My Arse Hurts.

Well, what’s new?

Today was a lovely but breezy Saturday, the First of November. I received a buzz on the doorbell this morning around 4:00, and it roused me from a deep and luxurious sleep. Was it a friend in need, perhaps out of cab fare and needing a place to stay the night? No. A wayward American traveller, seeking respite from the late-night chill? Nope. Perhaps even a surprise visit from Spiff? Not even close.

Some drunkard, surely thinking our flat was the Liquorice Club–a strip joint that our home abuts–and undoubtedly looking for some sort of sexual reprieve. The words were poignant but few:

Sleepy Me: Hello?
Drunk Scottish Accent: Hallo?
Me: Who is this?
Him: Hallo?
Me (annoyed): Who IS this?
Fucker: Arr yoou shtill open fur bishnesh?
Me: NO! *slams downs intercom receiver*

But it gets better, really!

After catching up on my dearly interrupted slumber, I awoke and shambled across the Links to Marchmont, where anonymousseth and gingiber took me on a brilliant mountain bike ride through the Pentland hills skirting Edinburgh. Hopefully the first of many two-wheeled excursions this year, we cruised a very comfortable 15 miles or so, rolling along the Union Canal, paralleling the Waters of Leith, and then across Threipmuir Reservoir and back through the more open lands west of Edinburgh until we made it, huffing and puffing, back home again, to a handsome selection of sandwiches and much-needed cups of tea.

Funny that after two decades in Marin County, California, the origin of the mountain bike, this would be the first time that I’ve hopped on and given it a go. And you know what? The saying is right. You never forget…
What I did forget, however, was not to openly smile at the splendor of the scenery lest errant bugs of various types lodge themselves betwixt my teeth. Not pleasant, in any regard. In addition, I lost my labrette ball and most likely a couple of dreadlocks to precariously-dangling branches. But overall, it was a good time, and very exhilarating.

I’m quite thankful and grateful that my friends have such great taste in both bikes and bike-paths. We’ve plotted a handful of excellent or foolhardy trips to different parts of the country, and if my legs can take it, so can I. It’s an outdoors athletic I’ve not done, and now I see there’s no going back. Time well spent, is the best way to put it. Here’s some of the things we saw:

The dribbling overflow from the Union Canal, above, that only moments ago we rode astride.

Idyllic stillness of the Thriepmuir Reservoir, with the Pentland Hills beyond.

Me and Ginge, pausing for refreshment and the camera’s inhuman eye.

The colors of Midlothian in fall, fed by the waters of the reservoir.

A pleasant view of Western Edinburgh from the Pentlands, with Corstorphine Hill to the right and the Firth of Forth, and Fife beyond.

HayBails 1
We caught some renegade haybales mustering in draconian formation, ready to roll into the city and stir up some hell.

HayBails 2
By this time, it was too late, as their presence alone was enough to scare even the staunchest rabbits back to their burrows…

Oddity of the journey: upon leaving the reservoir proper, we rounded a bend at a stand of houses which held, smack-dab in the middle of them, a mobile Lamb Shack, fumes a-brewing, and filling the Pentlands with rich, hickory death. Smelled sooooo good, the poor little guys.

9 Responses to “My Arse Hurts.”

  1. Anonymous Says:
    November 1st, 2003 at 7:50 pm

    A little bit of heaven…
    *So* excited that you are learning to appreciate and really enjoy one of my favorite outdoor activities. Hope we can take a bike excursion so I too can see in person some of those landscapes you so wonderfully captured in your pics. Keep up the detailed entries and great pictures. T and I enjoy them… 🙂

  2. angledge Says:
    November 2nd, 2003 at 10:47 am

    Beautiful photos! Did your friends loan you a bike, or have you purchased one over here?

  3. Anonymous Says:
    November 2nd, 2003 at 4:26 pm

    bike loan
    darren has the unlimited usage of a partially rebuilt cannondale f1000 while he's here, and judging by the happy noises he made while we were out, i think it's gonna get some use 🙂
    i got a coupla pix of him scooting about on it, and i'll post 'em when i've scanned 'em…

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 2nd, 2003 at 4:47 pm

    Re: bike loan
    Yeah. What he said.
    Bless his heart.

  5. Anonymous Says:
    November 3rd, 2003 at 3:07 pm

    oh my oh my!!!
    let me see if'n i got this right…
    A drunken man comes and knocks on yer door lookin fer a little late-nite entertainment…
    and now your arse hurts?
    Quick! all ye womanly friends of Darren, bring him back to the light!!!

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 3rd, 2003 at 3:18 pm

    Re: oh my oh my!!!
    The only arse here is you, my silly California-floundering friend.
    Gimme back my damn car.
    Yes, there are hillbillies, even in Scotland.
    Missin' ye.

  7. Anonymous Says:
    November 3rd, 2003 at 3:32 pm

    Re: oh my oh my!!!
    yeah, uh, about your car…
    Robby has expressed an interest in learning to drive a 'sporty' car and all that, you don't mind if he spends a few days ahind the wheel of yours do ya?
    The hills of San Francisco are a great place to learn to drive a standard transmission, and he would probably just stall my truck, but with your car, he can just nail the gas and it will RIP up them hills!
    After all, he is 14 now…

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 3rd, 2003 at 3:36 pm

    Re: oh my oh my!!!
    "So* mean to me.
    With friends like you, who needs sparring partners?

  9. Anonymous Says:
    November 3rd, 2003 at 4:04 pm

    Re: oh my oh my!!!
    Oh, I am sorry!
    But, uh, now that you are playin fer the other team and all no hugs K?
    I miss you! Come back soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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