Wednesday morning got off to what by now was our regular slow start. Mr L was in pain and almost permanently tied to the bathroom. We got ready as best we could and went down to reception to book our winter pitch before we left.
Teddy stayed in his basket all the way from Kippford to Perthshire. We had him eat some salmon when we stopped at Abington to fill up but he retired immediately. This was the day when he began peeing inappropriately, climbing out of bed and weeing on the spot or wandering into the bedroom and peeing on the carpet. I moved his litter tray from the bathroom and set it in front of his bed. This improved matters. Clearly he was not a well cat. Not once did he show any interest in riding in his usual manner upon my shoulder. Nor did he think about lying on the dashboard.
We took the detour to Falkirk, where it was teeming with rain and I proceeded to frustrate myself by being unable to do the Kelpies any justice at all. Between my ineptitude, the rain and all the power lines and street furniture etcetera around them (so much clutter!) I became ever more frustrated.
Will need to go back and try again another day.
I found the Kelpies completely awe-inspiring. Nothing, no matter how many photos one sees, can prepare one for the sheer immensity of them. Then there is the whole mind game of how something so obviously artificial can be so powerfully real. They are an incredible achievement.
It would have been good to play around at The Helix with my camera but the weather was defeating. We just hung about until the homeward traffic died down and then moved off around 7 pm to return to Taste of Perthshire.
There were two vans already parked when we arrived and the site only allows for three so it was with some relief that we squeezed in and readied ourselves for an early night. Although we were much further North by now the weather kept the light levels down and we were quickly asleep until some idiot outside began pipping their horn. and woke us. Mr L peered through the blinds to see what was happening, saw nothing obvious and got back into bed. The peeping began again, rather more urgent and longer in duration. He took a look through the front curtains and saw nothing. Back in bed again, when the horn being sounded became an extended note, growing ever louder.
“Er, isn’t that us?” I enquired. The answer was an expletive, and drowsily he attempted to clothe himself, certain that somebody would be knocking on our door very soon. The noise was by now deafening and panic was in the air. Why was the alarm going off?
Luckily, even half asleep, Mr L is a brighter body than I. He realised it was not the alarm – our alarm does not sound like that, it has a separate siren. It was, he deduced, our actual vehicle horn that was sounding and no, the cat was not sitting on it – he was fast asleep in his bed. The dog however was cowering in ours by now!
“Where are the keys?” he yelled at me, tearing the place apart. I was still half asleep and unable to form the words to tell him that he had been drinking and so had tossed the keys in the kitchen drawer in case a bobby came along. I mumbled and gesticulated. “WHAT?” he yelled over the cacophony cause by the horn. I managed to make myself understood and he rummaged to find the keys.
In desperation, Mr L put the keys in the ignition, turned the engine on and… the noise died.
I lay in bed, awake for hours, in expectation of the thing going off again but it didn’t.
In the morning we crept away like thieves in the night, fearful of meeting anyone’s eyes – but not before we raided this little lot:
We drew the line at stopping for breakfast, that might have been too brazen altogether. I did suggest that I go and knock on the door of the house that we parked next to, just to give a fulsome apology but the boss thought it was a poor idea.
Mr L tried the horn as we left. Not a peep would issue from it. Conclusion: the rain got in to the works somehow, caused a short that set the horn off and ultimately killed it. How happy I am that the death was not a lingering one.
Having a day in hand we were heading only as far as Dornoch but we made time to call in at Ralia for more muffins. They really are that good. (The coffee is really good too.)
Our friend the Black-headed Gull put in an appearance but we were inside, away from the rain and he could not steal my crumbs this time.
We also bought some posh chocs to savour with our newly acquired whisky come the evening.
The dark and bitter chocolate was sheer heaven and the filling was lovely, though the ratio was imbalanced and would have benefited from more caramel/less chocolate (did I honestly say that!). I love the kind of chocolates that defeat and are just too superbly chocolatey to pig out on. The small box that we had lasted us for several days. Yummy. Would buy again.
