n o – g o

[ 20:58 sunday 25 march – gate 4 , glasgow airport , glasgow ]

yes i know . weeks go by with nairy a peep from the wanderer and suddenly here is a slew of despatches .

perhaps it’s documenter’s block . it took a while to re-acclimatise to london and by that time there was such a backlog of things to write about that i didn’t know where to start . so i put it off , and with each passing day the bulk of material grew yet harder to chip into .

it took a completely unforeseen event (becoming imprisoned in glasgow) to break the deadlock . a kind of descriptive enema .

my flight has been called for boarding .

[ 22:56 – stansted express , platform 1c , london stansted airport ]

uneventful flight . i dozed .

i’ve walked about twenty miles today , up in the hills . it was fabulous . after breakfast in the hostel’s dining room , all carved mahogany and baroque plasterwork , i went straight out and found a footpath heading upwards . this is what i’d come for . but it wasn’t long before i hit a gate with notices urging walkers not to proceed any further for fear of spreading foot and mouth .

i stood there for a while , weighing my conscience , before opening the gate and proceeding (it was only a request , after all) . soon i was in open moorland , patched with bracken . the vista over loch lomond and the islands broadened around me . a little snow began to fall . a few sheep were dotted about munching but i didn’t pass near any of them .

over the crest of the hill the path entered pine forest , through which i continued until the trees ended and i found myself looking out over a wide expanse of the firth of clyde . my way was blocked by another gate festooned with warning notices .

again i pondered . i could either turn round and head back the way i’d come . or … looking at my map i could continue down to the firth , walk along to the little town of helensburgh , then follow a road cutting back through the hills to arden on the shore of loch lomond , not far from the hostel .

i hate covering ground over which i’ve already passed . so over the gate i climbed .

a while later the path rejoined a road . i heard a car approaching from behind . it slowed , drew up beside me , the window whirred down . a round-faced lady addressed me from within : “have ye come from bannoch ?” yes i have “did ye not read the notices ?” yes but i though if i kept to the path and avoided contact with any animals it would be alright . she was very angry and she sounded like she was under a lot of pressure . i apologised and promised i would not ignore any more notices . she drove on .

i felt very ashamed of myself . it seemed to be that my behaviour reeked of a kind of urban selfishness i despise . there isn’t a single known case of foot and mouth being spread by walkers who have had no contact with livestock . but that’s not the point .

it was a long walk and my feet were sore by the time i got back to the hostel . i just had time for a bowl of soup before leaving for bannoch to catch the glasgow train .

soon i shall be back in london . the flat in shoreditch has come on a long way since i moved in . over successive weekends inaki and i disposed of all the carpets , sanded down the floorboards , gave them a couple of coats of varnish , painted the sitting room white and painted the woodwork in the hallway a muddy green (on which our friends are divided) . i hired a van and collected some bits of furniture from mum and dad in gloucestershire . it’s growing into an excellent space to live and work .

my work meanwhile is gaining momentum . but i shall write about that another time .

it’s good to be back a-wandering !

: cH

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