Well, to put it into perspective, there are people suffering far worse than me, but it was annoying to have a car reserved and paid for, but after being shuttled from the rail station to Arnold Clark car hire in Aberdeen, my cc won’t go through! What?! I couldn’t get on the internet anywhere except about a mile (2 miles on the sidewalk packing our luggage!) to a mall for free wi-fi. I contacted the lady at the Arnold Clark main headquarters and she got through to the branch and worked it out! So instead of driving away about 1pm – we left about 3:30p! With Nathan‘s navigating, we manoeuvered the multiple roundabouts and managed to stay on the A96 to Inverurie. Found a couple of sites (standing stones) there before needing to head to our hotel in Monymusk. Nine miles and 20 minutes later, we pulled up to a lovely place, Grant Arms Hotel – the receptionist didn’t have our reservation, (she found it later), but put us into a nice room and asked if we would like reservations for supper. Absolutely! and thank you! we hadn’t had anything to eat except for a shared small bag of chips since 5pm the night before. Not like we were going to starve of course, but some of us get grumpy with no food or water for 24 hours. Come to find out, we are the only guests at the hotel tonight! Supper and service were superb and dining room was packed! Little wonder! Pretty much raining all day.
Okay, we are in trouble – my Visa has suddenly stopped working all together – we will run out of cash. Now I understand why people carry more than one credit card! Have never had this problem before. After discovering that the post office in Monymusk couldn’t exchange my US dollars for Stirling, Nathan and I drove back to Kenmay and exchanged enough to pay for our meal and hotel charges at Grant Arms Hotel as well as for the next night if need be. Then it was past time to leave.
Well, we are all good again by Monday afternoon, Jim McIntyre at the Bank of Brookfield-Purdin, transferred money out of our bank account to pay my VISA card so we don’t have to sleep in the car for the remainder of the trip! My bad, for not increasing the limit for this trip – didn’t even think about it since usually I have most of it all paid before we leave home. We are traveling more by the seat of our pants this time. We feel much better now – stress was horrible for these past two days. Thought we might have to start cleaning rooms and washing dishes! This week is going much better now! The people at Grant Arms were very understanding and supportive.
Even though it is pouring down rain this morning (6th) , but we were determined to find the monument and battlefield of the Battle of Harlaw. The monument was built in 1911 – 500 years after the battle and is located north a bit of Inverurie, so we did some back tracking to get there. The plan, of course, was to do this yesterday, but with all the delays, it just didn’t happen.
We are staying in a run-down hotel tonight, the Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar – one can easily see that it was quite grand in its day. Rich woodwork, ornate pillars, roaring fire in the huge fireplace in the expansive, coffered ceiling lobby. But the rich carpets are threadbare and paint is chipping in rooms and hallways. The bedrooms’ floors tilt hideously and the room furnishings would make a good bonfire. However, there is a tour group which just arrived – about 45 or 50 of them – they are all in the dining chatting and having a grand time. We just grabbed some stuff from the Co-op right next door and ate in our room. Tonight, there is supposed to be singing entertainment of Gaelic and Scottish songs in the lobby which we can attend. Probably set up for the tour group, but guess it’s open to all. Looking forward to that.
The Queen left in the morning and the gift shop was open with deep discounts – the attendant said that technically there was no one to stop us walking round the castle, so we did, as did a few other folks. Today, the bridge to the grounds and castle is closed for repairs until April. Just a fluke that we happened to be here at this time. We think we saw the Queen leave – very low key – but one group of school children waved flags as the vehicles drove by – we didn’t actually see her, however.