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:: Thursday, 18 August 2005 ::


Yesterday was an artsy day in Edinburgh, wth a visit to the
Portrait Gallery

to check out a fantastic paitning called "The Oncologists" which I was not allowed to photograph and which I cannot find online.

It is a very large, modern and moody affair. Fantastic and likely to become one of my all time favourites.

Yiss, it is that good.

Then it was orf to the Modern Art gallery for the Francis Bacon exhibition, which was also fantabulous in that macabre way that Bacon had of rendering everything kind of twisted meaty, you know?

Again with the no photos so youse will have to make do with
the cover art of the published gallery stuff picked up. That is only two thirds of 'The Oncologist' painting. It is missing a whole other oncologist.

There was also a trip in to the National Gallery itself for a pilgrimage of sorts to this Rembrandt self-portrait which is so expressive and perfect, with his hat that looks so very real and velvetyfelty.

Then, having got my art fix outta da way, it was on the road.

Mucho laughter with the concierge guys who were refusing to go get the car for me. Only the Spaniard (I think), Mandy, was prepared to go. The rest of them declared the car too hard to drive, and far too claustrophobic with its little cabin and tight footpedal zone.

One guy the night before had apparently tried to move the car and got so crazy inside it that he had a fit and was screaming to be let out.

Mandy was laughin' up a storm as he related this tale of scots weakness.

Not a 'Colin McRae' moment, but more a 'Carlos Sainz' triumph, and if youse do not get that reference, then youse are obviously not rally driving fans. And youse should be.

But I digress and anyhoo. It was on the road for one of the bestest drivey days ever.

Down the A68 from Edinburgh to Jedburgh, the last stop in scotland before coming across the "England" border stone, which was a parking stop filled with campervans and tourists so the Mog and me went cruising on by.

And why stop anyway? Cos the A68 keeps going down through North Yorkshire to Darlington and then you take the A167 from Darlington to Thirsk

and the roads are literally like rollercoasters.

Just up and down down down, with blind summits and no trees for reference in lots of spots. I was enjoying a mixture of sheer driving pleasure and terror at the prospect of being one of the 75-deaths-per-annum annouced in big depressing signs by the side of the road.

Way to make me crazy, road-nancies.

So, up up up and down down down all the way along, rolling hills, filled with gigantic hay bales and perfect dairy cattle and only the

occasional traditional English hold ups of huge tractor type things

forcing the applicaiton of the Mog's spongey brakes.

Soundtrack for the trip was a fantastically weirdo English country music radio station. Yah, you read that right. The annoucer sounded like he came off the classical music broadcast station, but instead he was introducing Suzie Bogguss. And natch, not being a true country music fan, who eschews making fun of their dumb names and even dumber pronounciation (no offense, but, cos I lerv my country music; heck, I am a Louvin Brothers fan, and they do not come much weirder than Ira and Charlie).

So he announces a Bogguss track and asks listeners to identify the opening line of the song, which he swears is:

We were always looking for tuna, with our heads in the clouds.

and damn, if he was not a hunnerd per cent right. She means to sing 'true love' but it sounds like 'tuna' and that, readers, is objectively hilarious.

Many giggles on the rollercoastery roads.

Made it in to Ripon late afternoon, and had to do some serious swerving and doubling back, to capture this image of suburban loveliness.

Just a house on a corner in a street, but so English and lovely.

Mog has the turning circle of a football ground, so it gets a heap of attention whenever I am pointing him to do special things like uturns and doubling back to see stuff and all that. Thankfully, folks are so tanken with the car, that i get happy nods rather than smirks and disapproval.

Now, not a lot of pics of the fab drive on account of all them A roads is single lane stuff. So motorpics at speed are not a sensible risk taking activity. I did get a bit of one machine I encounrtered, however, but it isn't a good shot for youse readers. The machine was some sort of harvesting ploughing thing, attached to a huge tractor and it was obviously ploughing vast fields of shit, no two ways about it, cos as it drove ahead of me, giant patties of the stuff were being flung on to the Mog.

Thank Jeebus the roof was up, keeping not just the sun but also the fecundity of rural England offa me.

Still, with the Lyndyrd Skynyrds going on the weirdo country station at that time, all was well and happy, if a little stinky, in the Mog.

Next stop, Rutland. The littlest region in England. Home of some sort of giant Rutland Water fake lake or something, we'll see.

Also home of The Rutles, and their truly great track:
Get up and go,
Get up and go,
Get up and go back home


Happy happy.
:: WB 1:41 am [link+] ::

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