The only way I am feeling this particular morning is again just plain knackered, the bigger dose of Pregabalin knocks the stuffing out of me, the bonus is it gives me an extra bounce of ‘the devil may care” atttitudes once im finally awake. Today is one of my thrice yearly check-ups with my consultant, the clinic is based on the opposite side of the Devon coast from where I live. Whichever route I decide to take, the journey is a going to be a bitch, that being either by road or rail, today’s coin flip chooses road trip, see how excited I am …. “road trip, Road Trip, ROAD TRIP !
One saving grace of the four wheel choice is that I can have an hour extra to bathe and pamper myself and try to relax a little before I head off up North through the mid extremities of the county. Splish splash im outta da bath, now drip dry clean, I select my rags du jour and transform myself into a super dooper uber model. Believe me, I’m no Ryan Reynolds but no harm in thinking you are. I pull my grey trews on, covering a nice pair of choice cut designer briefs, then twist my buttons through the orifices of my blue and white checked shirt and roll the sleeve cuffs up over twice and finally adjusting the button down collar. I slip my naked hooves into my Loake deck shoes. Almost ready, a tiny spray of EDT, one under my chin and a quick squirt behind each knee arch, a tip I picked up from my late Aunt Doreen, a big tall power woman who laughed just like Hattie Jaques. Looking down at my grey tight chino legs I bend down and flip each leg hem over upwards which gives me a very ‘out of town strange’ appearance which makes me look just like the nob on the front of this months GQ magazine !.
Never classed myself as “out-of-town strange” A quote often used by Americans describing a loose sexual encounter requiring same from another area or town. Well, if the cap fits, here goes … another nob on a hopeless mission!
An hours homework last evening gives me three sat-nav destinations already printed out on an A4 sheet, as I mentioned the drive is likely to be unpleasant and timing the traffic is likely to be another logistical nightmare.
Top of the ‘to do list’ says petrol, goodness knows why, as our car is diesel, tend to guess its just a long standing pattern. Filling up at the station I am hypnotised by the McDonalds across the road, just ike the weakest link that has snapped I end up munching on a Sausage and Egg Bagel meal with the hash brown stuffed inside the artery clogging treat, habit forces me to remove my plate and I munch with rabid vigour devouring it with just one insisor like an aged beaver munching on his log. I leave, and route takes me to the new South Devon Link road, I am instructed to head towards the infamous M5, this is not one of my favourite routes, plantechnicans and lorries hauling live stock trundle along this stretch of road, weaving all over the place due to road cambers and wide open areas susceptible to wind conditions of manic proportions. Nearing junction 27 I see the sign marked Barnstaple and “Atlantic Highway” although its over 70 miles away, I am aware that the end is in sight, well, a very long way away, buy never the less. The fact now means a long stretch of dual carriageway which traverses every hill and dale along the way, through the Rackenford forest cutting and high bridges over the villages and hamlets below which sit either side of the beautiful Otter railway line.
As I near Landkey, I now see the famous road sign framed in blue, a portal to the other-side, where stress is relieved and memories are made. Truth is it’s just a link road running along the North coasts of Devon and Cornwall accessing all the beaches, camp sites and tourist facilities. I attain a feeling of de-javu with a somewhat kind romantic air and heavy of recollection, a slight sense of fun and mystery, surfboards strapped to the roof of VW campervans laden heavily with beach bums and ravers heading toward the “Tunes in the dunes” concert. A weekend of hedonism, wacky backy, alcopops, baked beans and plenty much of the old mooky pooky between the lithe bronzed dudes with bleach blonde locks in bermuda shorts and the slim Betty’s sporting the latest spray on bikinis.
I near my destination, just over the hill is the beautiful Atlantic, resplendent and powerful, it calls me, alas there is a nurse with a needle and half a dozen empty vials waiting to express my haema for analysis. Perhaps next time I should throw a small tent in the back of the car and make a night away of it, sit in the dunes by a crackling log fire made from driftwood and stare at the stars while listening to the waves which are just out of reach in the dark of the night.
I see my consultant, she is pleased with my progress, we chat briefly about the state of the nation, interior design and eclectism, even Martin Cranes’ electric recliner chair is pulled into the debate. Suddenly, out of the blue, just like the 1966 World Cup last minute goal she gives me the bad news, and I mean REALLY bad. I am numb with shock.
My next appointment will be in January ….. I breathe a sigh of relief. So no tent adventures for me then. Phew! Thank the heavens for that. To be honest, I’m more of a Premier Inn kind of guy than a sand in my sleeping bag Joe.
Our Atlantic Highway is our equivalent of the Californian Big Sur and Route 1, Miami to Key West in America, I certainly know which I prefer.