Unnecessarily Long Post about a Weekend in St Andrews (and other things)

I am so behind in my blog. I meant to write last night when I got home, but was distracted by a house full of people. Then I meant to blog at lunch today, but never got to my cafe to write. So, here I am sitting on the futon mattress on the floor in the lounge trying to get caught up on the last three-ish days.

Yes, I have a futon mattress. I guess I should start with that. Came home yesterday to find that S had acquired a futon mattress off CoolTrous. That isn’t as long of a story as I thought it would be.

On Saturday, Pete and went over to St Andrews. The day was gorgeous. Clear, blue, crisp and sunny. Not too much wind and a just-right kind of mild. I mentioned to Pete that it was a shame we couldn’t spend the entire weekend in St Andrews, but a hotel would be too dear.

I was thinking about that weekend HarryPotter and I spent in the caravan. Actually, when I said, ‘Too bad we can’t spend the whole weekend in St Andrews’, I was really thinking, ‘It’s a shame we aren’t staying at HP’s caravan’, but that’s not what I said. In fact, I still haven’t told Pete that I spent a weekend in St Andrews with HP.  

It’s not like HP is an ex-boyfriend, sort of. Maybe he is. But it was only once. So maybe he’s not. But he’s more than a hook-up. Oh, I don’t know. See this is why I’m not with HP. Too complicated. Anyway, when HP and I were in St Andrews, he wasn’t a boyfriend type. But it still felt weird telling a current boyfriend about a quasi-romantic weekend with an ex-ish-type-person. But, was that weekend with HP romantic? Maybe that’s just a faded fuzzy memory, and really it was just a ‘mates’ weekend.

See, this is why I didn’t say anything. If I don’t even know how to quantify HP and I’s relationship to myself, how would I explain it to Pete? Yeah, he’s Mr Laid-Back, so he wouldn’t judge — or even care for that matter. But I just didn’t want to even try to explain it. So, I didn’t.

Anyway, when I said, ‘It’s too bad we can’t stay the weekend in St Andrews’, Pete took this as his cue to make it happen. He rang the woman he dog walks for and asked to borrow her camping equipment. (Only a North American can get away with ringing your new boss and asking to borrow her stuff.) So, that was us. Camping in St Andrews.

We got into town, threw our stuff in a bus station locker, and headed out. I was trying to get my bearings and find the Cathedral ruins, when we came across a bookstore with a walking tour of St Andrews in it. As it had been over a year since I’d been about St Andrews, I figured it would be a better guide than my shotty memory. So, with little book in hand, off we went to see St Andrews.

I don’t know what it is about Pete — maybe it’s those long lanky legs — but that boy adores walking. He could get up on the morning, walk until bed time, and never feel a thing. Me on the other hand, within an hour the arches and balls of my feet hurt, my thighs are burning, and I want to collapse. I’m just not a walker. Hell, I’m not an exerciser. Which I know isn’t healthy, but I’ve got nubby little legs and it takes three steps to keep-up with one of Pete’s strides, so, in my defense, I have to work three times harder than the average Pete.

But anyway, we walked…all day. We got to the cathedral around 11:30 and did not stop until after dark — save about thirty minutes for lunch and another thirty minutes for a cuppa. Here’s what we did in St Andrews:

*Harbour and Pier
*University of St Andrews Museum
*Martyrs Monument
*(parts of) West Sands
*(parts of) Old Course
*St Salvator’s Quadrangle
*St Andrews Preservation Trust
*St Mary’s Quadrangle
*St Leonards Chapel
*St Andrews Heritage Museum
*And little bits and bobs along the way

Pete read the descriptions of each heritage site, monument and dilapidated building, while I tried to follow the directions in the book. But, St Andrews is so small we kept passing things up and having to double back. St Andrews is an amazing little town. It’s the kind of place you think you want to live in. Quaint and picturesque. But after a short period of time, would it become too small? People always said to me, ‘You’re so lucky to live in such a lovely town like Kingston.’ And I never really agreed. Kingston always felt too enclosed perfect. Even living in it’s ‘rougher’ areas, I sometimes felt like I was living in a more urban version of Midsomer Murders — maybe it was like Corston.