Maybe the next time that we are passing…
Nell enjoyed her walk around the woodland path before we left for Dornoch, where we arrived at around 3 pm but found several motorhomes already parked up. We almost felt obliged to leave and find another spot but we stopped for a cuppa and while we did that a couple of vans left. In the end we had three for company overnight.
I put in my 30 Days Wild time on the beach but only had my phone camera with me. I found several Brittlestars and had fun exploring the layers of life on the rocks, which were wearing Trump-style wigs in vivid green on top of heads covered in what looked to me like festering pustules… lumps of mussels encrusted with tiny Barnacles. Imagination? Moi?
The image transfer is still squishing my photos beyond all recognition so you will have to exercise your own imagination regarding the lumpy heads with green wigs. What? You can’t? Maybe just the one, then.
Teddy usually likes to explore at Dornoch but he didn’t come out to play.
We were booked on the evening ferry from Scrabster on Friday so had no need to leave Dornoch early. In the event, it turned out to be a pretty windy day so the actual journey, only 70 miles, was very slow.
Teddy didn’t get out of bed for the travelling, or for his breakfast.
When we pulled in to the filling station outside Dornoch, I looked for a phone signal, found one and rang our vet to ask if they could fit Teddy in on Saturday morning. They were able to oblige and I was grateful. I felt sure by now that he was either dying of his own accord or desperately ill and in need of release.
As we pulled away from the filling station, my little feline friend emerged, stretched and asked for food. NOW. Please. I gave him some salmon, which he ate, and then he jumped into my arms for half an hour as we drove along. I don’t know about him but I was certainly feeling much better. We chatted about how animals are like children and do this getting better thing the moment medical assistance has been arranged.
After a sleep, Teddy came back to sit on my knee and travelled with me the rest of the distance to Sibster, where he ate again and I felt even happier.
Back in Orkney we went to sleep the night at Brodgar and Teddy wanted to get out and explore so I gave him an airing. On Saturday morning he was up and at ’em and loudly demanding food. We had not really heard his voice for over a week so we felt great relief. Sadly we could not feed him as the vet had ordered nil by mouth in case of a need for investigations under anaesthetic. we however were feeling that he was over the hump and perhaps did not even need to go. However we agreed that he should go and keep the appointment.
In Kirkwall, Mr L dropped me off and went to park the RV in the only place we know that it will fit. We were both confident that the worst was past and there was no need for us both to attend. Teddy made a noisy complaint whilst we waited and I accused him of being an old fraud. Unfortunately it proved not to be the case. Our little friend had a liver full of tumours. The vet wanted to put him down there and then and was not happy even with the idea of me taking him home to bring back on Thursday. He was concerned that a downward turn was imminent and there would be no vet help at hand. It looked like he was doing that thing about rallying just before the end, not improving at all. I negotiated terms and left for an hour so that Mr L could say goodbye to Teddy.
I was, I freely admit, a bit of a snotty mess as I walked back towards the car park. Happily, I saw Nell and Mr L heading my way around the Peerie Sea. I gave them the bad news and Mr L took Nell back to the van in order to accompany Ted and I back to the vet. I spent some quality time with the cat among the buttercups until he returned, then we took our boy back and said goodbye.
Normally I am robust about these things. I love my furry friends and enjoy their company but am not overly sentimental. Teddy’s dying has hit me harder than any other. I am missing him terribly and it really seems to have knocked me back a bit. Mr L tells me that I had a special relationship with that cat. Perhaps I did.
Overall I am trying to be happy and grateful for the time that we had. I am really happy that we began to take Teddy out and about with us. He had a ball – you could really tell that he loved his travels and all of the attention that it gained him. I am glad for the hours and hours that I had to hold him as we drove and for the many nights that he forced his way down inside the bed with us. It was all Quality Time. I just wish that we’d had longer.
To complete the tale, we filled in our day by eating comfort food at Helgi’s until it was time for the ferry home. I really did not feel up to any more than that.
Goodbye, old man. I am going to miss you. It will feel odd being on the road without you.