I made an unplanned day trip to Inverness today, sans better half, but she came up with the ingenious idea of ‘advising’ me before I left of some clothes I apparently need. So, obediently following orders, I found myself doing one of my absolute least favourite things: shopping for trousers. Jeans, to be precise. And, oh, the problems that caused…
Last weekend, I experienced something which I don’t recall experiencing before in the 25-odd years it could have happened: I was last out of a few hundred people. It wasn’t a cause for concern, frustration or embarrassment (which, given my slightly competitive nature, might come as a shock); it wasn’t because of any failure on my part; and it wasn’t planned. It wasn’t hugely significant, and I’m sure it didn’t even register with a single other person in the place. Nevertheless, it was important.
Just for fun, here’s a list of 40 of some of the best or most interesting things I’ve experienced. They’re not achievements (please spare me from being that vain) and, by and large, they won’t specifically mention other people….
So, in no particular order (other than the first one!), here are 40 highlights that come to mind now (the list might be different next week!):
Before: nerves, questions, cautious excitement. Will people be relaxed? Will they enjoy it? Is there anything we’ve planned that’s going to flop?
After: delight, relief, instant memories. People were relaxed, positive and in great spirits from beginning to end. Everything we planned seemed to work like a dream. And, just like that, the three days we had spent eleven months planning, passed.
There’s been a bit of a ritual here in Lewis and Harris over the last number of years. Every Easter, the 40th Reunion takes place for those who have just turned or are about to turn 40. It’s always a fun game looking at the photos to see who you recognise and seeing how people have changed through the years. Only this time, in 2017, it’s different: it’s the turn of my lot!
There have been strong connections between Lewis and Canada for generations. For myself, I was vaguely aware that I had relations of some description in Canada, but I was pretty hazy on the details. My father, however, has always had an interest in visiting Canada but the opportunity never arose. In summer 2015 things clicked in my brain and I had a crazy idea – let’s go to Canada with my parents! You see, between them they would be celebrating a 70th birthday, a 65th birthday and their 40th wedding anniversary in 2016 and I thought that a trip across the Atlantic would be a fantastic way to mark the occasions.
Our first trip together across the Atlantic was in September 2005, a few short weeks after Hurricane Katrina grabbed the world’s attention. We started in Atlanta and had a rough idea that we were going to drive north-east ultimately towards Washington DC. The first two days of our road trip proved more surprising than we could ever have imagined!