We are all long-term porridge eaters, and here we are, in the land of porridge!
Much of the oats that's available in supermarkets in Scotland is foreign oats ground almost to dust so that it can be used to make instant microwaved porridge. However, there are one or two brands that are Scottish whole rolled oats, which makes much better, if not more time consuming, porridge. But the quality of the oats is not the only reason that we buy the brand that we use, which is Scott's; another reason, and probably the major reason, is the fabulous package design!
There are many things that are iconically Scottish: kilts, bagpipes, haggis, porridge, bens, lochs, the Loch Ness monster... and highland games. Highland games are held all over the Scottish Highlands, which are the more mountainous regions in the north and west of Scotland.
We went on a trip to Edinburgh recently to pick up a hire car from the airport. While we were there we had a short stop in the centre of the city,recently; that is, in the 'old' city, which is very picturesque, although full of tourist shops and fellow tourists.
I'm house-sitting in Melrose, in the Scottish Borders region. Melrose is a pretty little town set on the edge of the flood plain of the River Tweed. Melrose is one of a string of cute little Scottish towns that almost merge together along the River Tweed valley, including, from east to west, Newstead, Gattonside (over the river), Melrose, Darnick, Tweedbank, and Galashiels.
The centre of Melrose is situated on the southern edge of the flood plain of the River Tweed, and our house-sit is on the southern edge of Melrose on hills rising off this flood plain. From this area, in the right spot, you can see right across the valley to the ridge of hills on the other side. While the dominant landscape feature for tens of kilometres around is the Eildon Hills, this ridge is also a beautiful backdrop to many scenes around Melrose.
Our house-sit in Melrose is a large, typical British house on a larger-than-usual (for Britain) block of land in a new rural subdivision on the edge of town.
This whole area around Melrose is visually dominated by the Eildon Hills, three large hills that rise sharply out of the surrounding landscape. The hills are laccoliths, which are volcanic eruptions that never made it to the surface; the magma cools between layers of other rock, which are subsequently eroded away.
So where am I at now?
I have been to the Cotswolds region and the Isle of Wight in England; southern Spain; Iceland; Toronto in Canada; Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, New York, and Washington in the United States; back to London and the Isle of Wight in England again; the south-west coast of Scotland, and now I'm house-sitting in Melrose, in the Scottish Borders region.
House-sitting involves staying at someone else's house and looking after it for them while they are away, usually on holiday.
Accommodation is probably our single biggest expense when travelling around, so house-sitting is a great way to reduce our costs and enable us to travel for longer. The other advantages of this arrangement is that we get to meet local people, including the people who own the property, that we wouldn't otherwise meet, and we get to know the local area much more thoroughly because of the time we get to spend there.