Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I was planning to write a post which just went: THEY’VE ARRIVED. I had it all laid out in my head. There would be a picture of the three children with their arms in the air, in wild excitement. The dog would be jumping about. It would be perfect.
At four-thirty, the Beloved Cousin rings.
‘WHERE ARE YOU?’ I shout, expecting her to say, ‘Just past Garlogie.’
‘Edinburgh,’ she says.
There is a pause. I can literally feel my brain being unable to process this information. I have been galloping about doing domestic things: there has been the making of a soda bread, the arranging of flowers, the plumping of beds. The man from John Lewis even arrived with two beautiful new goose and duck pillows. Last night, I had a sudden panic, decided my old pillows were too, well, old, got on the internet, ordered some heavenly new ones (half price in the sale), and less than 24 hours later, there they were on the doorstep.
‘The man from John Lewis,’ I declare to the kind fellow who brought them. ‘You are a miracle.’
But Edinburgh? It’s a hundred and twenty miles south. I attempt to pummel my brain into action.
‘I don’t understand,’ I say, lamely, to the stranded cousin.
There had been weather, apparently. The aeroplane had circled around and around Aberdeen, and then given up, and gone back to Edinburgh.
We discuss possible solutions; the hiring of a car, the taking of a train.
In the end, we think the train. We worry the cousin might become lost over the Cairn O’Mount. And it can be a three hour drive, if you don’t know the road.
‘Here’s a taxi now,’ she says. 'Haymarket or Waverley?’ she asks me.
‘Haymarket,’ I say.
‘Oh you poor thing,’ I say. ‘I’m so sorry.’
‘We’re keeping very calm,’ she says.
We hang up.
For a while, I actually think it is a joke. I think the clever godson put her up to it, that it is a mighty and elaborate tease, and that at any moment they shall call back and say:
‘Ha, ha, we’re just passing Raemoir.’
Then I look at the BAA website and it says, ominously, in capital letters: CONTACT AIRLINE.
Bugger, I think.
I call the Brother-in-law.
‘Have you got anyone coming in tonight?’ I say.
‘Yes,’ he says. ‘A venerable old gentleman.’
‘They are diverting the flights,’ I say. ‘I thought you should know.’
I still can’t work out what weather could be so dramatic as to stop an aeroplane, with all its state of the art technology. Lightning strikes? Fire and flood?
‘It’s weather,’ I say. ‘Although I can’t think what.’
‘The haar,’ he says.
‘Oh, of course,’ I say. ‘The haar.’
The haar is a wild, rolling fog which rushes in off the North Sea and envelops the city in minutes. It is a coastal phenomenon. We are thirty miles inland, and it can be bright sun here, and then you get to Aberdeen and you can’t see the hand in front of your face.
‘Poor old gentleman,’ I say. ‘I hope he will be all right.’
So now I sit, in the low weather, in my for-once tidy house, everything polished and gleaming and ready for guests, thinking of the four relatives on the train. They won’t even be able to see the sea, I think, on account of the haar. It’s normally a glittering blue view, but not today. I hope they have something nice to eat, I think. I hope the Cousin has a nice little dram of something, to cheer herself up.
Here, for a change, are some interior shots:
The house, before the Grand Tidy:
And after a little elbow grease:
(Notice rather plaintive Pigeon face. This is because I have been packing up the car with things for the charity shop, and she thinks I am packing to go away. So she is giving me the Disney eyes.)
Actually, what makes me laugh, is that there is not that much difference in the Before and After shots. It’s still a bit of a crazy muddle. I don’t quite know how I accumulated so much stuff. But I love my things, and feel lucky to have them, even if it does mean that my house is a bit antic. I do sometimes dream of those calm white rooms that the Scandinavians do so well. My Danish blood is clearly not quite strong enough.
But at least there are some pretty flowers in a vase, and all from my own garden, which feels like a bit of a miracle:
And when the dear guests finally arrive after their marathon journey, this is the face they shall see:
This is from yesterday morning, smiling her head off, because she has not yet seen the things going into the motor.
And here, somewhere lost in all that murk, hides the hill:
I suppose no one ever came to Scotland for the weather.