With outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise permitted, travel and meeting up with friends outdoors, ditto, a lunch invitation with five adults from three households and the sun shining high in the sky, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, we couldn’t find Motherwell any more.
It seemed to be Scotland’s best kept secret as we approached from Glasgow, never mind that our hosts told us it was an easy 15-20 minute drive straight along the motorway.
We know where it is, and so did the GPS. We’ve been before, but the road has been rearranged, and as signs for Livingston and Carlisle came and went, we mused about afternoon tea in the Lakes. Bit of a trek, but it sounded very pleasant if that’s how the day turned out.
Sitting in the back seat behind the cheerfully unruffled possibly slightly lost driver and navigator (they don’t get out much these days either and road rage belongs in The Before Times), I was loving my day out regardless of where we were. I’d already had the thrill of a cross country rail journey to Glasgow, the only time I’d been out of my postcode in months, funeral apart, so this mystery tour was magical. Motherwell would turn up eventually.
And when it did it was basking in 15 degrees of sunshine, as were our pals. There was homemade soup, mackerel pate, cheese, cake and chat, then a dander in the woods by a babbling stream.
Me: “That’s gorgeous. Which river is that then?”
Pals: “Er, The Clyde.”
Talk about Rediscover Scotland. Minutes from Motherwell city centre, Dalzell Estate and Baron's Haugh RSPB nature reserve has woodland and wetlands in which to wander, air heavy with wild onions and garlic, wildlife and flowers galore, and an 800-year-old oak that really puts things in perspective.
It’s only been a year, but one in which almost everyone lost someone, making us just grateful to still be here, to have friends to visit and woods to walk in. It’s a different lifetime from when we had to endure someone moaning about not being able to get a decent almondmilkchino on a train or felt any foreign holiday/new car/Gucci furlined sliders envy. And maybe I’m imagining it, but could it be that people are kinder? Let’s hope that’s something we can hold onto as we emerge from Covid. Along with the directions to Motherwell.
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