I’m writing this from the comfortable lounge of my current abode, the Feughside Guesthouse in Aberdeenshire. Nestled on the periphery of Strachan village in the north east of Scotland, my week long billet bequeaths me charming panoramic views of rolling hills, including Clachnaben and Cairn O’Mount.

Clachnaben a 589 metre hill with it’s distinctive tor affectionately known as ‘the nipple’. Clearly not one with human lactiferous ducts providing life giving sustenance for a needy infant. Moreover, a granite geological feature which, along with its adjacent topography, emits spiritually cathartic physiographical views.

Aesthetics which make my conclude that no wonder, in his song Loch Lomond, late singer Harry Lauder’s chose to tak the faster high road instead of the low route when returning to his beloved Scotland. Similar scenes which, along with the calming murmur of the flowing River Feugh, providing me with week long stress therapy.

The eddying waters of the River Dee’s tributary whispering to my ordinarily tortured soul “Don’t worry, Gary!….. Be like the fish; just go with the flow!….. Oh and when you’re in Banchory’s Morrisons supermarket this aft, can you tell George on the meat counter to put me aside a nice piece of brisket, please?”

I’ve not put any vast research work into my next comment, however I’ve made to assumption that this weeks temporary dwelling, the Feughside Guesthouse, gets it’s name from the fact it’s located beside the River Feugh……. I guess it’d be a bloody amazing coincidence if it wasn’t!!

The owner Catherine and her staff making me welcome, this customer service going as far as saving me a cooked breakfast this morning, despite my tardiness meaning I’d missed the breakfast cut off point.

I’d like to think this very kind gesture was a consequence of my charm, wit and the fact I no longer walk around with my zip fastener wide open scaring off her customers. However, in reality, she probably just thinks I need a good feed!

I also resided at the Feughside in 2015, during a previous pilgrimage to Strachan village. In the last four years Catherine and her husband (whose name I don’t know, but for the purposes of this narrative I’ll called him Archie***) have made a number of improvements to the premises, providing the guesthouse with a warmer, more homely ambience.

*** – If you’re reading this Archie, and you’re not called Archie, I mean no harm. Please bear in mind guessing people’s real monikers isn’t that easy. I went with Archie for you after concluding it was a more likely accurate than the other pseudonym I’d chosen of Lord Gladstone Brookes III….. If you’re actually named Lord Gladstone Brookes III, it appears I may’ve slightly more powers of extrasensory perception than I’d previously thought!

Tomorrow I leave Strachan village, not knowing when I’ll return. Consequently, the following lyrics of departure from John Denver’s Leaving On A Jet Plane currently occupy my mind as I contemplate that emotional goodbye….. Although I’m not sure why as I’m not leaving on a jet plane, or kissing anyone now I’ve got this bloody cold sore:-

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go…….