Looked up to the sky last night and saw a round full moon, just like Yorkshire.
So it really has been a month.
Drove back to Northamptonshire yesterday. Almost seven hours, stopped once for petrol. Have to announce that, over this road trip, Kitty hit 90,000 on the clock. She's now a grown-up car. Going to give her a personal hoover and wash-down to show my appreciation.
Came back down the A1, which was a new experience for me. I blindly follow my satnav (lost without it) and realised fairly quickly something was up.
I'm used to heading down the M6 to Gloucester. At first I was pretty disappointed. Shap is one of my favourite pieces of road in the UK. It's like the guardian of the border between England and Scotland - the first sight of those magnificent mountains. Plus I'd promised a friend who has recently moved to Kenya that I would send her a jiffy bag full of Scottish shortbread, and Westmorland Farm Shop is such a good place to find that.
My 'aaawww' quickly turned into a 'wow!' as I found myself driving along the coast, looking down at incredible seascapes. I'm currently reading Ingo, which made it even more alluring. Several times I thought about detouring through a local village and going for a paddle, but knew how far I still had to travel. Think I'd like to go back up there some time and explore.
Also, the most breathtakingly bucolic images of rural harvest time. Field patchworks of ploughed brown earth and golden cereal crops glowing against a rare moment of sunshine. It really did look like something out of a painting.
Other things I learned on the drive down:
- There is an Oxford in Scotland. Sort of. It certainly confused me. I knew I was on a road I hadn't been on before, but when I saw a sign pointing to Oxford (320 miles the opposite end of Great Britain) I really thought I'd slipped into a parallel dimension. I've since searched for it on Google Maps and discovered it was Oxford Farm Shop near Berwick-upon-Tweed. But I swear to you, there's a road sign done up like a village sign, pointing to Oxford.
- Driving along, chewing my lip in confusion, I saw another village sign to Conundrum. I almost stopped the car at that point. Once again, a helpful Google Search cleared this one up. It's Conundrum Farm. But the sign looked like a village sign and, to be fair, there are stranger places that do exist, such as Bushygap, Sandwich, Cocks and Crackpot - why shouldn't there be a Conundrum?
- There is most definitely a Shilbottle a few miles south, which almost caused me to crash the car as one of the local yoof had made a rather obvious alteration to the signage.
It was quite an adventure. I also discovered we have a toll road near Newcastle which passes under the Tyne. It's only £1.40, but my satnav usually tells me these things in advance. Had to do an emergency scrabble for change.
Another epic fail for satnav: there's a button in the top left of the screen that is supposed to tell me if there's traffic ahead, and how long the delay will be. If it thinks the delay is excessive, it will plot another route.
Look, here's the button telling me that the road is 'all clear':
And just over the dashboard there, you can see traffic at a complete stand-still on the M1.
Part of a jam tailing back several miles from an accident.
Luckily, to the left there is a nifty sliproad. With two taps of the screen I was able to find an alternative route and re-join the motorway a few miles down the road, once the traffic had cleared.
I do love technology.
Anyway, that was my fun trip home, where my dear Mumsy took me down the pub for early doors. Came home and feasted on Chinese duck in plum sauce and an impressive quantity of aptly named Danger Point vin rouge.
So smooth the entire bottle seemed to slip down a little too easily. Suffering somewhat today.
So, here endeth the road trip. House sitting whilst everyone heads off to Osnabrück. Looking forward to some peace and quiet to finally get done all of the writing I meant to do over the past month. Not quite on the scale of these Epic Tales of Procrastination, but close.
Being kind to myself, I did have five years of catching up to do with Paul, and five months of drinking to catch up on with Martine. It's hardly any wonder that not a lot was achieved.
There was a glorious rainbow as I drove into the town where Paul lives. And another as I drove into Edinburgh. Sadly I didn't get any pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Made me feel as though the elements were smiling.
I've had a truly lovely time with wonderful friends, and I'm feeling ready to write. Also, after a month on sofas, I'm blissfully enjoying a full, fluffy double bed again.