Then, as we waited to land in Inverness, we had several laps of the Moray Firth whilst three helicopters did some rotary wing shenanigans below us. We had lovely views of Chanonry Point, the Kessock Bridge and Fort George.
Inverness was a new airport for us. It appears to be having some upgrade work done, although just turning off all the easyJet announcements would have helped immeasurably. Honestly, we were treated to the full gamut of [and I'm paraphrasing here] "You plebs can wait, whilst the important folk get on", "OK, plebs, your turn now, but if your cabin luggage is too big or heavy, tough snit" and "Come on, Passenger So-and-so, you're late, hurry up or we're gonna go without you." All repeated umpteen times, at ear-splitting volume, in a less than silky smooth manner. Thankfully, the time between our Loganair flights was only an hour.
We made it down to East Midlands Airport on time only to discover that Second Born was just leaving home to pick us up. I think this was probably my fault, for not passing on details of a change of flight times. Not to worry, Our Lass and I hadn't had lunch, so we explored the delights of a Greggs outlet, sampling festively-themed savoury pasties, the much-vaunted veggie rolls and some sweet mince pies.
Then we were whisked down the M1 to see Second Born's latest home for the first time. As we arrived in the dark, we couldn't be sure, but daylight confirmed what we thought, the little estate was built on the site of a pub, The Leathern Bottle, which we used to drive past years ago. But her new home is oh so cosy and although the grass in the back garden is artificial, surrounding mature gardens provide plenty of nature interest (Our Lass and I were absorbing the heady delights of such exotic species as Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Grey Squirrels and Robins).
The following morning, I had a very Dad job to do. Whilst there was a newish-looking aerial in the loft, and it was securely mounted and pointing in the correct direction, there wasn't a signal at any of the TV points throughout the house. Hmmmm. There were loads of cables in the loft: four for satellite tv reception (not in use), four unterminated ones emanating from a huge multi-purpose face plate in the lounge (mains x 4, satellite x 2, terrestrial x2, Ethernet x 1), one from the aerial to nowhere and one from an amplifier to one of the bedrooms.
It was straight forward enough to use some of the spare cable to patch the aerial to the amplifier input, then pick one of the four lounge cables and connect it to the amplifier output. However, this did not have the desired result of putting a picture on the television.
|Photo courtesy of Second Born|
Once that was sorted, we needed a bit of relaxation, so went to purchase a Christmas tree, some outdoor clothing and many bras. These last items proved to be somewhat educational for me as I had previously assumed, in a work-related manner, that 'non-wired' meant WiFi. Apparently not.
Second Born then proceeded to decorate her tree, and my heart just melted when I saw this wee cutey!
The next day saw us heading northwards to Huddersfield to visit First Born. Here we are in SB's car, whizzing along the M1, past Little Linford Wood, the scene of a year's monthly blogging back in 2012.
Following another afternoon of clothes shopping, in the evening we all went to a nearby restaurant for a meal. Then talked Star Trek late into the night (well, late for me).
For the next leg of our trip, we had booked tickets for a train journey from Huddersfield to Middlesbrough. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the station on Sunday morning, it was to discover that our train was cancelled. We bundled ourselves onto a different train, which was headed in roughly the right direction, and made contact with my brother to see if he could intercept us somewhere along our new route.
Thankfully, he could, so we arrived in Middlesbrough just about at the same time that we would've done if things had gone to plan. After lunch, we visited my dad, then caught a taxi to a hotel next to Newcastle Airport, ready for our flight home the following morning.
I think that there were more folk looking after our plane than there were passengers to board it (fuel tanker not shown).
The journey was made interesting by the refusal of our electronic boarding cards (on various devices, in various formats) to be read by the scanners in Security, Duty Free or the departure gate. Oh how we laughed.
The final flight, from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, was full, such that the air stewardess had her work cut out to serve everyone tea and biscuits before it was time to land again.
We arrived home to a clear, still evening, with a hint of frost, but we knew we would be waking up to gale force winds and lashing rain. There was nothing for it, we locked the door, turned the heating up and made ourselves a hot toddy, before going to bed early to recover from our mad dashings hither, thither and yon.