Travels and Travail



Newhaven Harbour, Edinburgh
So, the initial plan is that we’ll have a four night city break in Edinburgh to celebrate our sixteenth wedding anniversary, with a short pause on the return journey to visit Tom’s aunt in Harrogate. Then Tom’s PhD work creates a couple of extra stops; a meeting in Sheffield and a course at the OU in Milton Keynes. Once we take travel time and costs into consideration, we decide to book a couple of extra nights in Premier Inns along the way rather than dashing backwards and forwards then we’ll come home reasonably refreshed… won’t we?

Well, Edinburgh’s terrific and the Premier Inn’s in a great spot at Newhaven Harbour. We have sea views from our room and an excellent Loch Fyne restaurant right on the doorstep. There’s so much to see in this wonderful city and we make the most of every minute covering mile after mile until our feet can’t walk any further.

Proving we've yet to master the 'selfie'

After whistle-stop visits to Harrogate, Sheffield and Barnsley, we’re beginning to feel a little institutionalised although Premier Inns are great; they’re clean, comfortable, do exactly what they say on the tin and breakfast there sets you up for the rest of the day. But, my goodness, eating out in the evening is a different story. Perhaps we notice it more because given where we live we rarely bother to venture out to a restaurant, but we quickly discover that finding somewhere economical to eat that doesn’t involve non-stop fried food and utterly indifferent service is almost impossible. ‘My lips are very dry,’ Tom observes at one point. ‘It’s probably scurvy,’ I reply because it’s so long since I’ve seen a fresh vegetable. 

With just two nights left before we can go home, we arrive at Milton Keynes and are pleasantly surprised to be shown to a room with a balcony.



And there, sadly, the nice surprises end. Tom checks his phone and finds three missed calls. My mother-in-law, we are dismayed to hear, has had a mini-stroke…

To date, MiL’s tired, of course, but doing well. A few more test results to come, but so far, so good. It’s been a shock to all of us and a reminder, as we needed it, of the importance of showing our loved ones how much we care about them.

Comments

Kathryn Freeman said…
I'm so glad you managed to get some good days in, before the bad news. Perhaps when your mother-in-law is back to good health you can escape again - though this time to a place that does self-catering as I'd hate to think of you both getting scurvy!
Frances said…
Chris, I seen my best wishes to your mother in law for a steady recovery from her stroke. What a shock for you and Tom to find those messages.

May I also wish you and Tom a belated Happy Anniversary. I'm glad that you had that fine time in Edinburgh...it's a marvelous place with all those hills... a bit like an Escher drawing come to life.

I know what you mean about dining out. While in London, I usually have a huge hotel breakfast, a very nice lunch at some nice place, and then just get something very light later on in the evening. It's so different now from when I first began traveling back in the 1980s. (Truth be told, it's pretty expensive here in NYC, too!) xo
Clare Chase said…
A belated happy anniversary from me too, Chris. I’m so sorry you’ve been having such a worrying time, but it’s great news that your mother-in-law’s doing well so far. (We often stay in Travelodges, and are booked into one in Milton Keynes this weekend!)
Chris Stovell said…
Thanks, Kate - we did have a great time in Edinburgh and a wonderful meal at Loch Fyne but after that it got much trickier!

It was, Frances, and thank you for your good wishes. There was so much more we could have seen in Edinburgh but our feet couldn't take any more. It's a pity that eating out turns what ought to be a pleasure into something of an ordeal. Reasonably priced, healthy options are thin on the ground! Cx

Thank you, Clare. We took the closest option in MK because we were too tired and worried to go further but it was very far from being pleasant! Hope you have a better time.
Unknown said…
Happy Anniversary despite everything! Glad your MIL is recovering and I'm better luck next time you plan a trip :)
Angela Britnell
Chris Stovell said…
Thanks, Angela - you've had more than your fair share of travels and troubles so I wish the same for you. x
Jane Lovering said…
Nice that you managed some site-seeing and jollying before the bad news caught up with you..and I know what you mean about 'real food' - I've been known to go into a Pizza Hut and only eat the salad bowl! I hope your MIL makes a speedy recovery. x
Chris Stovell said…
We're trying to outrun the bad news in future, Jane - but, as you say, at least we enjoyed our break in Edinburgh first. And thanks for your good wishes for MiL.
That's rough Chris. It does seem like bad news seems to find you everywhere these days. Hopefully the good days out weigh the bad. And you're right, it is important to show the ones you love how much you care for them.

Dining out while traveling is always harrowing, just because you don't eat your normal fare. :/
Chris Stovell said…
My nickname at one time, Chanpreet, was Calamity Chris! I guess it's just where we are at the moment but at least we had a brilliant time in Edinburgh first. On the bright side, MiL is ticking along nicely so hopefully the crisis is over. Fingers crossed.
Flowerpot said…
Glad MIL is a little better - what a horrible shock, just when you were enjoying your trip away. We rarely eat out either, and quite agree with what you say. Hope you have had a dose of Vit C again now! xx
Flowerpot said…
Glad MIL is a little better - what a horrible shock, just when you were enjoying your trip away. We rarely eat out either, and quite agree with what you say. Hope you have had a dose of Vit C again now! xx
Flowerpot said…
Glad MIL is a little better - what a horrible shock, just when you were enjoying your trip away. We rarely eat out either, and quite agree with what you say. Hope you have had a dose of Vit C again now! xx
Pondside said…
Happy Anniversary to you and Tom - belated as it is! It sounds like your trip was a mix of blessings, but I am sorry to hear about your mother-in-law's stroke. I hope her recovery is steady and complete.
We are off to Edmonton on the evening flight - it's winter there, and only the thought of the children and grandchildren can tear me away from springtime here!

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