Monday, April 20, 2009

Down the lane called Memory

This is an entry that has been preserved in my draft box for reasons unexplainable. And my disappearance from the blogosphere of late feels like ages...
The children were ecstatic when they heard that we were (finally) taking the trip up north. They had heard me talk about the scenic highlands and tales of the Scots for too long already. After two and a half years, God willing, we were able to make the journey alas, one member short. We tagged along some friends who had made plans for the trip a few months prior.
Driving around in Great Britain previously involved several worrying factors for me, including the fact that I had been the official map-reader or navigator for the family for the past decade. Now, without a reliable adult by my side, I saw the need to invest in a satelite navigator - which I successfully managed to snatch at a good bargain several months ago.
First, in planning the 320 mile cruise (estimated to take 5 hours 40 mins without breaks),we broke the journey half-way so that we could visit friends along the way. For a person like me, a trip such as this has great potential in turning into a disaster if not tactfully managed. I had to make sure that we had all the necessary things needed (food, clothes, charges of all sorts, etc), the children fed, cleaned, comfortable and disciplined, and on top of it all, happy and not quarrelsome most of the time (my, my... is this ever possible?).


All through the drive, we were reminded of spots we stopped over when he was with us. "Oh, I remember this place," and "Isn't this where we chased the rabbits?"
On the first night, we slept over at our friend's. The last we were there was in August 2007 - with our dearest. It took me a while to fall asleep on the sofa bed that night; the last time I was on it, I was nursing my beloved. I felt my heart throb and my eyes were stinging. Oh, dear...
The next day, we drove up further along the coast: to the land of Braveheart! It was interesting to note the change in the vegetation along the motorway as we approached Scotland. The banks by the motorway were filled with yellow heather, and it released pangs of nostalgic memories of the geographical trips made with the late Mr Hockings. Obviously there weren't oil palm or rubber trees along the motorway (like in Malaysia), but there were definitely more and more open greens on slopey terrains.

The children were delighted to see the sea and throughout the trip, we spent a lot of time walking up and down the rocky beaches, looking for creatures in the rock holes and collecting sea shells. I had to literally hold the children tightly by their shirts for they were ever so eager to splash in the cold waters any time!

Every morning, I grabbed the opportunity to run along the coast before the children got up. The cool morning breeze was certainly very refreshing. The tranquility of the atmosphere allowed me to clear my head of all worries and reflect on my life so far: the 30+ years I've sailed through with bumps and halts here and there. I have no doubt that my years ahead will be guided by Him, as long as I keep my faith strong and adhere to my beliefs. Yet, I miss him terribly - my companion, my soul mate and my source of inspiration. Life is not completely amiss but it's sometimes difficult to soldier on when you don't have someone to share your everyday insignificant tales. Thus, every time I catch myself talking out loud to him, I try to pull the reigns and snap myself out of it...

In Scotland, we went to places I used to go during college trips and also with mates during weekends or breaks. I wasn't interested in taking long drives up to Inverness or John o' Groats (the most northern point in UK), but aimed to keep it simple as I trace back my steps during those youthful days with wonderful friends. I remember driving up with Peah and the girls up to Stirling, St. Andrew, Fort Williams and the likes. And of course, there were countless outdoor escapades we Moray House chics (a.k.a Horay Mouses) ventured on. Loch Lomond was the closest loch (lake) to 'Ol Edinburgh and around it we trekked and hiked days and evenings in our horrible red cagoules (anoraks)! So, during this trip, we drove through Stirling, snapped photos in the picturesque town and then headed towards Loch Lomond. Surely, we saw the highland cows along the way and the vast open land surrounding us. We also passed through Glasgow - a city we frequented to meet our mostly medic and engineering friends, and also where our Malaysian warden was.

Among all, stepping into Edinburgh certainly ooh-ed and aah-ed me to no end! From the south, we drove through Cameron Toll - the shopping mall near the Halls of Residence we partied in for a year! My eyes were filled with tears when we passed the bus-stop that sheltered us from the cold winds circa 1991 and 1992. We drove uphill towards the city centre, and I pointed out to the children my foster parents' home in Newington, my landlady's guesthouse and the other points of memorabilia along the road. The Odeon next to our former abode (Myra and I) was already closed down, but some shops remained in place. I couldn't resist stopping by and snapping a picture of our old dungeon (we lived in a basement flat) - a place that held many memories as we opened our doors to tonnes of friends from near and far.

