‘So I guess it comes down to a simple question.’ Beth peered round the cardboard box full of essential holiday comestibles. ‘Do we want to spend five plus hours in the car on snowy roads populated with Gung-Ho drivers, probably not reaching Wigtown in time to actually visit any of the shops today, with a wet, travel-wired dog which we will have to contain in a small guesthouse? At most, we’ll have about three hours tomorrow morning in freezing cold, windy conditions before we have to set off for Lancaster.’
‘Or?’ asked Pippa, brow furrowing as she processed the amount of information in Beth’s statement.
‘Or…would we prefer to stay in our cosy home, light the fire, maybe catch a few cheeky hours of the Winter Olympics and recharge our batteries before setting off tomorrow?’
‘And skip Wigtown?’
Pippa peered through the window at the mesmerizing snow flakes which were increasing in size and frequency. She took a decisive breath. ‘Agreed,’ she said, reaching for the remote control, ‘we’ll go tomorrow.’
It was as if a joint burden had been lifted. The trip to Wigtown, the bookshop capital of Scotland, was beginning to feel jinxed. Before taking over their own bookshop almost a year before, they had planned a visit for research purposes. Pre-purchase tasks got in the way that time and now it was the fabled Scottish weather. It was February and the middle of a Winter which had been rare in the last few years.
‘Let’s still treat this day as holiday though,’ said Beth, as she sat down to watch the gripping snow and ice-based feats of bravery and brilliance.
‘Absolutely,’ agreed Pippa, leaning back in her chair.
Beth briefly emulated the action. ‘I’ll just take the dog for a quick walk,’ she said, sitting up. ‘I’ve checked the roadwatch website. Drumochter’s covered. And it’s pretty thick around Aviemore.
‘Yes, it’ll be horrible.’
‘It would have been a stressful journey for hardly any time there. And the forecast tomorrow is windy and cold. I mean, we keep saying we should stop putting ourselves under pressure.’ ‘
‘Yes.’ Pippa shifted her focus from the screen. ‘You are ok with this decision?’
‘Yes, yes, absolutely.’ She smiled, kissed Pippa and climbed into her waterproofs.
The walk was stunning, despite the cold. She strode along, happy to be outside because she would soon be inside with a steaming cup of tea and a free day. It was the right decision…only…
No, Beth admonished herself. You will not start worrying whether this means you’re a wimp or if it’s a sign of advancing age or what people will think. You will not, she said again as another ‘only’ hovered.
She whistled the dog. He was bounding through the snow with a discarded takeaway carton. Beth chased after him and he yipped with delight.
‘Come on,’ she called, ‘let’s go home.’
He dropped the carton and followed her, totally at peace with his day.