A tale of two journeys

Last week (and wow, how has it only been a week?) you may recall I went to a ceilidh. Go back one entry. Tada!

On my way out I was running late. I had been faffing around as usual, and was just about on time for being fashionably late when I made the mistake of texting an acquaintance and inviting them to dinner (I was feeling brave and empowered possibly because I had a razor in my hand ready to get my legs all smooth and womanly). Then I swanned off into the shower. On my return, with one eye on the clock, I checked my messages and had this rambling spiel from the guy spelling out FRIEND. OH GOD, FRIEND in massive neon letters. So I had to ramble back, with some wit and some half-truths, to save myself a little embarrassment. That meant that when the ceilidh started I was sat half-naked on my bed with a damp towel wrapped around me and a tablet computer in my slightly sweaty hands, frantically tapping out a carefree, it-was-just-a-suggestion-calm-yourself message. So I went to action stations.

Luckily, I already knew what I was wearing, and since I don’t wear make up anyway and my hair was going to be left down, I was ready pretty quickly. I also thought I knew where I was going. I left my room looking like a hurricane in Dorothy Perkins and off I went. It was dark and the roads were quiet, though the next round of major roadworks was getting set up so there was a bit of a hold up on the bridge and a bit of impatient steering wheel tapping. The sky was littered with lilac fluffy clouds. I had a hairy moment on a large roundabout because the idiots round here have no concept of lane discipline (there are no roundabouts on farms) and then I was up in the estate, looking for a village hall. I found it, exactly where I expected it to be. An old man in a spectacularly patterned piece of knitwear came out and helped me to reverse park (without me asking him to, and without me needing him to) further making me think I was in the right place. I wasn’t. I was exactly where I expected to be but that wasn’t where I was supposed to be. There are two community halls in that estate and I was in the wrong one.

I was flustered, I was even more late, and I was now following sketchy instructions that I was trying to remember as I drove down roads I’d never been down before. Every time a car got close behind me I got more frustrated because I didn’t want to be that driver who makes sudden turns or crawls along clearly lost and gets in everyone’s way. I found the place, eventually, after having done a circuit of the one-way system, and parked up. Then I couldn’t find the door of the place. I was seconds away from going home. I could see through the window a whole host of people I didn’t know and if I’d been in the wrong place again I think I would have had a breakdown. Luckily it was the right party. I crept in, searching for anyone I recognised, an hour late, sweaty and anxious, cross, embarrassed and tired. No wonder I had trouble getting a dance partner.

The way home was different. I gave some guests a lift home through the roughest estate in the top end of the town, and hoped I could find my way back out again. Once I was back on the main road, and homeward bound, I felt myself relax. The clouds had cleared and as I turned off the main road and trundled along the Firth, I was the only person around. Above me, Orion was striding across the sky leading me back to the village. I found myself grinning. I sang along to the radio and rode the curves of the tarmac. I saw no other moving vehicle. It was the witching hour and everyone sensible was in bed, where I wanted to be. The village was deserted and the street lights were urging me into a parking space. I was almost too tired to climb the stairs but after one last look at the stars I closed our rickety front door and made it to my room.

I very nearly just crawled into the pile of stuff and slept there.

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