An Autumn visit to Aberdeen

It’s become an annual visit to Aberdeen in the Autumn. Normally, I head up on my own to visit my chums. This time, however, I decided that it was a great excuse to get my best buddy on her bike and join Annie and I for a much needed get together.

Gayle was the victim. Next year I hope that Susan of trucking fame can join us. By then, I hope she’ll have added ‘motorcycling’ to her repitoir of driving skills. It’s ok, Annie, I’ll take the sofa. Jonny, you will have to move out for the weekend!

Brace yourself, Aberdeen.

I met Gayle in Dunblane. I thought her eyes were going to pop out her head, meeting Ruby for the first time. She now wishes that she’d brought earplugs.

We headed to Gloagburn for lunch. When we got there, the queue was lengthy. We went for a pee, the second of many for Gayle! Bladder the size of a pea.

We agreed, after a bit of deliberation, to go to Blairgowrie. To settle into riding her bike, Gayle chose going by the dual carriageway to Gloagburn. From there, it was all country roads.

The choice of going to Blairgowrie was a good decision. Recommended by her parents, we enjoyed a fabulous (small) salad at The Laird’s House

Yum, yum

Yum, yum

Now, Gayle doesn’t ride her bike as much as she could. I am making it my mission to change that. Whilst I was heading towards my Observer qualifications, I went out with her, however, we hadn’t had the time to go out together. I was looking forward to some quality riding time with her.

So, after (another) pee, we were ready to go.

We headed up to Braemar. It was delicious. Hardly any traffic. Gayle wasn’t keen to go in front, a confidence thing. I have to say, I made a conscious decision to ride at the speed limit, which in fairness, the last time we went out, she was shy about that. I know, on occasions, when situations arise, there’s a need to get on the gas. Sometimes we just have to.

Those of my pals that are Observers know that it’s challenging to watch / observe in your mirrors. Especially challenging, given Ruby’s mirrors are, well, CRAP!

I had to stop though, to discuss right hand bends, it was a safety thing. Not good. All credit to Gayle, she took the advice well and the improvement in her cornering position was much improved by the time we got to the outskirts of Ballater. I stopped to check that she didn’t need a pee! Ok to go on. We headed, traffic free into Aberdeen, that was a shock, it was the back of 5. Miracles do happen. The second miracle was remembering the back route into Bucksburn! Result. Fist pump to Gayle to indicate we were 1) not lost; 2) nearly there!

Annie and her lovely daughter, Katie were there to greet us, as we negotiated safe parking. Another challenging issue with Ruby, short side stand. Katie was our best friend, she’d brought a home baked gluten free chocolate cake.i had promised cake as a bribe for Gayle….. Little did I know, this would be it. It was part of Gayle’s Saturday morning breakfast. Sorry, Gayle. At least you GOT cake!

We had a date, at the Four Mile Inn. Good food, great craic, and cheap!

The beat laugh was the waiter, a young loon. Brace yourself! I said I wanted extra sauce, because I like a bit of sauce on the side. He blushed. He took our order, after a bit of a giggle. At the end of the order, he automjically asked if we would like any ‘sides’. He didn’t wait to hear a reply, he just shrugged and walked off. Good choice.

The food was great, we laughed our way through the meal.

Saturday dawned. We managed to escape a hangover, I think. Gayle managed to stay up to midnight. Result.

Hopped on the bus, discussed missing Annie’s bus blog. That’s ok though, we got a wee run down, and there were a few ‘toothless wonders’ that stumbled onto the bus to keep our imagination flowing.

A wee walk along Union Street, reminded us just how crap it really was. It just so happened my dodgy knee played up. Next to a cocktail bar. Right, two Bloody Mary and a French Martini. Took ages for the former, two seconds for the latter. It was good in a way, had we all had French Martini, we would have had two each.

Then it was onwards to our lunch appointment at Adelphi Kitchen. Small, quirky and very, very tasty. You need to book, be prepared to vacate your table by 4pm. Crap if you want a long lunch, good if you want to avoid the 3rd bottle of wine. The food was stunning, beautifully cooked and the service was great. Just go for it. Superb.

Ladies who lunch!

Ladies who lunch!

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The highlight? The starters. We couldn’t make our minds up, so we ordered the Mushroom Wellington as an ‘extra’. Well worth it. Totally orgasmic! (Too much detail? Tough.)

