Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Back in May we had decided that we were so fed up with the all-pervasive independence referendum that, whatever the result, we wanted to escape the day after. And so we booked cheap flights to Sweden, and steeled ourselves to get up at 3.30 a.m. on 19 September.
There was no time to turn on news and hear the progress of the outcome before our taxi arrived. Votes were being counted during the night by council region of Scotland - you can see the breakdown of the final result here. Thankfully our driver was of the taciturn variety - I had been dreading a chatty journey with a running commentary on the latest results to come in. At the airport people were glued to their mobiles and tablets. Halfway through my breakfast porridge in the Italian Cafe Nero (love that particularly Scottish combination), I had to go to the chemist and buy earplugs to block out the constant reading out of results around me. All I could bear was to know the final result, and then just to move on, for better or worse.
We were just boarding the plane in Edinburgh as the result began to be firming up, and my husband showed me a picture on his mobile of a glum-looking leader of the nationalist party, but it wasn't until we arrived in Gothenburg that it was a definite 'No' to independence. We had left Edinburgh in the same fog and drizzle that had hung low over the city for the past few days, and we emerged from that darkness into the clear light of the northern autumn. I think I will always remember walking across the tarmac at Gothenburg airport into the low morning sun, and feeling the lifting of a great weight.
During our visit we spent a day with a Swedish friend at her summer hut, catching up on several years' worth of news and watching boats sailing through the archipelago. It was the escape we needed.