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Hi there… everybody.

I’m not quite sure why 110 of you yesterday arrived at this blog to look at pictures of doberman puppies, hot guys and beachball babes, but I’m delighted you found them here.

I no longer write here and neither does Paul, but please feel to visit my new blog at or Paul’s at


It’s been a while, huh?


To be honest, we’ve both had other things on our minds, and Thailand couldn’t be further away. Ok,  geographically it could be further away. But not much.

I think if I’m going to continue blogging, it’ll probably be in a different place, but no such place exists yet, so I’ll leave you with this post, more as therapy to me than anything else, safe in the knowledge than after such a long break between posts, very few people will be reading this. Why bother then? Sometimes it’s nice to talk even if nobody is listening.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever suffered from depression… Nobody? Or is it just that you’re so depressed that you’re overwhelmeed by the futility of raising your hand?

Difficult to tell.

If you have, this might all seems very familiar, or it might seem totally alien – it is like the monster under the bed, taking a different form for everyone, similar only in the sense that it is whatever is most terrifying, most damaging to you personally.

For some people, so I hear, it is like a grey cloud, a thick fog that settles over everything – colours seem muted, sounds are muffled, emotions dulled, everything is an effort, like walking through water. Food tastes like nothing, so that there’s just no point eating.

I imagine that would be a total bitch. At this time of year, when colours should be so bright, and everything is designed to produce sensory pleasure, to have your senses say “No. I’m not interested” would make you wonder what the point of getting out of bed is.

For me, it’s not like that. Most things are *more*.

Kal said to me yesterday that he would have thought that could be quite enjoyable, and I guess it probably would, if I were happy at the same time.

For me, now, bright lights are blindingly bright: they make my head hurt and burn themselves on my retinas. The Christmas music is almost violently insistent, like a brainless sparrow battering itself off a window pane again and again and again, leaving greasy feathered impressions of itself behind. The taste of food is amplified so that if it’s sweet or its bitter it’s too much to handle, and pain hurts more than it should, making me aware of every niggle and bruise. Clothes irritate my skin so that I only want to wear baggy, soft things to give me space, so I don’t feel like I’m being suffocated.

It’s life to the Nth degree.

With exceptions.

I don’t feel anything on the inside.

Even when I’m clearly unhappy, crying for no real reason; extra-salty tears unabashedly running down my extremely cold cheeks, there’s nothing on the inside. Just space.

I try, on occasion, to describe how I feel, and I never get it quite right. I have a few metaphors and similies which seem like they *almost* cover the basics, but it’s not that easy to pin  down.

It’s like being eaten alive by something unbelievable cold and old and which doesn’t even notice you’re there. Like plankton consumed by a basking shark. Consumed but unnotticed, carried along against your will.

Or it is like drowning. Like being in a cold, dark sea where the only thing stopping you from drowning completely are occasional bubbles of happiness, giving you enough oxygen to last until the next one. But what if the bubble doesn’t show up, or there’s too much of a gap between bubbles? Well, you drown.

You’d think that feeling nothing wouldn’t be so hard, but it is. It makes it so much harder not to think.

I’ve rarely been honest about how I really think when I’m really depressed, as I currently am. It’s not an easy thing to do, and I wouldn’t do it here except I feel the need. One reason I never talk about this is because there is only one person who I know will, if not actually understand, at least react correctly, and Kal’s always been a lifeline in that sense.

So here it is.

I genuinely want, at times like this, to go to sleep and never wake up. Not to actively kill myself, I couldn’t inflict that on the people I love. Just to sleep forever, anything so I don’t have to think thoughts that are so lucid they can’t be rational.

After a decade on and off prescription drugs to try to make me feel “normal”, I’m coming to believe if not accept that this may be who I really am. My base-level, when all distractions are stripped away, when artificial happiness and interesting going-on are absent, might be this. I might never be able to feel like I’m supposed to without chemical help.

Why is that so difficult to accept? If anyone else were to come to me and describe feeling the way I feel, describe the shame they feel at being unable to control their own brain, I would tell them they were being too hard on themselves. “Depression is an illness”, they say; I say. Like any other you can’t just wish it away. You can no more, as a depressive, will your brain to create serotonin than a diabetic than force their pancreas to make more insulin.

I know that.

But I don’t care. I should be able to handle this. I should be stronger than this.

