Like many Scotsmen, or perhaps it's just chaps in general, Alistair doesn't see the point in getting new things when he already has a whatever-it-is that is perfectly serviceable. Sound reasoning.
So when we found ourselves standing on the dock waiting for the ferry to Iona, it was the coldest November on record full of the slate-grey stair-rod rain which usually welcomes folk to Scotland, Alistair squelched off and reappeared in a second-hand full-length Driza-Bone, towering above the crowds like a jackaroo in exile. He was giddy with the thrill of purchase. "It's an amazing coat, look these straps go round your legs for riding and if it snows it just slides off this cape thingy. And the best thing…" he fished about in the ridiculously huge pocket. Out came a half-bottle of peaty, okay Oban single malt, whose smoky scent will forever take me back to that squally day of tilting ferry, ferrous skies and above all, the kind of easy rolling laughter that dances on the edge of everything when you are happy and let loose on a bottle of whisky early in the morning.
Alistair’s phone dates from the last century, just. He has tried to teach us to be proud of sentiment and frugality. So, a tape keeps the battery in place and he never gets a signal anywhere. It has almost a decade's worth of photos on it and every morning he clicks the noisy buttons to read the newspapers online. He says, "This is all I need, look at this, I'm reading newspapers across the world from bed.”
This week, after a long trip, in Edinburgh, in a taxi, the phone fell out of a hole which had inexplicably appeared in “The Coat” pocket. It was returned, hurrah for honest cab drivers, to Alistair, but had been sat on by a passenger and may be beyond repair. He is inconsolable. I've just put a bottle of Oban on order.
safe weekend 0✗0✗ツ