more to see off the coach, but again, my knee.  I stayed on the coach and Todd went for a wander.

And I was getting a sore throat.

The next day was a trip to Oban and a cruise to the Isle of Mull.  By then my head/chest cold had taken hold and I was thinking about all the steps on the cruise ship and so I told Todd to go on his own and enjoy it while I rested in our room.  He didn't really want to do that, but I made him go and in the end he said it was a wise choice because there would have been too much walking involved and stairs and I could not have coped. To be honest, by then I could barely walk at all and I was hacking and coughing.  Todd thoroughly enjoyed it and I felt good about that.  To me, this holiday was all about him getting away and having a break of what he had been through over the past six months and I really didn't want my disabilities to prevent him from doing that.  I wanted him to have a good time and to see whatever he could.  Who knows when we will be able to afford to go on something like this again!  (Hopefully my book will do well and my knee will get better and we can think about maybe another holiday next year.  Fingers crossed!) 

The next day we were on our way home again and I was so happy to get home and sleep in my own bed that  night.  We were both exhausted and in bed by 8:30.  We both slept the sleep of the dead, even despite my cold.  Travel is exhausting.  And travel when you are sick is even more exhausting.  But we did enjoy the break.  I was really sorry that I had come down ill and that my knee was putting a bit of a damper on things, I really was.

We have been home two days now and my cold is still clinging on. So much for the antiseptic handwash.  Didn't keep me from getting ill at any rate!  I only hope that I can keep Todd from coming down with it! I have an appointment to go back to the Doctor about my knee on Monday and I am seeing a different Doctor this time. Hopefully I will get something done about it. This has been going on long enough.  Its really making me feel down.  I hope that I don't have to live like this for the rest of my life.  I really don't want that. I can barely walk at all now.

Little Mitzie was so glad to see us when Tina
dropped her off on Thursday.  Excited
doesn't begin to cover

She must have spent an hour talking to us, telling us about her whole week.  It was so cute and of course we have been enjoying lots of cuddles ever since!  If you are looking for a lovely place to visit that is filled with spectacular scenery, I really recommend the Scottish Highlands.   It is stunning. Simply stunning.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . . 

 .° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.° ˛°. . 
˛ Pray when you feel like worrying,
Give thanks when you feel like complaining.
Keep going when you feel like quitting.

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  a Lighter Strawberry Shortcake. Only 157 calories per serving, which isn't too bad for a dessert!

Have a great Saturday.  I have a grocery order being delivered this morning.  I cannot walk around the shops, so delivery was my only choice. I don't trust Todd to do the shopping.  Despite  having a list, he would bring back all the wrong things. LOL  He is so NOT a shopper!  Don't forget!

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════
And I do too!


  1. I have often wondered about the online grocery services. Last night I saw a show about huge warehouse in England that sends orders all over England. In Australia I often see people picking orders at the local stores. I totally understand that you would want to rest your knee and your cold.

    The hand lotions may not prevent the spread of the common cold. Because it is spread on door handles. These lotions are good for preventing the spread of diarrhea etc. I agree that there is nothing more frustrating than being ill on holiday.

    Your words paint such a beautiful picture. Scotland sounds like they are holding on to their history and good on them for doing so,

    God bless you and Todd today and always.

  2. Your photos of Scotland really give us a glimpse of its beauty. Hope you get to return.
    In the meantime, get well quick! Hope the new doc can help with your knee

  3. Hi Marie, I've missed you! So pleased you enjoyed Scotland, I can't wait to go back for my 60th!! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy Britannia, George and I both loved it and would go again. Good job we're all different I suppose.

    Tell the doctor that your knee ruined your holiday and that you couldn't go out on some of the trips cos of the pain (you don't have to mention your colds contribution), lay it on thick. Enough really is enough. Would it help if Todd went in with you and voiced his opinion? Two complainants are better than one!!

