One of the most delightful outcomes of my adventures on Bute has been the creation of new friendships. And every time I return to Rothesay and the Isle of Bute, I gather more and more reasons to return. On this island off the west coast of Scotland, I am happily creating a new circle of friends, who have embraced me like one of their own.
I take enormous joy in knowing that as I introduce friends and family from Australia to this circle on the other side of the world, that they will all get along famously. It is a wonderful feeling to know that friends and family from both sides will have an opportunity to meet, both here and in Scotland. And all of that from a trip to Rothesay in June 2022!
It goes without saying that the friendship with Trish and Shaun has grown dramatically since our first meeting in June. Obviously, staying with them in their lovely home on my last trip took our friendship to another level. Especially as I was quite ill for a large portion of my stay.
But, I can honestly say that there is a genuine connection there - it sometimes feels like Trish is the older sister I always wanted. She looks out for me and it feels like we have known each other for decades. Despite the short tenure of our relationship, I know I can trust her with anything.
She lets me drive her mini (I have the same one in Australia), lets me borrow her coats (she has quite the collection) and even gifts me clothes! She was very kind to me whilst I was ill - but I suspect that is just how she rolls with everyone. She is just a very special soul - and although I am thrilled with how she and Shaun are managing the renovations on the flat, it is the friendship which has been the real prize.
On my last visit, I also had the opportunity to catch up with my wonderful Scottish solicitor, Gianna. After being supplied with a list of Scottish solicitors from the estate agents, I knew that Gianna was the one. And she proved to be a diligent God send - she covered off every detail and helped me to navigate a process that was quite different to what I had experienced in Australia. I was very lucky to have her by my side (not literally, of course).
So, on a very cold and rainy Saturday, Gianna and I met up at the fabulous Bonnie Bling! For the uninitiated, Bonnie Bling is not only the cafe that serves the best coffee on Bute, it is also a place where creativity and fun prevails. I was introduced to this wee coffee haven by Trish and Shaun, and I love it there. Mhairi, owner and general all round cool chick, makes it a fun place to just relax and chat.
On my last visit, I managed to squeeze in a visit with Gianna mere hours before renovations at Bonnie Bling commenced. I can't wait to see the new and improved version on my next visit.
Here is the old Bonnie Bling - and here I am with Mhairi and Gianna. 'Twas a fun morning in rainy Rothesay, before I fell ill and stayed in bed for days!
As those of you who follow my blog know, I have spent a great deal of time working with Isabel, the geneaologist from Bute Museum. Together we have been tracing my family's roots in Rothesay and around this part of Scotland. In fact, Isabel has now confirmed 8 addresses in Rothesay where my family lived. So, perhaps the affinity for Rothesay has something to do with the many generations of my family that had a connection to this lovely place.
I was also thrilled to spend several hours with Isabel and her colleagues at the Bute Museum on my last visit. It was wonderful to meet her, give her a huge hug and thank her for her enormous efforts in tracing our family history. She was tiny (in comparison to me) and perhaps a little overwhelmed with my enthusiasm! But big smiles all round!
Together, Isabel and her colleagues helped me to visualise what life must have been like for several generations of my family in Rothesay. It was quite emotional for me to think about some of the hardships they endured. But more on that later!
So, here's to creating new friendships and celebrating old family connections in beautiful Bute - it feels like this adventure is really only just beginning.