Visiting my friends P and A; they're staying in London. I fret a great deal about missing my train back north, but catch it (just) at what looks like King's Cross. Somehow, I manage to leave the train via the long-defunct station at the village of Kingskettle, Fife. My mother is waiting there, but I feel the need to have a look around another Virgin Pendolino waiting at the rural station. Before I know it, the doors have closed and I risk being carried miles from where I need to be. Luckily, I discover that the first stop is not far, and I find myself disembarking without maps or information somewhere in a signless part of the Howe of Fife (I get the impression it's in the vicinity of a Falkland or Freuchie - all anonymous large farms, hedgerows and old estates.)
Having no idea which way to head, I choose a direction at random. I've realised that I could call my mother, who would surely drive over and pick me up, but this'd be pointless without any location to give her. It's beginning to get dark. Soon I come across a shabby-looking gatehouse cottage at the beginning of a wooded avenue, and walk up the drive to find a substantial country house. Its two tall-windowed floors look empty. Cautiously entering the dusty hallway through the open main door, I find a middle-aged woman asleep on the floor. She awakens and seems apologetic to have been found in this situation, but makes no particular move to stand up or provide any helpful information. She explains that she can't help me, and I imagine that she looks to the ceiling.
There is a steadily increasing sound from the floor upstairs. As it grows louder, I can make out various elements to the racket: a rhythmic tramping sound which makes the floorboards creak, the jingling of horse tackle, a quicker footstep that runs up and down the line of what I cannot avoid imagining as a column of marching men...
I leave the house and find my way back through the dusk to the main road. Somewhere on the fringes of the farm or estate land which I am leaving, I can make out a large animal lumbering around the rough grassland. It seems to be a polar bear, grubby and stained with mud. It begins to attempt to mate with a nearby cow, then, seeing me, bounds over and rears up at me. I am already trying to get my mobile phone ready to take a picture (thinking that photographic evidence of the unbelievable scene would be important), but I'm not sure if I get a shot of it, and it loses interest, thankfully.
Almost completely dark now, and I finally find myself on the outskirts of a village I know (passing a little war memorial on the way in), and call to arrange to be picked up.
Almost completely forgotten from this sequence: The centre for parachuting/the tea shop/my son T sleeping under the camp bed
I have a lot of family connections in this area of the world, but haven't really been there for a long time. I also have a lot of dreams about trying not to miss trains, or getting on the wrong ones - it must represent something to me.