Holiday! Part Two – in which the Worst Driver in the Party has agreed to do the Drive to Orkney
I’m not a terribly confident driver. I did learn away back in the day when I was seventeen, but there were rather a lot of incidents that summer, like that horsebox that tried to run me off a cliff into the river, and that time the gear linkage fell off while I was overtaking a bus and I ended up blocking the entire main artery west into the valley and causing a three hour traffic jam, and, well, I never actually had the budget for a car after that, so the whole thing was moot anyway. The G Monster insisted I should start driving again, however, on the not-wholly-unreasonable grounds that sometimes he would like to not be the designated driver, so seeing as I had the luck of having a good friend whose husband taught driving, I got some refresher lessons off him. And also got a rather fearsome number of people saying to me, upon hearing this, ‘why are you taking refresher lessons? You never forget!’ Which is not something I want to try and prove true after twenty years, using a half-tonne of metal. Especially since there seem to be rather more cars around than there were back then.
But off we set, with a very tight schedule, through a part of the country I had never even visited before. We are on a very tight schedule! the G Monster kept reminding me, as we went over the big scary bridge and up the big scary hills and over the splendid scenic causeways, none of which I got a proper gander at because a) driving and b) we promptly got in behind a giant delivery lorry. Fortunately he must have been delivering crisps or something light like that, because I had trouble keeping up with the bugger. But we made it, even with my phone turning the camera on and the google maps off every time we went over a slight bump. I even made it onto the ferry without running anyone over or hitting a pole.
A series of impressive causeways and sunken ships later, and we were at the G Monster’s mate’s house, where we got fed to within an inch of our lives and entertained by his happy friendly children until it was time to find the guest cottage. Which we almost managed to do. We were just reversing out of the wrong cul-de-sac when this bloke appeared at our window as if by magic. Are you lost? he said. Where are you looking for? he said. Follow me, I think I know where that is, he said.
He owned the place, didn’t he. I only realised it when he ushered us inside.
We have fallen on our feet with this one. It’s a palace! All the rooms are massive, the heating was so warm we had to turn it down, it’s got wet-rooms, they put in lots of thoughtful little things like washing powder for the washing machine and a jug of fresh milk in the fridge, and it’s got a veranda where you can watch Shetland ponies playing in the field above Scapa Flow.
We celebrated our good fortune by dumping our stuff and going for a sleep. Bear Grylls, this is not.