Saturday, 17 May 2014

Goodbye Grove

At some point over recent weeks, ambassadors were blackmailed, strings were pulled, and Grove's visa came through allowing him to pursue his Professorship in Groverrhoids over in Philadelphia. Graham and Jim bandied some ideas around for making our adieus, including the as yet untested Half Half Marathon and Graham's "crazy batshit mental" attempt on the uphill beer mile. Matt, in a display of unexpected sentimentality, insisted on including Carnethy in the route and so Jim masterminded a plan to catch the bus to Silverburn and head over the hills via Flotty to the Steadings.

Now Jim, despite his devil-may-care appearances, has a gift for organising social runs. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, he hides an ability for ingenious and meticulous planning beneath a foppish exterior. And so I converged at Tollcross with Graham, Jim, Phil, Gio, Matt Davis in time for the 17:44 bus. Matt G cruised in to spray us with flecks of tuna pasta as we ate chips and waited for the bus (actually scheduled for 17:50ish - deliberately misadvertised by Jim to accommodate Matt's tardiness...see? Genius!).

The bus was packed, scuppering Jim's hopes for a swally en route, but there was still just about room for for a fun-sized Oz as he joined us at Fairmilehead. There was no mucking about at Silverburn, and we headed for the nearest field to get stuck into an unusual Stewart's ale: First World Problems. Opinions were mixed on this bevvy, but I personally thought it was delicious, and wasn't even deterred by comparisons to Graham's post-ultra weewee.

Emboldened by ale, we chose a new route up Carnethy, following the re-entrant up to the shoulder. Matt was "supported" in his final ascent of our namesake hill with some expert harrying, and we settled down in the mellow sunshine for a dram of Highland Park. We couldn't have asked for a better evening, warm and golden with a gentle breeze, and we congratulated ourselves in sending him off full of longing and regret for his unwise decision to leave all this behind for the streets of Philadephia. I should also add that the loveliness of the Pentlands in May did nothing to elevate the tone of the conversation, which mostly revolved around Matt's "special sock" and Graham's relations with Matt's mum.

After a burst of exertion onto Turnhouse, we needed further refreshments at Flotty. Another fine pint of ale carried us around Castlelaw and onto Allermuir for sundown and a snifter of Graham's blueberry gin. We trundled merrily down to The Steadings and joined Matt J and the Ellies for some civilised company...and more pints.

Puck-like Oz.

This photo is laden with wistful yearning.

I'll confess that the night is hazy from this point, but suffice to say my fellow so called "runners" eschewed the pleasant jog back into town, and piled into taxis to Cloisters. Tsk. People seem to have disappeared at various points, and I'm not sure I said my goodbyes (a belated wave and hug to all those who didn't make it to the very end!). I seem to remember Matt's pleas for a final trip to Leslie's being completely disregarded, and we tottered around to Burlington Bertie's for a final(ish) nightcap of vodka and gingerbeer. 

We'd missed the final food order at The Steadings, and despite the liquid nourishment were quite peckish, so Graham guided us around to Dario's Restaurant. Matt G took the opportunity to bounce off the railings into Lothian Road, performing more horizontal rotations than seemed gravitationally necessary. As Gio observed "he stayed upright all the way till he fell over on Lothian Road - that's hill runners for you."  All I really wanted was chips and curry sauce, but this place was a proper sit down gaff with menus and cutlery and endlessly forebearing staff. So we enjoyed antipasti and pizza (and chips sans curry sauce), and watched a slumbering Matt D dribble down his goretex jacket.


Jim's abandoned calzone.

And as 3am approached we said our final farewells to Matt. Or at least almost final, as I'd connived to relieve him of his Special Jumper (not sock) and was intending to hold him to his drunken promises later that very morning. It's a funny thing, realising that you *might* not see a buddy again. I mean he's not dead or anything, but he's moving to the land of rampant obesity and irresponsibly owned firearms so.... Farewell and all the best to Matt Grove. We'll miss you! <dabs eye> <to remove fleck of tuna pasta>  #gravellyvoice #notquiteyorkshire #punctualityissues

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