My life is a disaster. Nowhere is this seen more starkly than when I go anywhere.

Before recounting my latest nightmare, you need to understand my deeply held theological beliefs. To wit, there is a god but He hates us, or more particularly me. Religious friends used to say: “He hates you because you hate Him.”

And I’d retort: “That’s all bottom over breast. He started it.” Which is true. To some extent His persecution of me is repeated against you all, only not so farcically. 

He persecutes us all with his “challenges”. That’s why we’re dumped on this ghastly planet: to be judged on how we react to these “challenges”.

If you react well, then next time you’re forced back here (and you are forced; read near-death experiences – no-one wants to return), you might get an easier gig, perhaps being normal rather than Scottish.

But if you muck it up and start waving your fist heavenwards, then next time you’ll come back as … well, me. Someone rubbish, living in a rubbish country with rubbish weather and having rubbish things happen to you, courtesy of Him.

Especially when you go anywhere. One particularly bad occasion was in France (there unwillingly, of course). 


I couldn’t start the hire car without help, stalled it in traffic, hit a bollard, got a flat tyre in a narrow street during rush hour, and was shouted at by an enraged, moustachioed barber for “letting your woman change ze tyre, monsieur”, as my then pro-active girlfriend had gone to the boot while I read the instructions (in French). 

Next night, after the wedding we were attending, I found I’d locked us out of our hotel chalet. We’d to sleep on our friends’ couch. I kept my kilt on.

OK, a more recent occasion, in a Scottish town, was less harrowing: barely arrived when I lost my glasses. Instead of seeing the sights, I saw a blur.

But this new occasion was the worst. Started OK. I’d meditated beforehand about not going radge at slowcoach drivers in front and tailgaters behind. So, when it happened repeatedly on the four and a half hour journey, I took slow, deep breaths. At that stage, I was in command of the situation.
That was about to change.

Lost and found

My car is old and lacks satnav, but I used my mobile telephone for that. I knew 95% of the journey but needed details for the town. So, halfway down the A9, obviously the phone ran out of juice and died.

No worries, I thought. I remembered the street name and would pull into Asda and use my laptop to get the directions. Asda wouldn’t let me join their broadband from the car park, so I’d to stand with my laptop at the entrance. Shoppers regarded me quizzically. “It’s called a computer,” I remonstrated.

“You should apply to the social security for one.”

I scored directions but, on leaving Asda, had to read them offline from the screen’s small print, alternately swapping my reading and driving glasses. Ended up on entirely the wrong side of town.


Eventually, I found the street. There was a parking space but, after 11 failed shots at reverse parking, I drove to a different postal district where there was more room for manoeuvre.

While getting my stuff – whisky, guitar, pants, in order of essentials – out the car, suddenly I remembered I hadn’t the house number or code for the key safe. 

They were in texts on the phone! Time was marching on too. I’d been planning to get a fish supper and watch Sportscene.

I thought I’d have to spend the first night in a hotel but then had the idea of going into a nearby pub and asking them to charge my phone. They were brilliant and, as the phone charged, I sat down to inhale a huge dram, whereupon a lady nearby informed me I’d dropped my wallet. Oh lordy, what now?

I thanked her and, absently, shoved the fat brown item in my pocket. Shortly afterwards, in the holiday flat, I looked out the window and saw a bunch of lads staring up at me. Five minutes later, they burst in the door (which, to be fair, I hadn’t shut properly).

The biggest one said: “You’ve got my wallet!” I figured this for a scam, and said it was my wallet. Went to fetch it and found two wallets exactly the same in my jacket pocket. One was his!

They’d found me via witness testimony and … CCTV! To be fair, all the witnesses had said I didn’t “seem the type”.

And the handy lads were decent, shaking hands when they realised I was a pillock rather than a pilferer. Later, I returned to the pub for a few drams, and the lovely bar owner gave me my first free. 

But what a disaster. I’d been hoping to wean myself back onto city life but already wanted to be home in my big island garden with my wee birds. 

The Lord had had his sadistic fun – at my expense as usual. Except that was the last time. I’m never going anywhere again.