dear diary :: roaming in the gloaming

The journey to Scotland didn’t start too well.  We were up, packed and ready to go on time but then a power cut delayed us, as we had to wait to be sure everything electrical was off and the burglar alarm set OK, then as we drove the first mile it was obvious the car is still not as it should be….smooth.  The suspension was suspiciously rather bumpy and hard which is not like Citroens at all.  We circled the block a couple of times, me driving, then DH driving as it seems far worse on the passenger side, then we went back home to decide on what we should do.  Already having forked out £1200 for this problem we are reluctant to go back to the same garage.

We decided we would carry on to Scotland turning back at Preston if the suspension had not settled down by then or had got worse.  It more or less remained the same – probably better on the smoother roads like the motorways and no warning messages had activated so we pressed on, fingers crossed all the way.

Anyway we are here in Scotland now and despite all the weather warnings it was gloriously sunny yesterday, but bitterly cold in the breeze.  I have said this before but I do love these grey winter days by the sea, they are quite calming and relaxing. 

And we have no plans other than to relax.

Because of the earlier set backs and subsequent late departure we didn’t get to the cottage (caravan) until 9pm. It was cold inside the van, the central heating boiler had lost water pressure and was flashing fault. Hastily, we scrambled around for the manual to check the fault code – most likely due to a leak it says – no obvious signs inside so we will need to examine the outside pipes under the van in the daylight – in the meantime DH is able to let more water into the system so that we can get the heating up and running again.

Meanwhile, I start to busy myself unpacking and making up the bed with clean linen only to discover that the electric blanket that I had taken home to wash…. was……you guessed it…… still at home. Memories of the recent cake saga flood into my mind. Luckily, we keep a hot water bottle at the van and so this was requisitioned to warm and air the bed which was so cold I could only envisage a night of discomfort. Trying to heat up the whole of the bed a few square inches at a time takes some effort when you are tired and cold and just want to climb into a warm bed and sleep.

After a while we managed to warm up the room and the bed and eventually jumped in fully kitted out with t-shirts and socks….. and actually slept quite soundly.

It was quite late when we surfaced, tired after the long journey, but the sun was shining so after breakfast we went out to survey our land – not quite roaming in the gloaming (which means twilight – I had to Google it) but rather midday.  We always have a wander through the wood and round the garden then down onto the beach to check everything is OK.

Everything was as it should be with no evidence of any fallen trees or flooding, even the burn running alongside the cottage was not as high as it might have been.  It would seem we had survived storm Brendan – only the little path that takes us onto the shore was covered in a pool of water so we had to make do just looking from the banking.

Round the corner from us is in the next bay is a different story; where the coast road runs alongside the beach the road is closed – an action that has been taken far more seriously since the death of the couple and their two dogs last year when they were swept out to sea one stormy night.  It is a long diversion and one that the locals are loathed to take but one that will save lives.  The spray from the sea covers the road and sends up quite large beach stones with it…a treacherous mile known here as the car wash.

So all seemed well until we came to open the garage door only to find one of the cables of the up and over door has snapped.  Being so close to the sea there are certain things you have to get used to – rust is one of them.  The cables rust with the salt from the sea spray, which finds its way in through any crack, and so need replacing quite frequently.  DH is quite capable of replacing them and we always keep a spare or two.  However, as he started to replace the cable the tension spring went as well so now we have a door that we cannot close or open fully.  With this and the car problems I won’t deny the stress is building up a bit.  The search for a garage door fixer is now on. And we have still to locate a possible leak.

In all this turmoil, both in our lives and the world generally who can deny the beauty around us and tuning into nature is one of the best ways to calm down – I tell myself – and it does – I was delighted to see snowdrops dancing around in the breeze and the first daisies appearing in the grass.

There are little signs of new life everywhere and the rabbits have not, as yet, been scratching up the bulbs but I do need to put a little food out for the birds….the table is empty and the robin sits looking quite hopeful at me.

So today while DH is on the phone trying to find a Mr Fix it man I will be making some warming tomato and red pepper soup for lunch. I am hopeful we may get into town for a look around the shops – only a look – there is nothing much we need other than jam pot covers, and we will certainly find them here – we had no luck at home. Keep warm everyone.

30 Replies to “dear diary :: roaming in the gloaming”

  1. Welcome back to Scotland! Yes, it is a bit chilly up here at the moment. Storm Brendan was rather patchy in its effects. Here on the Moray Firth we’ve had some trees down, loss of power in the glens, and very high tides. Hopefully things will calm down.
    And hopefully you’ll get the boiler and garage door fixed. Our central heating boiler has been very “fragile” since we had it moved upstairs as part of our ongoing renovation. We are very familiar with the F25 error message which basically means a cold house. The plumber says it’s the electrician’s fault…
    Your spring is much further on down in the south west, warmed by the Gulf Stream. Will be sending boiler and garage door thoughts your way!


