BBQ Season and Ben Lui

Monday Morning and the body is sore, evidence of a full weekend. It feels like I should be going into work for a rest!

Out for dinner with friends on Friday, a celebration of them being married for 25 years and our long friendship throughout. We catchup up on the kids, their successes and next steps. We talk through our plans, our holidays our dreams our woes, putting the various wrongs to rights. . It’s a late one, and despite needing the sleep, the natural body clock kicks in and we wake at 6 as per usual!

Saturday and it’s sunny again, the run of good weather is un-heard of. The garden is parched, we’ve not had rain for what feels like weeks and last weekend saw me bring the BBQ back to life. I know I’d put it to bed in a clean state….but after a winter out in the yard it felt like it needed another going over. I hate cleaning the BBQ!

It will be put to good use today, my son has his got his pals coming round at four for a BBQ. Not sure what the lure is over cooking outside, when we’ve got our kitchen right beside us! Maybe it’s a strange primal instinct, perhaps where man needs fire! Something about bellowing smoke and the abandon in which you can cook lots of things at once.

Before that though the messages need to be done, and I need to think of something for my wife and I that isn’t just meat on top of meat. I offer up the Portobello loop, our Saturday cycle, errands included (the butchers and fishmonger on the high street). This time with a flask, a takeaway scone from the beach house. Amazingly the benches are free, the wind is our friend in that moment no one wants to hang about. We watch the waves and the world go by.


We are back for lunch, armed with an Arbroath smokie, which takes me a good 10 mins to remove any trace of bones despite a clean removal of the back spine, a little butter in a pan, a couple of eggs and then the broken fish. Heaven.

The BBQ goes well, I start before they arrive, aubergine, peppers, courgettes, A little mint, honey and goats cheese. I didn’t need to know about that winning combination! I do a little extra for the salads during the week.

I get the boys out the way first, sausages, chicken thighs that have been marinated in a little curry paste and Greek yoghurt. A burger, some sliced cheese. We leave them to it, sit at the bottom of the garden, something cold in hand and a few nuts. The sun is not to be wasted.

A piece of Tuna and a decent Steak which is shared between us. Combined with the grilled veggies, a lemon and herby chermoula. Followed by a bowl of fresh strawberries, we feel blessed for a Saturday evening.

Sunday and we are up early and out the door by 6am. We are hitting the mountains in the hope the dry weather means the river is low. The Munro we’d marked down for bagging has mention of the river that needs to be forded and something that should not be done in spate. The irony of the motorway signs on the way up mentioning a yellow warning, with heavy rain being due is not lost on us!

We arrive in the carpark around 8.30, there are spare boots left here and there, a sign of previous fording perhaps. The road had followed the river up valley and my mind is in the space that it can’t be that bad. Fortunately it’s about 100m from the car par and although we’ve brought our wellies, a five minute check, the river is clearly parched and an easy call to make that we don’t need the extra footwear. Breakfast done, it’s time to get going. The crossing was a breeze, and the tunnel aside for needing to get low for my rucksack also not a problem. A steady climb from then on in. Through the trees, the air full of fresh pine and bright green new shoots.

Ben Lui, from the River Crossing

It feels a little odd to drive 2 hours and then to put oneself through such physical hard ship, the climb, the screaming on the muscles due to the steepness. It’s here though where I realise, I put demons to bed and square off that we are not here long, the mountains have been here a while and will be for a little longer.

Ben Lui – Climb
Compulsory Selfie in the Clouds – Made it
It’s neighbor Beinn a Chleibh – Lunch awaits at the top

It’s not too sunny, with lots of cloud and although not a great view, it’s atmospheric and perhaps a good thing we can’t see the drop. Add to that it’s not too hot. As we come down the other side we catch people sweating buckets, as the cloud cover disappears. The cost of starting late, and getting the views. Just one of those typical weather days in the Scottish Mountains. We got our picnic on the 2nd summit dry and in good spirits. Another two in the bag.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Coffee Menorca

Ensaimada with Nutella

Cuatro Por favor, is how the day has started over the last few days. Followed by a becoming arm that says no problem, follow me, promptly leading us to a free table. This guys job is solely to get folk seated, returning to the door promptly for the next set of guests. It’s a conveyor belt!

The coffee is strong and viscose, the first thing to be put on the table as we arrive into the dining hall. A mark of territory to the busy staff, someone has claimed table, don’t sit anyone else there given the guests the opportunity to hunt down the killer breakfast from the buffet. Thank fully there is a tea pot with just hot water, supposedly for those who want tea. In this case for me it’s a chance to bring the coffee up to something more than tepid at the same time as watering down the treacle like substance. It becomes reasonably drinkable and is welcome to go along side today’s offering of a freshly cooked omelette.

This week my coffee share is from an island in the Balearic sea, Menorca. The first couple of days the weather is changeable, warm rain, a little breeze, enough to give us some blue skies. Despite the cloud cover, my eldest caught the sun and a warning for the rest of the week as the cloud disappeared to constant blue skies.

A change of scene. No talk of databases, build cycles or deadlines. It’s there at the back of the mind, however it gradually dissipates. I’ve left a great team to push on, to keep going. I feel bad for leaving in a peak of craziness. There is never a good time though, the world of IT keeps giving! A chance to escape and a chance to de-stress.

I’ve wrestled the American gods by Neil Gaiman into submission and enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve succumbed to afternoon naps, an ice cream and a beer in the sun. Even a dip in the sea. I’ve kept the running up, more to keep the all you can eat buffets at bay. For someone who likes their food a battle of wills at every sitting. Trying to stay away from the carbs (apart form the desserts), and the ensaimada with Nutella. I’ve stuck to the proteins, taking that chance to try different sea foods although I’m sure they are a little overcooked as the resort caters for the masses rather than quality.

We explored a tiny bit of the southern tip of the island, running together. I’d got several routes in mind from google maps, however we were thwarted by the rocky terrain of the paths. No problem for hikers walking the cami de cavalls trail around the island or trail runners who never cease to amaze me. I however like a sure footing and definitely not keen to twist an ankle! So we kept to the streets and explored the other direction.

We did walk a tiny bit of the trail, and found a lovely cove that beckoned me back for another trip, this time with my trunks and a towel. I leave with the memory of the turquoise blue sea, our family in harmony as we came and went with the flow of the day and a break from the norm.

It’s our last full day as I type this up and I’ll be glad to get to our own menu’s, our own coffee. It’s possible we’ll be returning to warm weather and the start of summer. Three weeks to go for the 10k and a whole bunch of project work waiting for me.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.