Delights and Disappointments

I decided that today I would go to Lunan Bay.  This is an award winning beach in a large very sheltered bay between Arbroath and Montrose.  There used to be bus services into the hamlet of Lunan; I know they were still running in 2006 and a driver I was chatting to this morning minds (local dialogue for remembers) them but not now.  There is an infrequent service at Braehead (literally the top of the hill) of Lunan (1.5 miles form the beach) otherwise it is a walk from either Inverkeilor (served by X7 and 30) or A92 (Road End at Braehead of Lunan) served by service 30.

Anyway that is still a wee way down the road because I started off with discussions on my first bus – the driver asked if I was working the day so I briefly told him my situation and my plans and left him tippling diet coke.  On the second bus the driver said he hadn’t used part of the route could someone give him some pointers to keep him straight – so I earned my keep with directions.  At the end of the journey I took the opportunity to introduce myself and advise him that no matter what he heard in the drivers room it was untrue – you see I am something of an urban myth hereabouts; there is a rumour doing the rounds that I am the boss’s spy … this is very funny becasue:

  1. Modern buses have several systems that provide management information, including cameras, green driving data and computerised ticket machines; and
  2. The Boss doesn’t actually like me so I would be the last person he would get to spy for him.

The X7 pulled in, passengers disembarked and the driver took a 5 minute rest closing the door behind her.  When she returned the door refused to open.  I was chatting with a driver consuming a large bacon roll at the time and sharing with him the theory I overheard last week about bus driver rest periods and we were laughing.  The X7 driver got in the emergency exit and tried to get the main door to open from the inside controls – nothing happened.  She sarcastically asked if we were just going to stand and watch or would we help.  The driver with the bacon roll phoned through to the local depot who were going to contact her depot for advice.

Whilst all this was going on the first driver of the morning arrived so I asked what had kept him, suggested that maybe that horrid sweet fizzy drink was slowing him down.  He then tried to help opening the door and got growled at – he didn’t deserve that.  By this time there were a handful of frustrated passengers so we walked through the city centre and got a 39 to Arbroath.  Enroute I got chatting with a really interesting woman and collected my second business card in two days and another really interesting and thought provoking discussion.  From Arbroath we finally got the next X7 and I opted to get off at Inverkeilor for a 2.5 mile walk to the beach.

It was all ‘quiet’ country lanes; I had neon green and neon orange on making me sand out on a dull day and I understand how to keep myself safe walking on roads with no pavement.  At first it was fine to walk towards oncoming traffic but it wasn’t long before I heard an engine an turned to see a monster truck bearing down on me.  I stood aside but he made no effort to slow his truck in the slightest … I could see him a little way down the road reversing in a farmyard.  I had just set off again when I heard another engine and turned back to see a 4×4 coming down the wrong side of the road to ease a bend – again no slowing and guess where he turned in – yep the same farmyard.

To my deep joy I then found out that beyond the farm there were tractors pulling bogeys loaded with tattie boxes going to and fro.  Before long the side of the road I should walk on offered me no refuge on the verge s I took the decision to walk on the incorrect side where I could easily take refuge on the flat verge.  Most of the tractor drivers were very good, many acknowledging me … apart from the a**e who flung mud in my face “love you too honey”

Down this stretch of road a had a brief chat with a spotty donkey and was relieved to get to the road junction and find I was walking away from the tattie harvest.  This next stretch of road was a little easier walking and with only cars to contend with refuge was less critical; but I was starting to get a critical need to wee and the public toilets were still over a mile away.

I did use my phone to snap picture of Red Castle

I also snapped what was clearly once a beautiful walled garden along the Lunan Water but which is now overgrown and currently flooded And somebody was rustling in those reeeds – but I couldn’t see them and the noise of the running water was causing my bladder some distress so I walked on.

I arrived at the farm road and wandered down towards the shop, cafe and public toilets – all closed (internet tourist listings incorrect).  I was so disappointed and I have to be honest here I found a wee path through the trees and I did have to go find a quite spot hidden round the corner.

Fortunately I had some cheese, an apple and some bananas with me and I always carry water but I could have really enjoyed a coffee!  The new car park for the beach was upgraded by the Council a year or two ago apparently at a cost of £90k.  What a shame they did not take a leaf out of Fife’s book and include an automatic toilet (like the one I encountered under he end of the Forth Rail Bridge).  Even more embarrassing is the lovely smart new signage:

Apparently I am adding all my flying thing sightings to the wrong lists – in Angus they are not birds but mammals … really?

Seen from the rather nifty viewing platform at the end of the boardwalk from the car park the beach is big, flat, sandy, indeed enticing.  But before I could set off down to test it out a couple arrived with 4 out of control dogs which were watched cr*&ping right in front of the platform … and it was left there.  Now this isn’t on the beach it is in the dunes but this behaviour is shameful.  After watching a border collie that came to join them with its person lose the party and take a dump on the board walk … the person was totally oblivious that his dog had gone AWOL and was looking for him in the car park … I decided I didn’t want to go any further today.  It isn’t the dogs’ fault (although Dog is trained to go on command so I can control where and it does get scooped) and there were plenty of responsible dog owners around – but this just left me cold.

I grabbed the ‘picnic’ from my bag back down at the car park and had a snack before setting off to walk to a bus stop.  I stopped to take a picture of the inside of a doocot for you to see

and nearly dropped my phone because something grunted.  I could not see the perpetrator so I made a small grunt back and it stepped sideways so I could see the most gorgeous black pig – here are some pictures taken whilst we continued the conversation (I did tell you I am fluent in pig as well as in pony didn’t I?)

One final shot of Lunan Bay from the Braehead … silvery prettiness?

The 30 was late coming down the road from Montrose but I had made sure to do some stretches so I wasn’t too stiff or sore to climb on board.  I waited in Arbroath for an X7 which didn’t appear; having a slightly bizarre conversation with a person who had asked a question and then got upset when another passenger rambled on about something unrelated.  It was quite sad and a sort of toxic-friend situation; I offered some empathy and reassurance that the two people had to make decisions themselves rather than rely on strangers like me; which did seem to have a calming effect.

Eventually, courtesy of the 39 I got back to Dundee for a hot drink.  There had been an X7 no show – obviously this morning’s jammed door casualty had not kept in service and so there was a gap – causing much huffy dissatisfaction.  I bobbed along to Costa and having got extremely good service took the opportunity to have a word with the manager to say that the service today was exemplary and a vast improvement on earlier in the week – he has promised to provide feedback to the staff at the end of shift today.  I hope that later on when there is any issue in my business customers will feel able to tell me directly so I can resolve the problem for them with the staff.

I have had some great conversations today and enjoyed the exercise and the views (the delights) and I have experienced rare bus issues and misleading tourism information (the disappointments) but I have also been able to clarify in my mind why the style of working I have been doing the past 7 years is not working for me and why I need to make that change.  I will blog about that epiphany tomorrow perhaps since Sundays are usually quieter and end of week round up times too.

I hope your day was filled with more delights than disappointments but do remember the odd disappointment often teaches us more than all the delights bundled together if we seek the opportunities to learn.


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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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