I’ve been to the big city. Oh yes, you don’t find me hiding in rural splendour far from the madding crowd all year. Well, you do for six months.
That was how long since my last visit to the city. Let me put your minds at rest and say it was neither Dundee or Perth. If you live there, you’d have noticed the increased security.
No, it was Inverness that drew the short straw. A fine place indeed, but it was during Storm Dennis, so not the best time to visit anywhere. However, I wasn’t there to see the sights. I was there to load up with supplies, which turned out to include two planks of wood, one shirt, two pairs of £20 troosers, a giant bag of wild bird seed, one paperback novel, plus two cushions and some plastic flowers from Markies.
Yes, back among civilisation, I went wild! So what was it like being back in town after so long? Well, it was a tale of two days, readers. The first day, I hated it and wanted to return to my garden and the sea and the mountains immediately.
The second day, I was mollified and accepting, but mainly because of the convenience of being able to purchase items willy and also, after some sweaty moments at the autobank, nilly.
Out in the sticks, life has been made easier by being able to have most things delivered (though sometimes at hefty charges). But it’s nice to just buy things and come home with them the same day.
On that second day, I got soaked three times, walking into town from my B&B. True, I had the car but I’d received a celestial vision when the clouds parted and a deity with a big beard thundered in an earth-shaking voice: “When you’re oot shopping, Rab, I command thee to have a sneaky wee beer for the good of your soul!”
So I did and, consequently, couldn’t drive. It’s fair say that on that second day, too, I managed to find a pub showing my team playing footer on the telly and they won and so I was full of joie de vivre and felt all was well with the world.
So, the second day wasn’t so bad. But, oh, the first! The crowds, the hurly-burly. I got smirked at several times, on account of a hair being out of place or marmalade in the beard or … who knows what? The worst of that is that it’s always hideous monsters in horrible habiliments who do the smirking.
Well, if I don’t fit into their set, with their universally cropped hair and flabby unshaven faces, then good. Apart from that, while eventually the shopping came good, the first two shops I visited didn’t have the items I wanted.
Then there was driving on the mad rushing roads with their twin lanes determined to send you off the wrong way, and the packed multi-storey car parks with their tiny spaces into which you could barely fit a pram.
But, over the piece, I accounted the visit a success and came away with the same feeling that city folk frequently have after a stay in a remote place: nice enough for a visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.