If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that I’ve been spending a few days in the land of the free and the home of the Braveheart – no, not the US but Scotland. Dumfries is not so much bonnie scots pine as – ahem! – lowlandii, but it is nevertheless beautiful and parts of the journey are terrific. I didn’t see much of the hills from the A66 on the way there as I was too busy battling drizzle and endless truck-spray to wonder what lay beyond the clouds, but on the way back it was such a perfectly clear day that I drove slowly (or as slowly as one can without annoying everyone) and marvelled at the beauty of the Cumbrian hills with snow on the distant tops. I stopped frequently, intending to make the journey last most of the day, and as a result enjoyed it much more than if I’d hurried.
So what did I do while I was there? Well, I relaxed; I walked, I looked around, I went to pubs and cafes and shops and I spoke to people, though often not before they’d spoken to me first. Everyone is very friendly there; everyone smiles and says hello, everyone engages in conversation, so I felt very much at home. I stayed in a Travelodge which, although not recommended for its aesthetics, was nevertheless cheap, comfortable and clean and with a range of terrestrial TV channels which made me all the more thankful for Netflix and the iplayer.
So now I’m back, baby – and one of the news stories which broke during my absence was the (sort of) abdication of Harry and Megan. I was a bit gobsmacked by this as it seemed to come out of the blue; and I’m still not sure why they’ve done it, but the overwhelming narrative seems to be that he will not allow the press to do to his wife what they did to his mother. I read his speech today and found it very dignified and moving. There’s a high price to pay for being a royal and it’s a club they don’t ask to join, so on the whole I think what they’re doing is fair enough – though it distresses me that it’s even necessary.
So that’s us up to date. How have you been?