The Old Manse


Dear Aleem and family

it's lovely to hear from you, whenever I get an email from you, my imagination rushes half way round the planet to Pakistan, and lands in the large room (next to our bedroom) at the top of the stairs, I like to look out of the window, when my imagination arrives. (I feel it would be impolite to simply drop straight into the sitting room). It is of course always warm and sunny and there is usually an Imam calling in the distance (I hope I'm spelling him correctly) I know the weather there must vary a bit from what we saw, but I hope it's not too dramatic. We have had some very heavy rain and some quite strong winds, but being an island it doesn't get too bad before it changes to something else, often several times in a day. Here, in our particular bit of Tarbrax, we are particularly lucky because the geography is all wrong for flooding and the house is protected from the worst winds by quite a lot of trees. We don't have Storm Gods nowadays, so we cannot ask for their protection, there again I never thought it a good idea to get their attention in the first place, so perhaps it's just as well. 
    I shall have to touch wood now that I'm not becoming superstitious.
    So, as I was saying before my mind wandered off, you'll know we are often thinking of you, and various places around the country, and the amazing traffic. I've never seen such well organised and good natured chaos. It makes driving in Scotland seem very dull, and not really any safer. One of the suggestions presented, quite seriously, a while ago was that all road (instruction) signs and traffic lights should be removed and let people make it up themselves. The idea being that they would be more careful if other drivers were less predictable.

On the home front, we have just about finished the conservatory, or West wing as Fiona puts it, and the cats spend most of their time sleeping in it, only coming out at night, to eat, or to bother me when I'm at the computer. The next bit of house adjustment is to extend the Garage as I want to put a woodworking room on the end of it, but that'll have to wait till after the trip to the Amazon. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but we thought it would be rather nice to have a quick look at South America. My mother always wanted to see the Galapagos Islands and Fiona wants to see Machu-Picchu. I'd be just as happy with a good book, but somebody's got to carry the luggage. Ah well, time for tea, I'll put this now rather rambling text into a word document (as well) so that it will be easier to read. 

Jim and Fiona, Tarbrax, Scotland.

p.s from Fiona. I am sending my love and best wishes to you all. The rest I leave to Jim as he is the Wordsmith and when I read what he has written I think ‘yes, that is just right’. I think of you often, remembering so many things and glad that we have shared so much in such a short time. I am very grateful for that.