Monday, January 15, 2007

Aberdeen Adventure

We have returned and if Nigel gets the job in Aberdeen I have to say it will be against all the odds. For anyone who is interested in our exploits over the past four days here is a summary. After debating whether we should leave on Thursday with the caravan we eventually decided to give it a go although I have to admit we were all rather concerned about the weather forecast. We eventually departed around noon but this proved to be a false start, 12 miles into our journey we realised Nigel had forgotten his paperwork - very frustrating.

At about 1.00pm we got onto the A1 near Sedgefield and were hit by severe cross winds reducing our traveling speed to around 45 miles per hour. The gusts were very unnerving particularly when we crossed the Tyne. AA route finder calculates that a journey from Middlesbrough to Aberdeen should take around 5 hours 16 minutes this obviously does not take in to account extreme weather and towing speeds!! With the Forth Road Bridge and Tay Bridge closed to any vehicles except cars without roof boxes we had to cross the Forth via the Kincardine Bridge and the Tay near Perth. The congestion on the Kincardine was horrendous due to roadworks and all the redirected traffic from the Forth Road Bridge. Needless to say with all these problems it took us slightly longer the 5 hours 16 mins.
Eleven hours later we arrived at our destination, a small campsite near Aberdeen. If we thought our troubles were over we were sadly mistaken. First we had to try and locate the late arrivals area not an easy task in the dark and with poor signage. Unfortunately for us we got it wrong and were met the following morning by the somewhat upset wife of the campsite owner who I don't think ever really forgave us. Fortunately for us her husband seemed not to be of the same disposition and he very kindly helped us unhitch the caravan. This was a big relief as the hitch had jammed on and I had had visions of driving Nigel to his interview with the caravan in tow. I'm not sure what impression this would have given to his potential employer.
After setting up Thea and I took Nell for a walk in the woods. It was good to stretch our legs after all the traveling, that was until I stooped down to duck under a fallen tree. Yes you guessed it my back went. What else could go wrong I can hear you ask, plenty believe me. The directions for the interview were not clear and we ended up at the wrong place. I think we just managed to get Nigel to the required location with a few seconds to spare not the best way to reduce your stress levels. Whilst Nigel was being interrogated the kids and me spent a couple of hours looking round Aberdeen. We visited the library and the art gallery and looked in a couple of shops. I have to say I was quite taken by the city with it clean granite buildings and impressive architecture.
With the weather forecast deteriorating we decided to make for an early departure and left on Saturday rather than Sunday. On our return journey we called in at Dunnottar Castle, a very dramatic place and well worth a visit if you are passing. The conglomerate rock upon which it is built is impressive too.
Luckily at this time of year visitor numbers are not great so we were easily able to park both car and caravan in the car park. Spent Saturday night near Jedburgh. Sunday we visited some friends at Corbridge both who are teachers and both who are completely demoralised with teaching. A real shame as they are really dedicated and given the freedom very inspirational.
Well that was our four day adventure, we now await the outcome.

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