Achnagairn 2014: Hopes & Dreams (part 1)

A couple of years ago, we were chatting about about some of our hopes and dreams. We remembered some of the wonderful moments we’d already had and thought up new experiences we could enjoy in the future. We love to remember places we’ve been, seen and things we’ve eaten! Moments of joy, laughter, relaxation and even sacredness. Even moments of hard, hard work that we can now see the fruits of, and are so very glad we have enjoyed/endured! We looked forward to milestones we were approaching in our lives and thought up lots of different possibilities of marking them. We love to celebrate and make happy memories. For Heather, this is code for TRAVEL! What better way to get Dave to agree to visiting some far flung place than to remind him of an up and coming special event – our 10th wedding anniversary.

The possibilities were endless, we could spend time in Thailand, riding elephants, enjoying unspoilt beaches, drinking out of fresh coconuts and sampling the local cuisine. Or we could return to our honeymoon destination of Kefalonia with our children in tow, reminding ourselves how if felt to eat fresh greek salad or lamb kleftiko on cliff tops overlooking the ocean, buying fresh honey from villagers, smelling the scent of thyme carried in the air and walking through olive groves, pondering the symbolic nature of those old, beautiful trees and fruit. Perhaps Morocco was the place to go, a new destination with good food (do you see a theme emerging?) souks, beaches, camel riding and many waiting adventures.

Heather and Dave on honeymoon in Kefalonia, July 2004

Heather & Dave on honeymoon in Kefalonia, 2004

So that was the plan for a while, and it was really enjoyable to think ahead to whatever adventures we would decide upon. But then Dave had another idea, what about a formal ball? For all of the family, children too. We could have it somewhere nice, maybe have a meal first and all get dressed up in formal gear. Our children would love that and so would we. The more we thought about it, the better that idea sounded. All the same family members who attended our wedding could be invited, plus all the new children that had blessed our families in the following 10 years. It could be a true celebration, spent with the people who matter most to us and who we have shared some of those special moments we had first been reflecting upon. The same people who had truly supported and encouraged us, laughed and cried with us over the course of our lives so far. Dave pictured Heather wearing flowers in her hair.

Dave & Heather's wedding

Dave & Heather’s wedding

Fast forward to 2013, Dave and Heather were now living in Durham. Dave had set up his own design company called Glad which was going from strength to strength. Life was good. Dave was good. So good that Dave was head hunted by a company based in San Francisco and we were lured over to California for an interview for a great job. With the promise of blue skies and warmth, soft sandy beaches, national parks and a vibrant city close by, that pull on our hearts to travel, explore and experience the beauty of the earth became a reality. Dave was offered the job. We accepted.

Around the same time Dave had an opportunity at work to rebrand a Scottish manor house in exchange for the use of one of their luxury houses from their portfolio. They had two manor houses in Scotland and one luxury villa in Antigua. The cogs in our minds started turning and whilst tempted by a trip to Antigua, it was obvious to us that a stay in Achnagairn castle would be one of those one in a life time experiences we just couldn’t pass up. We felt so blessed to be able to make another of our dreams come true. The house had a ballroom!

The Ballroom at Achnagairn House

The Ballroom at Achnagairn Castle

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