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Published: October 27th 2007
Mat: The days are getting shorter, we have had a frost, and it’s another 3 months till the middle of winter. Please Scotland, be kind to us.
I will not say too much, because I do not have much to say. We have been working and saving. I have been working for Jimmy during the harvest and doing behaviour consults (www.petbehavioursorted.com
), Trace has been riding horses and is lean and muscled - no sign of the Cambodian pancakes left.
The biggest event for us was a two week visit by Trace's mum Annette and her wonderful friend Ruth. This coincided with the Bs leaving for two weeks to the US, and the four of us house-sitting their 550 year-old tower residence. This worked out very well for everyone because the Bs have 3 dogs and 4 cats that need looking after (a few of which are quite geriatric), and we were able to accommodate Annette and Ruth in a manner appropriate to their expectations.
Ruth was only spending a week in Scotland, so for six days or so we stormed around places of historical interest near Edinburgh. I find anything made of stone and/or older than a couple
of hundred years pretty interesting, which I presume is a result of coming from NZ with its recent European colonisation. It’s so familiar here in many ways yet so different. Many things ranging from aspects of the NZ lexicon to NZ place names can be referenced to their historical roots here in Scotland, yet petrol costs about $10 a litre, everyone drinks an incredibly sugary bright-orange fizzy drink called Irn Bru, and I can take a boat to Amsterdam?!
Annette got her daily walking fix in the morning by taking the dogs for a tramp around the forested Estate. This worked well as I had taken a couple of weeks off from farmering and enjoyed the sleeping in (or as the Scottish would say “late lie”) and Annette’s thirst for foot-miles would be somewhat satiated, saving Trace and I from the dreaded “five-minute walks”.
The other momentous event has been my cousin Lara arriving a week or so ago to stay with us. She has been travelling around South America and Europe so has many a story and photo to entertain us with. Today we went for a £10 12-hour bus trip around the Highlands (Glen Coe, Loch
Ness, Inverness etc), and last week we visited Roslin Chapel, good times.
The rest of the Mat and Trace update can be achieved through the photos and captions, so here we go.
Post script: Its February and I have just added a few more photos from Scotland to this post. M holds pheasant shoots here at Whittingehame. Due to the pest control that is necessary to assist the success of the pheasant rearing, the shoot processes is good for biodiversity. Not so good however for the pheasants themselves. I have helped drive the "beaters" (people herding pheasants towards the guns) around to the different "drives" of the pheasant shoots. Hence the photos of the whole process.
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