Tomorrow morning at the crack of sparrows, we’re driving to the Orkneys for a few days. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks. I’m excited about the drive to Wick, the ferry, the drive over all the causeways, exploring the main island, the lot. I am like a kid on Christmas Eve.
I primed the girls a fornight ago and showed them some bits of the journey on Google Earth. We talked about the wildlife we might see (and The Boss saw some dolphins on his way to work the day before yesterday, so hopefully there’ll be more further north!). Today the kids understood that it’s only one more sleep till we go. So they apparently talked non-stop at nursery today about: the long, long drive, the ferry, the puffins and the owls. <Screech. Reverse> What? Owls? I don’t remember talking about owls! I remember showing them photos of puffins and seals, otters and dolphins, The Old Man of Hoy and the beach near where we’ll be (my word, it looks even better than our incredible local beach at home – did I tell you how excited I am?!). So I did a quick Google, and luckily there are apparently lots of owls on the Orkneys. But the puffins won’t be there till May. So I guess Owl Lover Midi will be happy, but how to break the puffin news to Maxi…
I’ve spent the whole night printing out spotter sheets of birds, leaves, trees, beasts, bugs, that kind of thing. I feel so inadequate when Maxi or Midi ask “what’s that tree / bird / animal / plane?” and I don’t know. Now, ask me what that cloud is, and I’ll tell you its name, estimate its cloud-base and forecast the probable weather over the next hour. But on normal undorky things, I fail. This website is bloody amazing for that kind of thing. The minxes are too young for the games and activities, but it won’t be long I’m sure. Example, here is a link to the ‘picnic’ activity pack: it’s got links to spotter guides, games, site to find your nearest bluebell wood, etc, etc.
I can’t be faffed with taking a buggy, so spent the afternoon practicing back carries of Mini in the woven wrap. I studied photos, YouTube videos and just bit the bullet and experimented. My first Rucksack Carry was a lot neater and safer than the second attempt. Or third. Or even 4th. The Reinforced Rebozo (?) looked like a right bozo (me) tied it. Still, it kept me out of trouble, and forewarned Mini Minx of Events To Come. (She didn’t like being on my back, but did a very funny comedy-double-take when she looked down and saw my face from round behind my neck. She obviously didn’t realise that ‘Behind Mummy’ is still Mummy, not some strange creature. Honest.
Anyway. Orkneys. Fingers crossed that we see no evidence of the forecast 800 times <faint> the normal number of midges. And to anyone who’ll be on the ferry tomorrow, I’m so, so sorry in advance. Sorry for the mess and the noise and the squealing and the chaos (Mini’s latest trick is to chuck everything she can reach, in a fine overhead lob).
See you in a few days with tales of Orcadian minxiness, I bet.