Day 64 of #vanlife – Part 1

Another day out …

Hallelujah the sun was shining! I was quite beside myself. It felt like when I was a teen living in Cork City in Ireland* The sense of excitement about getting out of the house and a chance to go to the beaches in Cobh (pronounced Cove) or Yoghal (pronounced Y-all) or maybe a mystery tour as to where my father would drive us that day.

*Hence for those of you that know me to talk to or are one of the 37 people who have watched my youtube channel, this is why I have an accent that confuses people. I spent the first 12 years of my life mostly in Bicester in Oxfordshire and then moved to Cork when I was 13/14. The result is an accent that gets mistaken for Bristolian or some part of the west country. So when I tell people I’m actually Scottish, that sends them into a spiral! Never judge a bloke by his accent … even if they do sound posh … which I dont!

Well today, the start of our 10th week on the road, mother (read Catherine) is taking us to the beach and my inner-child is excited. I’m so excited I want to jump and shout just like that little girl who is just running past our pitch right now.* We have planned to go to Macduff & Banff; the former being a port and the latter according to the Lonely Planet Guide being a “handsome Georgian town” with “800m of clean golden sand”. Awesome! Let’s go!

*I don’t want to keep sounding like a miserable old bastard. She is sweet and full of energy but when one is trying to write in what is ostensibly a field, not unlike a well-presented refugee camp, it’s very difficult to control my writing environment. I bet the wit and genius of Stephen Fry didn’t have to contend with this! Fortunately, I have meditated today and I am fully in touch with the child of light that I am. I’m super-cereal (for the geeks out there, name that quote. I know two who will get it instantly!!!)! Today is a good day, even though the cold and the rain has now moved in while all you lovely people down south keep reminding me how hot it is. Ommmmmm … I feel no envy … ommmmm

Errrr, is this it?

So Catherine loves the drive there, mostly empty roads with a nice clear white line down the middle*. We have also agreed to stop in at the Tesco in Banff to stock on first-world, middle-class essentials like organic red wine, gluten-free bread and almond milk. Oh and a lottery ticket! We could be the lucky ones who win the Β£200M jackpot that could accelerate our social mobility. What would I do? That’s a series of posts for another week!

*I’ve been known to get the points on my driving license up to 12 and managed to avoid a ban. The excuse I used to the Judge in my best Cork accent was “Sure on the form ya sent me it said ‘tear down the dotted line!’ Wasn’t that what ya ment sur?”. Couldn’t resist using that old joke – they say the old ones are the best – I now refer to them as classics. But still nowhere near as bad as the jokes that I get from my brother on WhatsApp – real groaners! I’m sure he is Fozzie Bear reincarnate!

Yay – It could be my street!

So the drive through Macduff was nice enough. It is after all a fishing port so no huge expectations there. One nice thing was discovering that we were driving down Buchan Street! Ahhh I love this part of the world where my surname doesn’t sound like a curse word* and is actually revered, so much so they name houses, streets and areas after it.

*It amazes me all these years later, the lack of creativity of my teenage peers who could only conjur up “Mark Buckingham Palace, you’re a dirty ralis”???? Whats a ralis? I never did ask. I would just go and find someone else to take the piss out of – but far more intelligently and creatively πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

So we pull into Tescos* after crossing the bridge over the River Deveron (noticing yet another co-op on the way) which looked very lovely from the distance. But then that “mmmm” feeling descends on us as we get out of the van.

*Where Catherine informs me her teenage peers used to think that many of the less privileged kids in her school got their “best clothes”. I admire that sort of piss-take way more than my peers’ feeble attempts. Happy to hear what you were called as a child, just as long as it’s a therapeutic moment for you.**

**The author of this post distances himself from any transference, projection, introjection, association, disassociation etc the reader may suffer as a result of recalling past childhood trauma as a result of reading this post

Handsome Georgian Town … my arse!

Seriously? Was the lonely planet author sniffing glue at the point when they happened upon Banff? Or had the cold and wet got into their bones which resulted in too much whisky being consumed? Or was it because it was some sort of ironic play on words like estate agents use like bijou, or “a project” when they really mean small and “in a state”. Because that’s how I would describe Banff – in a state! Catherine noted that in Georgian times the town may well have been handsome. However in Elizabethan times, one might politely say that the town has become a little faded and lost its allure.

The best bit of Banff – the bridge back to Macduff! IMHO that is …

As I have said in an earlier post, you can tell a lot from the vibe that you feel when you arrive at a place and this could be described as “edgy” (translation from estate agent speak “rough”). I’ve grown rather used to seeing lovely young ladies ink their bodies and have come to terms with that. Its their bodies and if they want to express some message to the world in a colourful, artsy and very permanent way, well that’s fine. But when I see a superannuated female (estate agent translation grizzled older lady) covered in tattoos and piercings I tend to avoid eye contact as I like my eyes the way they are.*

*I know, I know … I’m still working at this non-judgemental, love and light lark** Having been brought up a strict Irish Roman Catholic, judging people is what we do just before a weekly trip to the confessional so that we can receive holy communion with a pure soul. I know many of these people are decent hard-working people who as the saltiest of the earth’s salt people would probably buy me a round in a bar if they thought that I too was a down-to-earth salty type! After years of being bullied as a child, my biological threat system gets triggered and thoughts come before the actions “DANGER: BE SAFE”. Well, that’s my scientific and emotional reason for it. Live and let live I say, but if salty types live next to me, well Bucko gets twitchy!!!

**did you spot that one?

Gone in 60 seconds … well almost!

So we quickly walked out of the Tesco car park to give Tommy some needed canine relief. Now to be fair we only walked as far as the river and a small bit of the way into the town. We quickly summarised “not our sort of place”. We did our usual shop in Tescos in a rather hurried way only to be thwarted by a jobsworth of a lady who wanted to know the reason why we hadn’t put some previous Clubcard points on our Clubcard. “Errr my wife forgot the Clubcard in her haste to get the foxes outta here!” Humour didn’t land with this lady as she was more into explaining to me how it was the cashier’s job to ask if I had a Clubcard and the extreme importance of this part of their well thought out process. It would appear that if I had of grassed-up some poor lass at the till they would have been given 40 lashes of the store keys and with their head in the stocks to be pummelled with some rank smelling brie* or rotten tomatoes from the overdue aisle.**

*Damn it “Janet” – we forgot the brie!

**Incidentally if you are an eager executive effecting employee excellence*** or a motivationally minded middle manager*** then the above may be what one considers both a carrot and a stick in 2nd wave employee motivation parlance. A stick so that employees won’t forget lest they go home to loved ones smelling of rank pizza ingredients; a carrot to other employees who love the idea of venting on each other in a somewhat less than violent manner.****

***I’m taking a bow right now for those two most AAA’s (awesomely adroit alliterations). BOH!

****The author of this post would like to point out the irony and humour in this suggestion in case some zealous manager wishes to make a name for themselves and may actually consider this a good idea!

In part 2 I will tell you about the second half of our day which was way more exciting, energising, engaging and enrapturing (ok maybe thats too much now πŸ™‚ ) ; I didn’t know at the outset it would be a “blinder” πŸ˜‰ (hahaha – got you guessing now have I?)

3 thoughts on “Day 64 of #vanlife – Part 1”

    • And there is one of the two “geeks” who i said would get it! John being the other one!!!! LOLZ Brilliant Penny soooo proud of you πŸ™‚

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