We’ve had a Christmas on the Great Barrier Reef , a deferred Christmas in Indonesia (actually not entirely true, but something along those lines) and a Christmas at home but without either Rob or Nay – a sad state of affairs indeed. And Christmas ses with neighbours and with friends or relatives.

This year, we’re in Unst.

Issues with the ferry booking meant we drove 400 miles on ‘builders’ Friday’ , widely touted to be the busiest day on the roads in the year. But starting at six, and driving north, protected us from that.

We managed three breakfasts. At 5.30, 8.30and 11.30.

Tebay at 08.30.

A garden centre beyond Glasgow at 11.30, complete with table service but also, more importantly, great Christmas lights and toys!

So who then could resist lunch? When the good on offer is no less than….

That’s right. A deep fried mars bar. From the original purveyor of such delicacies.

Keith couldn’t resist:

But in his defence I must admit I had a…. mushy pea fritter. True to my northern roots to the end.

That was Stonehaven, a seaside town south of Aberdeen, and site of us whiling away a few spare hours (and we still arrived at the pier three hours ahead of sailing!)

Stonehaven has some beguiling parts:

Lovely steel models of different boat styles, all peopled with sea beasties…..

A boardwalk, a harbour, and other sites- well worth a visit (especially if you’re five hours early for your ferry).

But the TREAT. We were first in the queue and the man on the dock wore a kilt.

Fun. If chilly.

And we found Wally:

Great trip. Comfy clean cabins. Good food. And my last alcohol for 10 days.

More later.

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