Please DO NOT Feed the Gulls …

… their potential aggression is the least of your worries!

Disclaimer:  This thread includes a graphic image which the squeamish may need to squint at to avoid being traumatised – I will post a warning before you scroll down to it!

So are you sitting comfortably? then I shall begin!

I had to make myself begin this morning – I really just wanted to stay in bed.  I know that partly this is a response to my wonderful bus service being spoiled and yes I could catch a different bus and feel energised again … but why should I when the service wasn’t broken so didn’t need ‘fixing’?  Anyway I did haul myself out of bed and via awash, a hairwash, a dog walk and some clothes (not necessarily in that order!) to the bus stop in time.

We got buzzed by a buzzard and I could see about half a dozen roe deer other than that the journey was nothing exciting … well apart from the steel lorry coming the opposite way at Lumley Den meaning the bus had to pull over and there was a scraping noise from underneath …

I decided to pop and see the port at Montrose and walk along the side of the Basin since it was just after low tide – so I took the X7.  In the first section of the journey there was a man sat opposite who spent his time removing pills from his dosette box and placing them in his pocket … none of my business of course but I did feel like reminding him that he should take them if they are prescribed.  Then  all of a sudden he had a spasm in both his arms and threw himself back against the seat … I was expecting him to go into a seizure but thankfully he didn’t.

He left the bus in Arbroath and around 20 people boarded most either going walking or going to Aberdeen for lunch.  It always puzzles me how unrealistic people are – the two ladies who lunch behind me started a discourse.  There was one of them waxing lyrical about her plumbing (her shower fills up) and describing in detail how she had had to leave a key with the neighbour who would be out but her husband who works away would be there today … the other lady though was even more incredible – “I really don’t understand why this bus cannot come through the town” ie she wants to be picked up at her door.  I wouldn’t mind but she had a concession card so it cost her nowt.  I stopped myself from turning round and saying “the clue is the X in the service number – it stands for express and not extra stops”.  I will come back to passengers later on … this was mild by comparison!

As I walked around the side of Montrose Basin I witnessed an argument in the bird world.  The cheeky Oyster Catcher was obviously pushing his luck with this curlew (the curlews were very evenly spaced along the water’s edge and I could hear each before I saw it).  Eventually the curlew has had enough and a scuffle takes place – the Oyster Catcher takes flight, the bigger curlew appears to be doing so and then seems to land in a heap – all he needs is a speech bubble saying “I meant to do that now move along nothing to see here”

In this picture – although they are not distinct you are looking at a juvenile cormorant (hanging his wings out to dry), a grey heron, more cormorants and seals on the sand bank behind … and probably a dozen other bird species too.  There are definitely low numbers of geese this year which according to local custom means we will not have a hard winter.

This is  a flock of waders, almost certainly red shank, with some eider creeping into the shot too.

It was a grey and misty day with very poor visibility and apart from in the main river channel (which was fast incoming water) the basin was eerily still.  The first is looking west and the second looking north.

Bamse has gained a poppy wreath over the weekend – very fitting.

So I ambled back into the High Street and caught the 30 back to Arbroath.  I mooched down to the harbour there and popped into the free toilets before wandering round the harbour area taking photographs and finally arriving by the Lifeboat House to have my lunch.  The benches were all wet but I managed to find a corner big enough for me to sit on and popped by backpack down by my feet.  I fetched out the flask of tea, an apple and a pack of oatcakes.  Before I could pour the tea my lunch date arrived …

… do not be taken in … this youngster is not cute, nor clever and nor has it been brought up with manners (well not nice ones anyway).  It started off by begging in the way that only baby seagulls seem to be able to continue doing until they are grown up.  Hunching it’s shoulders, stretching out it’s pathetic beak and mewling at me.

I made it completely clear there was no lunch for it, suggested it used those stupid webbed feet to go swimming and feed itself and advised that if it came any closer I would kick my foot out.  Mother arrived shortly afterwards – no not my Mother, it’s mother.  I had a one sided conversation with her and suggested that if she was finding parenthood overwhelming all she had to do was ask for help and I am sure counselling could be arranged!

After a long while they went off somewhere and I was just relaxing when my paramour returned … those of squeamish disposition squint now and scroll down quickly to the next red text …

Mummy says “no” so …

… it puked masticated fish at me!

Squeamish people can top squinting now … I think it is safe to say we won’t be going steady!  I can only suggest if you are approached for a seagull date at lunchtime get up and walk away – revolting!

So I return to Dundee and after a spot of shopping I await my bus home.  We are loaded and a few minutes to wait so there is a bit of banter from the driver wanting to now if I know what is happening about some upcoming roadworks.  Then he says “lets get this on the road …” and just as he shuts the doors a woman shambles up to the bus and says “hello” then turns her back to fiddle with her wheelie case handle.  The driver says “hello” and makes hurry up gestures at her back.  Then when she gets the case sorted out she cannot get her card out of her bag … eventually she is ticketed and a man (who had been stood there all along) dashes up to board and then one more young chap appears as well.

We get round the corner to the next stop and fill up the bus except for the woman who is standing at the bus stop fumbling in her handbag while her already ticketed friend hovers at the door to stop the bus going.  The driver by this time has said three times “I need to be going”.  She boards and pays for her fare and when the driver suggests she have the card ready before  the bus arrives in future she said “I do”.  Since there were no seats left downstairs I hauled my backpack and groceries onto my lap and made space for her.  By the next stop she had found her card so then while the driver is ticketing someone else she bowls up to the front and asks for a refund … unbelievable!

She settled back next to me but kept looking over her shoulder in case a space is free next to her friend … so polite.  By the time we got to Forfar I had cramp in my calf and couldn’t wait to move back over when she got off.  The driver finishes his shift at the depot on that run and the service is often delayed because it coincides with schools coming out but today it was just passengers who couldn’t be bothered to take a few seconds to get prepared before they got on the bus.  I sympathise with the drivers when folk (many of whom get free travel anyway) treat it like a chauffeur driven limo service instead of public transport carrying people who have connections to meet, appointments to got to, etc.

I think, as is often the case, the highlight of my day was good conversations.  I met a delightful dog called Brandy and her person while  I was in Montrose and chatted with her like we were old pals.  The real low point of my day was receiving a report that someone has already damaged the new Christmas lights in the town and we don’t switch them on until 1 December.  So if you will excuse me I am off to scribble something for the local paper.

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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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