I'm sitting on a Virgin Pendolino from Glasgow to London without my four-legged travelling companion. He's staying in the Land of Jock as I'm about to embark on a trans Atlantic adventure - more of that in a while.
Despite feeling like I've had my right arm removed it's no doubt a good thing that Mason (dog) remains with Mrs Mac. The poor little fella has completed more train journeys that Casey Jones so remaining surrounded by skirt wearing men but free to roam is preferable to being banged up on one of Richard Branson's loser cruisers.
My short time in Scotland was highlighted by a day out on the West Highland Way where Mrs Mac and I went to check on a memorial post to a departed friend and a secret cache that exists just off the Way. The cache contains a visitor's book and an order of service from our friend's funeral.
Our West Highland Way trip began with a drive to Beinglas Farm where we changed into running attire before setting off in a southerly direction toward Loch Lomond. Now, I'm not a fella that usually feels the cold but a chilly nip about my knackers dictated a pair of Lonsdale trackie bottoms over my running shorts. This particular garment is OK for looking cool in the boxing club but lacks the Max Wall tightness that allows free movement in the leg department. The result was that I bimbled along the path slowly rather than ran (I hate the term but it's true....I was more jogger than runner).
Mason (dog) skittered about until deciding to carry a log that was bigger than him which gave him some purpose. Mrs Mac plodded along at a decent pace despite complaining that her running had been more dormant than Vanessa Feltz's gym subscription.
After a short while we arrived at Dario's post where we posed for a couple of pictures. The post, now a couple of years old, remains in good nick. Six months ago some arse-wipe decided to give it a bit of a kicking but failed to dislodge it. The post's resilience is testament to the 20kg of post mix that Tim Downie, Mrs Mac and I used to sink it during a clandestine operation back in 2010. It appears that no more attacks have been visited upon the memorial apart from the name 'Vincent' being scored into the post's lead cap. Vincent, if you happen to be reading this, you are a knob.
At this point the sun had cleared the sky and I was sweating more than a gerbil in a gay bar, so I whipped off the trackie bottoms and set my legs free. We set off again and I immediately felt like Usain Bolt after drinking a rather large espresso. I surged over the rocks and roots an leaped over puddles like a hurdler on speed. At least that's how it felt in my mind....in reality I was probably moving like David Blunkett on ice.
We reached the secret cache to discover it free from its hiding place. After checking the contents were dry and signing the book, we carefully re wrapped it and I set about giving the cache a coat of winter camouflage. The rocks that once covered the cache were scattered about so I replaced them carefully. It was then that I discovered precisely why the secret had been discovered. Someone had chosen the spot to make like a bear in the woods and had used the rocks to cover their movement. A movement that was now stuck to my fingers along with some decaying toilet tissue. Nice.
A visit to Doune Bothy where fresh water and some antibacterial hand wash were available prevented the likelihood of contamination by some pathogenic virus then we were off again.
Our return to the car a couple of hours later chimed with the setting sun and a dipping of the temperature. All in all it was a fine day out on the Way and a healthy precursor to the trans Atlantic adventure mentioned above.
Tomorrow I head to Miami for four days with eleven friends to celebrate the retirement of my Borough Commander, Nigel. Yep, you read that right.....Miami. For four days. For three of those days we are required to wear fancy dress. So I have a bag packed with a few items of sensible clothing plus a toga and associated accessories, a kilt, and a set of surgical scrubs.
Oh, and then there's the planned snorkelling trip in an ocean that teems with sharks and other marine predators.
Laters (I hope).