We had been enjoying an audio book on our long ride back from Minnesota. It was a good distraction from feeling teary at leaving Katy and Tom and Kezzie. What good parents they are and how darling the baby is; her smile, her coos, her touch with her little hands . . .
. . . anyways, the “book” was sitting in a sack, waiting to be loaded, and so I did and we were transported to Lochdubh in Scotland and the latest adventure of Hamish Macbeth in M. C. Beaton’s Death of a Witch.
Hamish, home after a less than satisfying trip abroad, is faced with solving not one but four murders in his little village of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands. The first murder is of a woman thought to be a witch by the superstitious townsfolk. She had been dispensing a potion to the men in town, supposedly to make them more appealing to their wives, with disastrous side effects and a murder . . . or two, or more.
There we were, on the interstate, traveling along Wisconsin’s rolling hills with dairy farms, quiet except for the reader’s Highland lilt as Hamish and Beaton’s assorted characters got deeper and deeper into the transpiring events, a chuckle aloud from one or both of us at Beaton’s witty turn of a phrase and the bumblings of the townsfolk.
I have enjoyed M. C. Beaton, having been introduced to her Agatha Raisin series by my friend Sharon. Beaton affords a light read with less than perfect lead characters who manage to find a way into our hearts. I wasn’t quite sure how Tom would like Agatha, so, checked out Hamish instead at the library. As we rode along, enjoying the audio book and the scenery as well, I recalled trying Hamish Macbeth a few years ago and not particularly liking it. I was glad I had chosen the audio, however. Maybe some books are just better read aloud.
We were nearing Janesville after many hours on the road and I felt I needed to stretch my legs. I suggested we stop at the Rotary Gardens and Tom agreed. We had stopped there last year in early spring and enjoyed a little walk about. I’d visited last summer with June and Bev at the height of the blooming season as well and thought my Tom might enjoy it now.
It was a perfect place to stop the tape!
The gardens are sponsored by Rotary International and, of course, the Janesville chapter, and sits upon acres of lovely themed plantings, most of which is tended by volunteers. It is but a mile off of the interstate and only two hours from Chicago.
We walked in to the cool of the visitor center where we discovered we could get in free with our membership card to the Morton Arboretum. Ah, membership has its privileges.
We walked through the formal gardens then veered down a path, swaths of color guiding our way, one of few visitors so late in the afternoon, when we soon wandered into the Scottish Garden. There we were, like Hamish Macbeth, up in the Highlands amongst the rocks. We, of course, were enjoying the scenery, not solving a murder mystery, as we walked about the wee hills and dales in southern Wisconsin after a few far too short time with our little clan up north on the longest of days of summer.
It was good to stop for awhile and enjoy what nature, and Rotary International, had to offer. We each found things to make us smile and near the end Katy called to see where we were in our journey back home. A nice way to end our walk through nature and a good pause in our journey.