Friday, June 8, 2012

510.8 kms: Melrose-Galashiels-Cloverfords-(Peebles).

Uh-oh, the brackets mean trouble. Even though that is such a small amount walked for the day, it still somehow looks quite good with the five on the front there. I allowed myself a once-a-trip lateral movement—that is cheaters code for 'I caught the bus'; justified by implying that all it did was take me across rather than up. I have just spent an hour and a half in the Crown Hotel in Peebles, looking for accommodation for tomorrow night, Saturday night, my dread night, especially with every forecast for the next few days being a black-grey cloud with multiple raindrops coming from it. The one place I found was a ninety-pound-a-night fancy hotel. So I did the only thing a girl can do in these circumstances—and it may involve another pair of brackets. I booked three nights accommodation in an apartment in Edinburgh. Make sense? You see the problem is it is still about twenty-three miles to Edinburgh—in sensible distance measurements that is thirty-six point eight k's. And I was whining about twenty-eight. I'm going to set off early, buy a packed lunch from the servo on the corner, and see how far I can get before I have to take a bus. And waiting at the end of it is a one bedroom apartment where I can come and go as I please, sleep in, cook my own meals (oh, my, lord), wash my clothes, three times, and surf all the net I want. [Due to there being so little net in the last couple of places I have been, and what there has been being slower than the one I have at home—3!—I am afraid that I haven't been able to get your feedback and words of encouragement to wing it and it will be okay. I have just had to do it, done, booked.] I got a really good rate for the first two nights and an extremely lousy one for the last night and so it averages out at don't-think-about-the-conversion-rate-think-about-the-fully-equipped-laundry-smelly-trousers.  

My only regret today is that, somewhere, discernable through all the rain, I could see the walking would have been really lovely. I stopped for coffee and cake in Galashiels and orange juice and potato crisps in Cloverfords and by that time it was already three. It didn't take much convincing from the boozy ladies having lunch that I should catch the bus all the way to Peebles 'in this weather'. I had planned to catch it to six miles from Peebles and walk the rest of the way. As it turned out, I went and stood at the bus stop at twenty past for the 'on-the-half-hour' bus, but it decided that that particular half hour wasn't applicable and so by the time I had waited in the rain and cold for forty minutes, it was a bit of a no-brainer to ask for a ticket to Peebles. I was soaked and so stood for a while in the spot where the wheelchairs go. It afforded me a great view through the front windscreen, until I realised just how scary watching a double-decker bus careen at speed through twisting and turning one and a half lane roads actually is and then I sat myself and my wet pack down on a seat where the window was frosted up and I couldn't see my life pass before my eyes. It is curious to note that trees on those roads are the inverse shape of a double decker bus—if that gives you any further clue.

Peebles' High Street: Lovely Summer Day.

I'm tucked in bed now at Mrs Muir's B&B. Mrs Muir is at least two hundred years old and made me want to cry when she pulled her little bent-back self up the stairs to show me my room—just point me in the right direction, I wanted to say, I'll find it. From my bed I can see the cars going past on the main road and through the windows of the houses opposite. They're not really into closing their curtains here. It's something we used to notice in London and nothing has changed. Look in if you dare, they seem to say, and what you see is at your own risk. It is nearly ten pm and, beside the mist coming down over the mountains behind the houses opposite, it is still light enough that you can get by without a light. I'm off to sleep now. Big day. Wish me luck even though it will be after the fact. Thanks.

Good night to Peebles, good night to you.


1 comment:

  1. Great Photo of the High Street. Is that a black Volvo I can see there?