    Anyway, so pleased your back safe and sound. Hope you start to feel better over the weekend. Lots of love xxx

  4. Poor Marie! I do sympathise; I came back from a coach holiday with 'flu, years ago. I put it down to the air circulating, bringing germs with it.
    Nice to be home? Own bed and Mitzie of course. Worth going away to come back!

  5. Well, we didn't get any diarreah or anything like that Suzan, so I suppose it did it's job! lol I love online shopping, but I always forget stuff and Todd ends up having to either pick it up or I end up going anyways to pick it up. C'est la vie! Will be glad when all is back to normal! xoxo

    Thanks Linda! I really hope that the Doctor can do something for me, even if it is physiotherapy! xoxo

    Thanks Kate! I suppose I would have enjoyed the ship more if I had actually been able to see it all. We did both think it was a lot of money for what it was. (and we got a discount because we were on the coach!) I think a part of the reason Todd didn't enjoy was because he was basically on it on his own or coping with me struggling to keep up with him! He is going with me in to see the Doctor on Monday and help me to voice my problems re my knee! xoxo

    Thanks Bunny! There's no place like home! Sometimes we do need to leave it in order to begin to appreciate just how much we love our homes. I think that the air conditioning on the coach did not help at all with my cold and probably even helped to bring it on! xoxo

  6. Sorry you got hit with a double whammy like that with the knee and the cold. It does look like a wonderful place to visit. It's always nice to get away and take a break. But good to be home too.

  7. I am sorry too that you have trouble walking..I hope this new Doc can help..always good to seek another opinion.
    Al drs are not created equal.
    Looks like a beautiful trip and wow..look at Mr T..what a comeback kid:)
    Home is always nice..and since I knew you had the cold when I first read about the hand disinfectant..right away I thought..well thata didn't help..

    you know what? Going away makes us like home so much more after certain holidays.
    I felt that way after Paris.
    I did..I had romanticized it too much..only to be disappointed because of our experiences:(The theft and fraud:(

  8. What a totally awesome holiday! I loved reading about everything you did.
    Hope you can get some help for your knee. I also have knee issues due to arthritis so I do understand.
    Enjoy the weekend!

  9. I am so glad you enjoyed my beautiful homeland, but so sad that your knee did not play the game, even with the brace, I was so hoping it would do the trick.....I'm sorry you missed Mull but glad Todd got there,nodes he remember going through a tiny place called Dervaig ? It's quite near Tobermory. It is in Dervaig that I have stayed quite often..Mull is my fav. Island. Pity you didn't see more of Edinburgh than the Brittania. I. Wonder why nobody suggested using a lift to get up and down, I know it is mostly wheelchair friendly but perhaps you have to tell them in advance ....The hotel and food sounded good and it was nice there was entertainment after dinner.....
    I'm so pleased you are seeing the Dr on Monday. He must be made to understand how badly your knee is affecting your daily life. You need an X-ray to prove if it's arthritis and if so needing a replacement or at the very least a clean out, anything is better than the pain you are suffering....well love I will close now I hope your almost in bed and that you have a good nights sleep...Night night. God Bless xxxx

  10. I love reading your comments. But this one...oh...I don't know, it seems , it's a bit self centered. It is not all about your health problems but Todd's. Apologies if this seems rude. Sincerely.

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  12. Oh my dear friend, I loved reading about your trip to the Scottish Highland. The photos were amazing and all the awesome places you visited sounds so wonderful. I am so sorry that you had such a bad time with your knee; that is not fair at all. I think both of you needed this trip but I am happy that Todd was able to do most of it anyway. I am really upset that you caught a bad cold. Like I said; it just isn't fair. You should have had a pain free vacation. That being said, we have had similar moments.
    I hope your Dr. appointment goes well and that they can do something for that knee of yours.
    I loved hearing about the McMillan Cancer Trust. I am related to that name. My Grandmother was a McMillan. Our ancestry is from Scotland. That is even more of a reason why I would love to see Scotland someday.
    Blessings and hugs for you both and I'm sending loving thoughts your way!

