Thursday 28th March 1996




Well as you may have gathered we did find something to 'detain' us in Banff - something in the vegetarian lasagne from the county hotel rather strangely, spent the whole of yesterday watching crap tv and sleeping having undergone a sick up and sleep round the clock performance the night before. The mere phrase bar snack makes me sweat a bit now. So, good to be back on the road and more importantly back onto food today! Everything seems to taste fantastic after a day away. Felt as if we'd been at Clayfolds farm for 2 weeks by the time we left not 2 nights - this was no reflection on them - if I had to pick somewhere to have food poisoning this would come out tops, but even so I was glad to be away.

We drove straight along the coast this morning to Portknockie, where I'd last been on holiday with my friend Fiona in July 1989. Her mother Mary Coles was from here and I really love the village. Not much had changed since my last visit except the weather - it was hailing today and last time I stayed here I swam in the sea most days. We went to visit Mary's brother and wife - Davie and Betty Pirrie - for a coffee and morning rolls (local speciality). Betty was born in Cullen (where B & J actually went) and so she was able to give us info on where to go etc. We set off to walk out along the old railway to Cullen, coming down along the golf course. Took the liberty of approaching from the opposite direction but didn't really matter.

On the way back we took the route along the beach past the Bo Fiddle rock. The views were all really familiar to me as last time I was here we actually came out drawing outside everyday - none of that this trip! Pretty fantastic to be out on the beach - also extremely windy and cold - still feeling a touch fragile from yesterday.

After Portknockie headed pretty much straight for Forres making a cursory stop off in Fochabers and Elgin. Yet again surveyed a ruin (Elgin Cathedral to be precise) through the gates. It seems we are incapable of arriving at anything whilst it's open.

We stayed in a very odd B&B formerly the railway station for Forres - we had our evening meal cooked here for us, and what a relief it was to have something that didn't resemble a bar snack or come with chips, but was in fact the nearest to great food we've seen all trip.

Ian Bruce sent us some 'probing questions' this evening for a piece for the Big Issue in Scotland. They served to aggravate my angst about the project so far to the extent that we reached the 'ditch the dairies' decision. Whilst they are entertaining to write and give an account of what we've been up to, they are far too time consuming. They don't, I feel, really say much about what we could be making in terms of actual 'pieces', or really challenge any expectations we/the audience may have about travelling as artists and using the net to convey the experience. They were initially intended to be one element of the whole story but have really taken over a bit. They may resurface with more time but for now they are shelved...who knows what will follow with 5 hours a night in the B&B and no witty stories to hide behind. Just us a few quick take photos, some raw video, the lap tops and us.

I can't really recommend where to look for 'what's new' from here on in but hopefully the 'pieces' section will now start to swell. Weird that this section could be about sandwiches up here.


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