Fat Mac, who used to be a librarian (of sorts), had shown some interest in cycling to Pinkie, but in the event he had to go out drinking beer with some widows that day.
Today, he emailed me and asked me where to buy padded breeks – he wanted to get a pair for his elder brother, who doesn’t get out of his house very often – so I told him the name of a good shop with a selection of outdoor clothes, and sent him the website address.
“Ah cannae work they online purchasing shops” came the reply. So I pointed out that the shop also had physical shops, and a ‘Store finder’ facility on their website.
“Ah cannae work they finding where the shop is things” came the reply. So I started to describe where the nearest shop was, and how he could cycle down to it, but then I realised that he’d only get lost, either there, or on the way back. I know that for a fact because every bike ride that Fat Mac has organised has started out with the intention of him showing me how to cycle to Balerno along cycle tracks, but not once have we ever got there, and mostly we’ve ended up in a pub that sells cheap beer down in Crammond (miles away from Balerno).
So, I thought, this is a bit like missionary work, isn’t it, and I said I’d pick him up at his flat in the campervan and drive him to the shop in question, for which I happen to have a discount card, so he’d get good value. Having the campervan would also ensure that we’d not end up in a pub, as well.
So I picked him up and we drove to the shop, where he bought not only some padded breeks, but also some socks, a jacket, and a pair of walking boots for his brother. As soon as the assistant had shown him the boots, Fat Mac said he’d take them, but the assistant looked at them, and said he thought one was bigger than the other. Fat Mac said his brother wouldn’t mind, but the assistant went to get another pair. I looked at the boots and said, “They are both left foots!” The assistant said, “You’re right, but one seems more left than the other.”
Eventually, we got them sorted out, a left and a right, paid, and left (the shop).
Down the road, Fat Mac said “How about a coffee, then, Rods”
“We’ll need to find somewhere that sells coffee, and not beer.” I answered.
“Most pubs sell coffee, I think”
“Aye, but they also sell beer, Mac”
So I drove to a Turkish cafe in Leith, where we enjoyed two coffees. We’d finished our coffees when Fat Mac started to slaver a bit. I looked around and suddenly realised that behind the counter were some beer bottles. The cafe had a drinks license! And Fat Mac had noticed.
I didn’t say anything, except, “OK, that was good. Let’s go, then.”
And for once, we did – we left the open grave behind.