Hayley Matthews: Visit to St Andrews keeps Stella’s memories alive

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WE sadly lost a dear family member last week. Stella, grandma or GG (great grandmother) as she was known to us.

We initially thought that our weekend away in St Andrews, two days after laying dear Stella to rest, was bad timing. Not really feeling like a ­weekend away, we thought about ­cancelling our October break.

However, acknowledging the fact that Stella loved St Andrews and enjoyed golf, we thought it would possibly be quite fitting to still go, although a little bittersweet.

She was a great golfer and I’ve always adored a picture that my mother-in-law has of Stella walking on St Andrews Golf Course with her husband Craig, under a multi-coloured umbrella. It’s utterly charming, so after a chat we decided to head up.

We booked into the Macdonald Rusacks and were checked in to a beautiful room with a stunning view of that famous golf course. To our delight, it overlooks the 18th hole. This was made even more fitting as we knew Stella and Craig had also stayed in the Rusacks, also overlooking the 18th hole.

The circle of life is so beautiful yet so cruel, although it is moments like looking out at the golf course remembering Stella’s happiness, that made me realise just how important making happy memories with my family are.

And that was what I did, made some new memories with Stella’s grandson (my partner) and our son.

Our stay couldn’t have been more perfect with a view that we could have looked at for hours. We watched golfers on the course from our room while people ran along the beach, and even horses enjoying the white sand.

Our son was treated like a wee prince in the hotel, ­lavished with Minion sticker books while we all ate in the three AA Rosette award-winning restaurant. Gary, the food and beverage manager charged our son’s laptop and brought him an Irn-Bru (a one off treat) as he could totally relate to entertaining a child while eating ­dinner. The place was faultless!

I didn’t realise until standing at the 18th hole looking at the row of buildings facing the course, that all those times when you see the Open at St Andrews on the TV, it’s only the room we were staying in at the Macdonald Rusacks! The course is open to the public on Sundays, so coming back all sandy from the beach, my son decided to streak, only to be asked to have his photo taken with three female ­students, on their way home from the night before. This picture will now be kept for future girlfriends.

We also managed a trip to the wonderful Craigtoun Park before they closed for winter. The 47 acres boast lots of fun for the family. We walked for hours, played crazy golf, jumped on trampolines and raced on zip wires. To quote my son (he actually typed this himself), he loved: “Gowing on the fox slide and gowing on the bohts and krase golf and gowing on the 2slidse. Olso gowing on the bownsy beds and gowing in the play grownd.”

If you can understand this, you must be a parent. We’re counting down the days until it reopens in March as it’s a must for family fun.

I’m so glad we decided to stay in St Andrews for our October break, it made the start of the healing process of grieving our Stella, just that little bit easier. RIP beautiful Stella.