Day 14: 23 September 2012

Out with the dog just after sunrise on my last day of holiday … what a serene start to the day.  Totally still, mist rolling in the Strath to the south so the tree tops pop up like floating islands … a nip in the air because it has been clear overnight … a heavy dew (not quite frost) on shaded grass and lovely gentle colours in the sky.

A photo opportunity for a self portrait … wish I was this tall and slim … I am on the right of the picture if you weren’t sure – I am still taller than the dog …

… who is still a handsome boy at turned eight and a half …

Leaving this serenity behind and the dog tucked up in his bed with a full belly I set off – my weather forecast told me the wind was going to get up around lunchtime – complete with three kites.  On a Sunday I cannot get the bus right out to Easthaven and since I don’t relax and enjoy the kites on a busy beach I didn’t want to stay at Broughty Ferry or Carnoustie.  I just had time in Dundee to go the the cash machine (I have a new Megarider to buy tomorrow) and grab a sandwich at Tesco before catching the bus to Westhaven Park in Carnoustie.

All week long the service 73 buses are crewed by a driver and a clippy (conductor/conductress) but on a Sunday most are driver only and it gets passengers at almost every stop where they just get on and set off for a seat … only to be called back by tapping on driver’s door.

I had an opportunity to observe a characteristic I was told about earlier in the week – a national characteristic for brusqueness (I won’t say which nationality but it was someone from that country who told me about it and this morning I saw it in action).  What was really interesting was that after a few folk had wished him good morning, had to be called back to pay,  joked about it or commented on the lovely weather – the brusqueness disappeared and passengers boarding were greeted with a warm and sunny smile.  It is true it makes so much difference how one treats others – so passengers when you are boarding a bus try it – smile and say good morning & drivers you try it too!  We can all be having a bad day but it isn’t anyone else’s fault so don’t down their day too!

After leaving the bus I had a 1.5 mile walk ahead of me – easy walking on the cycle path and mild weather with birds to listen to.  I did catch myself having a chat with the sheep I passed – making silly comments about them feeling sheepish … I was happily striding along minding my own business when I was stopped in my tracks by this not so little fellow!

I have done some editing on this other view so it is a little easier to pick out his detail … he is an elephant hawkmoth caterpillar.  He was large – easily 8 cm but it is not his size that gives rise to the name  it is the little trunk he has which when he is upset he pulls back and inflates his head to really show off those ‘eye markings’.  With hindsight I wish I had got out the camera instead of being lazy and just taking these on my phone … oh well I’ll remember next time.

It took me half an hour to complete the walk – some of that was rearranging willowherb to photograph a caterpillar – with several pauses for passing cyclists.  Is it too much to ask that cyclists politely ping their bell as they approach – instead of whooshing past and frightening me half to death?

I should have flown the kites in the opposite order – I thought the Delta would be better in lighter winds – but there was only just enough to get her off the ground and it was so gusty the wind just kept disappearing.  It made for easy take offs but was frustrating for any stunt practising.

The parafoil really liked the light winds for take off but it was hard work getting her to climb high enough.  I satisfied myself practising take offs – it is actually much easier than one might imagine – and when I got a flight high enough experimenting with the ‘push’ vs ‘pull’ controls.

I will be having a small (online) shopping spree over the next few days to order a winding reel – hand winding wet sandy line is tedious and not easy to get even.  If only it was that easy to order n the other thing I think is essential – kite drying space!  Even on only damp sand the kite gets quite wet and the sand is stuck to it.  Packing it on the beach does nothing to make it dry and sand free.  The final thing I need for the kites is a bespoke carry bag.  I have some rip stop (or if none left I can buy some) and think a wrap style with pockets for several different kites and then rolled and velcroed shut will work – along with good carrying strap options … so that will be me getting the sewing machine out this week too.

After my picnic I decided to walk back on the beach like I did last week- it was harder going today (the wind was coming onshore at me as opposed to blowing off the dunes over my head) and I took the short cut of not changing into my older fabric sandals.  The burn I had to paddle across was faster and fuller today (still only ankle deep but I got wet splashes right up my legs) and I would have done better in the other sandals – another mental note to self!

I found my way off the beach at Westhaven and followed the streets back to where I could pick up any of the buses back to Dundee.  It takes longer on the soft sand and the distance is slightly further because of the curve of the coast so it took me close on the hour but that took me a good half mile nearer to Carnoustie than my start point the other way.   I had missed one bus by 10 minutes so had a half hour wait; Carnoustie was shut (well it is Sunday?) and I needed to wait on the shady and breezy side of the High Street so I did walk along a wee bit until my feet said “enough”.

I took the opportunity to Study Carnoustie’s lamp posts … no this is not a ‘spotter’ habit of mine; I know they ordered knew Christmas light displays last year  and we have ordered the same ones this year.  There was a question mark over whether they might be too small to be an effective display but I reckon that Carnoustie has taller lamposts than Kirriemuir an the street layout is totally different – feels more open.

After a quick cappuccino in Costa I had an uneventful bus journey home.  As I arrived indoors I spotted this contrail which seemed a very fitting end to my holiday travels … I love contrails and imagining where the plane is taking it’s passengers.

Tomorrow I am back at work for a week … I know it will be hard being ‘confined’ in an office but I also know it is only one week.  My Megarider will do far fewer miles (my camera won’t be doing any) so my daily posts will be limited … I will try to use that time to add some photo galleries from the past two weeks … but I will add a little note each day.

Today I:

  • Enjoyed meeting that huge caterpillar – a seemingly serene lifestyle – eat until bursting, take a long nap and then emerge as a beautiful moth (let’s not think about the things that might eat him or that his winged life will be short) … just living in the moment!
  • Spent 90 minutes barefoot on the beach (now I am paying for it with an aching foot but it felt wonderful at the time);
  • Should have taken time to change my shoes before my beach walk … small reduction in serenity points!
  • Had the offer of help in co-piloting; she was lovely but her paws just weren’t quite up to the task at hand and we had to part company, with me just managing to get the kite line before she ran off;
  • Had cuddles with our two favourite ponies – I call them Ginger (she has the same character as the horse of that name in Black Beauty) and Missy.  They have been in  a different paddock all summer but this morning they were back in the right place and we spent 10 minutes exchanging scratches (me to the ponies); kisses (dog to the ponies); snorts (ponies to us) – it made my heart feel very serene; and
  • Looked at my wind tanned hands at Costa and was horrified to see the sand under my nails … oooops.
Today’s Statistics: Cost: £0; Miles travelled: 69.4; Steps taken: 10.560; Photos: 15

Read on for a summary post and some outlines of the next steps in my big journey … thank you for travelling this road beside me; today is not an end it is simply a moment in time and we go on …

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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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