Pushing a car through cotton wool

I’m sitting in my little kitchen in Ayr listening to the sound of the rain outside and the last birds of the evening. Almost 8pm and it’s still light.

I’ve just finished arranging all the factors for tomorrow’s shuttling. It’s all straight in my head and it all makes sense so I can relax now and sink towards an early bed. I’m very very tired.

First thing this morning I had to drive to Carlisle. It’s only about two and a half hours, but there’s still no aerial in the car so no music. And the rain came. Not just any rain. Rain that floods the fast lane. Rain that cuts the light. Thick hard white rain. My world was a box in front of me. Thankfully the lenses in my sunglasses cut the glare and are perhaps the finest lenses I’ve ever had. I could see what was visible very clearly, and react to it. But what was visible was extremely limited.

You know me and driving by now. My stamina for it is high. But today almost beat me. A restless sleep and then that relentless rain. It wasn’t just an hour. It was the whole way down, like some dream of watery hell, just my eyes and the engine.

I’m some twisted modern version of a centaur. My horse-body right now is a little red Suzuki S-Cross. It’s hybrid. This means it is heavier than it looks and burns petrol faster at speed. I think you’re supposed to only drive the things in cities.

The joy of the battery is when the lights change. It flies off from zero like a souped up diesel. The go pedal kicks it into go and it go go goes. On the motorway, you can sleepily drift into three figure speeds and it is still purring. I think of the Micra and how it used to shake at eighty. This one just wants to fly. I have to be careful not to express myself too much when I have passengers, as some of these empty flat winding rural Scottish roads remind me of the Isle of Man where I learnt to drive and where there is no speed limit. But no amount of go can cut a cloud like that one. I arrived in Carlisle with only ten minutes to spare, and I was adrenalised and exhausted in equal measure just in time to turn around and do the same amount of time and more with passengers.

After an hour I drove out of the cloud and found light and peace, but my head was drooping. Still rain so I couldn’t open the windows – my passengers chose to sit in the back and they were sleeping. I had to stop.

I found a lovely little station. Family owned, an extended farm shop. A far cry from the usual MacDonalds crapstop. I wish I could remember where it was, but I had a fire under me. I necked a bottle of old fashioned lemonade, shoved a packet of crisps into my face and came back to my passengers with a voice again, and a flat white to boot. Yes, I’m back on the coffee, but it’s just one a day and at times like that when it does what it is supposed to do.

I have to eat and sleep. Night night.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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