Bob and Gwen are in their 90s and the couple that belong to the canes I met on the first day. They are a rather tiny, and very sweet. We had a nice visit on the train platform on Thursday morning. They only recently have gone to the canes, and were very sorry to give up their line dancing!
We took the regular rail to the Aviemore station and there switched to the historic Sprathsway steam train. This journey was short, but long enough to see the steam powered engine turntable, and to have to refill the water tank. At the station there was a portly man in tailcoat and top hat who I was told was the fat stationmaster of Thomas the Tank Engine fame. He even had his dog Ben. In the train there were real tea cups already placed at our tables, and the waitress on the train announced in her Scottish brogue, that “tea and shortbread will be served and it is 2 and 25 pence.” This brought a murmur of cheerful grumbling from the assembled, who felt it ought to be included, especially those from Yorkshire, who proudly proclaimed so, and that they were careful with their money in Yorkshire. It was all in good humor, and I noted that the chance to have any snack brought to you, let alone tea in a real cup was worth the cost in my mind. We chugged along having our tea, and enjoying the views of the highlands, with its beautiful trees and low rounded mountains.
After a short journey out and back, and of course time to to stop at the gift shop at the far station, we transferred to a bus, which took us to the Cairngorm Funicular railway. This goes up the mountain with the car on top pulling up the one on the bottom and they pass right in the middle. Much colder and windy on top, with a great view.
Later back at the hotel, we had a final dinner together. Talk at one point centered around favorite television programs and I was fascinated to discover that Big Bang Theory is very popular with this crowd.
Now it is Friday morning and I’ve just finished breakfast, getting to visit again with Gwen and Bob where I discovered that Bob spent three memorable weeks living in Enid, Oklahoma while he was working in the United States. It also turned out that another couple at the table was celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary today. Bob allowed as how they were just newly weds, as he and Gwen had been married 65 years, though he still wasn’t convinced it would work out. I also realized that his voice, which had sounded very familiar to me was exactly like Wallace’s, in the the Wallace nudged Gromit Cartoons.
All packed up and ready to check out! We will head to Edinburgh station together and then all go our separate ways, and I will attempt to find my way to the tiny town of Bardon Mill, so that I may look upon the farthest north point of the Roman Empire, Hadrian’s Wall!