With a working life that is currently out of blog bounds (Marcel, my pal, is a mean lawyer and I am not the person to defy his advice…)… I have been onto slim-pickings.
Slim-pickings until last night that is.
Shirls (my artist pal) and Sharon (our multi-talented paediatric nurse/artist pal) met me for a Lanark night out. The town is in the middle of its annual Music festival and there were a few bands we wanted to hear (and drinks we wanted to drink).
No, no, don’t be getting too excited. This is neither high culture a la Glyndebourne, nor popular culture a la Glastonbury. This is a wee dreich Scottish toun trying to drum up pub trade with a few gigs…
We warmed up for the musical extravaganza in Maisie’s, our favourite wee local. Rebel Eldest joined us and we walked round to the Crown Tavern in Lanark’s Hope Street.
Meg’s pal, the gorgeous Charlotte, was performing. Her duo – Peacock Waters – covered an eclectic range from Eurythmics to John Martyn to Prince to modern ‘stuff’ that I liked but couldn’t name.
Shirls and Sharon danced (they are true happy drunks) and sang and got unfairly way more drunk than me. In fact I was stuck on sober mode. And the fourth gin just wouldn’t be finished.
We did the walk of middle-aged shame and wandered to The Woodpecker for last orders at 1am – feeling the heavy weight of age, conspicuous in that 18-20 crowd.
We suffered the attentions of wee drunk laddies, clearly convinced that middle-aged women should be grateful for any male attention at all. Realised too late we should have gone to get a taxi direct from the Crown and downed our drinks quick.
Meg’s pal, Miriam joined me at the very end. And I had to stand guard whilst she peed in the dankest corner of a dark wee close – hunkered between wheely bins and peeing with a control, strength and directness I’d forgotten folk could pee with…
There was a fumble of money exchanging hands in the taxi – and I decided (oh unwise me) not to go home but to take Shirl’s Bankhead Farm detour for a coffee.
The night was mild. Damp. Still.
Russell – hippy-horizontal, randy, beautifully golden Aussie ecologist and ‘earth man’ Russell – who was originally baby-sitting Shirl’s Sophie – and who has taken up residence in the New Lanark woods following a domestic catastrophe caused by his wandering prick- greeted us with filterless roll-ups and a direct line in chat that sends a shock up your spine – even as you are laughingly searching for an equally truthful answer.
Russell had uttered one of his inimitably direct observational questions and I was catching my breath to answer it, when Jamie – Shirl’s amazing, singular husband, Jamie – burst out of their bedroom, arms akimbo, and streaked, butt naked , past us to the toilet. His member flapping in its nest of pubes. Momentarily disturbing the calm mild night. Provoking a mild guffaw from Russell – an involuntary prudish-sounding ‘Oh my God’ from me – and an ‘Oh, look out, here comes Jamie’ from Shirls.
Instructed by Shirls to ‘look the other way if you don’t want another eyeful of Jamie’ Russell offered me a timely fag and we stepped into the dark night smiling.
As we stood drawing and puffing on the tight tobacco Russell paused, beckoned me to his step and pointed to the phosphorescent light streaming from the Church spire in the distance.
Very phallic tonight he said.