Islands in the Sun.

Guess what? It isn’t raining. Now, a pessimist up here (or a realist as I prefer to be called) would say that this means nothing other than that it’s going to rain. Indeed when I stayed in Greenock (btw “stayed” is Scottish for “lived”) the saying went that if you looked across the Clyde and couldn’t see Helensburgh it meant is was raining. If you could see Helensburgh, it merely meant that it was going to rain. Anyway, back to the current weather in Elderslie. Not only is it not raining, the list of other “nots” includes not snowing, not icy, not windy and, mirabile dictu, not grey and dismal. The combination of this happening is what makes the situation worthy of comment (and there you thought it was just because I had nothing else to say), especially as it means I have been able to get out on t’bike quite regularly. In shorts and shirt sleeves on two occasions. Why it’s been so sunny that I have got quite a nice suntan about me. Well OK – my arms and legs have a slight tidemark. So, I thought it was time to notch up another half-century in the sun and off I went to the island of Great Cumbrae, which no-one ever recognises under that moniker, preferring as one does to call it by its more common soubriquet of Millport. Now Millport is remarkable for very little other than being shut for about 6 months of the year. It lacks the charm of the Isle of Bute (or Rothesay as it is commonly known, or Rossey as it is known by the even more common!) The other thing Millport is famous for is the fact that when the sun shines everyone and their dug heads for it as it is an easy (i.e. flat) island to cycle or walk round. I thought I’d be a real smartarse and get there in the morning before the hordes arrived. I hadn’t accounted for the fact that Caledonian Macbrayne – that custodian of Scottish waterways – had omitted to take into account that it was now officially “the season” and had not put the larger ferry on. So after missing the push-me-pull-you by one car, I finally got there about 11am. However, I managed three circuits approx 30 miles) before the madmentos arrived and the way was blocked in places by tandems driven by nutters and, at one point, a leprechaun and a Dennis the Menace. Now, I’m all for people getting on their bikes, but… they do need to realise there’s a certain etiquette to be followed. Oh god, I’ve become a bike snob. Anyway, one half-century was the upshot and boy I felt good again. But next time, not Millport please.

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