Blue Monday, so I’m having wine

Holy Moly what a day. I know it’s a school night, but I am in need of sustenance and neither tea nor Barley Cup can cut it. It has to be red and full-bodied (no not me after a visit to the gym, but a bottle of preferably French, vin rouge).

First of all Jake and John headed off to Edinburgh to buy Jake’s flight to Australia, at the very efficient STA office. I opened Reception at 9am and waited for the departures to depart, then Marjory and Ellen )my mum) got stuck in to the cleaning.

All was going well, then I had a telephone meeting with Jade from SuperControl, a specialist company that deals with online booking systems and online payment systems. I’m in the process of setting up such a system and there’s a plethora of stuff to do behind the scenes before it goes live. I locked myself in the office and locked the house up next door (so my dad wouldn’t ‘pop in’ to see me in the middle of the phone call). The phone rang at the appointed time, 2pm, and I realised that the phone was in the house, which I was locked out of. Frantically I unlocked myself from the office, and unlocked the house front door and made a grab for the phone before it went to answer-mode. Do you know what? It was a recorded message saying I ought to make a Will before i die!! Well I nearly expired on the spot and resisted the urge to throw the flippin’ phone in le poubelle. I retrieved the phone, locked the house again, locked myself in the office again and waited for SuperControl to phone.  So Jade and I were on the blower for an hour. Then I suddenly realised I’d promised to collect child 4, Alannah and 2 friends, from school to take them to Rodney Fitness Centre for a gym induction.

But I had arrivals arriving (to replace the departures who had departed, are you with me?) and I couldn’t leave the office, and John and Jake were not yet back from Edinburgh. What to do??? While I was pondering, an arrival arrived. A lovely family from South Africa. They came back up to Reception a few minutes after I gave them the key. Oh no, is there a problem? No, but they didn’t have towels, could I provide some? Yes I jolly well could, but not right at that moment. I explained that I had to close Reception earlier than it said on the office door (bad office person that I am), to collect kids.

Collected the kids – late. Alannah, as I knew she would, phoned me when I was one minute late. I drove like Stirling Moss (ask your parents) and screeched to a halt a millithou away from the kerb. In the girls hopped and off I took again. For some reason, I forgot where I was going and drove the well-trodden/driven path to Bells Sports Centre. This is because I spend half of my life there. Running late now, I drove like a maniac to Rodney Fitness Centre, dropped the girls, then back to River Edge Lodges to re-0pen Reception.

Phew! Once back the phone rang. It was a yet-t0-arrive arrival, travelling from Australia. He was lost. My directions were obviously rubbish, and he’d been driving around the Bridge of Earn area for an hour. I gave him less mary-type directions this time and said I’d be waiting for him at the door.

Meanwhile, the lovely Trepte family in lodge number 1 asked to use the computer in the office to make a complaint to Flybe about excess charges for baggage (and they were excessive too).  Just an aside about the Trepte Family. They’ve been coming to River Edge Lodges for years. Mrs Trepte won a competition at Coleman’s Mustard (made in Norwich), and was a bit of a celebrity. Every year she brings a jar of Savora Mustard, that can only be bought at the the Colemans visitor centre gift shop. This year I received gorgeous dark chocolate with …. mustard in it! Sounds odd, tastes amazing. Anyway, I had to hang around in case My Man arrived, and I’d promised to be waiting.  As I was loitering by the door, the nice South African family drove past and asked if I had their towels yet. Oh bum, I’d forgotten all about the towels, and even if I hadn’t, I couldn’t really leave Reception to get them. So I promised that the next time they came to the office I would have their towels ready. 40 minutes later, and Mr O’Reilly finally arrived. Oh I felt sorry for him. But he’s all settled in now, and the Treptes got their problem resolved so all was good. The SA’s got their towels.

Now, time to get back to work on some of that SuperControl stuff we’d gone over in the phone meeting. But no, Alannah phoned and I had to go and collect her from Perth. Where the heck was John??? How long did it take to buy a ticket, for goodness sake?

Sometimes I think I should just get a job in a bank – like a normal person.

