Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Brooks in Scotland

Memorial Day weekend our dear friends Andrea, Jay, Jay Anthony and Evan Brooks came to Scotland for a visit. Andrea and I have been friends for 15 years and she is one of those friends that makes time stand still. Every time I see her or speak to her, it's as if NO time has passed. We laugh just as much, we share life's heartaches and joys, and she reminds me of the time in our lives when our responsibilities were less significant.

Our boys had a long weekend but otherwise had to go to school. So things were a bit crazy but we packed in a lot of fun while they were here: Museums, Golf, Castles, Beaches, Lochs, Shopping, Cooking, Laughing and much more. The weather was even nice! As usual with our family, things were sometimes really organized and smooth and other times, the wheels came off. Thank you to the Brooks for tolerating us and for making the effort to come! (they were even buying a house back home while they were here....Crazy!)

One of the first days they were here, we headed up to Mugduck Country Park. We walked and and walked to get a bit of fresh air and to keep the Brooks family awake. Total troopers.

Over the long weekend, we all loaded up for a day out at Culzean Castle Park on the coast in Ayr. It's a gorgeous property with lots to do. I'd promoted it big time to Evan because he is a big Lego fan and in this castle, they've hidden Lego mini figures in every room. Well, guess what? We got a late start on the day, we played at the park and then on the beach, had our picnic lunch and got to the castle door at 4:05. They closed at 4. Total MacNicol luck. Bummer, total bummer. Not only because they would not get to see this beautiful property, but because I'd promised Evan a chance to count the Lego guys! Oh man, lesson learned.

Apart from the disappointment, it was a great day. Scott took Jay, Jay Anthony and Ethan by Turnberry on the way home for a quick look. We continue to take for granted all of these beautiful places at our doorstep.

Sunday, we had a lazy morning then headed to Kelvingrove Park and Museum. Another great day except, Scott fell in the half pipe on his skateboard while chasing Charlie. He wouldn't let me help him out or take a picture. Big Bummer. Not about the picture, his knee. It was shattered.

We went to dinner that night with 2 other couples and what a laugh. I wish I had pictures from the night. We really had such a great time introducing Andrea and Jay to a few of our friends here. And I think everyone had a great night.

Monday morning, Scott and I headed to the ER to see about his knee. He blew his ACL and tore his Meniscus (which we did not know at this point). Really Big Bummer. He was looking forward to his first round of golf at St. Andrews with Ethan, Christopher, Jay and Jay Anthony. He was heartbroken but thrilled to see the boys on the tee at the "Home of Golf".

I walked the 9 hole course with the 4 above and then Jay took Ethan and Jay Anthony for 18 more. Scott had taken Andrea, Evan and Charlie to the dunes and so Christopher and I met them there. We also phoned our Glasgow pals that have a house there to join us on the beach. It was cold, but another GREAT day!

The town of St. Andrews is so picturesque.

When the Nicol boys were back in school, I took the Brooks to Edinburgh Castle because it's a must see while in Scotland. We'd checked the calendar to see what was on and picked our day in hopes of no crowd. Well, guess what? The Prince of Wales does not publish his calendar for security reasons and therefore, we did not know we'd find the scene below.

When we were purchasing our tickets, they told us to hurry up to see the crown jewels because some of the buildings would be closed at during his visit. Off we ran and I shoved the Brooks into a queue of people for the jewels (I've seen them more times than I need to so I stayed outside to people watch). Little did I know that I'd see Prince Charles himself while they were stuck inside a claustrophobic space, waiting to see something they could barely see because of the crowd. Again, huge Gwen Nicol blunder. I think they've forgiven me and Andrea posted on Facebook that she'd was hanging out at Edinburgh Castle with the Prince. All was well!

We were also treated to a traditional Scottish band and a 21 gun salute! Jay Anthony and Evan were extremely patient while we checked out the spectacle.

On their last day here, we headed up to the famous Loch Lomond for the views. It did not disappoint and we even got a little exercise.

One of the things that I wish I had on film, is a picture of Jay Brooks walking to the local market for money or whatever we needed for the day. He is such a trip and we had a many a laugh with him about exchanging money, getting foreign money from the cash machine and spending said foreign money in the shops. Jay, you are one of a kind!

Thank you again for spending your time and money to come and see our nutty crew! Can't wait to see you again stateside!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

What an unbelievable trip! The boys still love talking about that trip! Thanks again for being such a great host and friend!! I love and miss you tons!!