Sitting in Richard's Volvo with Bruce, on the forecourt of an Esso station in Fort William:
"Shit, Nel, look who it is!"
"That old guy walking away from the Toyota - it looks like... no, it actually is..."
"Wow, it can't be!?"
"It IS! It's him! Shit, it's..."
Sixteen years ago, I had written to the old guy now perusing the newspaper stand to ask him to fix it for me to visit the offices of The Beano. He never delivered on that one, and it was very tempting to get out and ask him why not. But instead we stayed in the car and were silenty starstruck at the demi-God in a tracksuit and dark glasses filling up his Toyota with premium unleaded.
After that, the rest of the day was bound to be an anti-climax, but predictably it involved more mountain-walking as we bagged a couple of munros in pretty miserable weather. Much of the day was spent in the clouds, and by this time I was missing the internet again. It struck me that time doesn't have the same kind of hold over you when you're high on a mountain. For a while I forgot what day it was, and even what month it was. And without looking at my watch, I had no idea what time of day it was. That was quite a nice feeling, to have escaped the grips of modern life for a while. But I'm far too unfit (I lag behind most of my friends), so I guess I should force myself to do this stuff more often if I'm to avoid an early heart attack. Either way, I was glad when we were off the hills and safely back to a pub. Scampi and chips have rarely been so welcome (PS - thanks for those, Rebecca!).