Achnagairn 2014: Making it happen (part 2)
The dream was becoming a reality and that reality required a lot of hard work and organisation. The job Dave agreed to carry out in exchange for use of Achnagairn castle was a big one. It took up a lot of his time, often requiring very late nights and early morning starts. He did this in the run up to Christmas and whilst Heather was looking after the other five children. This included many hospital visits with our new baby Olive who was born with Talipes. But as they always do, things worked out. We had a lovely Christmas, hospital visits slowed and a new year began.
The New Year started with a visit for Dave, Heather and the older children to San Francisco. Then before we knew it we were home and filling out visa applications, getting new passports, deciding what to do with the business and preparing our home to move across the ocean. Not an easy task with five gorgeous children still needing plenty of attention, help with homework and to be bathed and fed! For good measure, Heather decided to carry out her ‘Motherhood Project’ which has involved interviewing some of the best mothers she knows (Still plenty to do on that…) and Dave still needed to make a living.
Organising Achnagairn was a lot of fun and thanks to a lot of great people, not too stressful. We were inundated with offers of help and we took lots of people up on their kind offers. Thank you!!! We realised we really loved thinking up great ideas and then handing them over to others to do the ‘real’ work on it! If only that same model could be used in cleaning our house and feeding our family!! Does anyone fancy food shopping and cooking for us if I come up with the meal ideas?
One of the first challenges we had was who to invite. We wanted both our extended families to come but even with our creative planning there simply wasn’t enough bedrooms. We decided to open the offer of the holiday up to everyone who we thought could travel the distance and work on a first come, first served basis We were sure some people wouldn’t be able to make the long journey or get time of work so thought the numbers would naturally be reduced. To our delight/horror every response was coming in as a yes! One 24 bedroomed property (with a maximum capacity for insurance purposes), 3 luxury lodges (again filled to the brim) and quite a bit of extra work for Dave later, we were able to house 92 of our family members and a few special friends.
Probably the greatest help we have received in making this holiday happen was from Sid and Jean. When they heard what our plans were they offered to come and cater for us! Not a small task by any means. The thought, work and effort they have put in to feeding us has been simply incredible. The food they provided us with, phenomenal. A simple thanks cannot express our gratitude towards them enough. Hopefully the chant, foot stomping and small gifts after our last meal has gone a little way to showing them how appreciative we all are!