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 DWDiscworld Updated: 01/05/17

Friday Saturday Sunday Monday

Friday started off cold. By the time I got to Carlisle, it was also wet. It stayed wet until at least 2am on Saturday, which caused some problems. First off, when I got to Dumfries, I had to trek halfway across the town to find the bus stop for Twynholm. Once I got there, the first bus to come along didn't stop at Twynholm, but they offered to drop me at the end of the road. On the bus, I sat next to a crazy granny with a Galloway accent who spouted the occasional word in Cockney, who kept talking to me about how I mustn't go walking without my waterproofs, I must get some waterproofs, you know. Yeah. Anyway, the bus dropped me at Twynholm, so, I hauled my bag onto my back and trekked the short distance into the village to find the Star Hotel, recommended as a landmark to watch out for to get off at. Anyway, once I got there, I rang Torak, and had a coffee and a cheese sandwich while waiting.

After he came and collected me in his Land Rover, we went back to the cottage, and spent a while wiping the doors clean with antiseptic wipes, 'cos the previous tenants kept some wild boars (Rhodesian Ridgebacks - dogs), and didn't bother cleaning them themselves. Finishing the doors, we moved onto things like the water, the carpets and the curtains. In the face of surmounting problems, we decided to head into Kirkcudbright and meet up with the others. So we got into the Landy, and decided to turn around in the paddock just ahead, as the rear window was steamed up, and there was no easy place to turn around in. So, into the paddock it was, and it was more like paddy-field than paddock. We circled, and got stuck. Much going backwards and forwards not very far later, and we got out to put some wood (felled tree brnaches) under the wheels for grip. We managed to get out of the canyons we'd gouged in the surface, turned a bit more, but couldn't get out of the paddock. In fact, we slid further back down the slope. So, in an ex-military Land Rover, using the low-range gears, and with the diff-lock on, we couldn't get out of an essentially flat field.

So we went into the house to get some ice cream while we waited for Torak's mum to arrive and give us a lift down to the chippie in Kirkcudbright. When we got there, we found the Murphys waiting for us. They all got up from their table to greet us, Nicola practically throwing herself at me. Once greetings had been completed, we sat down and ate - Torak and self ordering chips, Torak's parents ordering chips with a fish that looked like a scorpion had been battered, Nicola and Mary-Ellen finishing off what they already had, and Simon ordering more chips for himself. Not long after, we returned to Torak's place, and installed ourselves in the cottage. We took turns blowing up the air mattress Nicola had brought, and then set up the camp beds for the others. The mattress had a couple of punctures, that had patches over them, but were leakng air anyway, so we repaired them with some duck tape borrowed from the house. We spent some time in the house watching Top Gear for a while before we all returned to the cottage to sleep, and I gave Nicola her birthday present.


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Saturday morning started with trips to the paddock gate to observe the stranded Landy. Then we headed over to the house for breakfast. There wasn't any readily available, though, so we settled down to watch Stargate DVDs while we waited for Torak to rise. He surfaced much later than any of us, and we watched a few more Stargate DVDs before going outside. This wasn't a trip to buy breakfast, however, it was a demonstration of one of Torak's smoke grenades and a thunderflash (we'd seen a flash grenade late last night - "Mother! There may be sounds of exothermic merriment!"). After Torak let them off, he let us have a go with one of his airsoft pistols, first with no mag, then with a loaded mag. We aimed at the base of the sawn-off branches of the huge tree that towered over the front of the house. As far as I could tell, I hit my target all three times I pulled the trigger.

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It was still some time before anyone made a trip into town to get food. Nicola and I elected to stay behind, as all of us couldn't fit in the car, and we spent the time watching The West Wing on DVD. The others got back roud about 3pm, and we finally had something substantial to eat. However, now was the time that the Landy was being pulled out of the paddock. Being too hungry to go and stand in the cold and watch a pair of Land Rovers locked in a titanic struggle with a sea of mud, we continued eating, but we persuaded Torak's mum to take some photos for us.


We spent a couple of more hours watching The West Wing, then we went out to the Organ Room for the barbecue - seeing as how the paddock was still too soggy, the front lawn probably was as well, so forgoing a bonfire, and holding the barbecue in a large room with an open fireplace, was a good idea. Except the chimney wasn't clear, and all the smoke from the barbecues came back into the room. We stuck it out for a while, beginning to munch on burgers, and rifling through the piles of miscellaneous stuff that was no longer wanted for anything we might like to take home with us, and so on. But then the smoke alarm went off. Well, it would - with three working disposable barbecues in a hearth without a clear flue, the room was full of smoke. Even with the door and several windows open, it didn't clear enough to satisfy the smoke alarm for at least twenty minutes after we moved the barbecues outside onto a table.

