The notice in the motorway service station tells me not to be shy about asking for my coffee exactly how I want it, because coffee is personal, right? But when I ask for my Americano with hot milk in a macchiato cup the barista looks at me blankly and tells me it's impossible. So I get it in a hefty pint mug like everyone else and leave most of it.
The journey to Tebay (best service station in UK) flies by. Used to this being the breakfast stop (7am) on a two day car and ferry combo to the Outer Hebrides, knowing I'm already half way to my destination makes me giddy.
I'm with my Mum and Emily Wilkinson en route to the first Reader's Retreat at The Bookshop, Wigtown, Dumfrieshire. Having led retreats in West Wales for several years I'm excited to be starting afresh in 'Scotland's town of books'.
We indulge in poetry gossip, munching through grapes, tangerines and toasted almonds on the second half of the journey. The sunshine is both unexpected and glorious. Emily starts planning picnics, but I caution her from my twenty five years senior vantage point, then feel, justly so, like a grumpy old woman.
Knowing the door will be unlocked we let ourselves into the bookshop. By the time I'm half way up the stairs hearing Shaun's 'hellooo', I feel at home. Let the retreat begin.