Scottish Surprise

As children grow up, in theory they become more independent, more able and inclined to their own minds and opinions, more likely to go their own ways… until, that is, there’s the chance that muggins agrees to pay for a family holiday on a rather splendid island just off the West Coast of Scotland, near Oban, and to include the sprogs’ other halves in the invite. Then a necessary dependency is restored and, indeed, welcomed on all sides.

And so it was that we found our six selves gathered at Heathrow airport in Good Friday morning, amongst the mewling and moaning hoards, equally intending for a few days break someone. The party mood was jolly – the flight was at 11.40 so no stupid o’clock starts – and the banter light. We’ve been to this rather scrumptious hotel-on-its-own-island before, but on those occasions it was under different ownership so there was a frisson to our chit-chattery – would there be changes?

Would they be sympathetic to our needs?

Would the food be as impeccably, unreconstructedly British as before? Would there be badgers coming to the back door?

One of the joys of adult children (apart from their willingness to help spread our pension more widely) is that they can be entrusted with the gritty admin – organising flights, affecting a hire car, even driving said car – thus allowing me to relax more and obviating the risk that Dick Head Tours might be involved in the planning and execution of this break. If you are newish here and haven’t discovered the merits of allowing DHT to organise your trip of a lifetime then have a look here.

The transport did lack a certain spaciousness, I’ll admit – I’ve been wrapped in clingfilm during one of those management team bonding thingummies that wasn’t quite so snug, though at least the seating here didn’t channel any unexpected wind straight into my face, so that was a win – and the traffic alongside Loch Lomond did have a sclerotic tinge to it, but we arrived in time for a welcome cup of tea and our first view of the island, post owner-swap.

Everything was as it should be. The fire in the main hall – which was said never to be allowed to go out – burnt with a welcoming brightness and warmth; the rooms were as light airy and well-appointed as we remembered and the welcome from the staff charming and Scottish – something in and of itself unusual.

We rested, we changed, we nestled into the lounge while we ordered dinner and we comforted ourselves that, yes, the owners might have moved on but, hey, the King is dead, long live the King.

One of the joys of staying on aΒ  self contained island (with many facilities, in terms of golf – should you be so inclined – and other sports) is the ability to walk around it.

It is approached by a narrow rattly bridge and surrounded by many islands, with Lismore a stone’s throw away and the mountains on all sides creating both a splendid backdrop and producing a super micro-climate.

Oban, too benefits from its proximity to the gulf stream and the protections from Atlantic winds.

Rarely does snow arrive here, even if the rest of Scotland is white; on one day, we heard, the Oban primary school FB page announced that it was the only school in Scotland not enjoying a snow day.

Shells and stunning stones abound, with at low tide, numerous rock pools.

There are eagles and birds of prey, seals and sea birds of many varied hues. It teems with life.

London, we heard, was enjoying a classic April marinade of rain and wind but we had the sort of skies that make you want to take pictures…

… and so it was that the Textiliste and I were lazing in our room on Saturday evening, relaxing and reading before dinner when no. 1 son appeared to suggest, tonight, we might like to eat a bit earlier and why didn’t we get dressed and come down now.

He added that it looked like being a rather splendid sunset and it would be great to snap a couple of family photos while the light was just right.


We nodded; why not, we agreed? Did we suspect subterfuge?Β  Not at all. It all seemed natural, spontaneous.

The other three were by the large bay window overlooking the croquet lawn. The Vet moved towards us, sort of smiling but a little nervous.

She hesitated. She had news.

This is the Textiliste and I, captured forever by the Beautician as we heard that news.

Followed by this

And this….

We went outside for that group photo.

People, I am to become an in-law, with the Vet sporting a rather super ring-a-ding.

Gosh, it was a good weekend…. even if the badgers never appeared. There’s always the next time…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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43 Responses to Scottish Surprise

  1. davidprosser says:

    Congratulations in-law to be, and to the happy couple as well. A nice holiday surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. trifflepudling says:

    Yes, yes, yes, wonderful news, congrats. etc.
    But what I REALLY want to know is from where did The Lawyer get that fantastic suit?!
    Seriously, what happy news and superb pics. Very, very happy. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Al Lane says:

    Lost the badgers, gained a son-in-law… Swings and roundabouts. Congratulations!


  4. Ritu says:

    Huge congratulations Daddy in law to be and to everyone! That is just wonderful!
    I Love How you announced this! A beautiful setting for a momentous occasion!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Smith says:

    How wonderful and romantic. Congratulations to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sue Vincent says:

    Congratulations to you all πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Darlene says:

    What wonderful news!! Congratulations to all. I love how it was announced. Very clever.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anabel Marsh says:

    Congratulations! Trying to work out if you are implying we Scots are not usually charming – we are, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Erika Kind says:

    That must have been the most awesome weekend! Congrats to the new even closer family member soon. So we both are becoming in-laws!
    Thank you also for the beautiful photos. I love Scotland!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My goodness you’ve done a good job there! Hearty congratulations all round!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 says:

    So very very happy for you, what a lovely family you have. What a glorious suprise, even if you had to foot the bill! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

  12. JT Twissel says:

    Congratulations – that’s one lovely couple!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Having seen your earlier posting on the engagement, I guessed what was coming on this splendid tour – not such a DH, after all. I repeat my congratulations

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Mick Canning says:

    How jolly splendid! Congratulations to all!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Charli Mills says:

    Aww! What a wonderful way to share the moment with the family! DHT had only created a well-knit family unit willing to share the winding road of life. Congratulations to you all! And surrounded by such stunning country.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. M. L. Kappa says:


    Liked by 1 person

  17. LucciaGray says:

    Lovely pictures. Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. How wonderful! Congratulations to all concerned! And what a beautiful island! I’ve been to Oban before but now thinking I should have gone a little further. It’s definitely been added to my (long) list of Scottish islands to visit or revisit…..

    Liked by 1 person

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