Friday, 21 October 2011

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.

I wonder what she was thinking?

It's nice when visitors come to stay. Sometimes in fact, it's brilliant!

Passports please!

We recently had our Swiss niece Julia come to stay. While we were on holiday in Switzerland during the summer we visited the lovely G’s cousins and while there 12-year-old Julia had asked if she could come to stay with us in her October holidays. We said it would be fine as long as her parents were happy and they replied that they would be quite relaxed about it as long as Julia realised that for the first time she would be travelling completely on her own, which is no small thing when taking an international flight from a major airport. Her parents were confident that arrangements could be made to ensure that Julia could be escorted and kept watch over during the journey to make sure that she was okay, if we could make sure that she was met off the plane in Edinburgh.

Unusual sheds, Lindisfarne.

Over the following weeks flights were investigated and arrangements made to make sure everyone was happy and, after what seemed like no time at all, the time arrived for Julia's visit. The lovely G and I had just returned from holiday in France the day before and luckily the forecast weather for the week of Julia stay looked promising for the most part. Numerous texts flew back and forwards between us and Switzerland making sure that we knew of Julia's progress with her parents to the airport, on to the departure gates, then onto the flight and that the flight had departed on time. We arrived at the airport in good time and make sure that the lovely G was in place to meet her with all the proper required documentation to ensure that the airline would relinquish their charge into her hands. This done, Julia was free to enjoy her holiday with us.

What goes up must come down and get wet feet

Julia had been to the house before, on holiday with her parents and her older brother couple of years ago and had loved being in a place so different from her home. That holiday introduced Julia to the nearby beaches, coves and coastline of East Lothian, something that was entirely new to a wee girl from a completely landlocked European country. Julia had probably never seen the sea before, only beautiful Swiss lakes. She was amazed to look out to sea and not see land on the far shore, in fact she was amazed not to see a shore at all. Much of the hot summer fortnight spent with us back then was spent on beaches and in particular on rocky shorelines investigating rock pools at low tide or watching breakers crash down onto the shore in front of them. These things, ordinary to us, completely fascinated Julia and she soon amassed a collection of shell's and stones as well was the odd empty crab shell or claw which were carefully packed to be taken home as treasured possessions.

Treasure

Two years later Julia was just as excited at the prospect of spending time by the sea. As young girls do, she had prepared an itinerary for her holiday which covered almost all the available time with things she hoped to do. Many of those meant being by the water – not necessarily the best place to be in Scotland in October. Luckily for Julia (and for us) the forecast good weather came as scheduled and even managed to crank up the temperature a notch or two above expectations. This gave us the opportunity to spend lots of time with Julia outside doing the things she hoped to do, as well as gave us the chance to do things she hadn't thought of and show her places she hadn't been before. There was plenty of time to indulge her fascination with rock pools, investigating seaweed draped corners and carefully turning over stones to investigate the wildlife hiding underneath. Julia and I spent hours on the nearby coast scrambling across rocky shorelines in the hunt for the perfect pool as we collected and examined shrimps, hermit crabs, starfish and all the other creatures that can be found on the local coastline. As I trundled across seaweed draped rocks, slipping and sliding at almost every step, she skipped like an elf sure-footedly across wet rocks and water filled channels, fearless and unaware in her excitement. More than once I'd to call her back closer to me so that I felt more in control, or to remind her of how quickly incoming tides can come in and the dangers of being left stranded on rocks, especially when accompanied only by an overweight middle-aged man, no matter how proud that same man may be of his junior Lifesavers badge earned 40 years ago in a lovely, heated indoor swimming pool.


......... and wildlife

                                                                               
Julia's gone back home now. A week goes very quickly.. If I was a curmudgeon I could mutter on about how nice it is now to be able to get into the bathroom when I want, to have a shower without checking where our guest is, or to be able to walk around the house without switching off lights as I go, but I won't because those things are unimportant. I miss her smiles and the dozen grateful hugs I received across each day of her holiday. I miss her frantic energy and her enthusiasm. But - I don't miss the responsibilty of being a parent - no matter how temporary it's been.

To busy to pose for photo's

Sweetheart! Should we take her to the doctor??

It's good to have visitors. Sometimes in fact, it's brilliant!

Thanks Julia.

see you later.

Listening to

17 comments:

coastkid said...

Great post, you have given Julia memorys she will have forever every time she see`s the coast

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

Lovely post Alistair. Julie sounds like a lovely young woman. I remember my own daughter at that age, so full of energy and emotion.*Sigh* Tempus fugit.

dbs said...

This is a tender beaut of a post.
Can I visit next?

Alistair said...

CK - I have a sneaking suspicion she'll be back, that's true. I'm looking forward already!

TSB - Aye she is and having spent just a week with her I have the merest glimmer of how you feel for comparison.

dbs -Always open house chez Al.....

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Julia will have great memories of Scotland thanx to you and G.

Alistair said...

Somehow it doesn't feel right to say 'Thanks Daftie' - but thanks!

IndigoWrath said...

Hi Alistair! Sounds like an amazing time for all of you. And I guess Julia's not indulged by much coastline in Switzerland. Nice one! Indigo

Kat_RN said...

You and the Lovely G are brilliant. She will have a happy treasured chunk of time to remember for the rest of her life. Great post. I am so glad you enjoyed her visit.
Now if I could just pry some of my great nieces away from their parents for a week...
Cheers,
Kat

Alistair said...

Hi Indigo - It was amazing. Kids are incredible {but exhausting}

Kat - Not brilliant, just lucky.....

Nicky Parry said...

Fun times Alistair! Sounds like Julia had a lovely trip to Scotland. Love the photos you shared!

Anonymous said...

Julia enjoyed this week very much!
Now she is back at school again to learn more English for the next trip to Scotland ;-)
Thanks a lot for all! Im proud of such relatives!

Julias Dad

Alistair said...

Cheers - Glad we got the chance to look after her for a wee while. {I don't know where you get the energy from!!!}

Jane said...

Loved this post Al. Reminded me of many happy times spent plithering about in rock pools - both as a child and as a mum!

diamond dave said...

Reading this post makes me miss the ocean back from my days in California, when I would go check out the marine life in the rock pools much like your niece did.

Alistair said...

I hoped it would evoke happy memories in others. 'Supervising' Julia down there certainly wasn't a chore for me that's for sure. Cheers Dave.

Rebecca S. said...

I thorougly enjyed this lovely post! If you were a curmudgeon, Julia would probably not have wanted to visit you :) She sounds utterly delightful and I'm sure her enthusiasm was catching. I'm pretty enthusiastic about the shoreline, myself!

Alistair said...

:-D

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