(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2017 Angharad
This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
We did visit Perth eventually and the girls spent their pocket money but that was about the sum of it. The forecast looked ominous for the following week, so on the Tuesday after Easter we loaded the car and began the long trek homewards. We stopped at a small bakers shop at Dunkeld and I bought us some filled rolls and bottled water, though I did have a flask of hot water and a small amount of milk together with a few teabags and a teaspoon, so we wouldn’t starve on our journey. I also bought some cakes, some bags of crisps and some chocolate bars.
We’d filled up the car with diesel at a supermarket while we were at Perth a day or two before and I’d had to do one or two formal things on the estate being the Laird’s wifey. It wasn’t too arduous just not what I’d have chosen to do on a holiday, but sometimes privilege has a cost to those who have it. Thankfully, none of the other landowning families were occupying their estates, so I didn’t have to fraternise with any of them.
It was cloudy when we set off and the rain started just south of Perth where we joined the M90 and the spray slowed us down a little. We had all day to travel, the girls had their iPads plus a DVD player in the back and even the odd book. Danielle does read the occasional book but prefers teen magazines, Hannah likes graphic novels which we used to call comic strip books not many years ago.
Near Kinross we passed a substantial body of water which Danni announced was Loch Leven. A while later we crossed the Forth road bridge, which isn’t quite as famous as its railway sister, where painting the Forth Bridge was seen as a never ending job. Apparently now it’s been painted with some type of specially developed coating which doesn’t need replacing for years. It used to be a toll bridge but they abolished the charges in 2008 on it and the Tay bridge.
You can’t see much while you’re driving and these days the safety barriers make it difficult to see much anyway unless you’re in a coach. The intermittent rain made it even worse to see anything except the accident on the other carriageway. There’d been a multiple shunt and I hoped no one was injured, the girls grumbled because they couldn’t see anything because police and ambulances were in the way. I asked them how they’d like if it were us who were in the accident being rubber necked by travellers going the other way but it rolled off them like water off a duck’s back.
We stopped at Edinburgh for lunch and the girls insisted they visit the castle. As we hadn’t done much, I indulged them but also pointed out it would add two hours to our journey.
Edinburgh is a lovely city but a traffic nightmare and we used the park and ride, which I’m not sure was much better. However, the girls got to see over the castle and take photos of each other by Mons Meg a huge old cannon. A snack break later we were back at the car and heading down the M8 to Glasgow and then the M74 back towards England passing Lockerbie where that passenger jet was blown up by Libyan terrorists killing all on board and several more in the village.
The next stop was near Carlisle, back now in England where I bought some more fuel and we had a wee and a snack. It seems going home makes them hungrier than on the way up, despite another of Mr Dunstan’s full English breakfasts. It was now mid afternoon and it became obvious to me that we wouldn’t get home that early.
Traffic on the M6 became very heavy and we came to complete standstills more than once. More traffic means more opportunity for people to crash into each other or vehicles to break down. Both were encountered, both in the outer lane and both caused chaos as people tried to squeeze through gaps that weren’t there. I was quite surprised we didn’t see two drivers slogging it out as well. Thankfully we didn’t, and it didn’t look as if anyone was injured in the accident, thought it closed a lane and slowed everything down. Of course there are people who ignore speed limits, including the temporary sort approaching road works or accidents and we saw at least one impatient driver stuck behind a police car receiving a ticket—served them right. I don’t have a problem with people hammering along empty roads but when the rush hour is in full force, only fools go fast.
Being the British road system, there were delays and tailbacks at road works and I suspect it added between half and an hour to our travel time. I’ve never seen the M1 free of road works and I kept my record, there were plenty. We passed Northampton which used to be famous for shoemaking, Milton Keynes which is famous for concrete cows and the Open University campus which is I believe small compared to a conventional university but they do some good work there and only recently I watched a programme by Jim Al-khalili, who’s actually a professor of Quantum Mechanics at Surrey University, which was made in conjunction with the Open University. It specialises in distance learning courses.
We almost crawled past Luton then on to the M25 and it was stop go for ages. Once beyond that we were home in an hour but it was eight o’clock and I was totally knackered. Simon gave me a huge hug and the girls made a fuss of me as well, Trish even conceded that she’d missed me. We’d been away six days, two of which we’d spent travelling—I didn’t think I’d bother doing it by road again, even if it was nice to have a car with us and also not bother too much about the amount of luggage we took, which is a concern on aircraft.
It was good to get home, I was tired and hungry and the dinner David had left for us was wonderful: roast lamb, my favourite. My two passengers wolfed theirs down as well despite the fact we seemed to have spent much of the day eating, or they did. It cost me twenty odd pounds for drinks and bun at Edinburgh castle, which was a total rip off, but then those places always are.
I was also glad to be back in my own bed and retired early, I was shattered after all that driving—it’s not so much the distance, but the traffic and the other hazards. Sadly when Simon came up to bed I was already fast asleep and stayed that way. I didn’t even hear him come to bed I was so soundly asleep, so any ideas he had about showing me how pleased he was, or a small part of him was, pleased to see me were abandoned and he told me he read a book for half an hour while I was zonked beside him. I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow night once I’ve sorted out our washing and done something with the others including listening to their moans about what they could or couldn’t do. My response will be a shrug and tell them they could have come to Scotland with me.
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