But it was a really good day. We talked and laughed. There’s a big PH (where Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake) on the ground in front of a church that students won’t step on because they there’s a superstition that if they do step on it, they won’t graduate. Pete and I danced all over it feeling smug that we’d already graduated. Then Pete pointed out that we were dancing where someone was burned alive. I jumped off it so quickly. Suddenly, it was very creepy.

We saw a sign for a cafe where Kate and Wills supposedly met (although I heard they had class together, but you have to give the cafe props for capitalising on the couple). Pete pretended to forget who Kate and Wills were, and started making up silly couple combinations: Kate Winslet and William of Orange, Kate Beckinsale and Will Smith.

On the West Sands we ran really slowly like we were in Chariots of Fire (although, I still haven’t seen that movie), on the Old Course we stood on the little stone bridge and waved. (The book said this was a very famous golf spot, but as Pete and I don’t golf we’ll have to take the book’s word for it.)

There were loads of people in lederhosen, and as we couldn’t figure out why people were dressed in an Alpine manner on St Patrick’s day, Pete stopped one of them and asked. The girl he questioned seemed very annoyed and acted like we were morons for not even knowing the answer. There was an October Fest going on in town. Yes, an October Fest in March, and we were the stupid ones? Oh, and we also discovered that the poetry festival was going on, but it was such a beautiful day we didn’t want to waste it indoors listening to poets. So, we got a schedule and made plans to go on the Sunday.

We’d gotten a quick sandwich from Tescos earlier and had that for lunch, but we were getting peckish, so we stopped for a pot of tea and a scone at a hotel on the Scores that looked out to sea. It was bit of an old lady type place, and we were the only people in the restaurant, but it had a lovely view, and it was where I wanted to end the day. We sat in silence, and after an entire day of having a guidebook and historic plaques to make conversation by, there was nothing more to say. We’d said it all.

As I ate my sultana scone, I thought about sitting on the West Sands with HP. Bundled up in the cold. Then I thought about the night in the caravan, and the house party we stumbled across. I thought about the guy who flirted with me, but I turned him down because HP was waiting. As Pete and I sat in silence, I reminisced to myself. And I suggested that we go on a woodland walk to a place we could camp…if I could remember how to get there.

We got our stuff from the bus locker, and I found the Whey Pat pub. Behind it is the Lade Braes, and from there we walked. I told Pete that I had been to St Andrews before…with a friend. He just said, ‘Oh.’ That was that. I thought he’d ask why I didn’t say anything earlier, or say something like, ‘If you’ve been here before, why’d you need the guide book.’ But he didn’t. Good old Pete. He just accepted my statement and moved on.

We made our along a path that followed a stream. We passed a mill, then crossed a bridge, went past a dovecot, and on out of town and to the woods. We walked and walked, and it was such a glorious day. The sun shown between the trees, and as we finally found the country road and headed down to the caravan site the sun was setting.

Luckily the office was open and we got a campsite and pitched the tent. My legs were twitching and I was regretting that I agreed to camp. I wanted my bedtress and a bath. I was so tired, that I had no desire to sleep in the cold. Pete had other ideas. After a quick shower, he was itching to get back into town. I asked if he could just hangout in the caravan site bar for a bit while I had a shower and a rest, but he was like a puppy and ready to get moving. So, while I washed quickly he got directions to town (so we didn’t have to go back through the woods). It was a 45 minute walk into the centre of St Andrews, and by the time I got there I was starving and exhausted.

We found a restaurant that doubled as a bar and disco called IVC. It’s modeled to look like an American wreckroom (is that how you spell it)? Like something from ‘That 70s Show’. The food was okay, and the place started to fill up. Pete wanted to check out the dance floor, and there’s no telling that hyper boy no to dancing when he’s in the mood. I asked, begged, and pleaded to just let me sit for a little while. But no. He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the disco. After paying £2 each, we were on a tiny dance floor filled with dry-ice smoke dancing like fools with students. And in true Pete fashion, it took him no time at all to meet people. He met a couple of middle aged local women out on a girls’ night, who were sharing a table with some Biology PhD students. Before anyone could argue, we were all shooting back green shots, and Pete was the instrument between which we were all bonding.