Kal does a pretty good job of not panicking when I talk this way, al least not so that I can tell. It may be he has a swat team of psyche nurses round the corner, lurking with loaded syringes, ready to cart me off to the funny farm where I belong, but he gives no indication. Just listens, and challenges the more irrational of my thought processes when he can.

Yesterday I explained to him the worst thing about it all.

I can end this. It is within my control not to feel like this ever again. I don’t have to suffer this.

But I will.

I remember my father talking to me about “duty” alot as I grew up. He is an extremely disciplined, moral man, and sadly it is from his side of the family that I get this tendency towards to depression. Having grown up with a parent with severe depression, I’ve seen some of how bad it can get, and I know the impact it can have on a family and on an individual and I’m determined not to let that happen to me, or to my family when I have one.

I never really understood what he meant about duty and what a burden it is until I started to suffer properly with depression. We all have access to ways and means of ending our lives, but we have a duty not to use them.

I have people in my life who love me and who would blame themselves forever if I committed suicide. They would think they should have done something different, and their lives would be marred forever by what they would consider to be a catastrophic failure on their part. They would lose their only daughter, or their best friend, or their colleague, or their training partner and wouldn’t be able to understand why she had made such a selfish choice.

My dad has a duty to us to carry on trying his best to deal with depression on a day-to-day basis as best he can. Not to turn to substances to get him through, not to burden us all with worry about his welfare, not to make a selfish choice which would put an end to his suffering, but cause so many more people to suffer.

I have that duty as well. And it’s not fair – I desperately want to be selfish, not give a shit about everyone else and go and be as self-destructive as I feel the need to be, whatever that would entail.

I know though, that in a week or two or three, I’ll feel ok again and this will seem irrational and distant from my life. Something else will come up to give me focus, take away my thinking time and give me a few more layers of resilience for a while.

When that happens, I’ll think I’m cured. That it’s gone forever, I’m fixed, normal, safe.

Maybe I’ll have the good sense to re-read this and realise that it’s only a temporary reprieve; I’m in remission.

Maybe this is it: this is me.

Floccinaucinihilipilification is a word which is equally as mellifluous as it is obfuscative.


That’s you, that is.

Whilst for many of Edinburgh’s inhabitants that title might serve simply as a brief synopsis of a standard Friday night on the town, for me those were the major events of this Saturday and they took place over the space of 22hrs, rather than 3 or 4.

I’m old.

At 8.30am this Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed to the sound of hammering rain and a gale blowing outside. Peeking through the blinds I was not a happy chappy to see such typical Scottish summer weather (ok, it’s Autumn, but really, what’s the difference?!). The washing was trying to blow off the line in the garden but couldn’t manage it because it was too heavy from the volume of rain weighing it down. Nice.

Normally I wouldn’t care. I don’t like mornings unless I am asleep while they are happening or still awake while they are happening. In actual fact there are conditions under which I enjoy a drich, cold, windy  morning: namely when I am snuggled up in bed, under a duvet, listening to it being resolutely outside, because then it is someone else‘s problem. “Ha ha!” I commonly think to myself, “Some poor bastard’s outside right now, being all awake and cold and that. Sucker”, before falling pointedly asleep.

That morning, I was the sucker  because I was waiting to get picked up to go and run a 5K race in the Meadows in aid of Relief for Burma. That’s right – another sporting charity event.

Hang on, I’ve just dropped my halo… Got it.

In actual fact, I deserve no halo, because I didn’t bother raising any money for it (apart from the registration fee you have to pay anyway) and I couldn’t even tell you what relief for Burma I was specifically running for- I just fancied a challenge.

The race started at 11am and I had managed to enlist two lovely guys from training to come and run with me, so we met at 10am to register. The blurb on the website advised us to meet beside “the big white tent on Melville drive”. A big white tent looks like this:

Now *that's* a big white tent

Now *that's* a big, white, tent

There was no big white tent.

There was a tent. It wasn’t white. It wasn’t big.

What? It's the Meadows. Can't you tell?!

At first we passed it by, thinking it may the home of an itinerant gentleman.

It wasn’t.

Ah. Not a large scale sporting event then.

However, there were maybe 100 people running and after we’d passed some time having a coffee and getting warm, the weather had improved a bit and we started the race at 11am on the dot, following a motivational speech from Robin Harper, leader of the Scottish Green Party. I like him. He’s lovely.

