Colleen Watt


Colleen Watt

My blog is a record of my memories that would otherwise be forgotten. They are too precious to be lost. It’s also to reassure our children that we are alive and well, exploring the world.

Asia » Singapore » Changi March 28th 2023

We landed in Singapore at breakfast time and eventually got ourselves through immigration and security and all of that, with Shannon keeping a text checkup on our progress. We emerged from the airport just one hour after arrival, and caught a cab to our hotel, which is just down the road from Shannon and Aaron’s apartment. Shannon came down and joined us and we sat and chatted for a couple of hours before taking the time to shower and freshen up. Shannon took us to the area behind the buildings across the road, where we found a food market. We decided on spicy duck with noodles for lunch $3. Then we trundled down to their home with our cabin bags where we chatted some more with Aaron until the children came home from school. We all ... read more

Well, all of our problems seem to come to the surface at Heathrow. After a lovely breakfast we tried to get the lift down to the Heathrow transfer trains - the lift wouldn’t work. So we found another lift that did work, only to find that the train platforms were closed and a bunch of security men standing around chatting, taking the time to briefly tell us the transfer train wasn’t working. I had the temerity to say “well how do you get to Terminal 2?” And they said the Piccadilly line, underground. So we turned and muttered a few choice words about Heathrow. One of the security guys must have realised we were strangers in a strange place and followed us, asking if we knew the way. We said we had no idea so he ... read more

Well, what a HUGE day. We were up early this morning. We had told Sheila not to worry about brekky but that just distressed her, so she left a tray of cereal, fruit, yoghurt, toast and scones for us. We left at 6:30am and drove through ALL weather conditions to get to edinburgh airport to return the car before 1pm. We had rain, sleet and snow as well as brilliant sunshine requiring sunnies (Tom’s broke ages ago so he was wearing mine). it was a 6 hour drive with two stops for petrol. I guess because it’s a hybrid they figure you don’t need a big tank. We added up the kilometres Tom drove in the two cars - a total of 2642 kilometres! The Hertz lady thinks we covered everything and everywhere. Today was a ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County March 21st 2023

What a sad day, our last day of exploring in Scotland, for tomorrow we drive to edinburgh and fly to London. Caithness was bright and shiny. We drove through and around more town lands of my ancestors. Just Kirkstyle and Canisbay. A number of our Davidsons, Dunnets and Cormack lived in Kirkstyle over the years, and so many of our cousins are buried in Canisbay The Canisbay Kirk is the most northerly church on mainland Britain, and it looks out to the Orkney Islands. From 1959 until her death, the Queen Mother worshipped here, as her local parish church for her holiday home, Castle Mey. Now it belongs to King Charles (and is currently closed). Jan de Groot, the man who found John o’Groats is buried here, as are many, many of our distant cousins. We ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County March 20th 2023

We had another amazing breakfast by Sheila today (included in our tariff) - the food is delicious, but she has such a sense of style in the plating up. Her sons wedding happening in 3 weeks time has an amazing story. It was supposed to happen 3 years ago, but then they went into lockdown and it was postponed indefinitely. During the covid lockdowns they decided to continue with their plans for a family (hence the highchair at our table last night), but first off, Sheila tells us, during the lockdown her husband said “Sheila, I need you for an hour or so today”. She asked if she needed to get changed and he said no, we’ve got to go now and they drove off. She thought it was to see her son’s plot of land ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County March 19th 2023

Today was unexpectedly and very happily turned topsy turvy. We were about to head out this morning when Shannon instigated a full family face time, which was just lovely, especially as it is Mothers Day over here. So we all chatted for over an hour, catching up on everyone’s goings on. Then Sheila came in and offered us a chance to have a real meal with lots of vegies. We’d had a conversation about the lack of veggies in pub meals and all the local dining places are booked out for Mothers Day. Sheila’s son had a booking for today at a buffet, but his fiancée had her hens night last night and is not feeling up to dining out today, so they offered us their booking. So lucky!! So we abandoned our plans. Tom wanted ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County March 18th 2023

This accommodation includes brekkie delivered to our suite - and what a brekkie it was! We both chose porridge as a starter, then Tom had pancakes with bacon and maple syrup - I had smashed avocado on sourdough with smoked salmon - it was delightful. And we met Sylvia, a local who met and married John. She is just lovely and was so delighted that we’re on a family history jaunt. Our first engagement today was a gin distillery tour and tasting at the gin distillery 500 metres up the road at 11am. It was great. This distillery was started by a chemical engineer who wanted a change from working at the nuclear research station. They gave a gin and tonic to start, in the most elegant glass, and it was soooo smooth and lovely. Then ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County March 18th 2023

Sorry I didn’t write this up yesterday - I was not in the right headspace. This morning we left Sandend - so sorry to leave, we’ve had the loveliest time. We set off with lovely plans for stopping enroute to Dunnet, but these did not eventuate. We had planned to stop off at a distillery as we were passing right by, but unfortunately they were unexpectedly closed. So we continued on to Glen Morangie, but they were open only for sales in the shop. We had planned to have lunch at the Morangie House Hotel, but contrary to their website, they were not open at all, until Sunday (Mothers Day). It was about this point that the Optus coverage ceased. It seems they cover the UK, just not the highlands of Scotland. So we drove on ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Banffshire March 16th 2023

Very sad, our last day exploring in Banffshire. We are pleased though that we did our outdoor things yesterday, our only 100% fine day We drove firstly through Glasshaugh where my 4 greats grandmother was born back in the 1700s, and then continued on to Fordyce. I was really hoping to see a wild deer over the stone wall, as Tom did the other day, but no such luck. We do still see pheasants by the sides of the roads and in paddocks. They have an “old Kirk” at Fordyce that has been turned into a bistro and I thought “great, we’ll dine in my ancestors old church” but then I read that it had been consecrated in 1804 and that’s too recent for my family! The old, old Kirk is my family’s Kirk - St ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Banffshire » Portsoy March 15th 2023

Well! What a difference a day makes - after our snowy day yesterday, today was quiet, calm and sunny! ‘Twas lovely. We decided to spend the morning doing the one activity that needed to be rain free, and spent the morning walking and driving the streets of Portsoy - the village where my dad’s grandad Davidson (who died in Sydney in 1954) was born, and where the various branches of our family lived 1792-1919. We found two of the streets they lived in and walked up and down them, as well as the main shopping street. We also found one of the houses, if they haven’t been been renumbered since 1895. Grandad Davidson became a baker here in Portsoy (his father was a Cooper in the fish curing business), before moving to Northumberland. We came across ... read more

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