In the last week I:
*Turned 30 and celebrated with a bunch of my favourite people in the idyllic setting of Dall Mill on the shores of Loch Rannoch.
*Completed the taught section of my Masters. (Just the dissertation to go now.)
*Relocated my whole entire life from Edinburgh to Aviemore after 12 years of city living.
*Hit the ground running in my new country-life and took over welcoming guests to stay in the Yurt and Beermoth at Inshriach for the weekend, which involved driving them across muddy fields in a Landrover I'd never driven.
*And most importantly, settled in to our new cottage.
This time last week I didn't think we'd get here. I was recovering from a weekend of partying and had a huge research proposal doom cloud hanging over my head, with an imminent deadline zooming towards me. The Drummer was on chief packing duty, but was also trying to squeeze in a few last minute Edinburgh gigs, so he was in a different time-zone altogether.
This is what our living room looked like the day before Moving Day.
Needless to say, Moving Day was horrific. We got up at the crack of dawn to finish packing, load the car and clean the flat, and aimed to set off mid-afternoon. Easy? Ha!
After several trips to deposit the 'we need to keep these, but don't need them urgently' boxes at my brothers flat and dispose of some junk at the dump, we realised that we still had far more things than would fit in one car. And we drive a Volvo estate (The Beast). Some ruthless clearing out was called for, along with a plea to a friend, who has a huge flat, to store some more of our things. Luckily he was in, and willing to look after our stereo (and other 'we kind of need them, but could probably live without them for now' things), so finally, at 8pm we had the car packed! Now just the cleaning to get on with...
Much to my mothers horror (no, she didn't know until the next day), we set off for Aviemore at 1am. Just 10 hours behind schedule. The emotional farewell to Edinburgh that I'd envisioned for weeks before was more of a 'let's get the hell out of here' frustrated moment. Oh, and don't forget to pick up the cat! Another of our kind friends was looking after the cat for us over the Birthday Weekend, and had offered to keep him until we were ready to set off. What a star! A fluffy cat rampaging round the flat when we were trying to pack and clean would have been a nightmare.
In the end, the drive up the A9 was fairly uneventful. It was pouring with rain most of the way (oh yeah, did I mention it was torrential rain all day when we were packing and repacking the Beast?!) so I drove carefully and stopped several times to have a wee rest, and by the time we arrived at our new home, dawn was breaking and the birds were out to welcome us. We parked outside the cottage and crept in with a few essential things, and were delighted to see that there was a makeshift bed made up for us on the floor. We were out like a light, and before we knew it, my phone was ringing and the mattress delivery man was here with our fancy new, amazingly comfy and therefore difficult to get out of, mattress. Woohoo!
Life since then has been a bit of a blur. But a much more relaxed and chilled out blur compared to previous weeks. Yes, I've been doing a lot of greeting holiday guests and changing beds already, but I've also had a lot of time to potter about in the cottage, unpacking boxes, baking scones, mastering the art of fire lighting, and generally just enjoying a slower pace and the peace and quiet. Although I love Edinburgh, and will no doubt miss it eventually, I've not really enjoyed living there for the last few years, mostly due to a lack of money and feeling of claustrophobia. I'm hoping that our new life in Aviemore will give me more time to let me find my creativity again (musically and woolly), and I think it may already be working its magic.
Here are a few photos I've taken over the weekend:
View of the snow covered Cairngorms from Aviemore railway station.
Our wee fireplace and wood burner.
MyloCat seems to have settled in just fine.
In amongst the nettles outside our cottage are some forget-me-nots. They make me think of all the lovely people we've left behind in the central belt.
And some primroses too.
I'm planning on posting blogs much more regularly from now on, to keep you all up to date with what I'm up to so stay tuned. A lot of people think we've moved up here for a quiet life, but I have a feeling the next four or five weeks are going to be even more hectic than the last few, since Inshriach becomes home to the Insider Festival from the 15th to the 17th June. I can't wait though!