Drive

With our trip to Edinburgh only a few days away, our attention has turned to what needs to be done before we leave.

The most important part of which is to decide which detours we’re going to take on the way up there this year.

Last year we ended up at St Abbs for a bit, which was absolutely beautiful. As places that are at the top of a cliff with views of the sea go, it was right up there with, um, other ones. It was a delightful place to hang out at for a little bit as a break from driving up the A1.

A previous year, we’d stopped off at the causeway to Holy Island, snapping a picture of a van’s wheels as the tide came in and making the family thing we were in some kind of trouble. We thought it was hilarious. Carole’s parents did not talk to us again for days. I find, in situations where you’re in genuine trouble and there’s a real chance the tide is coming in around your car, the best thing to do is take a picture and send it to everyone. Not move the car, or call a professional. Text someone who is several hours drive away with the word “Ooops”. And leave it at that.

Like I say, we thought it hilarious. They did not.

The beauty of the drive up to Scotland is just that. The beauty of the drive up to Scotland. Well, once you reach a certain point, anyway. For a while it’s not very exciting. But once you get to the bit that runs nearest to the coast, in much the same way as it does when you travel by train, the excitement kicks in. The difference being, in this case, you can swing off the main drag and just pootle through tiny coastal hamlets and wotnot.

White roads are my friends.

That’s my role in the whole drive up there. I am navigator for a very specific part, otherwise we just have the Google robot lady telling us what to do. Which when you’re driving on the A1 is not a lot. Almost nothing in fact. She’ll shut up for hours. We’ll not know if she’s working. And then she’ll scare the shit out of us 500 yards from a roundabout (at which point she will undoubtedly tell us to take the second exit and continue…).

White roads and comfort breaks. That’s my thing. Carole has very exacting standards when it comes to stopping for a pee. She wants something that is so clean you can see the gleam from some distance away.

We have stopped in places, before, that it would not be out of character – I think – to be murdered in.

Usually, Carole’s first words as we rendezvous back at the car or wherever we deem safest, will be “Those toilets are disgusting…” before going on to list what is wrong with them. Mostly involving the addition of shit to areas that shit should not be added to.

Basically, we know of one set of decent toilets at a motorway services. And after that it’s just cross your legs and hope. We see signs. We drive towards places. We declare them to be murderous. Or shit-covered on a previous trip (maybe there needs to be a Trip Advisor for Motorway loos. Shit Advisor, or something. The logo would be an owl in a hazmat suit).

And, I’m willing to bet, we’ll be stopping at the Angel Of The North again. Where, again, I can state the fact that I don’t even begin to understand the workings of Antony Gormley. I didn’t the last time I saw it. Or when we went to that beach filled with all the metal versions of him, complete with rusty genitals.

I’m not sure where else we’ll call in on the way. Carole’s suggested we split up the journey with escape rooms.

We couldn’t really do that, though.

Could we?