Scotland 2017

Gladys Swedak

© Copyright 2020 by Gladys Swedak


Photo of Scottish piper.

I’d been looking forward to this holiday for three years. We were finally on our way to Scotland. The flight I had booked had an eighteen hour layover in Toronto from 12:47 AM to 6pm the next night. We didn’t want to stay at the airport all that time so I went on line as I had for the other bookings I had made in Scotland. I chose an airbandb bed and breakfast and paid with my credit card. E-mailed the lady we would be arriving at 1:00 AM Monday morning and was that okay? She replied that it was and she and her husband would pick us up at the airport, charging $15.00 each way instead of the approximate $35.00 by taxi to their home. Great, that sounds good, a bed, breakfast, and the ride from and to the airport for only $30.00 instead of the taxi fee of over thirty dollars each way.

We arrived at Pearson Airport in Toronto at 1:00 AM, got through arrival, into the main waiting area. No one there to meet us! We waited for over half an hour before my husband, Ken had them paged, still no one.

“Now what?” I wondered. Her e-mail said they would be here. I trusted someone I shouldn’t have. I raked myself over the coals for being so stupid. I didn’t have a last name, didn’t have a phone number only their first names and address. I really had no idea what to do at that point. Being as we were going out of the country we didn’t bring our cell phone. Even if we had we had no number to call.

“Well,” Ken said, “I suppose we take a taxi to the address you’ve got. I’m not hanging around the airport half the night and all day tomorrow.”

Still kicking myself I agree, “Yea I suppose there is nothing else to do. She said she would be here as she had to be up to welcome us anyway.”

We go outside and get a cab to the address I have. Thirty-six Dollars later we arrive at the house on a nice quiet street. There were no lights on at any of the homes along the street, only the street lights. I knocked, nothing, again I knocked, still nothing. There was a light on somewhere in the house but no answer to my knock. “I really screwed up this time.”

Well we get comfortable on the porch chairs and wait for someone to get up for breakfast.” Ken said. “There is nothing else to do. We should have brought the cell.”

A curtain behind where I was sitting moved. I knocked again but still no answer. “Someone just looked out the window.” I went back to the chair I had been sitting in. “Even if we had brought the cell we don’t have a number to call anyway. When I screw up I do it up good.” I am settling in a not too uncomfortable chair with my feet up on the railing, so mad I couldn’t even enjoy the warm night air. It wasn’t cold or unpleasant, other than sitting on a stranger’s porch in the middle of the night wondering what to do now and how do we get back to the airport tomorrow.

It was about 2 AM when the door opened, and a middle aged lady says softly “Gladys? You are Gladys and Ken aren’t you? I’m so sorry. I thought it was tomorrow night. Come in, come in I’m so sorry.” Then her husband came to the hall where we were standing with his wife and he apologizes as well.

After more apologizes and explaining their error they took us to a basement suite with what looked like a comfortable bed, big tv, sofa, and private bathroom with a shower. They had overbooked for the night so they gave us their bed and slept the rest of the night on sofas. You have no idea how it felt to find out I hadn’t been wrong, it wasn’t my mistake. The room we were to have been in someone else was in as well another room that wasn’t supposed to be a guest room.

After more apologizing we were left to enjoy a good sleep. The next morning we woke to silence about 10, not a sound except their dog could be heard walking around overhead. I had a shower while Ken went upstairs and then outside, when I came up there was only the dog who had had an accident on the living room floor. I saw Ken sitting on a patio with a settee and a few other chairs. I went out wondering what kind of people operate a bed and breakfast but aren’t around for their guests. “Maybe they are at work.”

Don’t think so, a young lady just left,” Ken said, “maybe she was the one who looked out the window at us. She said they had an appointment at 10 and that was why they aren’t here. Would he tell them she had gone and thanks.”

Again now what? We had no idea where anything was or even how to make coffee. As there was no coffee maker on the counter. There was no note telling us where the coffee was and I wasn’t going to look in all the cupboards to find it. I went back in to go down stairs and there were three young girls sitting at a table eating. I asked, “do you know where anything is or how to make coffee?”

No.” they replied, “we brought our own.”

That was a surprise, you go to a bed and breakfast and have to bring your own. Weird I thought.

Ken came in while I was downstairs and asked them if they knew of a place to eat. Then came downstairs and said, “the girls say there is an A and W three blocks away in a mall. Let’s go and get some breakfast.”

So we walked to the mall and had an A and W breakfast, Ken went to get some cigarettes and I talked to a couple of interesting older men who came there for coffee every morning. They collected the stickers off the cups for a free coffee. Being as I wasn’t saving mine they asked if they could have them.

When we got back to the house our hosts were there and again apologizing about having mixed up the nights and that they had the appointment which took longer than they expected. We spent a quiet afternoon getting to know a very nice couple. She gave us a nice lunch before driving us back to the airport, free, for our flight to Glasgow, where the adventure continued.

My nephew and his wife who were enjoying this trip with us, booked a three day bus tour of the Isle of Skye. We had to be at a bus stop by 8 AM, Ken and I were up at 5:30, Aug, 13, 2017, going to have breakfast before walking to where a tour bus was picking us up. When it arrived, the only seats available were the back row seat.

The bus arrived at Fort Williams, shortly after one P M. We were stopping for a bathroom break and lunch, before carrying on for a wonderfully happy, short trip.

But things didn’t work out that way for me. Half way to the cafe, I turned to say something to Ken, when suddenly I was falling, ever so slowly. It felt as if I was taking forever to hit the ground. Thoughts whirled in my mind. Was I ever going to hit the ground? How come it is taking so long to hit. I’m going to hit with my nose first. What’s taking so long? When would I land? Yep I finally hit the ground, nose first.

