So I’m the kind of person who, when I know something might happen, subconsciously talks myself around to it, to the extent that I sometimes convince myself it’s definitely happening. James’s contract at Aberdeen University is due to finish in April, and although his supervisor was working on securing a big grant to hopefully keep him on, he’d mentioned that if that didn’t work out, he’d look at a couple of other opportunities – at the opposite end of the UK.
Aberdeen is our home – I’ve lived here for ten years now, and James for five, and we bought our house here two years ago. We have really good friends here, and it’s a nice place to live – just the right size of city, big enough that it has all you need, but small enough that it still has a sense of community, plus I love being by the sea – although I’m the first to admit that being this far north, in a city built mostly out of grey granite, can be pretty depressing in winter.
All that said, we were keen to stay in Aberdeen if possible, not least because James absolutely loves his job and department, but we weren’t against the idea of moving. My job is currently based from home anyway, and there are more opportunities in my line of work in the major English cities. The weather would be better, and we wouldn’t have to work out which major airport was most convenient to transfer via when going on holiday, because we’d be near some of them… Safe to say, in the back of my mind, I’d come round to the idea and was kinda looking forward to a fresh start.
You guessed it – the grant was secured, James had an interview, and we are 100% definitely in Aberdeen for the next four years. Haha. I am happy about it, and very proud of him, and it’s great to have the security of knowing exactly where we’ll be. But to make it seem a little extra shiny, I decided to make a bucket list for this year, to make the most of being close to the lovely things Scotland has to offer!
- Edinburgh Zoo. I visited Edinburgh Zoo so many times as a child, and I don’t have a single tiny negative memory about it. I absolutely love it, and it’s been too long since I’ve been back. Nothing will stop me making a trip this year.
- Blair Drummond Safari Park. On the other hand, I have never been to a safari park, despite the fact that there’s a really good one a couple of hours away. This looks like such a fun day out so I really hope to make it happen in the summer.
- Race for Life. I’ve done the Baker Hughes 10K twice with work colleagues, the first time with very little training and the second with more. I’m planning to sign up for Race for Life to get me back into doing some cardio (and of course because I love the cause!) but I think I might stick to the 5K this time so I’m not quite so crippled afterwards! I’ve been really inspired by Lucy in the Clouds’s “13 x 13” Challenge so am looking forward to getting my trainers on when the weather gets a little warmer.
- Skye. When my mum was little, she and her parents and siblings used to go to the little Highland town of Gairloch regularly, and when I was a teenager she took us on holiday there, and we were instantly hooked. We’ve been back so many times since, both all together as a family and separately. As much as I love visiting new places around the world, a trip to Gairloch will always be at the top of my getaway wishlist, and there’s nowhere else that makes me feel so calm. The Highlands have so many beautiful places though, and across the water from Gairloch is the spectacular Isle of Skye, and I’d love to finally make it over there to explore.
- Eilean Donan Castle. And conveniently located on the way to Skye, is Eilean Donan Castle – you know the one, it’s pinned about 1,000 times a day on Pinterest.
- CairnGorm Mountain. I actually listed “Cairngorms National Park” originally, but looking at the map I’ve actually visited the park quite a few times without really realising it – taking clients to the distilleries in Granton-on-Spey and Tomintoul this summer; a day white water rafting near Aviemore; a hen weekend in a cottage at Glenlivet; a road trip to Ballater a couple of years ago. The main thing I have in mind though is a trip on the Funicular Railway, which I didn’t know existed until my parents went there this summer. The scenery is spectacular from the road, but I’d like to go up the mountain and see it from above.
- The Kelpies. A giant road-side sculpture which I’ve so far only been able to admire in photos. I’m hoping to take a detour to see them next time I drive home to visit my family in the Scottish Borders.
- Decorate! We were really lucky to find our house as it was in great condition, and we haven’t had to do much to it apart from some minor repairs to the roof and guttering, replacing the boiler, oven and a chunk of fence. We really need to get some painting done though. I’ve never done any decorating before and didn’t really know where to start, but when my mum asked if there was anything I wanted for Christmas, I jokingly asked her to come up and help, and to my surprise she said yes! So hopefully with her help we’ll soon have some shiny new rooms – I’ll take before and after pictures 🙂
What’s on your bucket list for this year?