#vanlife day 21

A visit to Oban

So this is officially Catherine’s last day of her 2-week holiday so we decided to take a trip to Oban. We had heard and read much about Oban and thought that it might be a nice departure from the campsite for a day.

First some Doggy Porn!*

There are some ulterior motives as well for getting offsite, one of them being Tommy’s newfound addiction to rabbits – something we call Tommy-Porn! We have had a lovely couple of days with some gorgeous sunshine and this is when the young bunnies decide it’s time to tease the visiting canine.

Tommy in lock on bunny mode – better tie down the chair!

*This should do wonders for my search rankings don’t you think 😉

We have to keep Tommo on a lead which is then hooked through the bottom of one of the legs of my new camping chair. All will be going well and said dog will be basking in the sun when all of a sudden his eyes will open and his ears will prick up: he is now in full-on scan mode (I used to analyse radar systems and write software for them, hence the terminology that I love to play with). Once a “target” (or bogey depending on your own British or US military terminology) is in the acquire range he will then go into “lock mode”. This means he has now gone from sleep mode (DEFCON 5) to readiness mode (DEFCON 3) in about 4 milliseconds! This is where things get interesting from the human perspective.

Once the target (cute little frolicking, hopping, fluffy bunny) has been acquired by the Tommy radar, he now has this sort of high pitched whine that he emits. People nearby might think we are torturing the dog, but no – it’s not us – “its the pesky waabbit” It’s now also quite advantageous that a 14 stone male keeps the chair secured to the ground while ones canine best friend tests the full extent of the dog-leads arc and its strength. There then follows a beautiful sweeping motion that is much akin to the 1970’s garden tennis game called swingball! Here the dog runs in one direction at the rabbit (who is happily and obviously munching some fresh campsite grass) and then runs in the other direction. No dice! So dog now retests the arc further now in the other direction. “Yip Yip” (doggy translation “come here ya b****** bunnies … I’ll have you!!!!”).

At this point the little bunny is joined by a bigger bunny, mother and daughter we assume; not to Tommy. Instead, they are appetiser and the main course … this is just too much as his doggy stress hormones are now off the scale and we are worried that we will be considered nuisance dog-owners and decide to take him on a walk.

So Oban …

Tours were all filled that day!

Well, this was a most interesting town. As we drove into Oban I was reminded of someplace in my past and it occurred to me once we got to the bottom of the hill: Kinsale, Co. Cork. I worked there for a summer when I was 18 in a chippy that was owned by a Scotsman and run by an Englishman (neither of whose names I can remember). The visit memory trigger was the hill down into the town, I remember freewheeling on my racer down into the centre of Kinsale and this was similar (fortunately Catherine wasn’t freewheeling!!!!). The next trigger was the smells; the smell of the sea, that salty, briny smell with a hint of eggs. Ahhhh lovely. But that’s where the similarities ended.

We parked up and were eager to experience the joys of Oban, especially with its distillery and all. However, the expectations were short-lived. Rather than bore you with all the details the general vibe around Oban was quite low, something we hadn’t experienced in Scotland thus far. The place felt reminiscent of a Portsmouth vibe; that of a port town which has much hustle-bustle and not the calm laid back nature we had experienced in our previous locations.

If you can’t say anything nice …

There were two things that were nice. One was the smell of seafood cooking. This had Tommy dragging us around the centre as he honed in on shellfish delights (he does rather like a bit of my dressed crab of occasion). The other thing that was pleasant was the architecture of the town. I did have rather a nice experience while taking a photo. A bus driver stopped for me as I went to take a shot – just in case the bus got in the way … I don’t think I would have ever got that in Pompey … more like I’d have been run over, especially if I had been wearing a Southampton top!

After a while spent in the ferry port (where the lady helping Catherine was most exceptional at giving choices and options that were running out fast) we decided to get some lunch. We both fancied mussels. I won’t name the place but at one outlet near teh ferry port we were treated rudely by the owner in an over gruff fashion who informed us he didn’t have mussels today! If he had been nicer I might have settled for the langoustines which smelled divine and looked awesome, but if he couldn’t even muster a smile or some good nature, then jog on matey … there are other places who deserve our well-earned pounds!

With Catherine’s blood sugar now spiralling we opted to get some prawn cocktails from the green shack near the ferry terminal along with one of the best portions of chips (bought elsewhere) I have tasted since probably before Kinsale!

Bargain-Bucko strikes again!!!

One last nice point to finish on and it’s truly superb because as a jock (to any non-brits that’s what Scotsmen are playfully called over here) I do love a bargain! Petrol at Tesco’s was 164/litre … the cheapest I’ve seen since starting our journey. Bargain-Bucko was overwhelmed. That’s 18p cheaper than some of the rivals en-route that day. Well, I can tell you I was bouncing Fionnulla up and down trying to get as much unleaded into her as I could … Catherine and Tommy were almost seasick on the forecourt! “thats another 6p saved dear!!!”

So all said and done we decided that Oban, while with its nice architecture (in places), and some scintillating seafood smells (yes another alliterated masterpiece fans ;), and the cheapest petrol in Scotland so far, it won’t be calling us back too soon – even for what I’m told, by my friend and ex-neighbour Jim, is the best bacon roll on the planet served on the Calmac ferry to Mull (sorry Jim)!

About me …

I am a digital nomad who specialises in organisational change and personal conscious evolution. I share my experiences on the road authentically as a way of journaling and hopefully providing some small inspiration to others out there looking to escape the hamster wheel.

2 thoughts on “#vanlife day 21”

  1. Won’t bother going to Oban then. Hope you’ve got your beacon ready to light up there🔥🔥🔥🔥xx

    • Is beacon a jubilee thing then? We still dont watch the news or TV for that matter. Yeah Glencoe spectatular and very worth a visit – we are planning a picnic there if the weather holds out!


Leave a comment