I’m trying to walk 10km a day during lockdown. This should be achieved in two walks, each comprising of one hour. The problem this weekend (in lockdown), I have discovered, is that literally every man and their dug are out and about, resulting in delays due to avoidance tactics (social distancing) and blethering.
Despite this,when I dropped the car off for Elaine today, I had no plan at all other than to make my walk home last a minimum of 3km (I’d done a 7km walk at Brucefields earlier). When I popped into Tilli Tearoom Elaine looked stressed. ‘Hows it been today?’ I said, standing well back. Its difficult to tell a persons emotions when they’re wearing a face covering but rolling your eyes is unmistakable. It translates as ‘how the fuck d’you think its been?’. Dropping the keys on the counter I ran away, escaping down the wee lane that leads to The Tappit.
Ah The Tappit. At a virtual Burns Supper the night before, I listened rivetted to Tam O’ Shanter (Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious, o’er all the ills of life victorious) and I pictured Tam and Souter Johnny in The Tappit having a rare time. Sadly The Tappit sits in darkness.
In contrast the Cathedral looked stunning in the winter sunshine and I headed along Kirk Street and then The Haining towards the Lechills (Laighills). As I walked down to the railway bridge a wee lad ran uphill past me carrying a scooter saying ‘wait til you see this!’ As I was digesting this I saw a wee girl throwing a large stone up at the icicles hanging down from the bridges arches. Ha, I can remember doing that I thought.
As I was walking under the railway bridge (holding my breath as is traditional), the Wee Lad whizzed past me then slalomed between shocked walkers. It was brilliant. ‘Gaun yersel wee man’ I wanted to shout.
The Lechills wiz rammed. Weans on the swings and seesaws and whirlygig things whilst the mums and dads stood blethering. I took the path up to the right to avoid folk and five minutes later I’m up on high looking down on the crowded playpark. There was still plenty snow on the paths and rabbits darted away to hide as I climbed on to the hills beyond the top pitch.
Even up here there were couples and families walking about. I detected weegie accents. Youse shouldnae be here… but I cannae blame ye. Everyones broke the rules during lockdown I reckon, and we’ve all managed to justify it to ourselves as legitimate.
Back down now, down the track from the top pitch. Theres an auld dear walking up the track. Just then I hear a shout. I turn round and its the wee lad again, tanking doon the track on his scooter. He whizzes past me, wobbling furiously, eyes flashing. The auld dear ‘stood, right sair astonished’, glaring at him.
By the river, folk were working out at the new outdoor gym. It was down in the shade and by 3pm in January the temperature was already below freezing. Sod this for a gemme of sodgers, I thought , time to get home for a hot chocolate.