Kebab Mahal was still in place, with the same owner still behind the counter and claiming he sensed I used to be his customer from many, many years ago (would you believe the old man?). Even the shop owned by a Jordanian man across the street( where I used to sell my currypuffs) was still there. Edinburgh looked and felt big, compared to our Coventry today. Princes Street was busy as ever, with people flocking it on the sunny Easter weekend. We moved on to the Royal Mile, where my friends and I savoured every weekday to classes. Carlton Hill and Arthur's Seat were high peaks I had to go back to as they were the secrets points of breathless sightings in the elating Edinburgh! It's just a shame that new buildings such as the Parliamentary building across the Holyrood Palace and Arthur's Seat, are spoiling the classic Edinburgh. :(
Walking back the same streets you did more than a decade ago after six years in the same city would definitely give you the same effect it did on me. I knew that to complete my trip, I had one more place to go to and it was among my favourite spots: the Forth Road Bridge along the Firth of Forth.


With that, we returned with our hearts still in Scotland... As Princess says, "I don't like Scotland, I love it!"

17 comments:

Ms B said...

Love this entry!!! You really had a great time looking at the photos. *grins*

Now, look forward to more road trips, since u have invested in a sat nav. *winks*

bluewonder said...

d,
missing our dungeon,
our long walks to class,
countless field trips,
video nights,
odeon treats,
endless charades during the weekends,
usrah n makan-makan,
picnics at the parks...etc etc

But most importantly..missing u!

Naz said...

I love this post, D :)

Suzana Abd Manan said...

D, wah seronok tengok gambar budak2 tu happy kat sana. Rasa nak gi Scotland lagi je..huhu

Roti Kacang Merah said...

dijjie, you made that "peah and the girls" outing sound like an all-girls outing lah. hahaha

hah? Odeon dah tak da??? Kebab Mahal ada lagi??? What about my school and Tollcross...ada beza tak? kot dah jadi pekan besar, ke...? hehehe

i miss that place, lah... i really do *sniff*

Roti Kacang Merah said...

i mean... i miss edinburgh, bukan my school and tollcross. soweee...hehe

BajuRenangMuslim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ajzie said...

Kenangan lama mengusik jiwa..


Hugs
Ajzie

NJ@goboklama said...

bilalah NJ nk sampai sana ek? :)

Raden Galoh said...

salam sis...
love this piece! alhamdulillah, you did have a good time up north... and seeing the photos of your kids, they sooth and comfort me... you gonna be fine sis. Kasih Allah melimpah-ruah utk you sekeluarga...

take care and you r always in my thoughts and prayers.

hugs.

MULAN said...

tumpang seroooonoookkk..!! glad u guys had great trip.. take care & hugs..

ileena said...

OMG scotland! was once my 'kampung'..and i think i'll be visiting it again..most prolly next yr..or the year after!
hahaha.
*Russia and the UK seems so near.nak buat macamane kan!*

anggerik merah said...

Oh my dear....down memory lane. Guess what, I will be there again next week for about 3 days. My second visit for this year....always back to our old kampung...

Thanks dear for sharing this!... My favourite spot is forth road bridge too...

U take care.

AM,

Faraway in the atlantic ocean onboard Bergen Helene

anggerik merah said...

Oh my dear....down memory lane. Guess what, I will be there again next week for about 3 days. My second visit for this year....always back to our old kampung...

Thanks dear for sharing this!... My favourite spot is forth road bridge too...

U take care.

AM,

Faraway in the atlantic ocean onboard Bergen Helene

anggerik merah said...

Oh my dear....down memory lane. Guess what, I will be there again next week for about 3 days. My second visit for this year....always back to our old kampung...

Thanks dear for sharing this!... My favourite spot is forth road bridge too...

U take care.

AM,

Faraway in the atlantic ocean onboard Bergen Helene

jooli said...

D
Good to hear you enjoyed yourselves. A tinge of sadness there, but a lovely post.

Fish of Pisces @ 5th_E said...

kebab mahal! hehehe

briyani best in the world!! :P