What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Menootnaboot; Through The Neuk To Auld Reekie And Homeward

After my pastie and a drink, the last use of the toilet facilities, and a brushing of sand from shoes and wheels, it was back on the road down through Fife. I wanted to get a full top-up charge one last time there (it being the most economical of charge places, remember), and opted for a village I had yet to visit. Dysart is almost a suburb of the sprawling conurbation of Kirkcaldy these days but still retains much of its wee-place charm, particularly down by the harbour where the charge point is. It was one of those slightly hold-the-breath approaches, mind, very twisty and narrow, but not quite as steep as some and once at the park, quite glorious. Although by then, mid-arvo, the rain was setting in once more. It was not heavy, and I walked over to the Harbourmaster's Cafe for a cup of hot chocolate to fill in time. 

After the charge was complete, I had time to spare, so drove to the front of the parking area, right beside the art installation called Sea Beams, by Donald Urquhart.

Each pole is hewn from a single tree grown in Perthshire. It shows the ravages of time and weather but retains a sense of the totemic. The sea wall was also badly dislodged by all the storms. Had I not had the appointment to meet up with Mac1 at seven-thirty that evening in the city over the firth, I would have been tempted just to settle there for the night, so very peaceful was it.

As it was, I had my evening meal and cuppa and had a natter with a passing fellow who got a slight surprise at the back door of the van bursting open as he stood studying the logo on its rear... E-Transit. He understood it to be an electric vehicle, and we had a good natter about it, then more general. He was visiting old territory, being an ex-pat Scot, married to a French lady and living in France. He actually hailed from......... Dunoon! 

I set off over the big bridge and into the city, finding a park near the church where I connected with my sister. She sings in the choir she and her pals have been in since school - with the same choirmaster! A very sprightly 85-year-old who works them hard, there was little breathing between items practiced. They meet every Monday night and are currently working up a program for the Eisteddfod in Llangollen in June. I even knew some of the items by heart and was able to join in. Then I drove Mac1 back to her home, parked outside, and we had a girly couple of hours before bedtime. 

On Tuesday, Mac1 was on duty as a warden at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, an annual event that I have attended a few times before but not since The Maestro passed, so a return visit was long overdue. I only had to go to the venue early afternoon, so I did a bit of 'housework', then went down to the mall for some groceries and over to the school. The concert was a full hour and sheer delight to the ear and heart. No photography or filming was permitted, so I can only tell you that I shed a tear or two at some of the sounds and that one of Amy's best friends from Drake Music (the institute for disabled musicians) was included in a section of her own composition that matched with a clarsach. It would have been Amy playing were she still with us, but instead, the very adept and sweetly-playing Susan filled that gap. Marvellous afternoon. After, Mac1 and a friend, Dorothy, joined me for a cuppa in Grey. After that, my sister had another shift to do prior to the evening final concert... but had a half-hour break, so I prepared us an air-fryer meal of potatoes, cauli and broccoli, carrots, vege pies and gravy, which we both ate with gusto and it was my first proper full meal sitting at the wee table with a guest! So short was our time for that, and so hungry were we, I entirely failed to photograph it. Mac1, however, did take a shot of The Grey in his position right by the main entrance!

After clearing up, I drove back to the house, and Mac1 was there only twenty minutes later. We had an hour of 'download' and a cuppa in her dining room before making it a night. She had to pack and get ready to catch her train to Nottingham to be with Mac3, leaving early the next morning. We did have time to take a morning cuppa together before she left. I lingered a bit longer in the morning doing some blogs, driving away only a short distance to... IKEA! 

The Edinburgh roads are truly horrendous, not improved by the addition of some seriously perturbing speed bumps. The metal shelving, which had buckled a bit before (recall the "IED" humps fiasco), got another pounding. I had to take action. I had researched more robust shelving in the hardware warehouse B&Q but was not really inspired. Something twigged my little greys to think furniture instead of garaging, so IKEA seemed the most accessible for me. Says she, who has never really been in one of these places with any serious intent before. However, as I approached the Straiton business park, the traffic was beyond horrendous, and I couldn't actually gain access to the car park for the Ikky Shoppe... so I departed quickly and headed into Roslyn instead to wait it out. I found a charge point in the car park by the chapel, which was a bonus, and went into the chapel cafe for lunch. Roasted pepper and tomato soup, with a ginormous 'cheese scone'... the first was scrummy, the second was not at all cheese and ate more like a cake. It's not my favourite thing, but it filled a hole. 
The place was busy, and I offered a family of three to join my table. This proved worthwhile, for we had a grand old chinwag about the building, the roads, and, of course, the van. Graham and Julia are Edinburgh natives but now live in Fife. They are both Scout Masters and interested in camping and van living. Their son Craig has a teaching position in Oxford and fills his time with bell-ringing. Honestly, I have had some of the most fabulous conversations on this trip!!! Graham found and saved my blog on his phone and suggested I get some cards made up with the address of that and the tubular channel... which is a good idea, and I will arrange it. 

At about 4 p.m., I chanced returning to Straiton. This time, I got into the car park with no bother, finding a spot quite close to the door. Toilets first, then on into the cavernous crawl. OMG... I couldn't wait to get out again, but it must be said I found exactly what I needed.

There is more about this in the latest video, amongst other odds and ends.

