30th September-Final Swim & The Drive Back

We are not up early, my hearts beating a little fast as I make my way to breakfast. Sticky eyes and a few remembered last moments of last night. My travelling companion is yet to surface. I have to go and knock his door as he slept through his alarm; this is what happens when you sample the late night delights of a small town in North East Scotland.

I have to some work to finish, get an application in (a slightly grounding thing to be doing while touring a totally different show) and then I’m getting in the sea. I watch it creep in, covering up it’s rocks, one eye on my work, one eye on the sea, knowing that it, she is the only thing that will solve an aching in my head and a beating of my heart. That and some nurofen and copious amounts of tea.

Its a Sunday, blustery, people taking their dogs for walks, a slight sheen of rain. But I’m going in. Finish the work, get it off. (That strange feeling of someone, somewhere at sometime reading a proposal, your words, your ideas and you not knowing when that time is).

Merv follows slightly reluctantly, part of me doesn’t want to do this, part of me knows it’ll be a while before I get another chance. Well Thursday, actually.

Clothes off, no audience this time. First my toes, up they curl and I know it’s colder than it was last time, already, the water creeps up my thighs until I (swearing strongly in my head) dive straight in. Like a clamp on my head the cold takes hold, and I have no time to think as my head goes from post alcohol pixelated to clear, cold and blue. Its all I can do to swim Front Crawl as the exposure outside the sea of the back of my head provokes the worst kind of ice cream ache.  I’m better off full underneath. Which I push, with bursting lungs, and black spotted eyes in breath.

A dog starts barking at me and starts to wade. Not through concern I feel, but of a want to hunt me. I make conversation with the gulls as the weave over head. I allow myself to float, lie back, let the sea take me. Its a fine reward for the past few days. I drag my head backwards in the water, flushing through as I become too relaxed.

A group of Sunday walkers stop to stare and I show off a while, ducking and diving, moving at speed, knowing that I can’t get out just yet. I’ll have their eyes out with my nipples. Its baseline colder, my joints seizing up and creaking in my bones.

I know I have to get out. This time the air is warmer than the sea as I wrap into a towel. There is concern that I may never feel warm again, as I shiver after showering, even with clothes on.

We make a slight detour to Donnottar Castle, beautiful ruined castle on a cliff. (Google if you can be bothered, I’m having trouble uploading at the moment, it may seem familiar to those with Windows 7 as a screen saver).

Merv’s description: ‘It’s not even a proper castle’.

I suggest he should write a guide book- his thoughts on the impressive scenery that surounds Stirling.

‘Once you’ve seen one Mountain, you’ve seen them all’

Onwards back towards the southern borders, motherland (Birmingham calling out) but not before we stop for a roast. It is Sunday, and try as I might, try as I do, a good roast is hard to come by. I spent two years in London trying to find one. Toby Carvery is this best I’ve done so far in Birmingham. Our fantasies of succulent meat and local sourced products in an old fashion pub are stopped short by an over priced, microwaved vegetables, one frozen yorkshire pudding type of affair. Merv’s chicken dinner contains ‘traditional Scottish stuffing’, he says it tastes of sawdust. And for once he’s right.

We settle into companionable arguing about double barrel names, class, feminism, misogyny. Although if one thing can be said for certain on this trip, we’ve come to a definitive conclusion regarding class;

You eat Olives, you are middle class.

I fall in and out of sleep on the drive home, half listening to Merv’s Americal radio station that concerns theories on the Elite. Manipulation and corruption haunt my dreams.

We have both yet to have a decent meal and I have pinned our hopes on Truck Haven an old school service station off the M6. It’s meals are cheap, it’s food fried, a feeling of some sort of local amongst Formica  tables, 70’s decor. It’s my favourite stop, far away from all those service stations where you are never quite sure if you’ve been there before. (Where Merv had to stop me from trying to win a fake ipad on a grabby machine).

Unfortunately late Sunday evening does not put Truck Haven in a good light, they’ve not much left other than chips, (Carvery? No toastie? No. Salad? No). and I’ve eaten so many chips in the last few days, that I’m beginning to dislike them. (This brings about a whole diatribe, with examples, from Merv in the difference between Fries and Chips). This is saved by a go cart having been pimped up into a small big truck. My body begins to ache for something green.

On into the night, 5 dimensions and paranoia talking to me.  We reach back into the motherland and I end up going out, dancing into the night, in a terrible sticky floored night club not dissimilar to the one the night before 400 miles away.

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