The boys found it a doddle, the bastards. I’m going to blame it on their significantly longer legs (nothing to do with all that running they do all the time, hell no), so even though they could have shot off and done it in about 16 minutes, they hung back with me and kept me company, meaning we all finished together in a very respectable 24.02. Huzzah!

Burma will be so relieved.

So, that was my day between 08.30 and 11.24, but I’ve got things to do and places to go, so 11.25-07.30 will have to wait for now.

S’later, peeps

Recently, more and more people from far, far away (as far away as say, Dundee, or America) have been having a look at our blog, and whilst this is fantastic (and you guys really should feel welcome to comment… COMMENT!!!), I figure a alot of you will be looking at the title of this blog and doing this:

*looking at the title*…. Thailand…..

*looking at the content* … doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Thailand, maybe I was wrong…

*looking at the description page* … nope, definitely says they were moving to Thailand…

*contacting Trading Standards* “Yeah, Hi. There’s this blog, and it’s lured me here under false pretences. It’s supposed to be about moving to Thailand, but clearly they’re still in Edinburgh. WTF?! Yeah. You know what to do. Kill them.”

Well, that’s all perfectly understandable: you’re disappointed. You wanted to read about wonderful adventures in Paradise. You wanted to know what happens to real people who move 7,000 miles away to a country where they can’t speak the language, read the road signs, or do anything other than guess at the ins-and-outs of social etiquette.

Believe me, we want to write about it. We’re pretty disappointed too!

So, here’s the skinny; why we’re not in Thailand; what we’re doing instead and the plan as far as it stretches (which is about 4 weeks into the future). Questions we feel you may need answered:

Why the hell aren’t you in Thailand?

The economy died.

The basis of our plan was that we would sell our flat to get the money to pay off debts and fund the trip. This has steadfastly refused to happen ever since we put the flat on the market in April. For further information about how it took us 2 months to get the stupid thing on the market in the first place, see the Saga of Able Flooring, parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. In general, April is the month to look at for details about the hell we went through trying to get the flat on the market.

Anyhoo. Eventually we did get the flat on the market and…


Sweet FA.

For months.

Ok, we get viewers: maybe 1 or 2 a week, but so far no notes of interest, no offers, and following our moves to fixed price, then reduced fixed price and then replacing our previously terrible schedules with lovely ones… nothing has changed.


What are you doing instead?

Hmmm. Tough one.

We both gave up our proper jobs for moving abroad – Paul finally quit his super-stressful job to do a TEFL qualification and I just didn’t look for a new teaching job. See previous blog for details. Oh, wait, you can’t: I had to delete my posts about teaching because Big Brother got me.

So now I have a significantly less stressful (but badly paid) job, which is pretty ideal as it allows me to train as hard as I like, and Paul gets a few shifts here and there in the pub downstairs whilst searching, fruitlessly, for a job with a decent wage.

So, what’s the plan, Man?

Well, it depends on how long we’re stuck here, really.

I’m going to keep training hard and fighting as often as I can, hang onto my new job and try to stay sane.

Paul’s going to look for a proper job until he gets one, which we hope will be soon.

If he gets a decent job and we’re still getting nowhere on the flat I’m going to start working towards a Personal Trainer qualification and the second, and I *mean* the SECOND the flat sells..

We are gone.

Anything we missed?

Finally! After *years* of waiting, I’ve been tagged to do a meme.

Even though my best friend in the whole-wide-world is an internationally famous blogger and CharmingYoungMan, I’ve had to wait a very long time for this life-altering opportunity, and i’m bloody well going to make the most of it.

Prepare yourselves, guys: I’m going to….

ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS!!!!111one!eleventy

I am:  Fundamentally a bit of a geek: awkward in social situations, obsessive about fringe pastimes, and not entirely comfortable in my own skin. However, I am also trying to learn to accept myself.

I think: Waaaaaaaaay too much. About everything. I think about what I’m thinking, and then think about whether what I’m thinking has value. Freak.

I know:  Quite a few random, useless facts: for example, that an ostrich has eyes larger than its brain. I also know enough Thai to get by for about 3 minutes in a relaxed or commercial situation.

I have: Some good tattoos on my back and my leg, and would love more but am trying to pace myself otherwise I’ll run out of skin or have to buy a motorbike.

