You Can’t Catch Me!

The ‘earlyness’ of Christmas is something I dislike; as a child we decorated the family tree on Christmas Eve, attended Midnight Mass and Christmas lasted until Twelfth Night.  Now of course Santa did some preparation before Christmas Eve … well you would have to with that sort of mileage involved and no Megarider tickets and Stagecoach Bus to help out wouldn’t you? BUT it wasn’t getting rammed down our throats for the whole of the Autumn.

It does seem however that both in retail and the local authority preparations we have eased off a little this year.  I have been involved with organising our Christmas Lights for Kirriemuir; we have had a number of meetings during the year to agree budgets, maintenance of existing features and choose new features and I am really looking forward to the switch on at the start of December and seeing the outcome (advance warning Scrooges need not check in here on 1 December! to see the pretty lights pictures).  I had to take a decision earlier in the week about two of the new features – the design we chose is too small so they needed to know did we want to double up?  I decided it was too close to the event now to mess around and we will revisit it next year.

This morning I got a nice positive response back from Stagecoach since one bus cannot come through Kirriemuir during the switch on event.  My part in the planning is coordinating bits and bobs that involve written communication and that is another ticked off my list.

The picture at the top is the main Christmas Tree going up in City Square (Dundee) this morning; the sheer work and resources to get it fixed upright is worthy of note – a long flat bed truck to transport it, lots of people in hi-viz jackets and some very sturdy wires to ‘guy’ it in place.  In the background (behind the Caird Hall) the old Council building, Tayside House, is continuing to disappear.

I indulged in breakfast this morning – the weather was not at all as forecast!  Freezing fog from the minute I left home until a brief respite between Charleston and the A90.  From here we got to see a very pretty dawn and looking back the tops of braes appeared as islands in the sea of fog.  So I decided that a delay in heading out for a walk might be a good idea and breakfast would set me on a good start.  I got a nice surprise in a customer service sort of way too – I had offered feedback that two sachets of marmite was too much and I would prefer to have the option of additional butter since the toast slices are big – that is exactly what I was offered – one marmite and addiitonal butter – well done Costa for taking that on board; I am not easily impressed but you did it today.  I caught the 39 to Arbroath and got off at the West Links, setting off to walk from the slipway there through to Carnoustie.

I had made two visits to the ladies in Dundee so there really should have been no worries about conveniences on my walk.  I had to dodge a fair bit of seaweed at intervals along the beach and in places it really got quite tedious.  The tide had just turned after low tide and so I had plenty of beach to walk on.  After a couple of wee burns which I could step over I came to the Elliot Burn.  So far when I have encountered this the tide has been higher and I have resorted to walking up onto the links, across the footbridge and back to the beach.  Today I paddled across … yes I had my sandals on and for all those who laugh at me wearing sandals at this time of year it is very practical for beach walks.

I continued on and crossed another wee burn before I came to the burn from the outlet pipe.  As I approached I could see the terns having a good bath – so if it is clean enough for them it is clean enough for my feet – another splash!

… and looking  back Arbroath had already almost disappeared in the fog …

By this point the walkers have disappeared and it is largely a solitary walk; I was starting to feel uncomfortable and wishing there was a convenience nearby!  I minimised the beach combing so tat I could focus on walking, stretching my foot/leg muscles and just keeping going, but for my fellow pebble picture lovers I did snap a couple of green stones and a purple/red stripey one:

I passed some fisherman at Easthaven and got frisked several times by a wet beardie, much to her person’s embarrassment.  I would not have wanted to be kite flying from that beach today – it is completely covered in sea weed.  Around the next headland I can start to see Buddon Ness and eventually Westhaven comes into view.  As I was approaching the burn between Easthaven and Westhaven I got a phone call from toxic-friend asking for my input to choosing a present for someone … someone I do no know and have never met but of course I will know the perfect gift?

I was glad I had paused to pull my shell back on (although that happened because my bus pass was not in my gilet pocket and I panicked) because it started to drizzle.  During the conversation I walked up and down the edge of the burn a couple of times and eventually opted to go almost to the edge of the tide to cross.  It was only ankle deep but was much wider than previous times I have crossed it.

