Relaxing is a serious business for Craig & Clutch

Clutch and I decided it would be a good idea to host a whisky tasting in St Andrews during the Golf Open. Turns out it wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a good time. Not quite the generator of extra pocketmoney we were hoping for though…

We also have quite a lot of excess shortbread to contend with.

Our friend Craig came with us as our designated driver and dram pourer, and Jake tagged along, as he’s considering studying in St Andrews when he goes to university. He’s even more convinced that’s where he wants to go now – and after our adventure, is extra motivated to get the two As and a B that he needs in his A-levels in order to get accepted.

Glamping in Scotland

The weather wasn’t always ideal…

The four of us stayed in Clutch’s dad’s campervan in a very posh caravan park (with great showers, baths, kitchens, etc) – and somehow, we managed to survive four nights in a tin can the size of your average bathroom without any real fallouts.

The poor turnout for the tasting aside, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We got to see a lot of the town, meet and talk with all sorts of interesting people, taste some amazing whisky and have enough adventures to make the experience seem worthwhile.

I wasn’t overly interested in the golf, but it was the thing that convinced Craig to come with us. However, you couldn’t really escape it, and it’s fair to say that the old course itself is quite spectacular to look at. We got to see some really good players play some really good golf – and while I don’t get excited about that or know any of their names, I am able to recognise it when I see it.

St Andrews – at a price

Jake outside the Philosophy Department at St Andrews

The town is lovely – really scenic and with some incredible historic buildings, but it’s upbeat and vibrant, with some great cafes, bookshops, and things to do.

We were on a tight budget all round, so grocery shopping and cooking in the campervan were the order of the day – at least for breakfasts – and we were very choosy when it came to dining in town. Tourists were about in droves, and so everything became even more expensive than usual.

Some of the places had covered over their standard menu on the wall outside the restaurant – and had printed up new ones with massively inflated prices on them. We even saw a chicken tikka masala on one menu for £22.

Entertainment for the non-golfers

Off to the movies

Last night, Clutch, Jake and I went and saw Inception, the new Christopher Nolan film starring Leonardo di Caprio. We’d all been looking forward to it, and it was exceptional. By far the best film I’ve seen in ages.

Afterwards we came back, caught up with Craig (who’d been at the golf), had a dram and played a game in which we went through the alphabet finding bands we could all agree that we hated.

The sole rule is that if anyone can come up with any redeeming features or likable songs of the artist suggested, you have to keep trying. It needs to be unanimous. You’d be surprised how hard that is.

Except for G. G is always Genesis.

Heading home in stages

Killing time in Edinburgh

It was a late one, and so cleaning up, packing and heading back to Edinburgh was tough going today. Clutch’s dad was picking up the campervan today, but our train from Edinburgh to Birmingham is tomorrow (saving us £300 between us – don’t ask…) so Clutch is staying at his friend Heggie’s, Jake and I are going to crash at my mate Olaf’s place – and Craig has headed on to Glasgow where he’d left his partner Val, their son Mac – and their two dogs, Dude and Mimi.

Olaf’s working all day today and won’t be home till after 9pm – so Jake and I have had seven hours to kill until we have somewhere to sit down and rest. We’ve been wandering around the city, using free wifi where we can find it, and just hanging out.

We sat on a hill, ate shortbread and listened to Simply Red soundcheck (they’re playing live up at the castle tonight). Interestingly, they were our S band.

Jake’s album

Jake’s been filling his days making music. He’s challenged himself to create a track a day (or at least a good sketch of one) and post it online every day for thirty days, and his learning curve has been incredible.

He’s recording a self-produced album of electronic music for his extended project at college as part of his Baccalaureate, and wants to use this exercise as a basis for the songs he’ll include. The blog posts will contribute toward the critical reflection he has to submit with the project.

Having this time away – especially spending time with musicians (that’s what Clutch and Craig do) – has been really amazing for him, I think.

Leaving one home, returning to another
It was a great few days – albeit stressful and disappointing at times. But we have some stories to tell, which is something.

In our absence, Bobbie and Brendan have been moving house. We’ll be going home to a different place than we left last week. Really looking forward to getting settled in. Lots of unpacking to do.

And before you ask – no, I didn’t plan the trip out of town to coincide with the house move. That one was in the diary first.