These photos don't really illustrate today's story, but later on you may be glad of that.
The longer I write this blog the more I realise that I am constantly scanning my life to see if the tide of fortune is running in my favour or not.
This week it seemed like not. A few things happened, the most disappointing of which was that Sean Connery didn't want to give me any money (he has a trust fund to help people seeking further education), the other thing of note was that a light lit up on my dashboard on Monday night.
It looked quite nice - it actually looked like a queen's crown. I read the car manual and discovered that I was required to top up my coolant. "Can do!" I thought to myself. I even had made up coolant in the boot. I topped it up. The light went off, I hoped this was the end of the story.
The next day the light went back on. I put the rest of the coolant in. The light went off. The light came back on. I got more coolant - with literally the last £12 in my bank account. I poured it in. I looked under the car. I saw it dripping out the bottom of the car. Damn it sir. I had just poured my last £12 onto the road. Probably bad for the environment too. Not my biggest concern at the time.
I never had a car for 38 years so I know how to be without one. One thing I'm damn sure of, I don't want to be without one. I love my car. Was fortune going to take away my car? I couldn't get near a garage until Saturday so I booked it in at my local Citroen garage for this morning, praying that it wasn't going to turn out to be something big. The best case scenario was a bit of a hole in one of the hoses.
Saturday being my long run day I figured I'd dump off the car at the garage early, then get the train to Musselburgh and run to North Berwick, via the beaches, get the train home and I'd be home in plenty of time to pick up the car if it was fixed.
There was forecast to be a bit of an easterly, but nothing too much, and I'd much rather run from the relative nastiness of the road through Musselburgh and the Pans etc. towards loveliness that run in the opposite direction. It's such a heart-sink running from East Lothian back towards Edinburgh. Things get less and less appealing and then you're home!
I caught the 8.39 train to Musselburgh by the very skin of my teeth and thought the omens were looking good. Running through Musselburgh I saw a blue piece of litter with the queen's face on it...the queen's face on it! I stopped and went back Sure enough, there lying on the road was a fiver. Nice one! That was nearly my train fares paid for right there.
I ran on in a great mood, quite sure the gods were smiling on me. It was an exceptionally beautiful morning. The Pans swished by without incident. At Port Seton I stopped for a coffee and a pastry and thought how nice the world was.
By Longniddry I wasn't feeling so good though. The easterly had sprung up and it was sharp and cold. I was wearing my Inov8 race rucksack which is nice and light but not very breathable, so if you sweat your back gets all wet and stays wet. My t-shirt was soaked through and the wind was making me cold. My stomach started to hurt.
By Aberlady I really wasn't feeling very well. All the hairs were standing on end on my arms and I was getting waves of cramps through my stomach. I was breaking out in a cold sweat from this which was just adding to my t-shirt being wringing wet and making me colder. With regret I decided to stick to the road and just get to North Berwick as fast as I could rather than going round the coast.
About a mile beyond Gullane I suddenly realised I would need to utilise some bushes. I climbed over a wall and found myself in a nettle plantation just behind the targets where the titular archers of archerfield must go and do their archery practice. Not the safest place to be, but there was no sign of anyone and I was desperate. You, I and Paula all know that running can cause GI distress. I had a bout of GI distress. That's as nicely as I can put it. And sacrificed a pair of pants to the clearing up of this distress. I felt a bit better and came back out of the woods. I tried jogging for a while but that wicked cold wind just brought the feeling back. As the road forked for Dirleton I thought I would stay on the main road and throw myself at the mercy of my fellow man. I felt really bad.
So I tried hitch-hiking - without any hope really. I don't think I would pick up a hitch-hiker any more - not near a big city - so I didn't see why anyone else should. Unless they realised that I was really near to North Berwick and I was just in a t-shirt and shorts and I wouldn't be trying to hitch a lift unless something was wrong. Lots of posh cars swooshed by. Someone even honked on their horn at me. Presumably some kind of abuse. I was well beyond caring. I was feeling sick and frozen and really wanted to get on that train. At last a lovely woman pulled up in a 4 by 4 and took me to the train station. She apologised for all the other traffic that hadn't stopped. She was so damn nice and I told her so. At the station (train due in 3 minutes, the tide of fortune turning again already) I had to surreptitiously nip down a lane and vomit on a grassy bit as tactfully as I could. When I got on the train I found a seat in a pool of sunlight and started to feel better. By the time I got back to Edinburgh the hairs on my arms were lying back down again and I felt much better. I ran down the road and managed to make my mileage up to 18 miles.
Then I phoned the Citroen garage and it was the best case scenario. A hole in one of the hoses. It cost me less than £50. I didn't want to spend £50 but compared to how it could have gone it was a result.
Having eaten and drunk and dressed up nice and warm I am back to feeling that the god's are smiling on me.
What's it all about?