I'm back again. Well, I think I am, at least. If I'm not, then something really odd is happening with my laptop to cause these letters and words to appear.
Hello. How are you? You're looking good, you been working out or something?
Those of you who've been checking over at the Queasy Riders blog will know of our success in getting a bunch of cyclists and the European Jaffa cake mountain from one end of the country to another in two and a half days. I'm going to update that blog with all of the inspiring and uplifting stories of athleticism and human endeavour. Some of the other observations fit better here, though.
Scotland. Scotland is bloody huge. To paraphrase the late Douglas Adams, you might think that the trip down to the corner shop is quite long, but that's peanuts compared to travelling the length of Scotland. Coming home on Monday, we left John O'Groats at 9.00am and were still in Scotland, ooh, several weeks later. Or so it seemed. It just keeps unravelling out in front of you, like a heather-lined conveyor belt.
It's beautiful there, though. Look at this:
That last one was from the banks of Loch Lomond (and yes, one of the people in our party did actually call them "bonny"). We drove up from Dumbarton, past the Loch, through Fort William and on to Glencoe. And it was breathtaking, stunning, veer-into-oncoming-traffic-with-your-mouth-open good.
Mind you, the fact that we'd had only a few hours sleep in the previous three days didn't help. The effects of sleep deprivation are not pretty. At one point we were having a discussion about how one would get a giraffe to ride a jet ski (the secret is, apparently, to get marmosets to help with the navigation).
There may well be video evidence. It won't be nice.
The Travelodge Hotel at Monmouth Services, south Wales, was monumentally grim. You book at a Travelodge, saying to yourself that it doesn't matter, you just want a bed for the night. But this was the sort of place that would have prison visitors on the phone to Amnesty International. The shower had two settings; off, and nuclear fusion. The one saving grace was that we probably spent about three hours there before moving off.
The memory fades but the pain still lingers.
We regressed over the weekend to a Cro-Magnon state. We talked about bloke things, ate service station food out of plastic packaging, indulged in the odd belch and sang aloud to really bad music.
And we found humour in the lamest things:
"Andy. Andy! Wake up! That Polish truck's numberplate spells out the word 'craps'!"