Gail's Gab: a pro independence talk for Tommy allowed the family to enjoy a holiday in Helmsdale

Accompanying Tommy on his YES Scotland #HopeOverFear speaking tour of Scotland can often be a drag.

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Tom Jones performs at Belladrum
Tom Jones performs at Belladrum

As wee Gabrielle says with refreshing honesty 'we've heard it all before dad'. However there are some plus points.

One is getting to spend time as a family and the other is getting to meet so many lovely people and embrace the hidden beauty that is our country.

There's a wee village up in the North of Scotland called Helmsdale. Its 70 miles past Inverness near to Wick.

Tommy and Gabrielle along with my sister Gillian, brother-in-law Andy and my two nieces Abigail and Charlotte spent the past four days in a beautiful cottage up there.

It had been described to me as the 'Land that time forgot' by the lovely young woman who had arranged our visit. She was spot on in her description.

Penny, the young lady in question, had invited Tommy to speak at a pro independence meeting and we decided to make a holiday out of it so off we set.

We packed the cars with the biggest amount of junk imaginable. Everything from buckets and spades to fishing rods, shorts and t-shirts to rain jackets and fleeces. You name it - it went.

Then we had 'our' supplies. Enough food to feed a small nation. Obligatory was the essential 'fry-up' items, square slice sausages, link sausages, potato scones, bacon and of course essential liquid 'supplements' for my sister and I in the form of a cargo of beers and wine. Yes I reckon we could have survived a year with the ridiculous amount of nonsense we 'humffed'. I guess we're just city folk at heart!

Anyway we had a laugh and enjoyed the lovely wee harbour town. We were also treated to a wonderful dinner on Saturday night of exquisite seafood consisting of lobster, crab and langoustines, all locally caught. That was a first for me and I fairly enjoyed it even although it's like an operation trying to extract the fish meat from the shells.

We were made very welcome by everyone in Helmsdale even although they must surely have thought the Weegie invasion was going to last for a year going by our over-laden cars! I would definitely recommend Helmsdale, Brora and Golspie for anyone interested in discovering the real beauty of Scotland.

Green, Green Grass of Belladrum

Music festivals aren't really my scene. Outside toilets, mud, tents, welly wearing and bopping along to bands I've never heard of. NO -- quite frankly I'd rather stick pins in my eyes!

So I'm shocked to say that Tommy and I are off to one such festival this Saturday.

Belladrum is the venue near Inverness. Tommy is being interviewed at the arts session during the day. It seems it's not just bands that entertain at Belladrum.

Arts and political discussion also features on the programme. The headliner of the festival is none other than the 'sex bomb' himself Tom Jones and 'It's not unusual' for me to be very partial to a wee bit of Tom! Or should that read Tommy. So my wee Tom and I will be giving it 'laldy' to at least one performer on Saturday.

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