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Nicola ended up pretty much in charge of the actual cooking, and Simon was pretty much in charge of keeping the pot-bellied brazier going, to keep us warm. We had burgers (between slices of bread), potatoes, slices of venison, and Swedish hot dogs, and a fun time that included a sing-song, with each of us doing something in turn. I did The Hero of Canton again - although I forgot how the first verse started, so I wracked my brains for it while Nicola sang a beautiful and sad song about a man in love with the sea. After the barbecue was over, and the hot coals doused in cold water, we retired to the house and watched some Top Gear stunts for a bit, then a tired Nicola and myself returned to the cottage to sleep.

It emerged that Mary-Ellen and Simon had stayed up watching stuff until about 6am, and had slept in their chairs (well, it was considerably warmer than the cottage). Anyway, we had breakfast (Mary-Ellen and Simon's second), while watching Yes, Prime Minister, then Torak's dad stuck his head round the door and said, "I'm just going down to the walled garden, if you want to see it," which we did. So up we got and off we went, for a tour of the grounds in the sharp morning air. We saw the walled garden, the snowdrops, possibly the oldest (?)elm in Scotland, various garden paths, the ex-tennis court, the paddock (from the other end, with the Landy still stuck at the top), and got told why all the branches were chopped off the tree that loomed over the house.

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Mary-Ellen had to be back at college the next day for a debate, so we had to check things like flight times and check-ins and so on. For this, Torak let us use his computer. Torak wasn't feeling too good, so he had a lie down on his bed while we took turns to fiddle around on the internet, and try on his body armour. Then it wasn't long before Mary-Ellen had to leave, in order to get to Prestwick airport in time, with Simon in tow.

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When the others got back, it was nearly dinner time. We decided that it might be nice to have another barbecue, this time out in front of the house. It was was freezing, but we hauled the tables and brazier round there, got things lit, and set to work with chicken burgers. This time we had actual burger-buns to put them in. And cheese slices. And onions. Once again, Nicola ended up in charge of the cooking, and Simon ended up in charge of the brazier. Torak turned up again, feeling much better, and produced a night-vision optic for looking through, and a knife to cut the buns with. Part of the reason it was so cold was the lack of cloud cover, which allowed the rather bright moon to come out, so Torak's father brought out a telescope and trained it on the moon, so we could all marvel at the craters on the terminator (Torak said that it was usually the Terminator that left craters). There were also real burgers, southern-fried chicken burgers, potatoes again, and apples. And apparently, some sort of spiced bun without any actual spice.

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It being so cold, people began to drift in to warm up for a few minutes, before coming back out. Eventually, the intervals between going in got shorter, and the length of time they lasted got longer, so it ended up as us watching more Top Gear, some Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI. Eventually, Nicola and I went back to the cottage, while Simon elected to sleep in the house, where it was considerably warmer than the cottage. We spent a few minutes taking down and moving his camp bed across, then retired.

Woke up fairly early, went over to the house, woke Simon up so he could let us in, worked out how to dismantle the shiny camp bed Torak had lent him, as the other was somewhat unreliable, then we had breakfast. Then we finished watching Yes, Prime Minister while we waited for Torak (again feeling under the weather) to surface, and other people worried about logistics. We managed to get about half an hour into Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles before we decided that we really should start packing about now. So we went off to the cottage again, for a somewhat hectic clear-up and packing-up of stuff, then we returned to the house to await departure. The plan was to take me into Castle Douglas to catch a bus to Dumfries, from where my train left, and then take the others straight on to Prestwick airport for them to catch their flight. The journey into Castle Douglas was rather fast, but I was deposited at the bus stop with several minutes to spare. I bade goodbye to the others, got on the bus when it arrived, got off in a Dumfries not being pelted with rain (as it had been all the other times I recalled being there), bought some dinner for consumption later, and spent over an hour waiting for the next train to Carlisle. I got on, and promptly fell asleep, and didn't wake up until a couple of minutes after arriving at Carlisle (thankfully, it was a terminus station). Then there was a half-hour wait at Carlisle for my train back to Keighley, but the train doors were open, so I got on, ate, and started writing this.