Friday, 28 February 2014

You tek the high road and I'll tek the low road.

We spent a summer  on a coach based holiday to Scotland - a decision when I was still recovering from a DVT  and uncertain about flying.

I'd forgotten the realities of 2 previous coach holidays - one to Spain about 25 years ago and one to Austria and Switzerland about 10 years ago. Within 5  minutes of boarding the coach the memories came flooding back. We were to be at the mercy of the coach drivers and other passengers for the next 6 days.

Worse still, there was a daily seat change tradition  to share out the joy of viewing through the front window or being slightly coach sick from the motion of the rear of the coach. Good in principle except that the way it worked, everyone had to move back 2 rows. Thus there was no way on escaping the rasping cough of the elderly lady tasked with sitting behind us. Add to the cough one of those loud voices that never seemed capable of saying anything quietly, including comments on the driver, and I became rapidly resigned to clutching at straws, such as toilet breaks, lunch stops, "freedom to explore days" and any other activity that broke Cruella's stranglehold on my quality of life.

The organiser of the holiday proved to be a genuine megalomaniac .(viz my coaches, my hotels, my choice of what you eat, my treat of herding everyone into a community hall in order to experience Scottish music and Gaelic songs - without sub-titles). So on the 'free-day' we chose to take a train from Lower Tyndrum to Oban.

On the map this route looks idyllic. A single track railway meandering through glens and forest stopping occasionally at country halts to allow hikers and bikers on board. We were really looking forward to this.
Imagine our joy when the train arrived full to overflowing with London based hearties who had travelled north overnight in order to do a charity bike ride. Two hours later we stumbled off the train in search of black coffee and a quiet Oban bench overlooking the sea. Not only did we find a bench but also the best crab sandwich stall in the world!

Time passed,the DVT treatment ended and to my joy I discovered that the extra insurance premium for declaring a DVT is a mere 3 pounds. Scotland will vote later in the year about becoming independent - in  which event I will probably cancel the long term plan to have another coach trip when I am in my 80's - provided my hearing is failing; my mobility limited and my memory such that every instruction will have to be repeated at least 3 times.

Revenge will be sweet I think...

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