One cool, cloudy day in May my cab deposited me at Victoria Station, London, where I boarded our rainbow decorated Tourist Coach. As the 7AM departure time drew near, Morag, the tourist guide, checked her watch. The last passenger dashed up red faced and out of breath, to cheers and cat-calls. Morag glared.’You’ve just made it. There’s always one.’
Marjorie took her place beside me, fanning herself with a brochure.’I was told we were leaving at eight. Feel such a fool.’Little did I know that she was destined to become one of my best friends.
As we sped through the English countryside fields ranged from pale green to bright emerald, contrasting with the soft browns of plowed ones. The hills were splashed with yellow gorse and broom. Marjorie had her camera out to record the expanses of Canola, beacons of Celtic sunshine on a journey of lowering grey skies and sudden showers.
We Aussies couldn’t believe the number of Roman sheep which dotted the fields, like masses of white confetti dropped from a hole punch. Marjorie said, ‘ Gosh. Look at all the twin lambs. I don’t believe it – there are even triplets.’
Morag explained that soil in the lowlands is the best quality, a 6. ‘With a barren continent like Australia, most land would probably be classified a one in Scottish terms.’
Marjorie said,’ That’s why Aussies count acres to a sheep, rather than the reverse.’
Morag was petite but determined; we soon found she was an expert in handling the small differences which sometimes emerged among the diverse temperaments in members of our group.She also enjoyed a good joke: at our expense. Crossing the border into Scotland, she told us to be sure and have our Passports ready; most of the passengers meekly obeyed. More next week.