Thursday, 29 March 2012

Your mother was a hamster and your father...

...may smell of elderberries, but that's besides the point, you English dog.

Yes, thank-you, I'll take it from here, if you don't mind.
On a recent journey up to Scotland in the company van, I had managed to sneak Julie in under the radar and since the hotel room was double and paid for by the company, all we had to do was pay for breakfast. Sweet.
Even better was one of our stops along the way.
Eastbourne to Edinburgh is only a short distance if you're looking in the index of an atlas of the British Isles. Driving it is a rather different matter. To make things easier, we planned to break the journey into two days, stopping over at my parents' house for a night each time (so that's why there have been so many family Scrabble games, eh? Interesting...). While we were there for the Northbound night, my father, who is - to put it mildly - rather interested in Scotland, especially the northern parts and Isles. He's made many journeys there, thanks to an old friend who lives in Wick. Naturally, since he has had experience, he was happy to pass on a few hints, one of which was to stop over at the Westmorland services on the M6 motorway. It's greatly different to the normal, horrible, bland motorway service station, he told me.

Oh look, an 'exciting' addition to a bland service station.
Forton Services on the M6
On the other hand, there's this.

Isn't this much better?
If you travel along the M6, one of Britain's longest roads, then you could do yourself a big favour and stop at the Westmorland services at Tebay. For a start, you can see from the pictures above that they're far prettier than the normal crap. Not only that, but once you get inside, then you'll find that the ridiculous chain cafes, shops and restaurants are absent. Instead there are farm shops with local produce and a restaurant offering dishes that really are made freshly, with fresh ingredients.
Damn, I'm hungry now, and I'm not going to help myself with this next bit...

As I said, my father is rather hot for the Scot, especially Robert Burns, his poetry, and THE event of the Scottish year, Burns' Night. The main thing here is that Dad does like a bit of haggis. I'm partial to it as well, but Dad's just that bit happier for eating one. With that in mind, I had resolved to buy him one as we were going to be dropping in to Scotland for a flying visit.
As it turned out, buying a decent one-man haggis was a problem in Scotland, but not at the aforementioned services, so we browsed the shops and bought a few gifts. I'd already headed towards the chilled food section, and Julie was following. I announced my intention to her;

Not a lot I could say to that.