Got Alannah back, John and Jake back, Jake is off to futsal. John has just handed me a large glass of chilled white wine. Ok it’s not red, but any port in a storm. I’ll take it!

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Climbing Snowdon

Phew! What a week it’s been. A lot of the Saturday-Saturday bookings have given way to short breaks, which means lots of changeovers on any day of the week. But John and I managed to slope off for a few days to Snowdonia to meet our climbing buddies Richard and Cathy. We’ve done Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike together, so Snowdon was next on our list. We picked a fabulous week to go. We stayed at the Swallow Falls Hotel which was perfect for our needs – a few miles from Pen Y Pass and the start of the climb.

Swallow Falls Hotel the night before climbing Snowdon

The 'before' picture

The morning of the walk was bright and sunny. We had a huge breakfast; mine was big enough to feed a small country. Then off we set. We decided to go up by the Pyg Track, rather than by Crib Goch, as 3 of our party would have gone hysterical up there on the ridge. We had a fantastic climb, brilliant views, astonishingly hot and sunny weather. We got to the summit just as the train was pulling in and the passengers tottered off in their high heels. And then the women got off.

Anway, we had a breather at the top, then John decided he wanted to return by Crib Goch, mainly because he’s such a big show-off. He has a video of the ridge which I’ll post another time.

Heading down from Snowdon towards the Miners Track

So here’s a pic of Rich and Cathy taking a breather on the way back down Snowdon, heading towards the Miners Track. We waved to John up on the ridge, but could only see ants up there. We had a paddle in the tarn you can see in the photo. We were a bit tired by now and a cold beer was calling – louder with every minute, so we practically jogged back to the car, but stopped to have one final look back at the amazing mountain that is Snowdon.

Snowdon

a final glimpse of Snowdon as we head back to Pen y Pass and the car

I think Snowdon has been my favourite. I loved Snowdonia; to me it was like a small slice of Scotland.

Enough romanticism. While all this was happening I was getting to grips with my new phone – a snazzy Samsung Galaxy S I9000, which is so complicated. I’m only just starting to realise that this phone can do anything. I’m sure there’s an app there for making dinner, picking up trainers, boxers, etc. if there’s not, there flippin well should be for the price I’m paying. I must say Orange have been wonderful. Lee Anne in the Orange shop in Perth was brilliant. Emma in Customer Service was also brilliant, and so was the nice Geordie man who’s name I cannot remember. There was a fault with my hand set (which is why I couldn’t work it obviously, not because I’m a thick technophobe), and a new one was delivered less than 24 hours later and the old one scooped up just like in Aladdin. So I’m off to the Orange shop to see Lee Anne again tomorrow, bright and early because she’s going to give me a wee tutorial on how to use my lovely shiny new phone.

Well I feel this blog is long enough, yet I still haven’t told you about my lovely night out with old volleyball friends last Saturday. Well, they’re not old, acutually. Well, that’s a lie – some of them are. We went to The Baiglie Inn, it was really nice. My phone rang, and embarrassingly I did not know how to answer it! Can you believe that a woman with a First Class Honours Degree in Philosophy from St Andrews University could not answer her bloody phone??? I pressed the bit that said “answer” but nothing happened. Later my 13 year old showed me that you don’t press “answer”, but you slide along the button. For goodness sake – that’s just complicating things.

We had a busy changeover day on the Saturday, and I still haven’t told you about 2 fantastic new cleaning women (they might prefer the term “ladies”, but I prefer the term “women” and it’s my blog, awright?), Valentina and Claire. They’re amazing. I’ll save all this for later. Eyes are closing, phone making funny noises, no idea why … hasta luego

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Birthday Party Ellen Mckay 80 Years Young

Just a quickie to show the family video link taken by my brother Andrew Mckay, also knows as North Star. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/video/video.php?v=1499490763163&ref=mf

Great fun had by all.

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Tulloch Family Holiday in France 2010

After a mad few days after Grandma’s party on 6 August, then busy changeover day at River Edge Lodges on Satuday 7 August, we left the house at 4am Sunday to fly with Ryan Air from Prestwick to Carcassonne. All 6 of us were carrying only hand luggage – no mean feat with 4 girls in the party (including me). Good practice for child 1 and child 2 (Shannon and Jake) who are travelling to Australia later this year.

