Opening the Door: Day 6

Red sky again this morning as I waited at the bus stop … but as I said I have no sheep and so shepherd’s warnings mean nothing to me!   As we set off on the 22 the sun raised above the horizon and out of the clouds.  The bus wasn’t busy and so we were running a tad early … it was the driver who thought I had been watching golfers at the Ferry – clearly communication is improving … one glance at my phone one glance exchanged in the mirror and we slowed down and waited at the next timing point.  I relate this little point because my one real bug bear in rural bus services is them running early.  I always aim to be at the bus stop in plenty of time but we have a timetable for a reason (and drivers have a running card for a reason) and out in the sticks if the bus is gone it can be a long wait for the next … especially if it is the only bus through there that day!  

I do enjoy spotting wildlife as I travel but I also love to see the farm animals we pass each day – and especially the fold of highland cattle.  They are getting their shaggy coast thickening at this time of year and I wonder if it is itchy since I often see them nuzzling and licking each other’s faces – perhaps cattle are just sloppy kissers?  The other amusing antic in this herd is the wee calfs (known as calfies in these parts); they see the big bus every day of the week – 4 times a day and the wee bus twice on a Saturday – they should be used to them by now but there is always one who runs away on his fat little calfie legs and starts a mini stampede!

This next bit should upset readers, but I don’t want to not record it since it was part of my journey – and it made an impact on me!

Once I got to Dundee I had a wee while to wait so I went to the hole in the wall and one the way I saw a young child (perhaps around 7)  being pulled along by a half grown german shepherd – almost being pulled under a passing car.

As I returned to Seagate they were down a side lane and the child was shouting at the pup and kicking out at it.  I know one has to be careful these days but I couldn’t just pass seeing a distressed child and animal making each other more distressed.

I approached and said to the child in a firm but quiet voice to stop being angry at the dog; the child indicated that the dog had gone for him.  I put my hand through the pup’s collar and asked her to sit, which she did (despite trying to be all waggy and wanting a fuss).  I explained that getting upset was upsetting the pup and they both needed to calm down.

The child started to tell me he wasn’t allowed back in the house but then his phone rang and as he answered it he told me he had to go and walked away with the dog trailing behind.

It has left me feeling down all day because I don’t think my intervention was enough to safeguard either animal or child but there is little else I can do.  I am not making judgements since I don’t know the full story but I am worried that this child is walking a strong young, untrained dog alone in the City at that time in the morning and that the dog is capable of hurting the child.  Other people witnessed the first part of this – the child being dragged towards the road.

With nothing else I could do I continued to the bus station and waited for the 96 to St Andrews.  I hadn’t used this before and it goes a slightly different route to my normal 99 but arrives around the same time.  No blind spaniel this morning but we did have a chap ask the driver would it be okay for him to drink his lager on the bus? (the answer was of course no) which left me a bit “it’s just turned 9am!!!”

I wanted to visit the Farmer’s Market in St Andrews before I went onward and I was not disappointed – definitely an excuse to pop over one Saturday a month.  I bought some cheeses, some chocolate, some hot chocolate and a Poachers Pocket Pie and came away smelling of Arbroath Smokies (they were being smoked on site).  I wanted some apples and hadn’t seen any at the market so I popped along to Tesco and then Sainsbury.

On the way I used a pelican crossing,  the beep sounded very quickly and I was about to step out when I realised that an approaching car was not stopping … I hesitated and the driver slammed the brakes on!

Having recovered my composure and secured my UK grown apples I still had 40 minutes to wait for the X59 so I mooched.  I wandered down the side streets; paused to watch the seals in the outdoor tanks at the Aquarium and headed back for my bus.

I knew the weather forecast was for the coasts on both sides of the Firth of Tay to be hazy sunshine all day and for further south to be more overcast.  I decided to head towards Glenrothes and then onwards to Edinburgh.  On the X59 we could see the distinct cloud bank looming as we got to Glenrothes and then a passenger asked about a traffic hold up beyond that; my mind was made up – I would only get 2 hours in Edinburgh without delays so I got off at Glenrothes; took a turn through the Kingdom Shopping Centre and boarded the 46 to Leven.

This bus took us through Markinch and Star, which reminds me they had been shining brightly when Dog and I took his morning constitutional again.  Onwards through Kennoway and then to the now familiar Leven bus station.  I had just missed a 95 and the sun was shining so I decided rather than wait an hour I would walk along the beach to Lundin Links or Lower Largo for the next bus up the road.

I actually planned to pause and eat my local cheeses and apples for lunch – but I didn’t!  Along the lovely flat and not busy beach I spotted folk digging holes … perhaps looking for razor clams or perhaps digging for bait? and some of the discarded holes had filled with water …

I also pulled off my sandals, rolled up my jeans and paddled along the waters edge for around half a mile.  I enjoyed it so much I had a second shorter turn and encountered this beauty – encountered it visually only – no stinging involved.

I left Leven bus station at 12:20 and after the walk along the beach found a set of steps, limited signage and marched through the clubhouse area of the Golf Links still with my trousers rolled up – sorry to disturb your peaceful afternoon folks and thank you for being too polite to make me feel uncomfortable.  I found my way to the bus stop at Lundin Links Hotel at 13:19 (bus due at 13:23).  I could have done with finding the Ladies around now but there wasn’t time – and I didn’t spot one anyway, so I crossed my legs on the 95.  Originally I thought I would stop off at Anstruther; the clouds were overtaking us by then and the kelp is still not cleared off the beach so the seaweedy smell is still hanging on – I stayed on the bus. Then I thought I might take an hour on the East Sands at St Andrews, get a coffee and use the loos there – but it was overcast there too.

I settled for changing to a 99 and setting off for Dundee to settle for an hour with my book in Costa.  Two nice drivers on this bit of the journey; exchanged ideas about the different Megarider tickets with the first and the second had a run of passengers just asking for a “single please” without a destination – quite entertaining.

So not the most exciting day in the world but I enjoyed it – feel more tanned and more relaxed.  Today I:

  • Didn’t do my tai chi but did walk around 5 miles;
  • Avoided any rain;
  • Paddled like a bairn at the beach;
  • Bought local cheeses and UK apples and got some good ideas of local food I can buy at that Farmer’s market when I am not going on for a day out;
  • Nearly got knocked over by a car;
  • Was upset by the incident with the child and the pup; and
  • Realised why my backpack was so heavy yesterday – my beachcombings were collected in the bottom section!

Not really night time – a flash of bright low sunshine across the Tay

It doesn’t show up in this photograph Weather Guru – but there was a strange curtain of cloud coming right down to the ground up the strath beside the river – intriguing.

Today’s statistics:  Cost: £0; Miles travelled: 144.5; steps taken: 13,675; Photographs taken: 35

One  more day this week and then I must get down to some serious graft for the big journey I am embarking on … hoping that tomorrow I can fly the parafoil kite … and that you will travel with me to share the day.

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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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