We drive back from Scotland feeling smug that we did not go south to Devon where there were floods. I glance down whilst driving to see that my legs are paler than when I left home and I can no way pretend that my stubble has blonde flecks from the sun. The car is packed and the taste of haggis and vast landscapes are my abiding memories of Scotland.
It has been fun and provided us with new experiences that made me realise that I am still not very good at being a grown up dad talking to other grown up dads about life and work. I am just not programmed for a conversation revolving around companies, pensions, other people’s education dilemmas or the cars they drive.
But – when you can’t sunbathe you can quiz. We are victorious in the family quiz. An encyclopedic knowledge of The Simpsons and football trivia wins us the “Champagne” and dark threatening looks from the family at the next table (Southerners) who had expected a victory (5 kids, one must know something). My pleasure for the next two days is reacting nonchalantly to their insinuations of foul play and irritation at losing to Northerners.
Four days later we are at an SNP Fundraising quiz. This is a new one for me. Now I can now feel like not only Larry David in a room full of strangers, but also a representative of the old empire. There are plenty of questions about William Wallace and Mary but not enough anti-English rhetoric to keep me entertained. I speak to Didsbury Wife and we admit to feeling slightly disloyal to Wales; not sure why. We do not win the quiz. In fact we are the only group not to win a raffle prize and suddenly I am the southerner thinking of dark deeds.
As we cross the border into Cumbria and Haggis gives way to Black Pudding as the primary offal provider for the nation I find myself pining for the overpriced coffee, nation of charity shops and messy diversity that is Didsbury, Wilmslow Road here I come.