Then these two guys came up and started hitting on some of the women, but they were thwarted by Pete’s insistence to make conversation. Before the two guys could blink, Pete not only cock-blocked them, but he had them thinking that they’d rather talk to Pete about the merits of the hatch-back, and how it the worst day in car history was when they went out of fashion. Yeah, I didn’t say Pete was interesting, I just said he could engage in a conversation with anyone.

One of the guys then spied the shot glasses, and got us another round. The next thing to happen was we were all sandwiched on the dance floor jumping up and down life fools, and then spilling onto the street once the lights came up. There was chips and cheese to be had, and one of the PhD students lived in a small hall of residence that looked like a block of flats across from the chippy. We pilled into her common room, waking up the poor sleepy Chinese flatmate. Pete lamented leaving his guitar in Dundee, as he thought 3am at a stranger’s flat was the perfect opportunity for a bit of acoustic improv. I think everyone was thankful the guitar was back inDundee.

Slowly the rest of the gang wandered home, and we called a taxi.

Even though the day had been lovely, the night was cold. Cuddled up in the sleeping bag Pete got a bit amorous, and – to be honest – we hadn’t had sex since S arrived in flat. So, I was pretty happy to get some lovin’, but I was so tired and I was soooooo sore from walking all day that I really had difficulty getting into it. I mean, I tried my best to not just lie there, but I was REALLY tired. But I think Pete enjoyed it, so that’s something.

The next morning, we walked into town, got some bread and cheese from the Morrisons, and then sat and ate a brunchy breakfast on the East Sands before heading into town to go to the poetry festival. As Pete and I sat on a towel on the sand, I remembered the cold grey day that HarryPotter and I sat in that same spot. The sea is a wonderful thing isn’t it? Pete and I were in the exact same spot as HP and I, but because Pete looked out to a clear blue sky and calm sea, it seemed like different place entirely. In fact, that moment in time with HarryPotter didn’t only seem like an eon ago, but like it was in a different place. Actually, I even feel like a different person. It’s amazing how much can change in a year.

Pete suggested that we skip Stanza, and that because the weather was so amazing we should walk to Dundee. I hadn’t been too terribly keen on sitting in a dark room listening to poets all afternoon, but the thought of walking 20 miles (or something equally ridiculous) pushed me to chose a few readings that ‘I couldn’t miss’.

We went to a couple of free events, and also paid for a couple of events. Pete said that we could probably get into more readings for free if I let them know that I work for a literary agent, but I thought that sounded like a kind of douche-y thing to do, so we paid for the tickets and kept my mouth shut. Plus, I know it sounds silly, but I kind of just wanted to enjoy the afternoon as me. Not as the Literary Agent Assistant. I just wanted to forget about work, and enjoy the moment. Of course, it didn’t happen as everytime I picked up a book for sale, or heard a poet read, I couldn’t help but think ‘What publisher is this poet with?’ ‘Are they getting a good deal?’ ‘Are they being properly marketed?’ Blah, blah, blah. I hate work head. It’s so hard to shake sometimes. Oh, and speaking of money, Pete nearly paid for half of everything. Granted it was all the money he had from his little dog-walking/cleaning job and now he’s got nothing until Friday, but at least I wasn’t stuck paying for the entire weekend.

At Stanza we saw something called ‘Split Screen’ which was a series of poems inspired by television. So, that was really fun. We also say Denise Mina’s play, ‘A Drunk Woman Looks at the Thistle.’ I love Denise Mina, but I had no idea about this drunk thistle business. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit that until yesterday, despite working for a Scottish publisher, I had never heard of Hugh MacDiarmid or his famous play ‘A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.’ But even so, Mina’s production was really funny and quite witty.

Late in the afternoon I got a text from Fife simply stating, ‘I have a favour to ask.’

That’s it. Nothing else. Then I got paranoid that he was at Stanza, and I would run into him, and I would start acting weird because I have a stupid crush, and his wife that he’s never told me about would see me acting weird and accuse me of having a crush, and Pete would then notice. And well, my mind-freakout ended in something resembling a 1950s stage-farce, with us all chasing each other through doors. And because of my weirdo mind-freakout, I didn’t respond to the text for the rest of the day. Yeah, and I’m an idiot.

