Oh, at last I am home. There are all the familiar elements of re-entry: the piles of post (junk, junk, junk, a CHEQUE! from AMERICA! in sexy DOLLARS!), the slight smell of must, the empty fridge which feels like a reproach, and must be filled as soon as possible. I wander about, acquainting myself again with the house. I get in piles of food and make soup. I go a little fey, and squirt Ken Turner's lovely Christmas room spray all about, to drive out the scent of neglect. I catch up on missed episodes of The Archers. (Don't ever let anyone tell you a writer's life is not wild and glamorous.)
When I drive over the border, I always go a little teary when I see the Welcome to Scotland sign. Sometimes I actually shout out loud, waking the dogs. Always I get a physical shiver, the goosebumps of return. It is for many complicated reasons, but perhaps the most obvious is the beauty. Because this is what I see on my drive back:
On a clear day, you can see for miles, as if the whole country opens up before you like a book. On Saturday, it was minus three with glittering sun and an evocative fog effect, as if a passing group of clouds had fallen onto the hills.
And I get to see this:
I'm not going out of my way, or taking the scenic route. This is what the road back to my house passes through. It's one of the great drives of the world. And it just happens to be the way to my front door. I don't take that for granted.