I have been so impressed with Hejne that I could adapt a double-width set against the door wall, removing the second set of tin foil shelves. The metal shelves by the bed/table are much sturdier and will remain. I also realised that the wood lends itself to more easily mounted doors. Other things, too. 

Anyhoo, it transpired that there are no restrictions on parking overnight in IKEA parking lots, which I was glad about because it was 8 p.m. before I was back at Grey and had the wood loaded in. It was surprisingly peaceful, and I slept very well. The next day, although windy, was bright and warm. It got to 15 °C! I opened the doors and set to work, demounting the metal shelves, building the Hejne set, and getting them wedged and bungied into place. I struggled to get them angled into place, but a lovely fellow parked just behind saw my plight and was there to assist at exactly the right moment. I do have angels, I swear.

It took me most of the day to do all this. Remember, I have to take lots of short bursts at things with lots of sit downs between them! I stayed another night in the parking lot there before driving off to New Lanark for a respite stay over the weekend.

Three days of rain, then the fourth came up bright, though only two degrees! Wednesday saw me moving on again, finally and a tad reluctantly. Over that quiet time, I had been plotting and planning about the shelving and decided my next stop would be at the Braehead IKEA store by the River Clyde. Again arriving late afternoon, I made up my mind to eat at the cafe (very bland and ordinary vege curry with rice - but at four quid there could be no complaint, for it did fill and satisfy the hunger) before embarking on the warren round to bins and pick up. This time, I doubled up the purchase and managed to get it loaded in the back in such a way that it didn't present a hazard to drive or move about the interior. I spent the night in that parking lot - and am now fast deciding that the Ikky Shoppe does have that going for it: a place to park, eat, relieve the 'plumbing', and sleep without question or interference. 

Thursday - a week ago - I continued my slightly tardy drive toward the ferry, stopping at the B&Q in Port Glasgow over lunchtime to assess wood types and costs as well as pick up the vinyl paper I need to line the doors. Also, a grocery run at Aldi. Got to the ferry for three ... and once on the peninsula, decided I still couldn't quite come straight to the Hutch. I spent the night on the promenade road. Friday dawned fully bright and cheerful. Driving around to my street, I couldn't get parked, so I went down to Glenmorag Park and sat and watched the water for a couple of hours. Tried the street again, this time getting a park almost by the door. 

Thus endeth the Seconds Trip Saga!!! Don't go too far away, though. I'll be setting off again on May 2nd... in the time of return to base and moving again, I am hopeful of having done the third-stage fix on the interior, with the walls clad, the shelves all properly fixed up, and, maybe even a door or two on, turning the shelves into cabinets. Keep watching, folks!!!


  1. Interesting post. It does seem than 'van life' is very popular in the UK these days. Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  2. Quite the adventure, YAM. This van has opened up a world to you; it was there before but not accessible. I think you should plan a trip from John O’Groats to Lands End. That would indeed be memorable!

  3. The harp concert sounds wonderful and I did see your latest video with the new shelving. It looks great!

  4. Lovely photos! Just scanned through the post. Shall read at leisure. Seems very interesting indeed.

  5. WOW yay YAM what an informative post on activities and meet and greets. You have been 10000% prepared and ready for your trip. YOUR PLANNING and RESEACH were 10000% better than a YouTUBE I've been watching a young Scottish woman, I think her name is Ruth Ansiley. Her videos are about her van trip from Scotland to France. First leg she drove to England to take the channel tunnel into France. That process of getting on the train thru the tunnel was intereating. Dhr had all kinds of problems. First one was starting the journey in Janauary. On her return trip home she went The Netherlands to get on the Ferry for an 18 hour trip to England . It was a ROUGH rough ride. High winds of 50MPH. But I was truly in awe of the wonderful facilities on the Ferry
    Hugs Cecilia

    1. found her YouTube

  6. PS forgot to mention the Harp concert. I do love all string instruments

  7. I am liking that new wooden shelving unit. it will be perfect with doors. Yay for Ikea and the free parking. I have never been in a store, only see them on TV. the things you share with me that i like most of all are you chats, greets, meets with strangers. I just like to do that so much.. what a super idea about the cards with your info... hope you have a great down time to finish your work before you leave again and fingers crossed for the weather to be better by the beginning of the next ADVENTURE

  8. Thanks for taking us along on your recent journey. We hope those shelves hold up better than the metal ones.

  9. You give us so much to see and enjoy. We are really learning a lot about a new part of the world for us. We are all set to hit the road again with you next week.

  10. A lot packed in today. The shelving looks great - well worth braving the Edinburgh traffic and the traumas of coping with the IKEA experience!
    Cheers, Gail.

  11. Whew...I'm tuckered just taking in all of your first trip. I do love an IKEA run...they have so many RV/Van friendly things from little baskets and boxes...to cabinetry and more!

    Looking forward to your next journey!!

  12. You are an amazing woman, YAM, and I am so glad to read about your journeys! XX

  13. Hi Yam - well that was an interesting post - well they're all interesting ... but lots of info here. Fascinating about the Ikea runs ... never would have thought! You're amazing with all your choices etc ... and then getting on with it. I enjoyed seeing the Sea Beams ... now I hope you're feeling easier ... that dreaded covid thing is a right pain. Take care, relax and get it out of your system. Cheers - and sent with thoughts - Hilary


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