I wish: I looked like Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, and Dita von Teese all at the same time.

I hate: Rude people: I really, genuinely can’t understand why people can’t be nice to one another. I also hate the way I’m so mean to myself when I try so hard to be nice to everybody else. I wouldn’t let anybody else put me down the way I put myself down, but it’s a hard habit to break.

I miss: something that I can’t put my finger on. Quite often I have this overwhelming feeling of homesickness, but not for a home I can actually go to- no specific house, no specific place – just… home.

I fear: failure, and failure by my own standards – nobody else’s. More than I can  possibly tell you.

I hear: Right now? The sounds of “Dude, where’s my car?”

I smell: Rose wine, Thai oil and jelly beans.

I crave: In this precise moment, I crave pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.

I search: For satisfaction; a sense of having ‘arrived’ or achieved my goal.

I wonder: How Paul knows so much stuff about random shit. I was away to ask him what things I normally wonder aloud about and mispronounced “meme”. He went on to tell me about memetics. How the fuck does he know about memetics? Why the fuck don’t I know about memetics?!

I regret: Not knowing about memetics before having that conversation. I also regret the fact that I find ‘classic’ novels and books about real stuff that’s happened boring in general. I like airport fiction. Sorry.

I love: Chicken. In  deep, meaningful way. Chicken, and how good it tastes roasted, is proof of God perhaps. I also really, really love Muay Thai. Don’t ask me why though. Fucked if I know.

I ache: Up my right arm where I punched my last opponent in the head and ripped some muscles.

I am not: A quitter. Whatever else I am, I can count on myself to see something through.

I believe: That people are basically good, and that “what’s for you wont go by you” as my mother and her mother say.

I dance: Pretty badly, and generally only when drunk.

I sing: Quite well, actually – I was a soprano at St Mary’s Music School, and did some solo singer-songwritery stuff before moving to the Dark Side (Muay Thai)

I cry: Pretty often and very easily- I’m a giant wuss, and I’m usually crying over Casualty, or some shit movie. And generally it’s because “I’m sad because *she’s* sad!” *sobsobsob*

I fight: As often as I can, which is about once every 2 or 3 months in general, and not nearly as often as I’d like!

I win: Currently more often than I lose – (fingerscrossedtouchwoodpleasegod)

I lose: Badly. I fucking hate it. I’m so competitive.

I never: Forgive myself.

I always: Greet solitary magpies in case of bad luck – (you know “one for sorrow…” ) by saying “Good Evening/Afternoon/Morning Mr Magpie”- that’s Ally’s fault, though. Before he told me about that I just though you had to suck up the bad luck and have done with it. I also always rescue snails from the pavement when they’re trying to get from one side to the other – it makes journeys take a lot longer, but I figure it’s good new Karmically. And when I say “always”, I mean ALWAYS. I ALWAYS do this.

I confuse: The words “refute” and “dispute” and “rescind”. Fuck it. I don’t really care.

I listen: to almost everything – I just hate that nasty, modern discotheque music all the kids listen to in their stupid, “pimped-up” automobiles – you know… ‘banging homes’ music, or ‘thumping house’ or whatever they call it. Generally I like rock, acoustic folky stuff and a nice dose of electro.

I can usually be found: At training or in the gym. Ask Paul – he will vouch for this: I do, all told, about 15-20 hrs of exercise per week.

I am scared: of all winged insects apart from butterflies. I also have an honest to god phobia of a certain type of insect, one which shall not be named… the offspring of flies… starts with an ‘M’. Don’t say it. I make Paul call them “puppies”.

I need: A wee at the moment. I also need a lot of reassurance and comforting from my friends – I get extremely insecure and paranoid a lot of the time.

I imagine: the worst far too often. I also imagine that there really are other worlds like Narnia and that animals can secretly talk. Prove that they don’t… go on…. can’t? Shame.

I tag: Diet Girl

Elastic Waist

OK, Paul’s turn 🙂

I am: terrified of the near future, unsure of the mid future and looking forward to the distant future.

I think: Constantly, and I mean 24/7. Seriously, it fucks with my sleep and my enjoyment of life in general. It’s part of the reason I used to drink so much but I’ve learned to live with it and just try to change my thoughts from doom, gloom and panic to more wholesome fare.

