Right, now I am officially Older and so forth, it’s time to gather up what’s left of my dignity and stop using the internet as a Place To Whine About Things. I expect this new leaf to last about as long as previous new leaves (of which there are enough to clothe a forest), but optimism springs eternal. So, onward!
And I shall kick of with; this Not Being In Pain thing, eh? I heartily recommend it! As a result, the working week was markedly less difficult than the last working week, to the point where I was dulled with
enneui ennuei ennuie that French word. (Jesus, and I was pegged as a child prodigy as a child; bet their faces are red now. Mine certainly is.) So, the perfect time to finally polish that CV to a brilliant shine and get out there and see if there is anything else I could possibly do for a living, right?
Well, right after I get all this other stuff sorted out first! For I got next to nothing done last week due to pain, and I am so far behind schedule I can’t see the damn thing with a telescope. Important things first! Like – this art commission, which is now looking horribly like it won’t be completed on time at all, and that’s with a few months’ run-up. The shame! And also, four-day working week alert! – and though it is merely a long weekend I’m off for, everything has to be Perfect before I leave – because otherwise there will be an emergency and I will get the blame if something cannot be found straight off the bat, oh my yes.
And lo, although I dunno how, but I got everything done, and even got everything filed/ tidied/ alphabetised/ sent away ahead of schedule and the place is Spotless! Woo!
S0 I could go on the Magical Mystery Tour of the Wilds of Scotland with a clear conscience. And a massive suitcase, that had to be lugged all the way to a retail park on the outskirts of Edinburgh, by train and bus and through the cross-town hordes before anything else could happen. The forecast was for lashings and lashings of rain, always an added bonus when you’re going somewhere rural; but hardly unexpected if you’re going somewhere rural In Scotland. Phase Two was thus me spending the best part of an hour stood outside a Tescos in it, for the traffic was also typical and the Bossman was stuck in it somewhere.
What the hell is with the amount of stuff you have brung? were pretty much his first words.
I have packed with the assumption that we’re gonna get wringing wet every single day and nothing’s gonna dry, I replied calmly.
So did I, he said, and I have half that amount.
Which was true. So I groused a bit and he bought me lunch and then we merrily set off. Next stop, Pitlochry!
… nope, next stop, the most humungous traffic jam ever. And in the middle of nowhere, too! Quick, get the ‘Chipper Passenger In Traffic-jam’ face on (and be prepared to whip it straight back off again if the driver shows signs of psychotic fury). Dammit, I always get this one wrong; either too upbeat or not upbeat enough. And remember not to over-apologise, and not to shut down when they start shouting at you, cos then they get all, And now you are Blaming Meeee! (for my strop). Argh.
But, several hours later – during which, the Bossman threw no sort of strop at all, or wished we had never met or threatened to kill me or anything, an act I am still in awe of, for it has never happened any other time I’ve been a passenger in a traffic jam – we reached our hotel. And it was indeed very posh; it had a bathroom in the room, and a fridge, and everything, ooh la la, and since the Bossman had sprung for it and very expensive it was too, I danced around being impressed (by all the wrong things, it turned out, but there you go). For instance, I did not notice the i-pod dock set in the bedroom wall, or the controls for it on the bathroom side so you can play really loud music in the shower without being electrocuted (or having to get out of the bath, even). Wow! we said. How luxurious! What a shame that between us we own nothing so flash as an i-pod!
I did notice that the cushions on the bed were coloured to resemble giant pillow mints, the sort of wee sofa thing at the foot of the bed was decorated to resemble a chocolate bar coated in lashings of caramel and the bedspread looked like a Battenberg cake; but here I was told that I was hallucinating wildly and we should probably go and get dinner.
Steak and wine for a bargain price, and Traditional Scottish Music thrown in, hurrah! I even jolly nearly got an accordion in the ear while we ate, that’s how close we were (I picked the table, and then the band appeared as if by magic started and setting up round it two minutes later). True, the steak was tough and the wine was cheap and vinegary, but I had been fantasising about eating a really chewy steak the whole time I have been unable to chew, and bad wine is my natural level of comfort.
Sadly, the Bossman started losing tooth enamel because of the music, which he said was awful, so we had to leave sharpish. The rain was off, for a miracle, and the sky fairly light still, so we went a wander down to the other end of the village (which took under two minutes, even at a tourist pace) and round again and up the other side of the river. There’s a massive theatre there with performances every day, fair play! …and the only one the Bossman was interested in seeing was a matinee only for Saturday, which is when we had Clandestine Plans. Feh.
(Feh to their scheduling, that is; I have no inclination to make someone sit through something they have no interest in).
Seeing as everything had been sprung for, including the gin, I valiantly offered to get the drinks in, (I am cheap because I am broke, alas) so we went to a wee pub by the river. My first warning sign was the total lack of an actual pub area in it, but hey, no rain, beer garden outside (swarming with midges, oh I have missed country life so much, not). But it looked posh, so very scarily posh. There would be an embarrassing moment for sure.
I managed to not mysteriously knock over expensive-looking nick-nacks nowhere near me on the way over to the square-foot of counter, at least. I was still anxious as we ordered two pints of Loch Ness Monster Mash (or something), but reminded myself firmly that I had a tenner in my pocket, and two whole pints were unlikely to cost that much.
And I was right. By TEN PENCE.
So despite the midgies, we sat in the beer garden for ages, making the most expensive pints I have ever purchased on UK soil last a decent amount of time.
Most of this was taken up with the Bossman making threats about making me drive his car. I was not above being pathetic to get out of this one. I tried the ‘so one time, several people tried to kill me on the A93, one after the other, and I never want to get behind the wheel ever again’, I tried the ‘I cannot see jackshit in the dark’; I eventually confessed that there is no way in hell I should have passed my driving test in the first place (I now have friends who weren’t born when I passed my driving test), haven’t owned a wheel to even get behind since, drove in Aberdeen once and found it scarily humungous, and have at no point ever mastered the parallel park. I am just all the things everyone is looking for in a girlfriend, not.
We are apparently still doing this, however.
And then we floated around the countryside and up the fish-ladder, experimenting with the camera settings in the gloaming. This is why the Bossman is awesome, he encourages me with stuff. (Like DRIVING, argh, but there’s a price for everything). True, when he saw The Beast, there was nothing for it but a bigger Beast had to be his, but I’ve found this to be a decent litmus test of whether anything I own is actually decent – if it is, someone with a Y chromosome close to me must immediately get a better version of it. For instance, my Wee Bro has failed to acquire anything as amazing as Dieter the DeWalt Drill, and has thus foamed at the mouth at the mention of said drill for a year and a half now. I can even tell when he’s gonna mention it, cos the foaming starts first. (Although he did compensate by running out and getting a better chin-up bar than the one I bought with his Christmas money).
On our return to the hotel, when I was just rejoicing at not being in pain, it turned out the Bossman is in pain, and has been in this state for most of the day, but not let on. I can’t so much as get a blister without wanting to show it to everyone, so I was most appalled at his stoicism. Why did you not tell me? I said. I have packed pretty much every painkiller known to man in case my teeth kicked off again! Instead, his teeth have kicked off.
Goddammit, he’s going to have a horrible weekend, one he has paid for as well. I feel REALLY guilty now.