In the rare occasion that my birthday falls upon a weekend, I do try to make the most of it. This year I really did push the boat out, though – starting with a huge afternoon/night out on Friday, followed by driving to Scotland on Saturday morning to visit my family for the rest of the weekend.
Friday was ace – it just happened to be a free “summer leave” half day that the company grants us, and it also coincided with the leaving do for my friend Axel. After starting off at The Richmond, as usual, a bunch of us met up in town later in the afternoon and carried on from there. Truth be told it’s all a bit of a blur – I know I had a burger in Eddie Rockets and I know I was in Alma de Cuba with a bunch of folk after that. However, due to being plied with numerous shots in celebration of my birthday, I don’t really remember any conversations I might have had. It was a great night, though – thoroughly enjoyable.
The drive up to Scotland the next morning wasn’t as tough as I imagined it would be, and as Elisha slept most of the way we did it without stopping. The only fly in the ointment was not being able to join the Erskine Bridge westbound due to roadworks, meaning we had to go right past it and double back, joining a huge queue of traffic doing the same. Most frustrating to be held up like that in what should have been the final half hour of the journey, but what can you do.
Once we arrived we went for lunch in town, before returning to my folks house so that I could go for a sleep to regain some energy for the evening. Fliss woke me after a few hours to tell me that we couldn’t get a table booked in the restaurant we had intended to go to, and asked if I’d be okay with getting take-away. This was fine by me – saved me the trouble of getting all cleaned up to go out. 😉
The Indian food we got in was great, although I hardly ate any of my main meal and decided to save it for later. With the family gathered around eating and chatting, Andrew and I played Vice City Survivor on our PSP’s, then eventually called it a night at around 1am.
I had been eager to get an early night in case it was dry the next morning, and when I woke the next day at around quarter to nine I was rewarded with perfect blue skies. I was up, washed, dressed and out on my way to Helensburgh pier head, where the local authority have placed a couple of skate ramps – one small vert style ramp, and another table top style fun box. There’s also a grind rail, but since I cant ollie at all I was less interested in that.
Arriving just after nine, I was glad to see that the early hour had discouraged the rest of the blading and skating community from showing up to enjoy the good weather. I’d have the ramps to myself and wouldn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of being a just turned 35 year old who skates like a just turned 6 year old in front of anyone. Once parked, I put on my elbow pads and wrist guards and made my way over to the ramps to discover they were covered in early morning dew. Unsafe!
Half of the vert ramp was a little ropey, to say the least, meaning I could only kick turn on the dry side and then play it safe by going straight up and straight back down the damp side. This sucked a little, but I was able to entertain the early morning pensioner dog walkers with what little variety that gave me. At least, I think I was entertaining them. It could be they were wondering why some grown up was playing on the kid’s skatepark.
It had been a while since I skated any ramps, so it was hard going – pumping my legs to keep the momentum up on the vert ramp, or pushing hard to make it up and over the fun box was using a muscle group that the waggley stick machine in the gym obviously neglects. Catching my breath at one point, a lady passing by said “That looks like hard work!”
“Yes.” I agreed, “It never used to be, but it is now!”
There was no denying it was good fun, though – really good fun. During another brief rest I just stood atop the dry side of the vert ramp, gazing west across the river Clyde, appreciative of the perfect morning I’d been granted. I like skating. Skating and good weather – they kind of compliment one another. I really should live somewhere that makes each of those things possible on a more regular basis.
The vert ramp wasn’t drying out particularly fast, unfortunately, and when I tried to kick turn on the damp side I looped out big time, but landed on my feet. Figuring I’d probably been out for around an hour, I called it quits after five more minutes and drove back home. As soon as I got back I wished I’d stayed on the ramps longer, as the morning was just fantastic and the sun was really warm. I ended up on my brother’s trampoline for half an hour instead, and that helped tire me out.
Later in the day we headed up to Auntie Mary’s place for an early dinner. By then the weather was beginning to fail, though. We passed through a shower on the way, but the sun held for long enough for us to enjoy the meal outdoors, then go the park to walk the dogs and let Elisha play on the swings. As usual, Auntie Mary’s hospitality was great – the meal was superb and she put her relentless energy to good use in entertaining Elisha.
We all headed back shortly after eight, as I’d said I’d go for a drink with Crazy Uncle John back in Helensburgh. For various reasons he took forever to get ready, and then insisted we headed out to Cardross instead of our usual haunt of The Clyde Bar. Fortunately my Uncle James lives in Cardross, and he was in his local with his friend Mike, so it was kind of cool to turn up and surprise him.
I got home around one-ish, which wasn’t too late – spot on considering my exertions from earlier that day.
As usual with our trips back home, it was over all too soon and we drove back down to Liverpool this afternoon. We’ll be back up again in a month’s time, though, for cousin Jamie’s leaving for Australia party. Hopefully I can get some more skating in then, too! 😉