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!"