|in which the trees are full of gold|
And so begins the rest of my life................
in which I am devoid of regular employment, having resigned from a very good but completely exhausting job, and am now a free agent
free to go to New Zealand in 2014
free to work where I like, when I like
free to say 'no thank you' to starting work at 7.30am and finishing at 8pm
free to be penniless if I choose..........which I almost certainly won't, as I always always need new camera gear and will want to travel to wild and beautiful places starting with Scotland.
So here I am in Nairn.
Where the days are warm and balmy, and I am sunburnt at the end of September.
Where the carpets are green and swirly
|where the carpets are green and swirly|
and the ice cream now comes in Irn Bru flavour, where once vanilla was all that one could possibly require or imagine, being creamy and soft and quite the most delicious treat at the Links tearoom that I visited every August as a child.
|Irn Bru ice cream|
The road signs in Nairn are very different from those in suburban south east England.
There are signs for cows, signs for sheep and signs for passing places. One of the wonderful things about the town is the fact that you only have to drive 5 or 6 miles before the scenery changes from gentle farmland into moorland with rolling hills of heather. Passing places appear as the roads narrow to a single track, and the managed forest gives way to a more traditional landscape.
|and the sheep have antlers|
The leaves are turning sooner than down south
|the leaves are turning|
|at Loch an Eilein|
My friend and I ran up Cairngorm mountain , chiefly to avoid paying £16 to take a guided walk at the top. If you walk up you are allowed to ascend right to the summit. Those who take the easy way up, in the funicular railway, not only miss the pleasure of puffing and panting for 2 hours on the ascent, but also are not allowed to walk to the summit unless they take a guided tour for a tidy sum.
As the vast majority of punters don't take the healthy and somewhat more challenging option, we had the summit to ourselves on what must have been one of the most wind free days of the year in a place where the winds can gust up to 200mph.
|Cairngorm summit; the proof|
So day one of my new regime included a mountain climb, a red squirrel lunch stop, a hike around a loch and a whisky mint julep.
This is definitely the life.
OH informs me that one of my walls back home has been painted a striking shade of blue........ oh horror of horror; what happened to off-white or hints of dingy and magnolia?
I am keeping quietly out of the way in the hope that it will be finished by the time I return and he will be over the shock.