I settled into a routine as I had in the south. Get up early, blog and work, join Lynn and Richard for breakfast, then work some more. I lay on my bed under the covers to keep warm, at first wondering, “How will I ever work without a desk?” but quickly getting used to tapping away on my keyboard in a reclining state.
Whenever I glanced out the window, Dottie the cat would be in position, staring at me like she was trying to communicate some vitally important matter of possibly national interest. I tried to get into the habit of rousing myself once an hour and take a lap around the property. Dottie would accompany me down the drive, but at a distance of about 10 feet, as if to say, “I’m not with you, I just happen to be walking down the drive at the same time as you.” Lord Parker would wait for me at the gate, then tail me as I walked the circular path around the garden. When I got to the gate on the other side that led to the river, he would watch me beseechingly with his tawny, human-like eyes, maybe thinking, “maybe this time, maybe she’ll let me come too.”
There, I did it, I anthropomorphized. I really don’t believe that animals have thoughts, but since we humans have more thoughts than we know what to do with, I guess it’s tempting to lay some of ours on other beings.
It was better than nothing that I walked around Dunrovin half a dozen times a day. I would like to report that I also took long, vigorous walks every afternoon as I had in Eton and Windsor. That was my goal. But just the opposite took place, and I may well have to check into a fat farm to work off the pounds I gained in Scotland.
I blame it on the doubles. Lynn has two small fridges in the kitchen and two freezers full of venison and other meats Richard has harvested, plus a pantry and a wine cellar. Then there was the double cream. I continued my personal single, double, and clotted cream festival throughout the month, pouring it over or globbing it onto pastry shells, croissants, ice cream, strawberries, muesli, and anything else that didn’t move.
The three of us ate lunch and dinner together most days. Lynn loves to cook, is a great cook, and doesn’t stint on rich ingredients or portions. I feel so lazy saying this, but I only prepared about six meals the whole month. When I offered, Lynn would usually say she already had the meal planned. When I offered to make it, she would wave me off, saying it was no trouble. We often had a salad and veggies, but they were in addition to a leg of lamb or shepherd’s pie. I made lasagna and moussaka, then felt it was my duty to eat all the leftovers so they wouldn’t go to waste.
My first outing was to the Huntly Farmers’ Market, held once a month in the town square.
Bread, pastries, chutneys and jams and jellies, and beautiful berries. All good vehicles for double cream.
Have you ever been to a farmer’s market where they sell fresh fish? I bought some langoustines for our supper.
Surprise! There was wild game.
Then there was the paella man, a Spanish guy named Marco. I bought a bowl then walked around while Lynn sold raffle tickets and promoted an upcoming Harry Potter children’s party.
I talked to a retired physician who, with his wife and daughter, runs a small charity which benefits local initiatives in Nepal; they invited me to a fundraiser that would involve ceili dancing.
I sat on a bench to finish my paella and the granite was so cold I let out a yelp. A woman standing nearby immediately offered me her portable seat cushion, then we began to chat and—too late—I noticed her kiosk full of Jehovah’s Witness literature. But she and her fellow adherents were very nice and didn’t push it.
I decided to have a wander to work off the paella and wound up at Huntly Castle.
Just another day in Scotland.