Sunday, 4 February 2007

A trip with two bikes, one son and some ham sandwiches.

Whilst I wait anxiously with heart pounding for the ebay auction on my watched item (floor polisher…will the excitement never end!)to finish I thought I would distract myself with a few witty and well-chosen blog commentaries on life in Inveraray, Argyll, Scotland. Unfortunately I cannot think of any so I shall tell you about my day yesterday instead. Toby and I loaded bikes onto the back of the car, actually Garret did that after grumping on for several minutes about how no-one ever oils their bikes. This was met with blank, amazed expressions in a sort of “Well, excuse me but isn’t that why we have you” kind of a way. We also loaded the girls in without bikes and dropped them off to have a merry day in Minard, a village about 10 minutes from here right down on the coast of Loch Fyne. And there we left them by the side of the road to await our return some 4 or 5 hrs later, (we didn’t really, they went to a friends house to play but, poetic licence and all that). Toby and I trundled off to Lochgilphead, our local town, fortuitously positioned at the head of Loch Gilp, which is really a big bay off Loch Fyne. We spent an entertaining few minutes at the FyneSide Petrol Station (every business in the area has managed to amusingly insert “Fyne” into their name making the “F” section of the phone book very tedious reading indeed…in fact you get quite perky when you notice a business that is not Fyne…I wonder who was the very first person to be musing over the naming of their fledgling business at night over a whisky or two that suddenly leapt into the air shouting “Eureka! I will call it Fyne (insert name here)” only to be instantly copied by 50,000 other businesses within a week…but enough of this digression and back to the Petrol station) watching the counter girl puzzle over the prices of batteries. Exhibit one with 8 batteries in the little card thingy was £4.19 which I felt a bit steep (we needed them for Toby’s camera so he could capture stunning images for this very blog) upon my expressing very politely this view the girl reached helpfully behind her to get a similar cardboard package with 4 batteries in it. Obviously this would be cheaper but no, it was also £4.19. After several puzzled seconds on her behalf and a few rescans of both articles we pointed out the billboard high signs all over the shop (this might be a very small exaggeration) saying “Batteries 50% free”. I think that we made her day as we departed with over priced batteries in hand. Off we went to get our come uppance as we unloaded bikes and embarked on our happy plan to cycle along the Crinan Canal. Unfortunately as I had not read our local paper for weeks I was unaware that the first three miles or so of the canal had been drained of its murky contents and that the tow paths were shut. However, as the main road runs parallel to the canal we managed to regroup and rejoined the canal at Caairnban (re an e bay update 20 minutes and 12s to go..Palms are twitching now). Crinan was truly lovely in the winter sun and clear crisp skies, we ate a picnic alone on some rocks below the lighthouse and mused on how tasty ham sandwiches are when your legs are still twitching from a 14.5k cycle (bit of argument on that score as we had a slight diversion early on but I shall draw a veil over that). The cycle back was just as lovely and Toby regaled me with the latest plot from his Darran Shan book so I shall never ever have to read it. Amazingly this took us ¾ of the way back, I wonder what the folk we passed on the path made of the random snatches of conversations floating back from our fleeing figures “ Then the Grandfather smashed the gate into the girlfriends face” “ They blew up all the pressure pads and tracking devices” “ the old friend of the grandfathers was horribly murdered” etc, etc. I was grateful though as I managed to plan all my menus for next week and mentally clean the house. The evening was spent very pleasantly at Janice’s house (also in Minard) at a party (very tasty Chilli), luckily she has lovely soft chairs so those portions of my anatomy tortured by riding all afternoon without a saddle pad could gratefully relax. The children, we left with our lovely new babysitter, but not before threatening them with a reasonable amount of bodily harm should they misbehave after we left. In the way of all good parents I had my turn with the threats and then Garret resplendent in going out clothes and a Simpsons tie appeared to have another go (with, I thought, a very inventive selection of possible scenarios resulting from any misdeeds). Then we thought that we might be frightening the baby sitter so we left. So, anyway 9 minutes and 11 seconds to go, just time to spell check this and get my bidding fingers primed……. (9 minutes 11s later…heart still pounding from the pressure but sadly out bid, so if anyone has a floor polisher available let me know…and I don’t mean your Granny). If you have found the above somewhat tedious be very grateful that I decided not to treat you to “ An Essay encompassing a days shopping in Oban, a rounded over view and price comparison of Lidl, Bookers and Tesco”.

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