Big Night Out On Bute

You know you’re doing something daft when you’re working out a short cut home, and having to consult tide timetables and a lunar calendar to ensure you’ll actually get there in one piece. This was the scenario when we realised that the last bus home from Saturday night’s King Creosote gig at Mountstuart House on Bute, was timed to depart right in the middle of the performance.

We had three options: 1. Depart with the last bus right in the middle of the performance, 2. Embark on a bunion-punishing two hour walk home in the dark along a country road after the performance had finished, or 3. Embark on a slightly shorter walk home through the estate grounds, along a potholed B road, down through a steep field on to a rocky bit of beach and across the wet sands at low tide in the dark. Adventurous Option 3 had the most appeal when I cooked it up over my cornflakes and fresh orange juice at breakfast time, but by mid afternoon I had gone off it a bit when I spotted a distant herd of cows appearing back in their field after milking. I reckoned they might not take kindly to being stepped on in the dark by two clumsy humans, and although savagings by dairy cows are rare on Bute, there’s a first time for everything. This realisation led to the hatching of Option 4: a 2 mile pre-King Creosote cycle to the bus stop at the foot of the ascent from Kingarth to Mountstuart, dump the bikes in a hedge, get the bus to the gig, walk for an hour and a half afterwards to pick up the bikes and wobble the last bit home.

“Why didn’t we think of that before, it’s so obvious”, I announced smugly to the spouse as I confidently asked for two singles to Mountstuart on the bus, to ensure there would be no going back. The spouse was a little less convinced and asked the bus driver when the last bus was, just in case.

A couple of hours later, we were happily ensconced in the unusual venue of the crypt below the chapel at Mountstuart, and enjoying Jon Hopkins showing off his perfect pitch party trick between songs while King Creosote re-tuned his guitar. Audience members were invited to sing a random note, and Jon instantly named the note and played it on the piano. For a second I was tempted to join in by cupping my hands over my ears to produce the highest note in the house, but the piano keyboard wouldn’t have had enough keys to cover it, and I didn’t want to wake the inhabitants of the crypt.

As the brightly coloured stained glass panel behind the stage gradually dimmed in the fading twighlight, I found my thoughts drifting from the wonderful musings of King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, to the less edifying prospect of being mown down by a passing car as we walked home on a country road at midnight. The spouse was reading my mind.

“Wanna get the bus?” he whispered. Several times.

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