We continued to spend the day going to Stanza stuff (even though I was worried I’d see Fife, because I also secretly wanted to see Fife. I have got to stop acting like a child.) So, Pete and I went to something called Poetic Interventions which was fun, and ended the night listening to country/western/swing music. Pete loved it. He was bopping about like a mentalist. Unfortunately, we didn’t look at the bus schedule, and the Sunday service to Dundee ended at 10:30. Needless to say, we missed the last bus, and had to take a £30 taxi back toDundee. (Unfortunately, there was no offer to go dutch with the taxi ride.)

On the ride home I finally texted Fife back to say I’d be happy to do him a favour. The favour in question was this, ‘Would you mind reading my manuscript? Looking for a few notes before sending it to the editor.’

I was so psyched he even asked, but a bit dubious as to why he asked me. So I responded with ‘Of course I’ll read it but are you sure you want me to see it before your editor. She could give you better notes.’

His text back, ‘You can look at it with fresh eyes and I respect your opinion.’

Flattered I agreed, and he sent me a pdf of the manuscript this morning. I’ve uploaded it to the Kindle, but haven’t had a chance to look at it. In fact, as soon as I’m done blogging I’m going to start reading it.

Anyway, last night we got back to the flat to find S, CoolTrous, and PoshPhD smoking in my lounge. Oh, and I also found a futon mattress. Which actually makes my flat look more like a place for squatters than when it was empty.

It was a good weekend all around. I think it was just what Pete and I needed. Some alone time, just he and I. No distractions and it kind of helped to rekindle the relationship. Except…well, he did something today which just made me want to punch him in the neck it was so embarrassing.

Actually, it’s getting late and I want to read Fife’s book, so I’m going to bullet point today’s activities. Plus, S and Pete are at a gig (not a gig Pete is playing at, some random person Pete met on the street is playing somewhere) and they’ll be home soon. So, I’d better finish this up before they get back.

So, speaking of gigs and things Pete’s done to embarass me, I was in the city centre today running an errand for work, when I caught Pete playing the guitar for spare change. Yup. He’s become a panhandler.

I heard singing and the guitar from a distance, and thought that it sounded like Pete, but I never thought it would be him. As I got close, and realised it was Pete, I was torn between grabbing him by the ear and dragging him out of there and crossing the street and pretending I didn’t know him. I chose the latter, and then texted him ‘What the fuck do you think you’re doing?’

He stopped playing for a minute, looked around, spied me, waved, and went back to playing. I stormed over, and asked him face to fact, ‘What the fuck do you think you’re doing?’

To which he said, ‘I’m making twenty pounds a day out here.’

Nope. Not the first time he’s been out panhandling in Dundee. I reminded him that busking with out a license is (most likely) illegal. To which he said, ‘I had a long talk with the cops yesterday. They were really nice.’

Holy shit. What a fuck-wit.

Anyway, he’s now dog walking, cleaning and busking. I’m so proud of my boyfriend. (Sarcasim here.)

Okay, I’m not doing bullet points. So, I’ll do that now.

*Sarah said she spent the weekend looking for a job (like restaurants and shops and such) and had no luck. She’s was to have gone to the temp agency today. Hopefully, they’ll have something for her.

 *Last night, I learned that CoolTrous went to law school inNew York, but never took the bar because while he was out there he discovered his passion for art and fashion. So, he gave up law and came back to theUK. I don’t know how he ended up in Dundee. That’s so crazy he could be a lawyer. I would have never in a million years guessed it.

*I’m really despondent about Conspiracy’s sales. Today I contacted the publishers and requested new numbers for his Booksource and Amazon sales, and they’re no better. I’ve been working so hard to try and increase his profile, but he’s so bloody unhelpful I’m limited in what I can do, and he’s just not selling any better than before. I had hoped he’d magically go viral, but it’s not happening.

I guess that’s it. I’ve rambled on more than necessary, and this has become one of those obnoxiously long blog posts. And I’m sure you’ve stopped reading by this point. And I’m sure Pete and S will be back fairly soon. So, good night all and I’ll talk to you later.


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