This year Mike and I decided we wanted to spend time with some of his family up in Scotland for our holiday. We love visiting Scotland and have many fond memories of previous trips. So, we packed as many family friendly games as we could and set off on our new adventure . . .
We made it to Tebay service station in record time. We normally hit bad traffic around Manchester, but this time there was nothing but sunshine. So we had the mad idea to go sight-seeing and visit the Angel of the North over by Newcastle. Yep, we added two hours to our already 380mile trip to see a giant statue, lol! Tamz has always wanted to see the angel since watching it being installed in a news article in 1998.
Family funday! We were joined by our great nephews Jack and Noah. The sun was shining so of course a water fight broke out. Once the fun of that died down we got out some games. First Jack sorted through the massive pile of Lego cards that had been collected for him. Turns out you can play Rock, Paper, Scissors with them. They contain different symbols in the top corner. It was great to see his little face light up and excitedly tell us he had found a super rare card!
After the fun of the card collection we broke out our new UK Games Expo 2017 purchase and award winning children’s game – Baobab. Now, this game is only for 4 players, but that did not stop 6 of us gathering around the kitchen table to play together. I just divided the playing cards somewhat equally between players, explained the rules and off we went. Great fun chucking the cards about, cheering when it went right, squeeling when it went wrong. This really is a proper family game and we had a great time playing it all together. Now, poor Noah is only 4, a bit young for this ages 6+ game, so he did well sitting on auntie Pip’s lap and helping hold her cards. However when a Leopard was played near the end of the game it was a bit too much and he wanted to do the slamming action himself. Yep, the Baobab tree was destroyed, cards went everywhere, lol. Mike did have a giggle when he saw Julie, Jack and Noah’s mum, pop the game on her Amazon wishlist! We are a bad influence!! 😜
Ice Cream of The Day – Mint Choc Chip Cornetto from corner shop!
A day of sight-seeing. We went to the Falkirk Wheel. A rotating boat lift that takes boats 24metres from one canal to another instead of them navigating a million and one locks all day. It was really fun to watch the boats go in at the bottom and be lifted up to the top. We were a bit too busy playing in the kiddies water park and eating carrot cake to actually go on a boat trip though. It only takes the energy to boil 8 kettles to move a total of 500 tonnes of water and boats as needed.
After that we stuck with the canals and visited The Kelpies on the Helix lock. Another impressive sculpture of two 100ft horse heads. We decided we liked the one looking down better as the other one looked like it was in pain.
A kelpie is a shape-shifting spirit from Scottish folklore, usually in the shape of a horse. But beware…these are malevolent spirits! The kelpie may appear as a tame pony beside a river/loch to attract children – but once on its back, its sticky magical hide will not allow them to dismount, then the kelpie will drag the child into the water and then eat him. Seeing the books in the gift shop has inspired me to look into British legends and fairytales as we must have some stories to rival the Grimm brothers after hearing about kelpies!
Ice Cream of the day – Pear Frangipane at Horseshoe cafe next to The Kelpies, yummy and creamy
We did a round robin of game shops in Edinburgh, with a few other stops. We started at Arthur’s Seat and had every intention of climbing to the top. We set off up a steep slope and enjoyed our climb. Then it started going back downhill and we ended up back on the road with a whole other climb up to the very top. So we gave up and trotted off to Black Lion Games. Tamz finally got her mitts on a copy of Tavarua and the Pillbug expansion for Hive pocket. Mike walked out with nothing, despite picking up Viticulture.
Next we did a few touristy things. You know the ones; Giving Greyfriars Bobby a pat for being a good dog. Walking around a graveyard because J. K. Rowling may have used some of the names in the HP books. Taking a picture of heart shaped bricks in the pavement outside St Giles cathedral whilst listening to bagpipers. Heck Tamz even purchased another tartan wool scarf!
We had a quick stop at The Games Hub, there were a few games to purchase, a nice looking cafe and although we did not look a large area to play games downstairs. Next we went to Naughts and Coffees There were a few people playing games and the food and drinks selection was good. We were sad to see no games could be purchased at the cafe. We also found we owned all but about 5 of the games on the list of those available to play.
Once we got back we spent the evening playing games with Mikes brother and sister-in-law. It was great, we introduced them to Dr Eureka and Lotus. They then introduced us to OK Play and Upwords. It was great being silly playing Dr Eureka but also helping each other out at the end of Upwords to get maximum points. There was a lot of backstabbing during OK Play – although the game is now on our wishlist!
Ice Cream of the Day – Tamz/Double Chocolate & Salted Caramel ♥ Mike/Walnut Hazelnut Ripple & Raspberry Ripple at Marys Milk Bar in Grass Market.
If you do one thing in Edinburgh, make it a visit to this ice cream parlor! Great portion sizes and seriously creamy and rich homemade ice cream. Delicious!
Another family day. We went to Common Ground Games in Stirling where Tamz walked out with nothing for once. Mike also walked out with nothing, but regretted it instantly. We went out for a cheeky Nando’s with Nick and Noah whilst Mike sat there and stewed in his regret for not buying Raptor!! The plan was to go pick Jack up from school and surprise him. In the end we went back to the games shop instead. I left Mike to it as I knew I would walk out with more games if I went back in. So after a few minutes out Mike trots, with Raptor. However he also had Century Spice Road in his mitts!!!!
We did eventually catch up with Jack and spent more time with family. Jack showed us all things Pokemon whilst Noah insisted on showing us lots of different games like Kerplunk and Hungry Hippos. I left Mike with Noah so Jack and I could play a game of Minecraft the Cardgame. We got this for his Christmas prezzie and know he does not get many chances to play it. So I really enjoyed this game with him. Although I felt a bit cheated when he trounced me on the last go bless him!
Ice Cream of the Day – Mike/New York Lime Cheesecake & Strawberry Cheesecake Tamz/Nutella & Strawberry Cheesecake S. Luca Musselburgh
It has been Tamz’ lifelong dream to go Puffin watching. It is also a running joke that when Tamz gets near a known Puffin spotting area it is the wrong time of year and there are no cuffin’ puffins! This time however Mike was in charge and booked for us to visit the Farne Islands. Wow, just wow, there were a lot of birds on those islands. We spotted seals on the boat trip, they all sat up and watched us sail by! Once we landed on Staple Island the fun did not stop. The birds are not exactly shy and are not really bothered by you being there, so we got super close to the action. The puffins were flying in with fish, here, there and everywhere. Seagulls were attacking them mid flight to grab the fish, lazy blighters that they are. If the puffin landed with fish they were quite comical, looking all around figuring out what to do next. Eventually they would find there burrow and deposit the fish – not that we saw what was in said burrows. They have enormous paddle like feet, so when they take off they stick out and look really derpy. Not the most majestic of creatures mid-flight, lol. Only downside of the day, although we hunted around we did not get any ice cream, boo.
We stayed at home to play boardgames most of the day. We fell in love with Century Spice Road. Although similar to Splendor we found there were more options and the shuffled cards make for a better variation of gameplay each time. Some games were super quick, others took forever to gather resources. We broke out Raptor and squeed over the tiny raptor babies. The reveling of the cards make for a fustrating game! If you have the lowest number you take the cards action, the highest number takes general actions. Many a time the other player would thwart your best laid plans dang nam it!
Ice Cream of the Day – Tamz/Nutella & Banoffee Mike/Fudgy Wudgy & Mint Choc Chip S. Luca Musselburgh
Saturday we just drove home, straight home, no detours this time! Mercifully no traffic either. We are sorry to say goodbye to Scotland and family again, we really do enjoy our time there. Sunshine or rain it is always a great place to be.
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