After that, we headed to M&S for munchies. What a cheek. We did manage some of them, however, it was Chick Flicks and feet up. With wine, of course, it would seem rude not to!

After a hearty, Aberdeen breakfast (minus rowies, thank goodness), we were ready for the ride home, destination, the same coffee stop in Blairgowrie. Gayle’s riding and positioning had improved tenfold. Well done, lass, proud of you. We were so, so, lucky with the traffic. At Glenshee, there was a group of bikers….. We both watched for them in our mirrors, when they caught up, we just gave them space to get past us; the sensible thing to do. They were all following each other in a bad way, so it was good to get them in front of us.

Gayle had her ‘ah ha’ moment, when a rider came towards us, going round a right hand bend; I had to shift my position to get out his way. Had a bus or car been coming the other way….. Gayle ‘got it’. Sometimes you need to see the whole picture to ‘get it’!!

It was just a joy, spending time with my best pals; wine, food, and lots of laughs. The best ever therapy. Time with both was just the job. We shared tales, wine and laughs. Sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered. Thank you ladies, it was a blast. You never know, next year, Susan might join us!

Quality.

Quality.

Addendum:

I am bad. I have to say, my ‘picture’ of Gayle was not a good one. Her comment on Faceache was this:

“Fiona, my god, I sound like an old lady from your description !! Bladder the size of a pea, not confident in front, managed to stay up until midnight!!! I sound fun to be around:). Its ok, she took me back to my old folks home at the end of the weekend. hee hee. I had a blast of a weekend. IF I rest up now, should be ready for next years mini tour:)”

So, I feel I have to qualify a few things.

Gayle and I were at school together. We bonded over those 8 years and were pals throughout. We were both pretty competitive, both of us in the Hockey team (very successful it was too) – a great combination, I would ‘flick’ the ball down the pitch, Gayle would pick it up….. SCORE! For a lot of the time, the other 9 players were redundant.

Other athletic sports included, tennis, athletics, swimming and numerous other sporting activities.

In athletics, we swept the board between us, Gayle excelled at high jump, I excelled (oddly enough) at long jump. Not that I’m bitter, but when I broke the school record, the head of PE, stuck his licked finger in the air and declared it too windy. Pillock. I believe my Intermediate record still stands. For the last 30, yes, thirty years, I was denied the gold medal. *sigh*.

In the meantime, Gayle was totally outstanding at the high jump. I was a close second. I was, apparently ‘bouncy’. In the relay, we were a hell of a team. Me, with my short legs always ran third, round the bend (apt?) and passed the baton to Gayley-Bananas. Off she would go, sprinting down the home straight. Win!

I got an injury, Gayle didn’t. To this day, she’s as fit as a flea, goes to the gym, cycles like mad and has bagged every Munro in Scotland.

She did the LEJOG challenge with her buddy, Louise last year. Respect. Ed and I were there on our trusty steeds, helping them on their last leg.

She still has a bladder of a pea. However, hats off to her for being able to pursue her passion for fitness. She goes to bed at about 9:30 most nights, and gets up about 2 hours before I even blink an eye. That’s why having her still awake at 11:30pm, never mind midnight, was so amazing.

She still has a bladder of a pea.

I totally respect the energy that Gayle has, she’s amazing. She has the most astounding ability to get to know people. She always remembers a name. She will draw out information from a ‘new’ friend in a nano-second, including some of my long standing friends. She’s amazing.

As my long-standing buddy, I am so proud of her achievements, and wish that I could spend more time in her company. Knackered knees does restrict the options, however, we will always have motorbikes and an ability to laugh, heartily, in common. I love her deeply. My original blog my not have been very flattering, and I hope this fills in the gaps in our friendship. Oh, she’s a great driver and I will endeavour to making her a more confident and outstanding motorcyclist. That’s what we have in common now, other than the obvious life-long friendship.

I love you, Gayle. Always.

As for Annie, I love you too. Always. Sorry I missed the tag on Faceache.

Friends are hard to find. When you find one, hold onto them, even when you have to plan runs around cake & pee stops.

2 comments on “An Autumn visit to Aberdeen”

  1. George Betty says:

    You certainly get around – and obviously enjoy the times you have. Long may these meetings be so enjoyable .Continue to spend them tothe full – life is too short . !!

  2. Fiona says:

    You are correct with both comments!

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