Since we left Scotland back in September 2014 Mr FF has returned a couple of times, I had never been back. Until this week that is.
A good friend of Mr FF died just before Christmas, he had been ill for a while, it wasn't unexpected, and we returned for the funeral in Greenock. We were invited by another walking friend also attending the funeral to stay with him the night before, which was a big help. The funeral was a positive celebration of John's life, complete with music from the Goons, Abba and we left the service to the sound of Ken Dodd signing Happiness which put a smile on everyone's face.
Then we stayed two days with our dear friends Pam and Andrew in the village where we lived for more than 20 years.
So how was it going back you ask. Well it wasn't as cold as I expected, I took plenty of layers but despite some awful wet and windy days I didn't feel the chill. I had forgotten how beautiful the Scottish hills are, I love where we live now with our views of Wharfedale but the Borders are dramatic and majestic, I needed a reminder of that.
The boys had a trip into town for curry, the girls a much more girly day out with bookshop and gallery shopping, lunch and coffee and cakes. In one shop I met the wife of a man I used to work with, I was surprised and pleased she recognised me and reminded of my days working in Edinburgh.
We caught up with friends who live in the same little development of 9 houses where we were, we got the warmest of welcomes and time flew by as there was so much to talk about. We did of course sneak down the road for a look at our old house and were rather shocked to see the state of the garden, and not just ours. Many of the gardens were totally overgrown, unkempt, walls and fences falling down, it looked truly awful and must effect the value of property. It made me very cross that people do not care for their own environment, what hope for the world if they can't see what is on their own doorstep. I was rather pleased we left when we did before the decline.
We had a leisurely drive home that involved brie and bacon baguettes and coffee on the side of Lake Ullswater, a stock up at a farm shop and a round of applause from me as we passed the Ilkley sign as we entered our town.
Despite the sad occasion it was nice to reconnect with people, I miss my friendship with Pam and all our chats, knitting together and her listening to my rants. We keep in touch with email and rather infrequent phone calls but being together was so much better and of course neither of us has aged a day over the last 5+ years.
The day after we left I had an email and a photo from Pam of their lovely garden that morning, I think we did rather well to avoid this.