I am not sure I have even done anything today to regale you with. I may just go with some random thoughts and things seen.
For the boy: thirteen more volvos and four more deer.
When I was walking on the Round the Forth path a few days ago—just before I got lost in the maze of Hopetoun House—a man warned me that I was about to see what he didn't know was my fifth deer for that day. This one, unfortunately, had been hit by a vehicle. I was tense. I have been doing this little side project on these three trips which I don't think I have really told many people about—usually I just freak B—— out with it when she looks through my photos and comes across it accidentally. It is a little macabre, but I have been taking photos of roadkill. Okay, you all think I am odd now. Not just any roadkill—just the beautiful, sleeping animals whose essence seems still to be around them. Maybe it is because it shows there is so little difference between life and death. I'm not trying to be profound. Walking like this, on the road parts at least, takes you somewhere where life isn't usually this slow. It is normally the cars that whizz past in these places between 'lives' and people don't see the effects cars can have. But I was really not ready for something as large as a deer. (The largest to date was a badger, all its stubbly feet in the air and stiff as straight whisky, but somehow, sorry to say, not beautiful.) I could smell something wrong first. But when I got to where the spot was someone had already been there and removed the poor thing—after all, this was the route the torch was going to be taking, couldn't possibly have a dead deer there to spoil the event! All that was there to show for the life of that poor deer was a large pool of blood and the flattening of the grass on the side of the road. And somehow its essence too. Don't worry, I didn't take a photo. I am not even sure why I am writing this—maybe I took the second lot of cold and flu tablets too quickly after the first. Do the things you want to do. Don't wait. Tell people that you love them. Even that you like them. Like is absolutely underrated.
Flittering over the canal was a bird, unimaginably blue.
In the cold wind blowing on the canal, a swan floated with her wings full of signets, keeping them warm.
How do you say this: Hawick. That's right, leave out all the middle letters, it is Hoyk. And this: Milngavie. Same again, Mill-guy. I can tell I am on the Glasgow coast of Scotland now rather than the refined Edinburgh side. Two men in the bar where I just ate a whole slice of Banofee Pie (as if I wasn't feeling ill before, it is banana and toffee pie drowned in caramel sauce—there probably would have been fewer calories if I had just drunk two cans of condensed milk) have used the f-word more times in the time it took me to eat my cake than I have heard in all the years before that. It was phenomenal. I wonder what they use when they are cross. As I was coming out of Edinburgh a man walked past having a conversation with himself about the unsuitability of the Scottish political environment and the weather, how it would all change for him as soon as he got to Hawaii. It was like being in the Trainspotting narrative.
I can hear the flesh of the person in the room next to me squeaking against the porcelain of the bath. It is disconcerting. The hotel has given me a 'Good Nights Sleep Guarantee'. Maybe I need to go to reception and say the squeaking is stopping me sleeping. Maybe it is too early at seven pm.
I am stopping there. God knows what will come out next. Start another long distance walk tomorrow—the West Highland Way. I'll be walking past lochs and bens. This will be real Scottish countryside. I am even going to try and bag myself a Munro. (Climb a mountain over three thousand feet. There are 283 or so of them in Scotland and you can, or I do, often question Scots about the number of Munros they have. The highest I have met so far is sixty-nine.)
Sorry, no photo. I am feeling ick and have just had the worst restaurant experience. I know, that is a white whine (see the Age from a Saturday ages ago in the section where they have new words for the twenty-first century—its basically the complaining of the privileged). Instead of me walking and getting you a photo I have chosen to get in bed with a scandalous book (Fifty Shades of Grey) that I just had to have for the torment of a twenty-five minute bus ride. I worry myself. Where are those night-time cold and flu pills?
Good night to Milngavie, good night to you.