My first commute was roughly 15 minutes on foot from where I lived in Ashfield in Dunbar to the museum I worked in on the High Street. Since then, my commutes have changed drastically. By the time I left the Birthplace, I merely had to walk along the street to work. One of my commutes, which I did for just shy of a year, took an hour and a half and two trains plus crossing Glasgow city centre in rush hour morning and night. Thankfully I don’t do that any more. My shiny new commute is a mere 15 minute walk followed by a 20 minute bus ride. Far more bearable. There are quite a few ways I can get from here to Renfrew and I may utilise more than one of them at various points but the simplest route seems to be a 26 bus which stops right outside the door of my new work. Braw.
Planning my new commute took about half an hour of utterly joyful working through timetables and Traveline Scotland. I love planning journeys, even to work, and twice this week already I have been called upon to advise others on their respective rovings, despite the widespread prevalence of Google on people’s phones. It is just easier to contact me, apparently, plus I genuinely love working out routes to places. I think it comes out of my love of maps and my autistic liking for order, lists and structures.
What took more time though was planning my new job’s ‘theme’, by which I mean the song I listen to first on the way to work. I wrote last year about listening to ‘Going Home’, the theme of the film Local Hero, which I will continue to do, but the first song is always a statement of intent. For my old jobs, I had the both equally good ‘Tillidh Mi’ in the version by Manran and ‘Spinning Around In The Air’ by the Proclaimers. Contenders for the new gig were ‘Dreams’ by the Cranberries, ‘Path to Home’ by Skerryvore, ‘Sky Takes The Soul’ by the Proclaimers and ‘Alive’ by Skipinnish, though the winner, after a week or so’s consideration, was ‘Baba O’Riley’ by the Who. The rest of the playlist will depend on the day but ‘Baba O’Riley’ will go down a treat in helping to wake me up in the morning since it is rousing and loud, which tends to be what I need first thing.
The new commute is mostly urban and will pass close to Braehead and the Renfrew Ferry, affording a glimpse of the Clyde along the way. I have had varied commutes over the time. Both of the old ones were urban though my favourite was the one between Dunbar and Haddington, which was rural and covered some of the most beautiful country in Scotland, passing standing stones, hill forts, rivers and even the Bass Rock in its 12 miles or so. The new one will involve a walk across a flyover taking me above the M8 in full flow and the railway. Much less scenic, I would concede, but there are compensations. I have the considerable pleasure to actually like my job and the place I do it in. I like living in Glasgow and I can escape to the countryside with relative ease. Plus I have good music to accompany my rovings not to mention good books to read and to pass on, which is after all the name of my game.