'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menootanabootagain; The Callander Diary, Part The First.

Callander, a wee toon in Stirlingshire. A river runs through it (the Teith), but I totally failed in visiting that part of it. ...but I get ahead of myself.

April 26th, early morning in the Hutch. Battleship grey and heavy precipitation are to be seen on the other side of the wall-glass. Sigh. Check in at the Abbotsford Lodge B&B was 3pm. Estimated travel time according to the maps was scarcely more than two hours. The YAMster is an old hand at recalibrating such ridiculous under-estimation. She left the Hutch at 12:15 at which point she could get from the door to L'il Ren without having to towel off.

No sooner on the road, the sun appeared. That lasted all of five minutes before the wet stuff was back. So it went, on and off. Then came the Rest and Be Thankful. Wait a minute, you need a map...

Okay. Leaving the Hutch (bottom left) following the green line (well, the white and yellow much more curvy lines, but you get the drift)... At the R&BT major - and I mean MAJOR - roadworks. Actually, rock works. Shoring up the mountain, cuz it has a habit o' fallin' doon and then the road disnae work... 12 minute delay. Thus we were rested. Thankful, less so.

Yes, yes, I can hear you..."Why?"... in the days of yore (1750), a military road was completed by a certain General Wade of the English, sent to quash the rebel Highlanders... It was a mighty effort. Up one glen (Kinglass) and doon anither, (Croe). This little nub in the middle which is about 250m above sea level was a place to ... yeah, you got it.

Back on track. A fair bit of traffic through to Tarbet and up the side of Lomond... hardly turned the corner onto the Lomond road before hitting the first of another three roadworks which were to be negotiated. Nearly died a death at that first one. Was at the head of the line waiting for green light, changing gear, releasing brake ready to roll when

Right. Q&A for you.

You are out on your mid-life crisis Hogster with a couple of your mates. There's a line of traffic stopped at a red light for road mainenance. Do you;
a)  take your place in the queue as you draw up to the rear vehicle      OR
b)  slip forward a few vehicles due to space being available to do so   OR
c)  skip those and just ride to the front at some speed even though the lead car is about to take off and thus scare the bejiggers out of the aging female driver?

Even the hardened roadsmen were looking askance at these b********.  It gained them nothing as I drew up behind them at the next red light. There may or may not have been a show of 'mudra' in the mirror of the trail bike to let him know his number was taken.

Onwards to Crianlarich. There had been sunshine and showers thus far with a reasonably buffeting wind. Now we hit a wall of submarine grey and sleet so hard, even the HGV's were stopping at the roadside. Parked Li'l Ren on a bay and waited. It was just undrivable and the temp had plummeted from a balmy 9'C to -1'C no less (and no more either). What the...

Back on the road and around the corner. By the time of reaching Balquhidder, the sun was out again and we hit the heady heights of 12'C. Arrived the Lodge bang on 3pm. Seriously. You'd think I'd planned that the trip would take exactly two and three-quarter hours.

As I walked up to the door, it was opened by Dina, one half of the ownership team. Warm, genuine, friendliness. The large Victorian stack of a building, smart enough on the outside, was decorated to the highest and most tasteful standard internally. It managed to walk the fine line between being twee magazine triteness and truly embracing homeliness. As I signed in, I explained that my sister would be arriving later and it was she who would be paying for the rooms as my birthday treat. However, I wished to pay for the breakfast. Unlike many places, there was an added five quid charge. Not much, but enough for a good brekky, one anticipated. The room was the mid-price range at eighty pounds for the two of us, so it did seem just a wee bit strange to be paying extra. We did know this in advance, so it didn't put us off, though B&B in the UK almost always includes the breakfast with the bed... however, when Dina handed me a bunch of papers, among them were the breakfast order menus. We were to mark our choices and preferred sitting time, in order to minimise waiting and fuss in the morning. Impressive enough organisation - but when I scanned what was on offer.... well.......... more on that tomorrow.

