This past weekend was my birthday weekend, so I enjoyed a wee road trip to the Scottish Borders to explore in and around Kelso. It was a great way to shake out the cobwebs and a fun way to celebrate the end of another year. And, it was a great excuse to eat lots of holiday food!
Mini-adventures have become somewhat of a birthday tradition since I became a widow; it’s a way for me to celebrate my birthday without making a big fuss with other people. This year was a bit different though as a friend asked if they could tag along. (The fact that my friend owns a really nice Mercedes made it easier to say yes!) I admit that there was a bit of a selfish side of me that didn’t want to share my birthday weekend. But at the same time, it was a nice change to have someone to share the excitement with.
We stayed in the Cross Keys Hotel in the heart of Kelso. The current building is from the 1700s, although there has been an inn there for much longer. Next to the hotel is Rutherford’s – Scotland’s first micro-pub. As it was so near, we just had to sample the wares each day.
Our first full day was spent exploring the Kelso Abbey and a fantastic antique fair at the Border Union Agricultural Society. I had a brief visit to the abbey about 15 years ago as part of a coach tour, but time was quite limited. This time though, we were the only people there (first thing in the morning) and were able to explore to our hearts’ content. Then it was onto the fair where I scored a fantastic haul including a dozen handkerchiefs to add to my collection, a wee book for one of my sisters, and a wood-cased letter opener. My friend found a great jeweller’s scale set, a trio of carved elephants, and a rather tatty (but in a good way) wall carving of Jesus.
The latter part of the day was spent wandering around exploring Kelso a bit and grabbing a couple of geocaches. We even stumbled upon an incredibly interesting boarded-up old church as well as a replica of an Edinburgh church that I’m rather fond of. (And there was a visit to the aforementioned pub, too.)
On Sunday, we took some bread down to the river to feed the ducks. They were certainly excited to have the treat and I was pretty excited to get to watch them chow down on a 50p loaf of bread. Then we headed to Floors Castle to see the snowdrops around the estate grounds and to have a wee peek in the walled gardens. From there, we took a side trip to Smailholm Tower before detouring to Coldstream so that we could walk across the bridge to England and back before making the drive back to Edinburgh.
It was a great weekend adventure, marking the end of my time as The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Tomorrow, I will turn 43 years old. And whilst that means I will no longer be the ultimate answer, it also means that I am very, very, very near to being The Doctor! So stay tuned for more great adventures!
Speaking of which, here’s a wee PhD update!
Today’s thesis writing season update
The current word count remains the same as last week: 4,000 of 80,000 (Only 76,000 to go!)
This week’s task list:
- Work on my findings chapters
- Catch up on some administrative work
- Run a short social media workshop for a group of school kids
- And write as much as I can!!