The weeks seemed to be racing past so quickly and before we knew it we were only a week away from the end of our third Scottish Helpx stay. The weather hadn’t been at all friendly and unfortunately we hadn’t been able to stay in the lodges as much as we had wished but it had been a fabulous stay so far.
Another sad goodbye
We said a sad goodbye to Kosta and Jazz, the Workaway helpers we had shared chores and laughs with, so they could head off to Sweden to a wedding. It felt like we had spent months together rather than the brief 3 weeks that it actually was. Apart from working well together to clean the Highland lodges and do general gardening jobs, we had a few trips out together which usually ended up with us on a mission to track down (unsuccessfully) a Chia Tea Latte. For some reason I had a brainstorm and kept calling it a Tai Cia Latte. Getting my body moves and beverages mixed up.
The Aberfeldy Incident
It was a few days after they left that Jonno seized up. After a morning of whipper snipping (an Aussie term for strimming) on a steepish bank with a petrol strimmer, I saw him leaning on a fence holding his back. All whipper snippers, harnesses and goggles lay abandoned on the grass and he didn’t look in a good way. Knowing that the last thing he would want is a fuss, I held back from rushing over but managed to fake a wheelbarrow emptying session in his vicinity. He looked in a bad way. Hardly able to walk.
After a lot of coaxing and VERY slow movement he got to the car but getting in was another matter. Lifting boot-clad feet was not going to happen so I did the honours and took off his boots and let him manoeuvre himself into the car.
He felt every bump of the 35 minute journey back to Tina and Norman’s home where we were staying and it felt like an eternity to him. The next few days he really suffered – the pain moved from his lower back to his leg/thigh and then groin. Painkillers were being popped every 4 hours but the “no fuss” also meant no doctors or massage appointments. “I’ll be fine” was the standard response. Some help was needed most mornings though. I heard a little sad voice saying, “I can’t put my pants on“. Pants being not the only problem.
When you can’t bend, socks and trousers also become an issue but at least I had something I could help with which made me feel a little better and at least he was not naked to the world. Tina and Norman were very understanding and managed to find things that he could do whilst sitting. Cleaning brasses and silver, inputting receipts and so on. No more whipper snipping for now.
Scottish weather and new Workaways
We had encountered biblical quantities of rain and it was during one of these black out downpours that two new Workaways arrived. Two single guys, Axel from Belgium and Leo from Germany. They would be learning the ropes of cleaning lodges, weeding (or wigging as Axel called it) and large-scale bulb relocation. Leo got to grips with the strimmer and Axel and I removed and and replanted around 150 bulbs. We had a good system worked out and we branded ourselves “The B Team“. B for bulbs of course! We worked through the showers as best we could. Leo in full practical wet weather gear and Axel soaked through in a T-shirt, joggers, snapback cap and a roll-up ready to go. They were like chalk and cheese.
The Linn of Tummel
I did manage a solo JWalk of about 7 miles around the Linn of Tummel. A beautiful walk and there was a short break in the weather one afternoon to complete it. It was great to be out walking but I sorely missed my JWalking Jonno.
After a couple of hours and a few stops to admire views, rapids and wildlife, I spied Axel and Leo on the river’s edge. Leo was kitted out properly, as always, for a hike. Sensible boots, hiking pack, wet weather trousers and coat but standing with his arms folded looking impatient. Axel was in his customary casual “any gear will do” outfit. Snapback and roll-up in place with what looked like a child’s fishing rod in his hands. Evidently he had bought a fishing permit and was determined to catch a salmon so was stopping every 10 minutes or so of their walk to try his luck. Leo obviously wanted to get going and the body language said it all.
We exchanged hellos and I left them to their debate on whether or not they should move on. The next day they confirmed that no salmon were landed and the walk took them rather longer than they had planned.
The break in the weather was short lived and next day we were back to dashing from house to caravan (where we cooked). Well more like me dashing and Jon moving as fast as his body would allow.
Next stop: Edinburgh
All too quickly our 5 weeks in Scotland was coming to a close. On our last evening we welcomed another new Workaway, Andy, and all shared a meal around Tina and Norman’s table where neighbours, friends, family, Workaways and dogs are continually welcomed and squeezed in with great food and friendly banter.
Our destination was Edinburgh to meet up with our sons and their wives and partners for a family wedding. Time to shoehorn Jonno, rucksacks and wedding outfits onto the train for “a bit of a do” Scottish style. Can’t wait!
30/05 – 06/06/2019