Room 16 was up one flight and at the back of the building, overlooking the small courtyard and out to the low hills behind. Not large, but perfectly adequate - though I did think the ensuite was out of proportion to it. Not a complaint, just an architectural observation.

Having availed myself of the cuppa and choccie biccie to revive from the drive, I wandered along the street to the CooP to purchase some items for our evening. Having researched the restaurants it has to be said that there wasn't a huge choice for the vegetarian beyond mac'n'cheese or prefab vege burger. I had packed some noodles and braised tofu, and with peas and corn added, it was very satisfying; some fruit and lemon cheescake completed that part. By the time I had walked back, the umbrella had been up two times. I waited in the lounge for about ten minutes before Mac1 drove up. She had her reviver cuppa and then we headed up to Bracklinn Falls.

The walk along was fine, but just at the end, it falls away quite sharply, and the old hips and knees were already screaming, so I let the sis go down and take in the actual falls, I just enjoyed the sound and sights around.

When we got back to the room, we took turns at luxuriating in the shower, indulging in our room picnic and trading funny stories and some serious ones. We managed to get lights off before midnight...


  1. To answer your Q: I would wait my turn in the order in which I arrived. Why: My mama always told me delays are for a reason...??? so I don't question them or get antsy.

    You had a wonderful Bday with Mac 1 and what a lovely room and HUGE shower....I trust the shower wand was user friendly unlike the one in RRI Indianapolis? LOL Hugs HiC

    1. Hari OM
      BBWWWHAHAHAHAHAH... funny you should mention... actually, the water power was not so great, but I did manage to get it going at a pace which was workable... the hand-basin only ran on cold, the more one turned to the hot side, the more reluctant the liquid became! The owners had it done up beautifully and it feels odd to quibble at all!!! Yxx

  2. from your words i can see the hoggsters .. and almost hear them to. and it did not surprise me that they did the last choice as that is what most people do here. i to always say when i pull up behind them at the next stop, didn't get you anywhere did it. it sounds like you had a great time with your sister and birthday get away and i am waiting to hear what the breakfast choices were.

  3. Your up and down trek made Mom very happy for our freeways but we imagine on a good day the scenery on your end would be much nicer.

    Yes, definitely sit in your place and wait your turn. A three car jump ahead isn't really going to matter much in the end.

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  4. It looks like we are in for your special birthday adventure!

  5. You sure make me wish I were there!

  6. the mama is an a-type... safe&easy is her motto... at least she thinks so ;O))) I love the bed, since we get older it is better to have a nigher bed to leave it easier in da morning ;O)))

  7. mom is a very cautious driver. The accommodations look nice
    Hazel & Mabel

  8. What a wonderful getaway...and being one who has had to occasionally wait for a few mountains to be shored up, I also would much rather wait my turn!

  9. I have been missing your posts Yam because I had bookmarked your blog with your first AtoZ post and thought there was nothing new (blonde/senior's moment on my part!) Loved your story - and the midlife crisis bike riders! Also thought that room and bathroom looked delightful - you sound like you're having a wonderful time x

  10. No doubt... those hoggsters chose the last option (I would choose A). Argh! I'm glad that you enjoyed the rest of that day and evening!

  11. Sister time is so wonderful! My youngest and her hubby spent yesterday at our place. We ventured out for a movie and lunch at the movie. Once back at the apartment we enjoyed working on plans for the BIG September trip for all 4 sisters to Oregon for one sister's granddaughter's wedding. Oh, what fun giggling about which of us could climb into a top bunk for a bed. Considering the oldest will be 82, then a 81, two 78s, a 72, 64 and 62 being the youngest and the tallest, bunk climbing is not an option!

    As for the cyclist/motorist I an not sure what has happened to common sense not to mention courtesy. The price of a privileged mindset. Same problem here in the States. I make a point to wave when we are sitting at the same traffic light together. I will shake my pointer finger, not the rude one, at these folks, too. deep breath. namaste, janice xx

  12. How lovely you have a sister, and you can find some time together.
    We had an epic trip into the city. For cancer treatment. Things are still good.
    Happy Birthday, my dear friend.


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