Time never stops and soon we were leaving Reading and catching a flight north to Scotland, where we caught a bus south again into Border country. Ettrick is a charming valley in the countryside, flowing the lovely Ettrick water, a river that featured in many of the photos we took in the area. The sit here was in a romantic looking 17th Century Hunting Lodge, with a number of animals, including horses, all sorts of birds and a lovely but neurotic dog. Despite his phobias, Rocket was a great companion on our walks and if he was not left alone, he was happy and congenial.
It turned out that the lovely looking home was freezing (original windows did not stop the howling gales), the bed was uncomfortable, and there was quite a bit of work involved getting feed out to the paddocks to the horses in the snow. The tractor didn’t work and the small ride on was unreliable, so we ended up lugging most of the hay out in a wheelbarrow. The large round bales made it very difficult to load the feed, as the bales needed to be unrolled in the barn. And the horses made trouble by breaking into the bales that were still in the field (but electric-fenced off).
However, the snowfall was delightful for those of us who had never spent more than a day in the snow previously. The walks in the area were fascinating and adventurous, and the neighbours were wonderful. We found some very old historic ruins of Towers used in the 16th Century during Border skirmishes with the English. The nearest neighbour, Ray, was a wonderful man, a potter who allowed us to photograph his gorgeous fantasy works of art. The peacocks also served as models for some photos, bit the parrots were caged in the old stables and it was much to dark for good clear pictures.
We finished the winter in Scotland with a memorable sit in Kemnay, which is in the Aberdeen region. We found some adventurous walks through the countryside, which our three companions were delighted to show us. Sometimes spending as long as five hours a day exploring the locality of Kemnay, we enjoyed the snow-covered landscapes and other times, found the greenery and flowers that had been buried just the day before. Wail’n. his mother, Tula and little Che just loved the outdoors and spent most of the time either chasing a ball or fetching sticks. Val and Derek also have two cats, and three hens that rounded out our temporary family. Their house was cosy and warm, and we had enough snow to satisfy our desire for a white winter. We found an impressive ruin on one of our walks, called the Bishops Palace, and the Home Farm at Fettenear, and these became subjects of photos that sold! Truly a magic place.
Eventually our time in Scotland was finished, and we caught a bus back to London for a short sit with three darling little Chihuahua dogs. Close to another canal system, we found more walks in the outskirts of London city. Finally we packed up our warm clothing and donated them all in a clothing box, before flying to Bangkok, where we were due to sit our former babies- the cats Ginger and Astaire.