new beginnings

I have been very excited for about a week or so. Why? Because we have just acquired this dream machine . . .

You may remember the insane enthusiasm such vehicles inspired in me when we went away in one last year. The comfort! The convenience! The ability to drink tea from a teapot! When a friend of Tom’s recently announced that he was selling his, we, as they say, jumped at the chance. Tent camping is still difficult for me as I a) can’t really carry anything, and b) live with the damocles sword of post-stroke fatigue. But the van means that we can get out and about pretty much however I am feeling. Last year my recovery rather put paid to our usual outdoors activities, but this year there shall be walking! And camping! And hills! More tea! This weekend was a very good time for new beginnings, and we took our van (our van!) out on its maiden voyage. It really is brilliant. How can you argue when this is the first thing you see when you open the curtains (curtains!) in the morning?

Bruce, of course, heartily approved—both of the van, and of its location by the bonnie banks and braes . . .

We had gone to Loch Lomond with a purpose—some friends were getting married, and we were looking forward to helping them celebrate. The day’s festivities began with a 10k race. Bruce and I watched while HBT’s brown-clad hordes snaked their way around the loch’s Western shores.

Yes, that is the groom sporting the lurid and stylishly deconstructed shelly. . .

Post-race, the sun came out, and we all went to get our glad rags on.

Because I know that you would like to see how we scrub up on such occasions, here am I, sporting a fascinator for the first time in my life.

I found it on ebay for a snip!

And here is Tom . . .

Get your teeth away from that sporran, Bruce!

The wedding took place in Auchendennan House, a mid-nineteenth century mansion full of typical gothic excesses, and commanding fine views of the loch and surrounding landscape. Built for Glasgow merchant, George Martin, on what is claimed to be the site of Robert the Bruce’s hunting lodge, it is now home to what—in terms of both architecture and setting—is possibly the most spectacular youth hostel in the world.

With the sort of lovely weather that is (ahem) entirely characteristic of April in Scotland, it turned out to be a glorious day for new beginnings. The wedding was elegant, unpretentious, and full of genuine love and warmth.

A perfect reflection of the bride and groom, then.

Sláinte, Dan and Sula!