… I swore today aloud – I did not mean to (and no it was not bus connected) so I have had to edit the blog to delete the impolite bit … that comes later!
So I think you will be wanting to know whether the bus worked for me today … well yes it sort of did! The wee bus was on time and so there was no question of missing the 22. As I walked up to the 22 the driver got off to clean his windows and in response to “good morning” he made a sarcastic comment about having a proper driver today (this refers to a longstanding run in between two drivers who really should know better and behave like grown ups; which I knew about and added my twopenn’orth to avoid a “miscarriage of justice”) Then he said he was cleaning the windows so I could see out … really? within two miles there were coated in liquid road salt again!
The bus did leave on time today and not early and it was noticeable that the number of passengers was higher. I was deliberately fully absorbed in downloading information for my day’s activity using the free WiFi but was aware that I was getting sideways glances to see what I was doing (he probably thinks I was texting about him!)
The complaint I have drafted will sit where it is for now and I will see what happens next week but it does appear that we have an uneasy truce for the time being and he has had to back down o the early running.
Some of you might be thinking “… but it is only a bus service for goodness sake …” actually it is not – for two reasons:
- For the community of Kirriemuir it is a rural bus service to the nearest city; if they miss that bus they have an hour to wait. Most of the pasengers are paying for their tickets (ie there are a low percentage of older people with free travel passes) and if they wait an hour they will be late to their work.
- For me – it was the combination of a particular driver (his qualities include consistently excellent driving; professional but friendly with customers; and he understands the vehicle and rural passenger requirements) with the timing of this service that inspired me to start this journey and create the blog – without the right combination being in place this would never have begun and now I would be sitting at home isolated all day. every day and likely depressed.
So I have found this week very difficult and distressing because the service 22 from Kirriemuir on a morning is the foundation of my journey and that foundation has been rocked and tested.
I can stop focussing on it for a couple of days now and concentrate on my serenity goals.
From Dundee I caught the X7 to Arbroath. I popped into the bus station toilet … a mistake since the waiting room I had to walk through was occupied by an elderly man slumped in one of the chairs and the yellow puddle on the floor along with the smell was enough to let me know this was someone living rough and grabbing a seat and a snooze when they could – I sympathise with him and not knowing his background I don’t want to judge but it was most unpleasant.
I caught a 44 and travelled to Cliffburn at the northern edge of Arbroath and then set out to walk to Auchmithie. I had read that it was best to walk along the beach at Auchmithie on a falling tide to get access along the cliff bottom (fossil hunting and Jasper hunting) and so I figured today was a good day. The weather was forecast to rain early morning and then be dry but hazy, although with the high gusts of wind continuing. I could have waited for the 140 but that meant finding something to do for an hour so I decided to walk – and I got there before the 140!
The only real issue during the walk was the mud at the sides of the road – this is agricultural countryside and at this time of year the tractors carve up the verges. Stepping on and off the verge for approaching vehicles became quite demanding with this mud and after putting my right foot down and finding it sinking an inch into the liquid mud (I have better poise and balance now so I was able to keep the weight on my other leg and avoid total immersion!) I walked this stretch n the verge trusting the fallen beech leaves to keep me out of the mud!
When I got to Auchmithie I took a detour to the cliff path to see what standard it is at the Auchnithie end – it is indeed as good as the first part of the path at the Arbroath end so I will plan in to walk the rest of it – but today was too windy for me. I did grab a couple of quick pictures though before I turned back.
I headed then to the beach and walked along checking out all the pretty pebbles; the beach was deserted and I really enjoyed the sense of isolation. The tide was tricky to read – it should have been high by then but it seemed to surge a bit further then drop back for around 30 minutes and then surge higher again! I was cautious and made sure that I did have a return route (Mother not to know about this otherwise I will be deemed a risk taker and irresponsible!)
My pebble photographs are popular so I have included a few new ones here … I find them soothing too!
When the sun came out briefly I could really see the red of the cliffs
I collected pebbles again as usual – throwing back the Red Jasper that I considered … it just does not appeal to me … but collecting some green stones. The weight in my jean’s pocket was threatening to pull them right down and I had to keep hitching them up to avoid falling.
That was not what made me swear though. I was standing on the outlet concrete pipe when I spotted a olive green pebble and stepped down to gather it. Th pebbles rolled under my feet and I put my hand on the concrete beside me … right in some bird poo! The expletive was appropriate to the matter on my hand! anyone know if leaning in the stuff is just as lucky as having it dropped on one by the bird?
I was having issues with my phone keep switching off and having no signal so I headed up to the bench halfway up the access road. I had lunch and rebooted the phone again. Whilst I was munching a way I got a visit from a labrador and a cocker spaniel … the Lab thought pushing at my hand with her nose might work (it didn’t) whilst he Cocker thought perhaps climbing on the bench might give her the advantage (that didn’t happen either). As they returned up the path a short while later their person told me that earlier this year she had stopped to chat with visitors on the path and only realised too late that the dogs where helping themselves to the visitors’ entire picnic!
Next stop was the loo and this helped me to avoid falling into the trap of whimping out of the return walk by hopping on the bus. I had another whimp out option at the top edge of Arbroath – I could catch a local bus there into the centre BUT my foot was feeling so good that I didn’t take it and walked right to the bus station without any problem. It felt so good I was almost on the verge of tears of happiness. I did glimpse Weather Guru in passing but not close enough to talk with.
The rest of my journey home was so uninteresting I am not adding any detail … instead I thought I would offer some insight into “disciplined use of layers when walking”
Walking and keeping warm/cool
I am often confronted with comments from folk that it is so cold … and yet I feel quite cozy. Okay so maybe part of this is just how I deal with warm and cold but it is also down to (at this time of year) a disciplined approach to layering clothing. The layers trap air between them which insulates or cools.
All year round I wear a camisole – gentleman may skip the next line and continue below – ladies even if you go get an expensive bra fitted you know your shape changes from week to week; the camisole as well as adding a layer for warmth in winter and cool in summer helps to smooth out some of the lines from the bra fitting issues.
Until the end of September I was wearing a tee shirt and a microfleece gilet. By now I have left the tee shirts in the drawer and wear a microfleece shirt under the gilet. I wear a bamboo neck gaiter and the fleece shirt has a short part zip whilst the gilet has a full length zip. I also carry a shell jacket; I try not to wear it when I am active ad then it provides useful warmth when I stop and could too easily become chilled. The jacket has a hood and although not waterproof will keep a shower at bay.
The discipline is to take off and add layers at the right time and to use the zips fastening to regulate ventilation and trap air. I am a big fan of bamboo clothing and wear bamboo socks (unless wearing full walking socks and boots, in which case I will also be wearing ankle gaiters). I will eventually build up some bamboo base layers but that is not going to happen imminently.
Finally I have a microfleece headband; it covers my ears and helps to keep my long hair still in a wind. The discipline comes in knowing when to add layers, when to lower or raise zips and eventually it becomes a subconscious thing. So although there was a brisk wind today I was perfectly cosy.
The other aspect of this is to understand the weather – learn which winds are colder and where the respective winds come from; today was coming from a generally southerly direction so although it was a strong wind it was not horribly cold.
We Learn ALL the Time
I have been uploading photos taken on my phone for weeks now and everytime muttering to myself about having to browse to find today’s images at the bottom of a list – today I discovered I can do it a different way and select a different view in the camera’s gallery and select multiple pictures on phone to send – how happy am I?