Scotland the final frontier


Breathtaking moments are many and varied in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Glass topped Lochs can multiply the savage beauty of the mountains as vivid greens reds and copper tones stare back at you from vast motionless mirrors.

We had spent the day at Fort Augustus during a week visiting friends. Matthew our small son had stood in fascination watching the transfer of thousands of gallons of water, and admiring the boats coming down the stepped locks of the Caledonian Canal. He gazed in wonder as they slipped their moorings and gently eased out onto the famous waters of Loch Ness. The late season sun was warm and inviting so my wife and Matthew decided to go Nessy hunting. A disappointing but enjoyable hour later we returned to dry land without even a hint of Nessy to fuel the conversation on the drive home. This was apparently due to the monster being tired and asleep at the bottom of the Loch. Aren’t three year olds cute!

As the setting sun fell behind the peaks throwing the deep waters into shadow Matthew was strapped into the rear, we said goodbye to the Locks and set off back to Fort William.

Ten minutes into the journey a little voice piped up from the back seat,

‘Karen!’

There was no reply from either of us as Matthew had been told it was Mum or Mummy, not Karen. Matthew was now clearly bored and wanted a bit of fun.

A few seconds later.

‘Karen Louise!’

Still no reply from either of us, sideways glances acknowledging the humour of the situation whilst maintaining an iron grip on the principles of good manners and discipline.

Quietness filled the car once again but we both knew this wasn’t the end, there would be more.

‘Karen Louise Coward!’

The tears had started to moisten my eyes as a tried to hold back a laugh and I dare not even look at my wife. The best I could manage was a high pitched strangled cough that anyone else would probably have attributed to some form of physical torture. My eyes cleared and the car fell silent once more. I looked at Karen who was just the lighter side of crimson. She had a facial expression I had last encountered seconds before Matthew arrived in this world, I was sure on this occasion however that the emotions fuelling the face were totally different.

The little voice in the back went quiet once again and after an acceptable pause that appeared to be that until, the not so little voice anymore, with plenty of three year old attitude boomed out.

‘Earth to Karen…come in Karen!’

How I didn’t crash the car I’m still not sure. Nowadays I’m very, very careful how I bring Matthew out of television trances when his tea’s ready.

‘Earth to Karen’, indeed!

A Coward

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