My trusty Brompton started the day in Oxford with the local Freedom from Torture group and enjoyed travelling from Oxford Parkway station, with its easy access, café (for me, the Brompton doesn’t drink coffee) and lifts. After a trouble-free trip to London, I used my new Garmin to get me to Kings Cross. That was a bit traumatic but is all part of the learning with this not-user-friendly Garmin. Then we both (Brompton and I) had a lovely trip to Edinburgh, where our adventures began. Having safely ridden from Bletchley to Oxford the previous day and across London earlier, I had three near-death experiences in the 10 minutes it took me to ride home from Edinburgh Waverley. Welcome home!
I needed to get my PC to the repair shop and had the ‘good’ idea of taking it on the Brompton. It did fit, as you can see, but it’s not really a good idea to clatter a PC over the Edinburgh cobbles. It arrived safely but I took it home in a taxi, going back to the lovely PC Repairman (who fixed it on the spot) for the Brompton. An exciting day, even by my standards!
I’m on the train to Englandshire and have the real pleasure of sharing space with a group of young women heading to Newcastle for a ‘hen night’. They are young (early twenties at the most) and had travelled very little, particularly by train. They are bemused that their phones know where they were; they are recounting advice from their Grannies about not drinking too much and are generally good company.
We got into conversation (not that I never need an excuse) because one of them was showing another the contents of her make-up bag. It matches her suitcase so she is gorgeous before she ever starts on the make-up process. I took a photo of it with my keep cup for perspective, that is size perspective and approach-to-travelling perspective. My suitcase for a week’s holiday is not much bigger than her wonderful make-up bag!
It was a great start to a day that deteriorated badly later on. But it started with a free trip on the Corran Ferry – bikes and foot passengers travelling for free. We needed coffee and something for lunch on a 30 mile trip with no shops. The guys on the ferry told us about the Clovullin village shop. Yes! What a find. As well as coffee, bacon rolls and fruit the owner made us the best-ever ham rolls for lunch.
The wind whipped up after the first hill and it was the hardest ride we’ve ever done. Finding a place to eat that lunch was a challenge because it was impossible to be standing in the wind and rain for long before getting hypothermia. When we did find a nook we enjoyed those rolls as no food ever. So do call into Clovullin when you are on Ardnamurchan. It’s not technically Ardnamurchan but Morvern … maybe.
My first train south today was a VirginTrains one. As soon as the catering bar opened I was there with my Keep Cup looking for coffee. I often have problems wanting to use my travel cup and I take up the cudgels in defence of sustainability each time. Not only did I have no problem today, but my coffee was free. I questioned the staff member about this and she confirmed that it was free because I brought my own cup and she thinks that ‘that rocks’. If this is company policy, it should be broadcast but it was just this young woman’s policy – her contribution to saving the planet.
I asked her if I could tweet about it, or if that would get her in trouble. That would be fine, she assured me. So I did. Unsurprisingly @VirginTrains replied quickly asking what service I was on. Again I checked with my coffee benefactor if I could divulge this detail and she agreed. She didn’t seem in the least concerned about any consequence to her giving away the company’s coffee. On tweeting the train details and nice words about the onboard team, I got the following response from @VirginTrains:
@moiradunworth We don’t offer refills with these cups/mugs but it’s great to hear Una was on top form this afternoon. Hope you enjoyed your coffee! ^CB
Is it just me or is that young woman in line for a reprimand? She was still unconcerned. I would love to know the inside story of this kind of thing. Maybe Virgin really is the great employer that the team said it is.
Salvador Dali cracked it with his images of time melting and warping. I should have known to be on the alert when I noted my Airbnb hostess wearing a Dali melted-clock brooch.
The issue started when I arrived by ferry from Buenos Aires (Argentina) to Colonia (Uruguay). In the bus from Colonia to Montevideo I noticed that my phone had changed its time to be an hour later. ‘Funny’, I thought, ‘no-one suggested that there was a time difference’. But what would I know, so I changed my watch to match my phone. Our devices are always right, yeah?
All was well for 24 hours, though I did wonder at local businesses not opening by 10 am the next morning. But then it was so stormy that people were being blown off their feet in the street and I just thought it was sensible. Did I mention that my accommodation was in a 16th-floor flat? I really thought that life would be quieter and easier at ground level, but it wasn’t much of an improvement. However, I spent a relaxed day between the wonderful café/restaurant of the Mas Puro Verso Bookshop, a hairdresser’s (might as well get that haircut today) and the cinema.
Ah – that was where the issue of time reared its warped head. I got a ticket (free, thanks to my hostess) for a showing at 5pm. It would be warm and dry in there and do my Spanish no harm (good movie, too, as it happens). When I tried to go in, the attendant told me it started at 5 pm. Yes, but it was 4.50 now. ‘Don’t mess with officialdom in any guise’, I thought. I went to the bathroom. On emerging, I looked hopefully at him to see if I could go into the cinema now. ‘It’s at 5 pm’ he said. ‘Yes?’ ‘But it’s 4 pm now’. ‘Really?’ ‘Yes – the whole country’. Hmmm.
So my phone was wrong – beware everyone: our devices are not invincible. I had been an hour out all day but it had not mattered. Interesting thought – does it matter what time it is at all?