Let's just say that I am sitting here this evening as I write this post, wine glass next to my laptop, wondering just how many more ups and downs I can take on this journey of mine to make Scotland my home. Just when you think the water is safe..........
So, to start with, the good stuff! I had a lovely morning with our current land-lady and new friend here in Gullane, Susan Law, getting a personal tour of the therapeutic riding program for which she is the chair person of the board of directors. It is called Muirfield Riding Therapy, and is only about 5 minutes drive from where we are staying in Gullane. As many of you know, Blue Fountain Farm has hosted a similar program, Saddle Pals, for about 20 years now, and I was looking forward to seeing how this program was in comparison.
Muirfield, in comparison to Saddle Pals, is HUGE, and quite the undertaking. They take care of about 120 participants with over 200 volunteers (!), and run about 5 days a week. Our Saddle Pals is quite a bit smaller - more like 15 - 20 participants, and I don't know how many volunteers, but it only runs one day a week. Muirfield has a facility that is devoted entirely to their program - enclosed arena, outdoor arenas, offices, kitchen, tack room, and a very special, full- sized mechanical horse that is hooked up to a computer to help assess new students. Check out their web page above for more information. I hope to be able to put on a Cowboy Dressage Clinic fundraiser for this program in the not to distant future. Thanks to Susan for the tour!
OK, that was the good part of the day. Here's what happened next. While I was touring Muirfield, Becca, Har and Delaney were trying out the bus system for the first time going from Gullane to Edinburgh, and then spending the day there. I was on my own, and as I needed some items out of the storage locker we have rented in Leith, I drove myself over there to get them. (But the way, I am getting pretty good if I do say so myself at negotiating not only driving other- side -of- the -road, other- side- of- the - car, but in a lot of city traffic that I'm not used to as well.) I got up to the storage locker and opened the box to get some camera accessories out, and the only thing in the box was the computer monitor. Nothing else - Nada - Zip - Not an effing thing! I actually started to shake - everything is on that computer! Yes, I have a lot of back-ups of photos and documents, and they are with me on external devices, but not only do I have a lot of programs that would cost a fortune to replace, there were the camera accessories that I was searching for as well. Expensive lenses, batteries, chargers, etc etc. To make a long story short, after freaking out for awhile, I was able to get back to Gullane to my laptop, and find the tracking number for the box, which is sitting at a dock somewhere in Edinburgh awaiting payment for customs. I don't know why do one was notified of this.
By this time, I'm thinking, "What else can go wrong?" Guess what...........more can, and did. I've been holding off on telling everyone about the plans for Dory getting over here because I didn't want to jinx it. We had her booked on a flight for today out of SFO to Heathrow, where my nephew-in-law's parents would pick her up. Then, I would meet them half way the next day and bring her back here to Scotland. Well, before I could get ahold of UPS about the computer shipment and get that all straightened out, I got an email from the animal import company stating, basically, that if Dory came on the flight today that she was already booked on, she would have to wait at Heathrow until Monday............. apparently no one checks paperwork on imported animals over the weekend. *$)!?#$ Really?! And no one told me this when I booked her flight?? There will be additional kennel charges as well as the import fee - so, basically - money fixes everything. They asked if I wanted to re-book her until Monday, but I said no, let's get her on the flight. Behind the scenes there has been a whole village making it happen that Dory can finally get here to Scotland to be with me, and I don't think we could orchestrate that whole scenario again. I have looked into the Animal Reception Center at Heathrow, and it has a 5 star rating, so I feel good about that. It will mean a couple more days until I see her, all should be well now. All this means is that DORY IS ON HER WAY HERE!! FINALLY!! I will have a whole blog post devoted to the amazing people behind this monumental task, people who are already very special to me, but who now hold very special places in my heart for all they have done for both Dory and me. Here's one shot of Dory - on her way to Scotland -