This activity resulted in a cross examination from Toxic as to what I had on my feet, did I have  a metal detector (he could just imagine me with a metal detector) … this really irritates me.  He has had digs about the kite, about me being a rambler and now its metal detecting … Toxic before you mock other folk get off your lazy behind and try some of this stuff out!

They don’t really show up inn this photo but it really made me smile to see the cormorants sitting on these posts at West Haven … they looked a little like totem poles!  Shortly after that I watched a flock of Sanderlings, Dunlin and Turnstones at the edge of the tide – they were so funny because they were following the waves up and down the beach like a child frightened of getting splashed; just as if they were daring the waves “ha ha ha hee hee hee, you can’t catch me!”

Finally round the last headland and Carnoustie came into sight … conveniences ahead!  Just as I left the beach I saw a very large black and white bird on the water.  It was bigger than the eiders I had seen at Ferryden (but my pictures are not good).  I think it was just  a large Eider drake but if I find different I will update you.

The Leisure Centre hosts the public toilets at Carnoustie … I had a strange encounter on the way though – I briefly spoke with a woman who’s dog had barked at me and carried on.  A large, very cerise ‘blond’ was walking towards us and was shouting at the top of her voice but I couldn’t work out what she was calling and actually I was taking photographs!  As she arrived at the woman’s car and near to me she said “oh wouldn’t you think someone would have told you I was shouting you?”  Madam – I do not know your friend’s name and as far as I could work out you might just as well have been calling a straying dog back to you!

Having used the conveniences (my body pretended there had been no desperate need at all!!!! grrr) I found a shelter so I could have my lunch.  My usual earl grey tea, oatcakes and fruit was supplemented by some sharp tangy cheddar today …. very nice it was too.  Then I caught the 73 back to Dundee.  The clippy was a woman who I overheard last week discussing some upcoming changes to the rotas – I was not eavesdropping she has a voice like a foghorn and in fact the folk in the bus 10 minutes behind could probably hear too!  She should not have been discussing it at all on the bus and certainly not the way she was.

As I boarded today, she and the driver were busy chatting about rail travel to London and bargains … so the elderly couple in the queue struggled up onto the bus because the driver was too distracted to lower the step.  As we travelled along I got the name of the hotel they are staying in – where her mother travels to using the family railcard but neither were as riveting as the next topic of conversation.

 The Clippy has a sore toe – she thinks she cut the nail too close and pulled off some skin.  She has put antiseptic cream on (that hurt a great deal) but it doesn’t help that her feet are damp and sweaty all day … she will have another look at it tonight but she thinks she might have an infection!  She was so infatuated with the toe that she asked to see my ticket again!  then went right back to the discussion, punctuated with a loud belch.

I sat there thinking “does it ever enter your mind that your passengers really and truly do not need (or want) to know about your toe? I mean I am sorry you are in pain but I do not need to know the details, really I don’t … unless you would like to know how desperate I was for a loo as I walked along the beach? you don’t – well then please STFU about your toe!  Thank you.”

These are ambassadors of the company – is this the approach we expect staff to take with our customers – well not in my customer service experience it isn’t!   And the bus boss wonders how I know so much about the company!  Stagecoach take a look at what I said earlier in this thread about Costa – I would like to travel on your buses without hearing very loud very personal information about your staff; would you accept the challenge to fix this? if you did I would be truly impressed.   I do often get told by drivers that they are “just going for a wee” … but at least these are part of our local team and I do know them a little … plus I do care that they are comfortable while they are driving a very big bus and I am a passenger on it!

So after three days of light walking I did a longer walk – my foot is sore but otherwise I survived.  I joined up the coast between Arbroath and Carnoustie (previously I wimped out at Easthaven!) and there is no reason why, if I keep walking and extending my ability that I couldn’t in a few weeks (weather dependent) walk from Auchmithie to Carnoustie (between 11 and 12 miles I guess) … I think I just challenged myself!  Oh and for Christmas I am asking for one small gift – a SheWee! (not providing the link if you have no imagination you can look it up)

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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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