  13. Thanks Pam, I hate a summer cold. I am glad however that Todd enjoyed his trip as much as he did. That is what it was all about! xoxo

    I remember your trip to Paris Monique and all that happened. It would have left a sour taste in my mouth also! Travel in Europe is not the same these days. There are pick pockets everywhere. You have to be so careful! I would love to go to Paris one day, but we are so afraid to travel to these big places now because of the terrorists. I know that is letting them win, but ... xoxo

  14. I did have a good time Deb, despite the problems with my knee. Todd had a great time and that is what it was all about! I was quite happy for that! Hoping the Doc can sort me tomorrow. Two months with this is enough! xoxo

    Thanks Sybil, I had been hoping that the Brace would help as well and it did for a few days, sort of. all the coach did in Edinburgh was to drop us off at the Mall where the Britannia is moored. We were there for two hours and then picked up and taken back to the hotel. We did use the lift to go up and down, but by that time even going forward was hugely painful. Todd enjoyed what he saw though and I was glad for that. I felt like I was an enormous anchor around his neck the whole time, holding him back. That's why I told him to go off to Mull by himself. I knew I would not be able to cope with the steps, etc. and I wanted him to get the most that he could out of our last day there. He did, thank goodness. xoxo

    Sorry if I have offended you Lisa. I did not mean to sound self-centred.

    Thanks LeAnn! I am just glad that Todd didn't catch a cold. I have my fingers crossed that he still doesn't. I am sure my hacking and coughing is getting quite annoying to him! I Had to move into the spare room last night as I could not stop and I know it was keeping him awake! How exciting that your grandmother was a McMillan! They are a huge cancer trust over here and do a lot for people with cancer, with special nurses etc. We always support them if we can. We both loved Scotland very much and are determined to go back one day! xoxo

  15. Dear Marie,
    I just read your post where you apologized for this post! I can't see that you should say sorry for such a heartfelt piece of writing! You gave us lovely photos and details of a gorgeous trip to the Scottish Highlands! At the end, you gave us your frustration about your knee but I can certainly understand why! Hope you find the right treatment for your knee problems.
    Even if you couldn't get around as much as you would have liked, you have seen the Scottish Highlands! That is more than I have done and I have two good knees! (For now, anyway, LOL!) xx

  16. This is an honest blog..:) I love it.Never change Marie.And nevr apologize for writing about how you feel.

  17. To THAT commenter,
    If you don't have anything nice to say (write) then don't say (write) anything at all!!!

    Marie, this is your blog and you can write whatever you want! Please, don't EVER feel that you have to apologize, esp to a RUDE person!

    I was hoping your knee wouldn't give you trouble on your holiday.
    I'm glad you were able to see the beautiful scenery, enjoy some entertainment, and good food though.

    Scotland looks like a beautiful place to visit! I really enjoyed looking at the pictures.

    I'm glad your going to the dr Monday to see about your knee. It's no fun being in pain, esp as busy as you are every day! Hugs!

  18. Thanks Kay, Monique and Jan. I know it is very easy to take things the wrong way on the net and people often do, so I am just thinking good things and intentions. I don't think anyone intentionally sets out to be mean. What matters most is how e react. Love you all. Xoxo

  19. Hi, Marie! So glad to get here finally and see about your holiday! Sooo BEAUTIFUL the places you went to see... Scotland has some many natural wonders! Very glad Todd was able to enjoy so much... though I'm sorry you were not able to as well, and that you got a cold too. A holiday away and unwell, is not much fun. But you've been to the Highlands, and what a treat! Hope all goes well with having your knee get some physio and treatment! Be taking good care there, and feel better soon! :))) ((LOVE & BIG HUGS))

  20. Oh Tracy, it was so beautiful in Scotland. I would move there in a minute if I could! Simply gorgeous! Todd and I would love to go again on our own and take in more of the history and see more of the Islands. It was good value for money spent though, and we both enjoyed it very much! Xoxo


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