Wow! How did I get so far behind in keeping everyone up-to-date on the seasonal happenings of the Vander Well clan? My apologies. It has been a very full season of life since I published The Latest: Summer 2022. While I’ve got Autumn 2022 and the Holidays 2022 still on the blogging task list, I wanted to start catching you up with the most fun event of the last seven months!
In October Wendy and I flew across the pond to visit our kids and grandkids in bonny Scotland. It was our first trip back since Christmas of 2019 when we celebrated with the kids in London. We were especially excited to meet our granddaughter Sylvie for the first time. She was born June 28 and it would be our first opportunity to get our loving arms around her. The timing of our trip was planned to coincide with Milo’s Fall break from primary school.
Wendy and I stayed at a VRBO flat across the street from the kids’ flat in Edinburgh. It was so convenient, and allowed us to get some work done during the day while we were there. We arrived on a Monday morning and spent the first few days simply enjoying the opportunity to be together. Papa and Ya-Ya had the joy of bed time reading. We took walks and enjoyed the fall colors. We enjoyed the kids’ favorite local pizza pub, One Canon Mills.
Taylor took us on a date that week. We started with cocktails and a small lunch at The Alchemist, where they make the most amazing craft cocktails. We then walked to the to see Girl From the North Country at the Edinburgh Playhouse. a thoroughly enjoyable musical based on the songs of Bob Dylan. It was so much fun. That evening Wendy and I had a little date ourselves at O’Connors Pub. I had the most amazing plate of bangers and mash! Wendy and I also enjoyed taking Milo on a lunch data with Ya-Ya and Papa which, of course, included a stop at the toy store! ☺️
On Thursday of that week, we rented a van and headed to the highlands! Taylor secured us a lovely VRBO in a caravan park on the River Tilt in Blair Atholl. From there we headed to an annual event in the picturesque town of Pitlochry called The Enchanted Forest. It was so cool to walk through the misty Scottish forest that was so beautifully lit as music played in the background the entire time. Gorgeous.
We also spent time enjoying being together, taking walks in the beauty of the Scottish landscape and hanging out together. Papa and Ya-Ya watched the wee ones one evening so that Tay and Clay could have a little dinner date. Most of all, we got as much fun with the grandkids as we could.
We spent a day driving into the Highlands, beginning with a stop in quaint Fort William for lunch at The Geographer. I should probably mention the adventure of driving a nine-passenger van into the Scottish Highlands. Driving from the right-side of the car on the left-side of the road is adventurous enough, but then to be on very narrow, windy roads that have no shoulder is kind of nerve wracking. Wendy spent much of the trip lying down in the back seat with her eyes closed. I will confess to filling out my first damage report on a rental car ever. I’m happy to say that no one was hurt, not counting my pride. The retaining wall suffered no damage, but the bumper of the van didn’t fare so well.
Our return trip to Blair Atholl in the afternoon took us to the breathtaking spot where Clayton and Taylor got married during the pandemic. It was so fun to be there and take family photos on the shore of Loch Achtriochtan outside of Glencoe. Our return trek took us by the remote road where the scenes of James Bond’s boyhood Skyfall estate were filmed. We also stopped at a really cute town called Killin where we had coffee and a snack.
We enjoyed our final morning in the Highlands window shopping in Pitlochry. Clayton and I spent some time checking out a Whisky shop and sampling a small batch single-malt Scotch, Daftmill, that has created a bit of a stir there.
Our final day in Edinburgh I got to help Taylor walk Milo to school where I met some of his friends as they queued up for class. Taylor and I then enjoyed a Daddy-Daughter coffee date (they never get old). We took a bus to the Royal Mile for lunch at The Devil’s Advocate. Clay took me to his favorite Scotch shop so I could buy a bottle for the Vander Well Pub. The kids then headed home to put Sylvie down while Wendy and I enjoyed shopping along Victoria Street and enjoying a pint at the White Hart Pub, which we fell in love with on our first trip to Scotland. I should also mention the Pub Trivia evening that Tay, Clay, and I enjoyed with a colleague of Clayton’s. I’m happy to report that we won a beautiful pub mat that now graces the bar of the Vander Well Pub for having the worst score of any team in the competition!
Wendy and I spent our final days in the UK with a train trip to London that took us through Leeds, where our friends James and Hannah live. We had promised to pay them a visit when we were in the UK. We also enjoyed an amazing dinner in Leeds at Riva Blu Italian Restaurant. We really enjoyed traveling by train. It prompted an enjoyable text conversation with Wendy’s dad back in the states with regard to Oreo cows and different sheep breeds. We found it relaxing and enjoyed watching the countryside fly by. Our final three days of this trip were spent in London. We saw the iconic The Mousetrap (the world’s longest running show) along with the musical Six. We had great dining experiences at El Camion, The Porcupine and The Breakfast Club. We can’t wait for our next UK trip!