Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bus and bike to Banff and back

Left Glasgow at 8.30 this morning on a Megabus packed with unhappy people. Well, they looked unhappy. Read most of James Lee Burke's Pegasus Descending, picked up in a charity shop and a recent addition to his fantastic Dave Robicheaux series, set in Louisiana. The Mississippi delta made a nice contrast to the windy, chilly but essentially non-snowy Scottish landscape.

Funny thing about buses and trains in the UK, how people choose to travel on public transport and so obviously hate the fact that other people are THERE, with them. So everyone takes a double seat to themselves and builds a wall of luggage to try and prevent anyone sitting next to them. When I boarded, I could see the absolute panic on every face at the thought that this large person, clutching two bags and a crash helmet, might sit next to them. And then, weirdly, once we set off, nobody but me (and the guy next to me) put on our seat belts, despite this now being a legal obligation. Until the driver started insisting.

At least my Megabus seatbelt worked. The one on the 305 service to Banff (Portsoy, actually; I needed that alliterative 'b') and beyond, didn't. Hell's teeth, that's a tedious run, corkscrewing through every Aberdeenshire community with more than two houses. Anyway, got to Portsoy eventually on my latest eBay adventure, there to meet Dave and the bike I'd bought, site unseen (see below).

It's a terrifying moment, when you cast eyes on the object which looked so attractive online. No problem this time, though. The BMW is an absolute cracker. Dave was philosophical, but admitted being disappointed with the price the bike fetched. A result of the time of year and distance from main markets, I think.

I was worried about the ride back to Aberdeen, about 60 miles, but the ice and snow of yesterday had disappeared. It was very cold and windy, though, and the road between Banff and Aberdeen was slimy and treacherous, frequently fouled with farm waste. No place for a motorbike, really, but I made it back to Aberdeen OK. The BMW (oh, luxury) has heated grips on the handlebars, so that was a real help. And I had my longjohns.

Boat tomorrow night after a long trip away. Still, saw Magnus in Glasgow, saw round a water treatment plant, touched base with The Producers and generally got a lot done without buying A SINGLE THING in Primark. Be good to be back in Shetland, though. Once I've worked out how to tell Susan about the bike...

1 comment:

Tonykaku said...

hey Tom,
heated handgrips? it has been a long time
since i've had a motorcycle but i didn't know
they came with heated handgrips. nice.
and long johns... how about what you talked
about on your friday show...women's stockings,
panty hose, tights to keep you warm.
hope you and your bike made it back home safely and warmly.
as i always say (mainly to myself when i return to my empty apartment), it is always nice to travel but always nice to get back home.