Rather as with flying, when the Resident IT Consultant and I sit apart, unless we travel on different planes, we have taken to having days out separately too. ScotRail have introduced a club for old people, for which we qualify. Their opening treat was a cheap ticket anywhere in Scotland during September, so we had to hurry while the offer lasted.
The Resident IT Consultant went to Aviemore earlier this week, after a break of more than 40 years, and had a successful day, climbing Cairngorm, coming down again with walkingboot soles flapping in the air, necessitating hitchhiking to the station and then a taxi home. The boots are now in the dustbin where they belong. But it was a nice sunny day and he enjoyed himself. There was a scone involved at some point.
As for me, I returned to Arbroath yesterday, 30 years after the two of us went there – briefly – and didn’t enjoy it. So why I went back is a mystery. I think I was under the impression I’d been wrong that time. That it was only my visit to the baker’s that went wrong. (It’s the only occasion I have ever been aware that my English accent was the wrong accent to have. And I tend to be quite slow on the proverbial uptake.)
But yesterday I suddenly remembered more. I recalled that the reason we went somewhere else afterwards was that we left early, because it wasn’t at all what we’d hoped for. That memory had disappeared with the breadrolls. Walking towards the sea from the railway station I felt like someone in a film or a novel, and not in a good way. There wasn’t a scone in sight.
It was good to see the sea. I crave the sea in this inland area I have moved to. The sunshine was pleasant. There were plenty of benches on which to sit in the sun staring out to sea, which is something I do well. I like a working harbour, and they have one. There is fish everywhere, including the famous Arbroath Smokies.
Don’t misunderstand me; I reckon this is a good place if you belong. The trouble is, I don’t. Just as I didn’t 30 years ago, when all I wanted was bread for our lunch.
So after enough sea and sun, I walked back to my cheap train, on which passengers were able to travel like sardines. But I had my book, and a day is not wasted when there has been sea and sun, as well as plenty of reading, even if fish-style.