Wednesday, 24 June 2009

tales from the country

It'll soon be three months since I moved into my cottage - on reflection, things haven't gone exactly how I'd imagined. The idea behind moving here was to be able to ride the bike to work on some of the best riding roads I've been on, and I have to admit that when the sun is shining it is the most fabulous journey; it's like my own personal road-race course, and it's a very busy day if I see more than 2 cars in the first 20 miles.

However, this is north-east Scotland, so in the first 5 weeks I only managed to get the bike down the muddy 1/2 mile track to the main road 3 times, mainly because it never stopped bloody raining! Just lately it's got a bit better, although this morning I was down to 20mph in the thickest fog I've seen since I was a kid and had to walk in front of my Dads Ford Esquire (a 100e van with windows if you're wondering)with a torch to see the kerb down Dagenham Heathway one Sunday night. But then that was before they brought in the clean air act and stopped us burning coal and old ladies dying from breathing in "pea-soupers". Bloody hell, that bit sounds like the 19th century!

Anyway, as I was saying it's been better weather lately so I've been out exploring; for some unexplained reason, ancient stone circles are 10-a-penny up here, with a local speciality being the recumbent stone circle (obviously I read all this in a leaflet )which is your normal stone circle with an additional big stone laid on its side at one end between the two biggest stones (stop me if I'm boring you here). As the nice old lady said that I met in Midmar churchyard, where they built the new church (16th cent.) virtually on top of the stone circle (2500 BC..ish) - "that looks like where they performed the human sacrifices" and then after she walked away I found the internal organs of some animal lying on the ground inside the circle near where she was standing...ooh-er.

So I've been travelling around with my big OS map, riding up little tracks to find Bronze age hill forts, stone circles (I always walk round them 3 times clockwise, I think one of my ex-wives told me you had to do that to open the doorway to the next dimension...yeah, totally bonkers!), even Macbeth's stone, and Macbeth's well - yes the actual Macbeth that Shakespeare wrote about - although to be honest the stone was in a big field full of other stones so I'm not 100% sure I got the right stone - but it's all been educational and fulfilling and has stopped me going to the pub and getting sh*tfaced every night. In fact, all the exercise pushing the bike round gravel carparks has made me feel quite fit.

All in all, then, I have to say the experience of being a city boy living in the country has been...OK. I'll have to move back to town by the end of summer, as it's obvious I'll never get my car up here in the winter, let alone a bike - and I have new plans in that department anyway; have you seen that new Triumph Thunderbird?

Looks nice and I am getting too old to keep up with the young boys - oh I forgot to mention, young Derek had an accident two weeks ago, wrote off his ninja filtering down the dual carriageway between 2 lines of cars when one of them decided to change lanes without looking. He's alright, and the insurance company paid up right away; he's gone out and bought an R1 so there's definitely not a lot of chance of me keeping up now, so perhaps the cruiser is a good way of me saving face "sorry lads, you go on, this thing handles like shit".

Apologies for the length of this (as the bishop...)but the other effect of living up here is not speaking to anyone for days on end except those numpties I work with.