I know: A lot about random crap, as Sarah mentioned. I can’t help it, I just read a fuck of a lot on a metric assload of subjects. Some of it sticks and some of it disappears. I wouldn’t have it any other way, polymaths ftmfw.

I have: More time on my hands than I’d like right now. Thankfully I’ve discovered that, contrary to a life-long belief, I’m not allergic to gyms and that they can actually improve your life.

I wish: A law could be enacted that would outlaw salaries above, say, £50k per year. That should effectively outlaw the excessive greed that has led to more or less every atrocity in human history. Naive? Maybe. But a good start nonetheless.

I hate: Not knowing what’s going to happen next and more than that not being able to do anything about it. Oh, and excessive greed/wealth.

I miss: The point. A lot.

I fear: Uncertainty and helplessness. See the answer a couple of slots above this, fear and hatred are inextricably intertwined IMHO.

I hear: them all, I hear them all, I hear them all

I smell: Very little unfortunately. I think I killed a lot of my sense of smell through years of smoking although I really do love the smell of garlic and of frying onions.

I crave: An end to the turmoil currently in my life. Urgh, it’s all so icky.

I search: Exceptionally efficiently on the web and like a spastic, cataract-inflicted hedgehog in real life. Seriously, I can barely even find Scotland half the time and I fucking live here.

I wonder: When this thing will ever end :p

I regret: Having taken philosophy at Uni instead of a science subject. I was good at that shit but unfortunately the boredom of my hometown led me to LSD which handily ‘expanded’ my mind and made me want to study random argumentative balls for four years instead.

I love: Sarah

I ache: After weights at the gym but not as much as after going 10-pin bowling for the first time in ages. Bum pain to the max.

I am not: 32. Honest, I’m not.

I believe:  That more harm has been done to this world by ‘beliefs’ than by anything else. But then again I’m a pedantic motherfucker who, if asked, “Do you believe in evolution?” replies with, “Of course not, I understand it”

I dance: Rarely. I used to do it all the time but somewhere along the line I developed some kind of horrible self-consciousness which seemed to spoil a lot of my fun. I still go ape-shit at gigs, although that’s closer to fighting than dancing really.

I sing: All the time, and I think I do it quite well. Unless Sarah’s around, in which case I’m told in no uncertain terms that I sound like a drowning rat. (edit-That is *not* true! Sarah)

I cry: When angels deserve to die? Nah, crying’s not really my thing, too much of a MAN. When it does happen it happens properly though.

I fight: Incredibly badly, although my experienced is limited to about 2 instances in my life. Once I lost a tooth, the second time I remember swinging at a guy and missing him by a clear foot. God help me if I ever make it to a Muay Thai class…

I win: Whenever I play noughts and crosses against myself. Seriously, I suck at that game. Except for the fact that I’m so good at it.

I lose: Track of the date so easily these days. I almost wish I had a steady 9-5 job again…

I never: For a second thought that my life would be like this. Seriously, I only remember having 2 scenarios when younger: an astronaut (aged 8); or dead after 21 (aged 18). Since the second one didn’t bear out I done  just bin rolling with the punches.

I always: Check that I have my keys in my pocket before I leave the flat.

I confuse: Spare change in my pocket for my keys. Hence the outrageous amount of cash that Sarah and I have pumped into the local locksmithing industry over the past few years.

I listen: To Sarah’s confused ramblings with a mixture of amusement, love, shock and joy. Seriously, you should have been there for the one about how the universe is essentially a giant tomato. There was a drawing and everything. FACT.

I can usually be found: Either in the flat, the pub or the gym. In fact those are almost the only places you’ll find me, and the pub is mostly there cause I work in one, not cause I’m a rotten ol’ boozehound.

I am scared: Of Derren Brown. Sarah will back me up on this one

I need: A proper job. I love my current one but when it takes you longer to earn a pint than it does to drink one then there’s something wrong.

I imagine: That this list sounds a lot more arsey and full of myself than it did while I was typing it.

Peaceful repose, originally uploaded by Kalshassan.

The other of Kal’s lovely photos from last night – he’s cleverly made it impossible to copy and paste his pictures, so this is the only way to share them!


Fight – 48 hours, originally uploaded by Kalshassan.

Last night, partially because K asked me to, and partly to distract myself from the hunger and the kanckeredness, I agreed to let Kal take some tastefully topless shots of my back. This, and Peaceful Repose were the result.