    1. It is blustery and wet today, sea quite choppy. I expected worse from the storm as it was high tide in the bay and we had 3 flood warnings by telephone – always a bit nerve racking when you receive those calls and you are 250 miles away. Too many problems to sort all at once and another one added this morning when the front of the cutlery drawer came off in my hand – just a loose screw because the hole too big – a matchstick has resolved that! The Gulf stream does make it mild here – the grass hardly stops growing through the winter. Our boiler is working and the water pressure has not gone down but just to be sure DH has the enjoyment of crawling around under the caravan today to locate a leak – if there is one – but why else would a closed system loose water!!


  2. I’m new to your blog and just “getting to know” you. How lovely to have a cottage/caravan in Scotland to get away to. I hope we will see photos of your actual caravan.
    I have many interests similar to yours and look forward to reading more and looking at your gorgeous photos.


    1. Hi C and welcome to my blog – all my stories of the cottage and Scotland can be found by clicking the Beaching picture in the side bar. If you want to see the caravan and cottage then follow this link back to my first blog. I don’t take many pictures directly of the cottage and caravan for security reasons which is a shame but who knows who is out there on the internet. x


  3. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and seeing Scotland. I was reading your past blogs on the beach cottage and wondered did you sell that and buy a caravan?


    1. No the cottage is still awaiting renovation after the flood and is completely stripped out no kitchen or bathroom so it would be impossible to stay in there. We bought the caravan with some of the insurance money so that we don’t have to rent a cottage or stay in a B&B when we come up here until our cottage is sorted. The caravan is sited beside the cottage in the garden.


  4. I am sorry to hear that you are still having car woes. We depend on them so much don’t we when we live rurally but it is such a pain when they are not working as they should do. I am glad to hear that you have made it safely to Scotland. I hope you manage to sort our your heating and garage door soon.


    1. We have always had Citroens and never had this kind of problem before. The dealership garage we are using is not renowned for their workmanship but the specialists we used to use have also changed hands and did not perform very well either. I feel stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Garage door is now sorted so that is one off the list.


  5. Happy to hear you made it to Scotland! Hopefully all the issues will be resolved soon and you will be able to have a lovely few days there. It was so nice to see the pictures of the spring flowers. We are expecting 15-20 CMS of snow this weekend (in Ontario, Canada). I always buy a pot of spring flowers each week when I do the grocery shopping…it does give one a lift in the bleak winter.


  6. Oh dear. How bloody annoying! The car issue would really p me off. It’s why I picked my current car. I had a car that kept having issues. I asked a couple of roadside assistance mechanics which cars they never get called out to. Mine was the second on both of their lists. And it is one of the most popular cars. So that makes it even more good that they are not called out for it.

    I hope you get some quiet, relaxing reading time at the caravan.


    1. I will be gutted not to have a Citroen in future we have had more than I can count now (they used to be a firm’s car changed every three years but we now own this last one. I find the suspension makes them extremely comfortable for long journeys and other cars I have been in feel rather hard to me. Having said that if they can’t fix the suspension back to how it should be then no point in us having it. Until the cottage is fixed too we really need to keep the estate size of car for moving things about – we would never afford to buy another one new now. Our only option is to find a good specialist even if that is outside our area and get a second opinion.


      1. That is a dilemma.

        I don’t think I have ever been in a Citroen. Though I am a bit of a frequent long distance traveller. Being in a bigger car is more comfortable.

        Good luck in getting it sorted.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ugh. Not very nice to have so many problems…especially at the start of the journey and upon arrival. Hope that in the midst of it all, the scenery does a magic trick. Sending good thoughts your way that no more annoyances show up.
    Made it to Glasgow, the weather not bad as first indicated (weather people everywhere seem to have this issue). Weekend is looking good in Edinburgh. F and I enjoying ourselves, as you can imagine. Wish that you could be here, too. That would have been grand.
    Safe journey home. Tell the car to behave itself. Enough already! x


  8. Oh, dear. What a series of disasters!
    The snowdrops and the other flowers too are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing the photos.


  9. It can be really frustrating to encounter such mechanical problems with the car and caravan. I’m sure you’ll have them all repaired very soon. It seems things have come in threes on this trip, what with the car, the heating and the garage door. Hopefully, they will be the only problems you encounter and you’ll now be able to enjoy your stay.


  10. I’m sorry to read your car doesn’t feel quite right. It can’t be a nice feeling, especially when you’re dependent on it for your visits to scotland.
    I hope your heating and garage are soon sorted too. There’s always something isn’t there? I thought my fridge freezer had packed up this morning. Thankfully it was just something caught in the fan which had stopped it working. X


    1. Lucky you a freezer full of food to deal with is no joke. Garage door now fixed and positively glides up. It won’t last though, the cables will soon rust when they receive a good spray of sea salt on them over the winter.


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