Ah, methinks the fever has finally broken! I feel strangely empty – and this has nothing to do with intestines for a change. Hoorah. Now, on with the cookery! I has cherry muffins to make, a second big veggie curry to concoct, and a time-limit on it because this time, Rice Krispies is definitely coming round to swap sparring gear for rosehips. Which I have now picked and washed and frozen and everything!
I will be leaving at twelve, Rice Krispies sent as I took the last batch of muffins out the oven. Eek. Quick, curry on, dishes clean, hang the washing, shower…
I was in the shower when the update came in: leaving sooner than twelve. See you in ten minutes.
Mercifully, she got lost.
But, I now has sparring gear, hurrah, and we went for a wee drive to the homebrew shop as the second part of the mission – kitting her out with a bunch of homebrewing equipment (and I need spare demijohns myself, having got a bit carried away and used all of em on stage 1 of the process, whoops). I navigated, we got there in reasonably straight lines, we parked pretty damn close, it was all good.
Except the shop is no longer open on Sundays.
So we went for a beer and a very tasty meatball-and-tortilla-chip soup in a great wee café called… feck. I was gonna give them a shout out as well, the staff were really nice, the fudge was cheap, the toilets were amazing. Seriously.
It’s got a red awning and it’s across the road and two blocks from the (only) homebrew shop (in Glasgow). No Winner’s Dinners for me.
During the meal, I remembered that my Colleague of Skull Scarves had told me Tesco’s have started to stock homebrew equipment. Aha! I have a giant Tesco’s not far from my flat! Which in practice means I never shop there cos it’s too damn far on foot, but do we not have a car today?
Let us take a shortcut through the Clyde tunnel! said Rice Krispies, firing up the engine. We went round the corner, spent ages doing a three-point turn in the world’s narrowed side-street, and came back down the hill to discover we couldn’t turn right there anyway because there was a big traffic-island blocking the way. Hee.
That set the tone for the rest of the journey, really. Or maybe someone was trying to tell us we really didn’t want to take a short-cut through the Clyde tunnel. Because I used to work round about where it comes out, and every single time I have tried to get private transport out of there, I have got utterly lost.
Now, most of the time it was not my fault – Diesel, god love him, who was brought up in Glasgow, would never agree to follow the route the bus takes home ‘because it will be too much round the houses’. So we’d invariably end up stuck on Paisley Road West, having the same damn conversation where he was convinced he could get out by taking a right. Only to find the motorway is in the way. Every damn time. Much bitching and nearly an hour later, we’d go via Eglinton.
On one other notable occasion, an old work friend from two decades ago came to take me out to dinner from that part of the world. Well, eventually – first he left me standing in a light suit in the heaviest rain I have ever seen, for forty-five minutes while my umbrella literally dissolved under the onslaught, failed utterly to apologise (apparently the words, Oh you hate me! exclaimed every ten seconds were supposed to suffice; he was damn close to being right by the end of the evening) and then, when driving me home, refused to believe we were heading into town and tried to take every single turning along the way and- yeah, so I have not repeated that particular experience, shall we say.
So, now here me and Rice Krispies be.
I am not taking any turning marked ‘Govan!’ Rice Krispies announced, having Gotten Lost In Govan Last Time She Did This and been rather obviously traumatised by the experience. Instead, we took turnings marked ‘Hillington’, ‘Renfrew’, ‘you are now entering Renfrewshire’, and ‘Paisley’.
Doll, we are heading into completely unknown territory here, I said worriedly, as the dilapidated buildings became replaced by outright burned ones. Maybe I should call Cake, she used to live round here somewhere*.
We turned around, eventually.
(*Fortunately, I did not; Cake’s take on proceedings, when they were later blathered all over the internet, consisted of, ‘sounds like one of my journeys!’)
I am still not taking turns marked ‘Govan’, said Rice Krispies. Feck. That leaves us with… Johnstone. I am fairly sure that is nowhere near Glasgow.
We had a stroke of luck, however, and found ourselves on Paisley Road West. Aha! A main artery, and we have a fifty-percent chance of already being faced the right way on it! And that looks like the turn-off Diesel would never take…
Well, so maybe it wasn’t. And maybe Cardonald is not quite so close to mine as I thought. And after the second time we ended up on Paisley Road West by surprise, and the fifth time we’d passed Cardonald College, Rice Krispies seemed to be getting a bit annoyed with me.
Eventually, while trying to avoid Govan once more, she remembered there was a road atlas of the UK. I dredged out the page containing the square inch that is Glasgow and its environs at that scale and instantly the Powers That Be saw the game was up and threw us a bone in the form of a sign for a place we were actually looking for.
Of course, prior to that we had to spend some time plootering about in the bus lanes at the back of a seedy-looking shopping centre, but finally we found Tesco’s! I wasn’t expecting it to be that close, however, so we in the wrong lane, but we went to mine and turned round for another crack at it.
That short-cut took AN HOUR.
Parking took another fifteen minutes, but was at least more successful than last time.
The homebrew equipment selection? Was rubbish.
I bought a big cheesecake in despair and we headed off into what was by now a lovely, motionless misty autumn evening, the leaves drooping like gilded, if depressed, bunting. God, I can practically taste Christmas cake already. Maybe this year I should make one!
Could we find the exit from the damn carpark?
Eventually we drove round the back of the building, towards what we were assured was a multi-storey carpark. I began to have horrible suspicions.
Yep, we were round the back of here before, with the seedy bus lanes. Dammit, no wonder that Tesco’s took me by surprise!
Rice Krispies kindly refrained from calling me lots of names as we took the longest route ever back to mine.
Okay, that was not exactly the most successful afternoon ever. But we did at least spend most of our time laughing hysterically. In that ‘if I admit how awful this is, I will tear my own eyeballs out’ way.
To blot out the personal dishonour, I spent the evening vegging out to sci-fi. I have found a website, 365 tomorrows, that has a bunch of amateur science fiction sent in. Some are good, a few are very very good, most are adequate, and a horrific number, even of the good ones, have commas and apostrophes where none should be and many even suffer from ‘spellchecked, but not read over’ – “he tried in vein” (and others in a similar “vain”, as it were); ow, my eyes, the goggles, they do nothing. So I feel marginally better about myself. Or I would, if I wasn’t simultaneously horrified by my lethargy and grammar-Nazi-dom.
Oops. It be the end of the weekend.