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Daily Journal

July 2 – Extracurricular Activities
A lazy morning at Oaklands

I slept until 7:00 this morning – almost unheard of for me. Robin's still sound asleep. I know her alarm will go off in a half hour so I tiptoe past her bed and ease the bathroom door open. I shower as quickly and quietly as possible, hoping not to wake her. She's still asleep as I emerge. I creep down the stairs and out the front door.

Brr ... I start shivering as soon as I step outside. It's gray and chilly this morning, conditions which are not helped by wet hair hanging down my back. Around the corner and through the garden I wander to the summerhouse, where Dana is swinging idly on the porch swing, smoking and reading a book.

I join her, sitting in a chair by the open door and make myself comfortable. I'm feeling very rested this morning – rejuvenated by my long, much-needed sleep and a morning shower. I feel as if I could go strong for another ten days but, unfortunately, there are only three days left in my trip of a lifetime – two of which will be filled with things inherently Scottish: Highland Games today and an entire day in Edinburgh tomorrow. Robin and Dana have both attended Highland games in the States, but I never have. We expect to have a long day full of men in kilts, bagpipe music and sport.

Dana and I sit chattering away. She's telling me all about Edinburgh, which she visited last year, and a teapot she saw in a shop on the Royal Mile that she hopes will still be there tomorrow. I open my mouth to make some sort of assuring comment, but what comes out is nothing like what I intended. Having received a Scottish cursing lesson from the fisherman at Inchmahome the day before, I've just given Dana another – this one a postgraduate course in American cursing, as one of her B-52's flies in the door and makes the proverbial bee-line for me. Jumping up from my seat, I make a hasty exit from the little house, laughing at myself.

Dana's laughing too, at my uncharacteristic outpouring. I tell her I've obviously just removed any doubts she may have harbored about my being offended by strong language. I can handle snakes, lizards, spiders (as long as they don't insist on showering with me) and just about any other creepy-crawly. But bees? I hate bees. Somehow they seem to know this and seek me out, especially in very relaxing moments.

I stand by, watching and appreciating Dana's attempts to guide the bee out of the little house, using the cushion from one of the chairs. The bee's not cooperating and eventually Dana gives up. We abandon the summerhouse for the warmer and much more welcoming environs of the dining room. It's time for breakfast.

We head directly for the sideboard to pour ourselves juice and I can hardly believe what I'm seeing. In conversation over breakfast yesterday morning we'd been discussing what we normally eat for breakfast and how it's nothing like these incredible meals that are set before us each day. I had mentioned, in passing, that while I'm enjoying the grilled mushrooms, which I've never had at breakfast before, I could do without the grilled tomato; but, oddly, when I do eat a full-cooked breakfast, I like tomato juice with my meal. This was just another one of those rambling conversations of no consequence that we've enjoyed as we've traveled together for the past ten days. The three of us began as strangers, but have quickly become good friends.

But I digress. What had me so surprised was a pitcher of chilled tomato juice on the sideboard. Apparently Robin had taken my passing comment to heart yesterday and at sometime, without me knowing it, mentioned to Penny that I prefer tomato juice. And now, like magic, here it is. Very impressive attention to minor detail on both of their counts, and much appreciated. I enjoy two glasses with my eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms and toast, generously slathered with black currant jam, of course.

The Games in Cupar don't begin until noon and it's only a forty-five minute drive, so we have some time to while away this morning. I think to myself that this would probably be a good time to put some order to the jumbled mess my luggage has become. I make organized little heaps on the bed of clothing, gifts for friends and family back home and books – lots of books. Good intentions set aside, I end up spending an hour or so flipping through the books I've purchased before piling everything haphazardly back into my suitcase.

Wandering down the stairs, I find Robin and Penny chatting over the table in Penny's lovely kitchen. Penny's cat Scotch is still acting peculiarly lethargic, but her other cat Soda is very affectionate and takes up temporary residence in my lap. I don't remember the gist of the conversation, but do remember feeling quite welcome and warm in this private part of the house. Soon it's time to gather our gear for our day out, so up the steps we troop, checking film supplies and slipping into layers of clothing.

Outside, we stop to chat for a moment with Frank, who is rummaging around in the garage, looking for some elusive tool or item. The garage looks well organized and spotlessly clean from where I stand. The puzzled look on Frank's face as he gazes around makes me smile. It mirrors the expression my son wears whenever he's looking for something in his room. I always laugh and tell him, as he rolls his eyes at me, that it's in the male genes to stand with hands on hips waiting for the elusive item to stand up, wave its arms and announce its location.

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