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MARY-JANE DUNCAN: Ah, rural life – but wait, an angry cow is charging…

The cow that  took on Mary-Jane.
The cow that took on Mary-Jane.

Relaxation and shenanigans.  A last minute moment away to the glorious autumn clad highlands with himself, the hairy ones and the three amigos.

I spontaneously booked the only remaining dog friendly holiday spot in the whole of Scotland and we headed up the next day.

As I grow older, unnecessary noise increasingly irritates my soul.  In my teens, incredibly loud, packed house parties were everything.

I’m done with noise

Loud, trendy bars dominated my twenties and live gigs and concerts were the noise of choice for my thirties.  Now, embedded in my forties, I’m asking everyone to quieten down and speak one at a time during dinner.

So imagine my joy at discovering ‘The Salmon Hut’ was not in fact the wooden shack over an icy fishing hole deep in the frozen highlands we’d been imagining.

Mary-Jane and family celebrate a happy holiday – with Walkers Shortbread as a near neighbour.

It was instead a beautifully presented, cosy, heated home boasting all mod cons.  The sheer thrill being in a house where I don’t see something that ‘needs done’ everywhere I turn.

To be fair, my house would be a lot cleaner if my family didn’t live in it, so this glorious spot had a head start.  For a good 10 minutes at least.

Does anyone else take photos the second they arrive?  Before the trailing hooligans train wreck through it?  They’re not destructive or disrespectful they’re just … a lot.

Arrived.  Unpacked.  Dinner prepped, served and tidied up after.  After a morning at work then the long drive, I was beyond ready for the clean, crisp bed sheets!

How do you become these people?

Just how do you become the type of person who goes to bed at 10pm and wakens up bright and raring to go at 7am?  Does it require some sort of surgery?  An implant maybe? Some pills?

Realising I don’t have a 9-5 job, I have a ‘when I open my eyes to when I close my eyes’ job, I checked emails before tapping out.  My brilliant team were all over it and what use am I three hours away anyway?

I reminded myself all my future plans involve waking up with a sudden sense of discipline and adhering to routine, never before displayed even once in my life.

I accepted it’s not going to happen this week either and attempted to relax.

Not adrenaline seekers by nature, leisurely strolls along a favourite Moray Coast beach, or a jaunt to find a local waterfall is more my family’s speed.

But, for once, our break was filled with danger and suspense.  Life-threatening situations even.

Ah, the smell of shortbread

It started as we arrived at the Walkers Shortbread Factory in Aberlour.  With my type 2 diabetes threatening to morph to type 1 as I breathed in the heady scent of butter-filled air.

That, in addition to the copious quantities of ‘mishapes’ on sale, left us running back to the car like giddy fools, feeling like we’d unlocked the secret to true happiness.

Needing to walk off the eleventybillion mildly imperfect but delicious shortbread bites, we traipsed off determindly (making sure steps were being counted to prove our athleticism) to find the local waterfall.

Just look at our wellies and ruddy cheeks.  See how wholesome we are.  We are born for this country life!

Himself and I both grew up in rural areas so we’re no strangers to the country code and how to behave around livestock with dogs in tow.

Suddenly, an angry cow

The cows we passed on the way down weren’t remotely interested in us.  But one ginger cow mamma was not having any of it on our return and charged at us repeatedly.

Only a fence seemingly made of thin twine and paperclips was saving me and biggest from certain death.

My life flashed before my eyes as we squealed in a manner most unbecoming for hearty country folks.

Himself and youngest were able to return to help only once they stopped laughing uncontrollably at us being stuck in a bush, going nowhere.

And it was at that moment I accepted my fate.  Came to terms with my imminent demise and consoled myself with the knowledge I’d at least give everyone a good giggle at my cause of death.

Trampled by ginger-mulleted, angry, bovine tiger mamma.  Has a certain ring to it, no?