I’m dead chuffed, but don’t really associate myself with that image- that’s not me, is it? I was a fat chick the last time I checked…?


But cool


Note, this post has been co-written by Sarah  and Paul.

We totally kicked the fucking arse of that motherfucking charity cycling event – motherfucker!!!

Yes, yes we did. Although I disagree entirely with Sarah’s excessive profanity. We did, however, rock that bitch.

Ok, so, it wasn’t *strictly* a race, and it wasn’t even *vaguely* important, however: I’m pretty fucking competitive, so *I* at least was racing, even if nobody else was.

And I totally beat them.


I beat them too, every single one of those losers who came in behind me. Can I also add that I technically beat Sarah too – despite coming in an hour behind her I achieved my goal of simply finishing whereas she failed to be home and showered in time for flat viewings. Paul 1 – Sarah 0. Oh yeah baby.

The details of the Day of Triumph are as follows:

Paul and Sabrina and I set off together from Edinburgh, after enduring the World’s Longest Queue to get our bikes on the truck and get ourselves on the bus at Victoria Park in Leith, at about 8am. Sabrina and I chatted away happily, drinking coffee and munching of cereal bars as Paul, who was full of the cold, tried not to vomit.

Had a chest infection followed by a dastardly cold in the week preceding the event, meaning no training, extreme weakness, typical man flu symptoms (“I’m dyiiiiiiing”) and general rubbishness. Managed to hawk up some impressively coloured piles of phlegm before the start though, made me kinda proud.

Eventually we arrived at Glasgow Green, with Paul not covered in vomit, and got ready to get going. Toilet trips, seat adjustments, tyre pump..age..ings (?) and we were at the starting line at 10.04am. Every minute 40 riders were set off, avoiding a scrummage at the starting line, so at 10.05 we set off; cycle computer duly zeroed for accurate information on the ride.

Paul, Sabrina and I rode together for, ooh, about…. 25 seconds until I, like the heartless bitch that I am, fucked right off into the distance, and that was the last I saw of them until quite a bit later.

Actually, Sabrina and I deliberately starting falling back because Sarah’s racist and occasionally Nazi-esque chat about inferior races and breeding out any kind of physical imperfections so we could create a master race of cycling Muay Thai cyborgs was frankly a little too much for that time of the morning.

Ok, I admit it, I sort of zoomed off – what a meanie. However, I was keen to challenge myself and see how quickly I could do the ride, so I set off at a pretty good pace and quite quickly overtook about 8 of the groups who’d set off before us, before eventually settling into a rhythm just as we were leaving Glasgow. I had been picking random people to try and follow or overtake, and a couple of miles in I found myself behind a man doing a very good impression of a brick shithouse, with thighs like treetrunks. He was wearing a bright pink t-shirt which made him pretty easy to spot and cycled about as fast as me, or slightly faster, so he seemed a good pace-setter.

I tailed him for the entire journey and although we lost one another several times at rest stops, we always seemed to find each other again. At points when he was obviously off somewhere, peeing or having some pasta, or both – who knows, who am I to judge – I tagged along with a group of proper-scary-looking-cyclists-in-lycra, and was chuffed to bits to discover I could keep up easily. Well, not easily. But I kept up anyway.

Hehe, cyclists in lycra. It was never a sensible fashion statement and never will be. I had the utter joy of spending a few minutes behind a woman with an ass just ever-so-slightly on the large side for the lycra shorts she was wearing, resulting in a constant stream of seismic waves emanating from the saddle up to the top of her ass-cheeks. It was hypnotic like watching a fucking lava lamp, I swear if I’d had some quality acid on me I’d have been the happiest man alive.

It was one of these lycra-clad cycling Gods who gave me some great encouragement, complimenting my speed and “natural ability” (ha!), suggesting I should join a cycling club. Sadly for the world of cycling, I have only room in my life for one true love – Muay Thai (sorry Paul). Chris Hoy is safe for now.

Fuck you too. Bee-atch.

All in all, the cycle was pretty good fun. There were several moments of zippy “Wheeeee!”ness, zooming down hills at 30mph; overtaking and being overtaken by cyclists all around; narrowly missing being repeatedly squished by cars (not squished repeatedly by the same car, but repeated near-misses: being repeatedly squished by just one car would definitely look suspicious).

