I arrived back home in Scotland for the winter a few days ago, having left behind slightly deteriorating weather in Spain, typical of this time of year, but still rather warmer than here of course. I left the house there very early (about 5.45am - argh!) on Thursday morning to drive to the airport at Alicante, about one hour and twenty minutes up the motorway, to be well in time for check-in as I have never liked to have to rush or be late for anything. Anyway the flight left on time and arrived in Gatwick a little early, so after retrieving my luggage I had plenty of time to transfer between terminals and check-in for the next flight, which meant I could get through security (again) and have plenty of time for a proper and fairly relaxed lunch.
The flight up to Inverness was on time, too, but when stepping off the aircraft (no air-bridges at Inverness) down the stairs onto the tarmac the cold blast of air hit me in the face. Truly, I was home. After a speedy luggage-retrieval process (the advantage of arriving at a small airport - mind you my luggage was delivered remarkably rapidly at Gatwick earlier in the day, too), with the taxi I had booked by telephone before leaving London awaiting me (*) I was back home about 15 minutes later. The neighbour who kindly holds my keys when I am away, and who collects and organises my mail as well as doing a check of my property (central heating, tap running and toilet flushing, etc) had as she usually does left me some eggs, cheese, grapes and oatcakes so as I was feeling quite tired after many hours of travelling I contented myself with this and did not even think about going to the supermarket that evening.
So the next day, Friday, I took myself along to the supermarket to stock up the refrigerator again. All good, except that someone must have been carrying a cold/cough virus and 'kindly' passed it on to me - thanks so much. By Saturday afternoon I was not feeling too good so had to decline an invitation to attend an opera performance to use a ticket that another person couldn't use because she was unwell. In the event I took myself off to bed at about 8pm, not forgetting to put all my clocks back to 7pm before doing so. I wakened up around 1.30 am on Sunday feeling 'like death warmed up', with a VERY sore throat; I remembered I had some 'Lemsip' (paracetamol-based cough/cold remedy) sachets and some Strepsil throat lozenges from last winter so went and took a dose of each - back to bed and slept soundly (well, after an hour or two on the laptop propped up on my lap in bed to pass the time) and wakened up about 8am feeling a very great deal better. On reflection it is probably better I was infected with this cold/cough virus quickly so I could begin to build up an immunity to it - I'll see just how effective that immunity is after another night in bed tonight.
One of the advantages of the clocks having gone back an hour last night is that one wakens up to lighter skies in the mornings, at least for a few weeks longer until the longest night/shortest day just before Christmas, against which of course is the 'penalty' that it gets darker an hour earlier in the afternoon/early evening. I jest slightly of course, but this is the usual seasonal pattern here, until the days begin to get noticeably longer toward the end of February and early March. And later in March I will be heading back to Spain again for my usual 3-months there in Spring - something to look forward to.
(*) Recently the taxi-parking regime at Inverness Airport was tightened-up even more than it had been been before. Only taxis from one particular Inverness-based taxi firm are permitted to queue for business at Inverness Airport (I understand they pay a substantial annual fee for the privilege), with passengers headed for other towns in the area and who wish to travel by taxi obliged to book ahead. But as those booked taxis are not permitted to wait at the airport without payment for more than 15 or 20 minutes, it makes it necessary to re-confirm by telephone to the taxi-firm from the arrivals hall/luggage collection area, so they can come into the airport from where they have been waiting outside the airport perimeter to collect their passengers - it is all very inconvenient both for passengers and taxi firms not based in Inverness. Surely there is a better and more equitable way of catering for passengers' needs without infringing over-much the 'monopoly' created by HIA (the airport authority) and its fee-paying Inverness-based taxi firm, which passengers living outside Inverness could not use even if they wished to?