Over the weekend, the fam and I did an experiment.  We tried a road-trip to Inverness without the added interestingness of staying overnight somewhere.

Our experiment garnered varying results.

You knew that, right?

Stick with me.

It takes about two and a half hours to get to the thriving metropolis of Inverness from here.

I put my morning coffee in my giant turquoise Starbucks travel mug and we piled in the car.


I have always encouraged Isla to be her own person.

An example is this:

The kid wakes up every morning and wants to wear a dress to school.

In my head, dresses are for special occasions and I myself don’t wear them.  (Well, there was that one time at my wedding.)

Point is, Isla was beginning to wear her fancy dresses to school, which is fine.

But Isla is a tall kid, and dresses were becoming tops.  So part of the reason for our road-trip was MORE DRESSES, PLEASE, MA.

And so.

This post is not about the dresses.  It’s possibly about the fact that I’m a tomboy raising a girly-girl an Isla who happens to love dresses and I wouldn’t change her FOR THE WORLD.

Now.  Regular readers will know that I hate shopping.  Unless it’s books or coffee or gifts for someone else.  (Which is usually books or coffee.  Hi.)

But medium-known fact about me:  I kinda love malls.  All the shops are in one place and there’s coffee and food and everything smells like ice-cream and unicorns and hope.

I also like malls because Isla still sits on my lap while we’re traipsing through one.  I’ll take that even if dress-shopping comes with it.

After clothes shopping I swear my girl said, ‘Let’s find books for Mummy.’


I can breathe in a bookstore in a way that I can’t in other places.  No matter where I am in the world or my two islands, if I’m in a bookstore well, all is right with the world.  It’s all that paper and ink and all those possibilities.

Neil and Isla went off to the kids section while I did my rounds.  All the books I saw that I wanted to read I already own.


I finished The Dry in the car on the way to Inverness, and might have a fictional character crush on Aaron Falk.  Maybe not so much since I’ve read his physical description in Force of Nature.  But whatever.

I never go into a bookstore with a specific book in mind.  I just trust that the right books will find themselves in my hands.

But this time I went in for Force of Nature.  I read The Dry on my Kindle, but I bought a copy for Neil, because he must read it as part of our two-person bookclub.

After books, there was coffee.

And food shopping. Which mainly consisted of booze and marshmallows.  And Jolly Ranchers from the American aisle.

And then.  We got back in the car to go up the road, there was Bruce Springsteen on the radio which was hooked up to Neil’s phone.  It is 2018.

Isla fell asleep.  I fell asleep.

A deer ran out into the road.  Neil stopped.  The deer didn’t.

I woke up to actual doe eyes looking at us.  I’m sure she said ‘WTF, dudes?’ before walking back into the woods.  There’s a dent in the hood of the car.  But I keep saying, she walked away, she walked away.  And Isla slept through it all.

I do feel bad.  But she walked away.  It happens.  Country life, or some shit.

Dad took Isla to school the next morning and then he brought her back.  Snow day.  Hi.

The car insurance hooked us up with a garage to get the car fixed.  An hour and a half away from our house.  We then found somewhere local.  The far-off place seemed, um, really pleased.

As I was saying it snowed yesterday, too.  So all that and no car.

In related news, I’d like to get out of the house.  But y’know, snow and no car.

Isla came home from school in a dress and sweater from our road-trip.  On the way into the house, she and Dad saw three eagles swooping around.

Country life, again.

Isla enjoyed the spectacle for a while.  And then turned to me and said, ‘Let’s go inside, we can’t stand around out here in the cold.’

That’s my kid right there.



There, too.






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