There were also several hours-worth of hills: the Hill O’ Death just after Avonbridge was a corker, and I was really glad I had decided not to stop in Avonbridge to eat my Powerbar and wait until I got through the crowds, because getting started again going up that hill would have been a killer. That was kind of a theme at Pedal for Scotland: rest stops immediately in front of ENORMOUS hills. Not a good plan. I very much enjoyed sitting on the verge just after the brow of the hill, listening to several hundred cyclists going “Aaaaaah” in relief as they finally got to freewheel for a minute. Quite relaxing.

That hill was truly horrible, Sab and i made the mistake of stopping at Avonbridge and being forced to warm back up on the incline. An evil or monumentally stupid piece of route planning, all so some nowhere little hamlet can cash in on the charity-based cash cow that is Pedal For Scotland. Cunts.

Apart from that, I made one other stop, at Linlithgow where there was pasta, water and toilets. All very much needed and very much appreciated. I got going after that for the last 20 miles and caught back up with Mr Pink and the Scary Cyclists not far down the road.

The last part of the ride, from Cramond to Leith Victoria Park was sheer hell. It’s a long, slow incline and whilst the website claimed the ride was 47.5 miles, this was a big, fat lie and in fact it was 53. So, when I got to 45 miles I was thinking “Yes! Only 2.5 to go!” 2.5 miles passed, and I was demonstrably not finished and had no idea how much further it was to go, so that was a nice touch of unintentional mind-fuckery. About this time, Mr Pink blistered past me and I completely lost sight of all the cyclists I had been keeping up with. Shit.

OK, now everyone knows that Sarah is fit. I mean seriously, absurdly and possibly illegally fit. She can take this kind of last-minute route alteration in her stride and, to be honest, was probably secretly pissed off that they didn’t make it a return journey. I, however, am a recovering couch potato who was still in the throes of a nasty illness at the time. Can you imagine what it was like to see that 45-mile marker pass by and think, “Yay! Nearly there!”, only to turn around and think, “Wait, if Leith is only 2.5 miles away then how the fuck come I’ve only just cycled under the fucking Forth Road Bridge?”. Bunch of unforgiveable bastards.

I was really flagging as we neared Leith, but two nedlings helpfully spurred me on by throwing an apple at me as I cycled past. Being more concerned about my time than smashing their skulls in I let it go with some colourful language but got a burst of anger-fuelled speed on.

I escaped any ned-based aggro, instead being treated to some fun and games from locals en route. It seems that South Queensferry must be one of the most boring places on earth because an unfeasible amount of locals actually turned out to watch the spectacle of a stream of red-faced cyclists puff and pant their way through the streets. I was glad of this though because I got treated to several rounds of “Run The High-Five Gauntlet” by groups of wee kiddies. They’d line up either side of the cyclists and stretch their hands into the path, screaming “High-five me!!!” at the tops of their wee lungs. Most of the sour pricks on the run just ignored them but I was only too happy to oblige, especially in the situations where it involved rapidly switching between left and right fives. I even managed to summon enough reserve energy “Cycling Five!”, “Charity Five!” and, most proudly, “Mental Health Five!” a la The Todd from Scrubs. Aah, simple pleasures.

Maybe about a quarter of a mile from the finish line, I saw Mr Pink up ahead and decided that I needed to catch up, which gave me some motivation – I guess he must have been a bit fucked too, or maybe had to stop for a bit. I caught him just as we rounded the corner into the park and then overtook him, beating him by about 10 seconds or so.

What a cow, eh?

Ok, so it’s not a race as I said, and it certainly wasn’t a race against Mr Pink, because I don’t think he was racing against *me*, but… I don’t care.

I won.

I crossed the finishing line at 14.19: 4 hrs 14 mins after I started. Of that, I did 3 hrs 47 actually on the bike, which I’m really chuffed with.

I was over the line about an hour later with Sabrina coming in close behind me. Don’t think I’ve ever been so tired but the actual pain of it all disappeared remarkably quickly.

The atmosphere at Victoria Park was great, as was the camaraderie on the road, and it was a great experience which I’d love to repeat next year if I’m in the country.

Next year would be nice, although I’m still aiming for the charity cycle around Madagascar which I uncovered online. Bring it on baby.

What wasn’t so great was the fact I still had to cycle home after I finished.

Quit whining, pussy!

And that is the epic tale of Pedal for Motherfucking Scotland, Mofo!

May 2018
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