After not having been there for more than a year, I was really looking forward to go to Scotland and visit the family again. It is always great to see everyone there, be spoiled by Jim’s mum with a proper fry up in the morning. Eating homemade Shepherd’s pie, chicken casserole and a decent fish supper from the chippy down the road.
And of course spend an evening at Alex and Lorraine’s, enjoying homemade lasagna, share the joy of a cheese platter, especially with Lorraine and Leanne, see Jim tease his niece, Erin, and hear all the local gossip. Not to forget the odd visits to a pub and, if we are lucky, see Billy and Janette.
This year we were there in November. I had expected grey days and lots of rain. Instead we were treated with quite some sunshine, an amazing amount of shades of gold on the trees, nice green grass, and lots of possibilities to chase for a pot of gold at the end of the numerous rainbows. A great season for a visit, I discovered, if you don’t mind sitting in the pub during the occasional shower while going for a walk.
And of course it was great seeing everyone again. Meet Samuel, Leanne’s baby son. Spend time with Jim’s mum, see wild roe deer leaping through the fields just outside Linwood, have dinner with the family and see Billy and Janette and be welcomed by their family.
It was when Billy and Janette took us to the Trossachs and for a drive around the lochs that once again I realized what I have missed all these years, having spent most of my time only really visiting people in living rooms and pubs when in Scotland. Except for the odd visit to Edinburgh, and some places in the vicinity of Paisley, I haven’t seen much Scotland at all.
And as I saw once again, it is rather beautiful: a rough landscape with lots of water, hills and lots of green forests to explore. And it has a lot of great small places where they serve things like homemade venison carpaccio, and locally brewed beer.
Even after eighteen years, our focus still seems to be mainly on visiting friends and family. People who all make us feel very welcome. However, we don’t seem to be able to break the pattern and finally do what we’ve been planning for years: take more time to both explore and enjoy the countryside as well as take time to see family and friends.
More often I find myself postponing some of my plans for years. And not only those plans that are difficult to realise, but also those that are relatively easy to realise, or are near at hand and wouldn’t seem to cost much effort. Especially for those plans, there is always a good reason to not make them a priority, or to postpone it to a later day. And they easily get replaced by more exciting opportunities or pressing matters that emerge.
Nothing I regret, not much that I might have done otherwise. However, sometimes, when plans keep on popping up, like now, at the beginning of a new year, it is not such a bad thing to set a goal as it helps to make sure you do what you always wanted to do.
So instead of keeping it as a plan we want to do, sometime, 2016 is the year we will spend some more time in Scotland. When and where have not been decided yet. And there are still a number of other plans I am ready to realise. The goal for 2016 will be to find a balance between realising existing plans and having space for new opportunities to emerge.