Scotland – Expect the Unexpected

“The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands.”

Sir Richard Burton
The New Covent Garden Market

The next morning, we needed an early start. We stopped by the New Covent Gardens at 4 am to buy amaryllis for Christmas morning. Things are bustling here in the wee hours. All the flowers in London come through these warehouses before distribution to florists and the public. The smell is incredible.

Then we hit the road for the 8 hour drive to Kinguissie.

German WW2 Sextant

We were carrying a very valuable item for the journey. Nick’s grandfather had been in WW2 and had captured a small German submarine. Family legend says that in order to ensure the Germans came peaceably, George Christie took the navigator’s sextant and his trousers. It remained questioned family lore for decades, until Nick actually found both the sextant as well as the leather military pants embossed with the Nazi swastika.


We made great time, missing what the London papers pronounced was “Gates of Hell” flooding and holiday travel chaos. Our luck was to run out though. About halfway through the trip, we all heard a clunk. The car cut out and Nick maneuvered us to the side of the road.

We were broken down but never without a Guinness!

The car may have been broken but our spirit of adventure was alive and well. It was obvious no one would be driving, so we hunkered down for the hour wait with Scotch Eggs from Harrods, a Guinness and a showing of Semi-Pro.

By 1 pm, Cameron from AA (UK’s AAA without the “American”) swung by for a tow. He loaded the BMW onto the back of his lorry and we were off again on our journey.

Riding in the back of the Recovery Lorry.

We had a serious deadline to make. Gay, Nick’s mom, was making Beef Wellington and this was not to be missed. After one more lorry change, we arrived to Castleairy with just enough time to clean up before guests arrived.

The Fletchers arrive bearing gifts – two freshly shot pheasants

We ended the day with a magnificent dinner and truly enjoyable company and a nightcap of 41-year-old Scotch. It was a grand welcome to Scotland.

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