We stayed in a fab gite right beside the pool, owned by the Barr Family in the village of Roujan, near Pézenas in the Languedoc region of France.

Gite in Riujan, near Pézenas, Languedoc, France

Family holiday 2010 at The Barr's Gite in Roujan, near Pézenas, Languedoc, France of Roujan near Pézenas in the Languedoc, France. We visited vineyards, Clermont d'Herault market, Pézenas market, Montpellier, Narbonne, Lac du Salagou for kayaking, Gorge d'Heric for swimming in rock pools and jumping off high rocks into said pools, Cap D'Agde Beach, Afari Park at Sigean. Phew after all that it was nice to come back to our comfy gite and chill by the pool.A rare and wonderful sight: children reading

 So all in all, a great holiday, then back to the grindstone, hitting the ground running with a leaking boiler in one lodge, faulty washing machine in another, problems with tv in another – nothing John couldn’t fix! But let me tell you that the wine in the Languedoc is fabulous, and believe me we tried hard to consume as much as possible in the name of research. We visited Simon and Monica from Domaine des Trinités near Roujan. They showed us around and let us sample some of their organically produced wine – mmmmm delish! Coincidentally, I had read an article about Simon in the Sunday Times Supplement afew years ago. And here I was meeting him in the flesh.

sampling wine from trinité back at our gite in Roujan, near Pézenas, Languedoc

Sampling wine from trinité, at our holiday gite, Roujan, near Pézenas, Languedoc

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Interview at Gleneagles Hotel and Resort

On Thursday my son, Jake who is 18, had an interview at Gleneagles Hotel and Resort in Auchterarder. I had a lovely strong coffee in the bar while I waited, served by a delightful young woman. Jake is travelling to Australia in January, so he needs to save. This job will be perfect for him, and he can drive himself there in 20 minutes. Later we lingered in the beautiful gardens, and Jake took my photo beside the flowers because he said that I looked like a giant geranium. Jake received an email offering him the job in Accommodation Services, subject to good references. He knows the job will be hard work, but he’s not afraid of that. And he’s helped me a lot in this self-catering business for years. Wow, what a fantastic chance to work in the THE most famous hotel in the world.

matching the flowers at Gleneagles Hotel and Resort, Auchterarder, Perthshire

Matching the flowers at Gleneagles Hotel

As we drove back down the drive, Jake was drooling at the sight of the golf course

Jake taking a photo of Gleneagles golf course

Jake taking a photo of Gleneagles Golf Course

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Grandma’s 80th Birthday in Perth, Scotland

It’s my mum’s 80th birthday this Friday. She’s very fit and flies around on her bike a lot (far too fast, I might add). So we’re having a family barbeque for her on Friday. She has four children and 13 grandchildren, so it’s quite a party when we’re all together.

The next day I have a madly busy changeover day with our holiday lodges, so I musn’t have too much of a hangover. As well as all this going on, I am flying to Carcassonne on Sunday morning, from Prestwick (yawn), so 4am start. Today as I was  checking in online with good old Ryan Air, I had just entered all the details for myself and my 4 children, when I got to my husband’s passport I noticed that it had expired in March. Naturally I almost expired too. He has an appointment in Glasgow on Thursday – the same day we are supposed to be moving our daughter out of her flat in Edinburgh ( a massive job let me tell you), and also on the same day that our son has an interview at Gleneagles

Cycling around Loch Leven, Fife, Scotland

A well earned glass of champers after cycling 8 miles around Loch Leven

Hotel at 9am. What is it like to be bored?? 

So here’s a pic of the birthday girl last year. What a woman!!

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Changeover Day 31 July

Another manic changeover day at River Edge Lodges. With 2 cleaners short, it’s even more frantic than usual. Wonder if I can bribe one of my kids to clean a lodge … Sad farewells this morning

to mon amie de France, Cathérine et sa famille, and also her cousin Phillipe and his family. But I’m sure we’ll get lots of nice people arriving today.

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