A French couple, from the bus, bent to help me. “We’re sorry, you went down so fast, we couldn’t get to you.”

What, that had the slowest fall I’ve ever taken. With their help, I got up. I held the tissue they gave me to my bleeding nose, as they walked me to a bench. I was just sitting down when Ken came over.

A paramedic, someone called, was with me almost immediately.

Let me see, please, I’m a paramedic, my name is John.” as he removing the blood soaked tissue. “What happened?” He cleaned my nose, pressed clean gauze to stop the bleeding, as the French couple told him what they saw. Then he put a bright blue bandage, above my eyes, down my nose on either side and under my eyes. Then he asked, “how many of me do you see?”

Only one,” I looked around, “and one of my husband and the driver.” Chick, the tour bus driver asked. “What going on?

The paramedic told him, then said to me. “I’m glad there’s only one of us, but if you start seeing double, let the driver know, as soon as possible. Is there anything else, I can do for you?”

I would like to use a bathroom.”

Come with me,” He helped me up, then through a liquor store to the staff bathroom. I was shaky, but managed to look around at the many different bottles of liquor. He left me at the washroom door. Ken had followed us. Going back to the bus, I held on to Ken. I found out later I was the only one to use a bathroom. Just before our bus arrived, a flood shut down the small mall. Everything had closed. The paramedic owned the liquor store, which was how I got to use one.

When everyone was back on the bus, Chick came back to me and said. “You let me know if you see double or your nose starts bleeding again.”

We stopped at places of interest during the afternoon, but I stayed on the bus. I wasn’t quite up to walking around interesting castles.

Later after crossing the Isle of Skye bridge, the ferry to the Misty Isle is no more. Chick started letting people off in twos and threes at different small hotels or inns. Ken and I were at the same hotel as Chick, so were the last off with a couple of young school teachers, from Toronto. Just before we stopped, my nose started bleeding again.

When I told him, Chick said. “I’m taking you to the hospital.”

We took our luggage to the room, the owner, showed us, and went back to the bus.

A short ride and we were at a small hospital. We did not have to say why we were there, my nose was seeping blood into a tissue I held over the blue tape. After Chick talked to the receptionist, I explained our papers were in our suitcase back at the hotel.

Chick said, “They can bring them in tomorrow evening, we’re staying another night.”

That’s fine.” The receptionist said. “I’m not sure how long you will have to wait.”

I have things I have to do before I turn in for the night. I’ll leave you.” Chick had to go back to the hotel. “There is a taxi service, but the walk isn’t far, if you think you can walk it.

My nose had stopped bleeding again. It was about twenty minutes before I saw the nurse. “This may hurt,” she said as she took off the bandage. “What happened?”

Oh yeah it hurt.

She cleaned my face and nose with some solution, which stung as I told her what had happened.

I’m going to leave it open to the air.” Then asked, “Can you press your right hand flat on the bed?”

I tried. “No,” I said. I must have landed on my right hand because since I fell it had swollen to double it’s normal size.

I’m more worried about your hand. Your nose is broken, but it will heal, and you can breathe okay. I’m more concerned about your hand.” She ordered an x-ray. When she got the results she said, “The x-ray shows your hand is only badly bruised, not broken. But I would like the doctor to see the x-ray, to be sure I didn’t miss anything.”

Awhile later she came back. “The doctor agrees, it is only badly bruised.”

We walked back to the hotel, went into the hotel, across the street from where we were staying, for dinner.

The medical insurance papers, Ken insisted we get, before we left, for this trip, were in the envelope, handed to me by the agent, after we saw him put both Ken’s and mine in it, which I put in the suitcase as soon as I got home, with our passports.

But the next morning on the Isle of Skye, when I opened the envelope, I got a surprised Ken’s papers were there, mine weren’t. I hadn’t checked when we got home, to be sure both sets were there. (Even now after three years, my insurance papers are nowhere to be found)

I took Ken’s insurance paper, our passports, said a silent prayed, spend a day touring the Isle of Skye. All day I kept trying to figure out where my papers were.

Skye isn’t called The Misty Isle for nothing. Most of the day there was a layer of mist, some clear sunshine as well. A very beautiful, historical isle.

After we got back and Chick drove us to the hospital, I handed Ken’s papers, our passports to the receptionist, she took them down a hall, came back a few minutes later. She handed me back the papers. “Everything’s fine, thank you.”

I gave a sigh of relief. The next day we returned to the mainland in the afternoon. For more adventure in Scotland.

The last thing of our holiday, we were going to be doing was to go the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This was a special year for the tattoo. The first time in three hundred years that all the clans of the world were going to be represented. I hadn’t known that when I booked our trip, but I was glad and picked the day our clan was being honored to go the tattoo. Ken, my nephew, his wife and I met the clan chief, his wife and others of our clan. My nephew and his wife got to march from the castle to the grounds where the performance was to be held. All in all even with the mishaps it was a holiday of a lifetime.

 I am a senior living in Vancouver B. C. with my partner and a cat. I enjoy writing fiction and stories about animals. I write poetry on the spur of the moment when an idea strikes me. I also like hand crafts and am getting into art painting. I am a member of Unity of New Westminster Spiritual Center.

I have two books published, "The Wild Ones" about training wild horses without their knowledge of being trained and "White Medicine Woman" about a young woman adopted by an Indian medicine woman in the mid 1800’s and trained as a medicine woman, are both e-books on most e-book sites by Books To Go Now Publication. I have also been published in Chicken Soup for the Nurses Soul, and have a several stories published on

Contact Gladys

(Unless you type the author's name
in the subject line of the message
we won't know where to send it.)

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher