Cycled doon tae the bus station back o' 4.30 am tae catch the 10X 5.05am bus tae the HC, only to note with some disquiet that the name o' the square in Keith where I'd had tae change buses on the many times I'd caught it this year didnae appear on the electronic timetable. Sure enough it didnae appear and I soon saw that the 1st bus was noo nae 'til 7.50am, nearly 3hr later.
Thus a change o' plan was clearly called for but as the 4.40am 1st bus tae Glasgie had also nae lang left, wi nane more in the offing for an hour or so, I thought I'd hiv tae bite the bullet & put ma haund in ma pocket for a nae doubt exorbitant train ticket. The next wan wasnae 'til 6.15am or thereabouts so ah whiled awa the time by gang up & doon in the lift and wheelin' ma faithful steed alang the very lang but very wrang platform, before finally findin' the right wan.
Ah then txt TP tae tell him o' the change o' plan, having earlier teld him ah wiz gang tae wait 4 the 7.50am but it soon transpired that he weren't gonna mak it. Having eventually mosied on doon tae the right platform, through the open ticket barriers & parked ma butt on the wan set o' uncomfortable, cold steel seats I rested ma eyes, as a wee trickle o' early punters started tae appear. Wan o' them, dressed in jeans and trainers, with a lang straggly beard, reminded moi o' an emaciated store Santa applicant, who wiz pr'obly nae gonna get the job.
The train had bin sittin' at the platform since I arrived with the doors firmly locked shut but when ah next opened ma eyes all the punters had disappeared & a quick glance at ma nae too trusty mob. revealed that it were noo perilously close tae the off. I climbed aboard, lifting up & tethering ma steed, then txt a final 2 min. warning tae TP that he were cuttin' it fine.
Moments later we were off and a few mins. later, having failed miserably tae dodge the comely young conductress I forced a tired smile as I dusted orf ma wallet & attempted tae extract the princely sum of 25 quid! I then lay back across the seats wi ma heid on a makeshift pillow, trying to convince mesel' that it were only a nightmare. I tried and failed tae remember hoo much it had cost the last time I'd taken this train 26 years earlier back in Aug. 1985 on ma way tae a wet week's wild camping nr. Camban wi ma ex-wife.
After climbing steadily and twisting roound & betwixt the wee foothills we arrived at Keith after an hour and a half, in a far slower time than the 10X bus, which only used tae tak an hour, as it bypassed everywhere en-route. Given that we'd also set off an hour later than the auld bus used tae, ah thought it were as well I wasnae hoping tae catch the bus tae the Fort fae the HC.
A doctorly type had got on at Huntly, perhaps on his way tae Grays Hospital at Elgin where he got off, although I dinnae remember rousing mesel' fae ma slumbers tae engage in conversation. Light began tae dawn as we raced across the flat Moray coastal strip, covering the 2nd half o' the journey tae the HC in less than half the time o' the bus, tae arrive only 10 crucial [for onward Fort bus connection], mins after it.
Glancing at ma auld, battered Nokia I saw that TP had noo cast a curse on ma, the spell deemin' that ah wiz gonna brek a leg an' hiv' a lang crawl back tae civilization... Bearing this in mind I alighted into the cool late autumn early morning sunshine at the HC at 8.41am precisely, bang on time, which had looked rather unlikely back at Keith.
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