Some of the day’s chores done, others shelved, temporarily or otherwise, I realised that the rain was off. Through the wall The Grasshopper was pining, a call I could not resist. We made our way slowly in the gloom. Ditching the cycle shades, useless in the sodden atmosphere, I switched to the blogging goggles and so today it is tales from the trails, and a wee bit more.
The annual event that is the local sheep dog trials emerged from the murk. The sheep remained camouflaged and if the dogs were having to revert to scent the day could be a disaster. For the trials took place across the hedge from the cess pit. It is, I am assured, licensed, but nonetheless thoroughly unpleasant. As a cyclist I am unable to get to the far end of that field on one breath; it’s the legs you know. For on the left, from whence comes the prevailing wind, trucks are dumping their cargo, daily, and it is spread far and wide. The completed fields shine brightly, and so they should for now I know the source of the Emerald Isle tag. The waste being spread is the effluence from Eire’s erses, it is human waste, and it is mingin’. The sheep dogs have no chance.
I made my way to the Uncut Gem, climbing slowly to where the air lifted above the valleys fumes. Mbna kali, – I’m sure I used to have one of their credit cards before the crunch came and they took it back – I was greeted with a sunny welcome from afar, and a warm hello from the gate, for Mrs RD emerged, with the full half pound of Midget Gems in the back.
Reaching higher ground, deeper into the clouds, a stone circle emerged from the gloom where none should exist. The area is rich in history but neolithic circles of worship are not, to the best of my knowledge, amongst it. As I closed slowly the stones took the shape of winter cattle-feed, baled and wrapped, awaiting gathering, a reminder that ere long the beasts will be confined to winter quarters, the fields quiter.
It was a steady climb, ever deeper into the clouds as the country, so I’m told, basks in ice-cream melting temperatures, beaches thronged. Ah well, at least the wind held back, and I’d settle for the stillness of the clouds and the dampness of the air. From afar emerged the biggest recumbent flag ever seen. As I pondered the prospect of cycling on larger wheels I realised it was the airfield, and a windsock as limp and lifeless as the skies above.
On the long homeward stretch the pale heart-shaped dock of a roe door hopped the fence and bounced to the safety of a stand of spruce. Once I had the energy to bounce through life, it was a Tuesday I think. Today though was not easy. There were times when the current was stronger than the wind, when paddles may have been mor euse than pedals. But never mind, for the nations basks, and melts, doesn’t it?
The weekend had begun well. Scotland were nine points up and on schedule for the much needed eight point victory. Then de Luca dropped the ball, touchline at his mercy. Still I had envisioned a last minute try, in our favour, only for the kick, the one that would move us from six points to eight, sailing past the outside of the post, such is our long tradition in perfecting glorious failures. And so after the big match on the big screen the first venuture of Urchin the Younger onto the rugby pitch was a tad subdued. Still he had great fun and, in time, it will all click into place. He’s keen to go back next week and that’s a good start for now. The mandatory gum shield is washed and ready.
Having failed completely to master the offside rule in the morning he then had his lesson in the round ball version in the afternnon, for it will always remain footballday. With the ‘Lok having only a friendly, our scheduled opponents being tied up with a cup replay, we headed to that replay which promised to be much better fare. And so it turned out. The Urchins love their trips north, for The Genealogist is a Forres quine, and the Mechanics of that ilk, were down the road.
For the last few years the wee diddy teams that ply their trade in the ranks of The Juniors have been allowed to play with the big boys balls, so to speak – for league and cup winners can get entry to the Scottish Cup, the real one, with the Old Firm and all that rubbish. And so it was that Irvine Meadow XI came to be playing against Forres Mechanics, from the Highland League. Now the hielanders look down on the ragamuffins from the Ayrshire juniors, citing the derring-do of the likes of Caley Thistle and Dingwall’s finest doing well since accepting their invites to play with the big boys. Never will we forget that day of SuperCaleyfrgailisticCelticareattrocious.
But it was different yesterday, for the Medda V the Can-Can. We witnessed a nine goal thriller, and the hielander’s made the long road home with only a third of the goals to their credit, despite having had three out of four at one stage. During the course of the fun Urchin the Younger switched his allegiance, as he is want to do, from Grandad’s team to the blue team. He doesn’t like to lose. I’m just glad that Pollok didn’t have to face the Medda yesterday.
Elsewhere I hear that Auntie Bella, soon to be ex-laird of the blue tories in these parts, is to buck the trend and to tell her national conference of the extent of the value that Scotland brings to this fecund union. Feathers will be rattled. Heavens the BBC may even have to report her words. We shall see.
But tonight it is hero time, and Russell and Stephen on ITV at 6.45. Watch and weep. I know I will.