This morning, I took my favourite Monday morning running route: a steady climb out of town, then a looping return along a back road that winds through a fertile agricultural valley.
In places, the road affords a dramatic view of distant mountains to the west, but mostly it contains me within lower, closer contours of the landscape. On one side is the Knock of Crieff, a linear piling of lumpy glacial remnants called “pudding-stone”. On the other is the beginning of the Grampian foothills, where verdant strips of farmed land bleach and brown as the slopes ascend into wilder peaty moorland.
Out here at 9am, I encounter little traffic: a local or two heading out for the morning; the odd trades van on a job and avoiding the through-town route; the postman on his rounds, burling along in well-practised avoidance of the road’s many potholes. Some days a tractor will bellow past, or a farm quadbike with a troupe of collies circus-perching on the back – but mostly it’s just me and the road, the hills, the sky, the quiet sheep.
Today, as I traced the last remote curve of the road before it returns to civilisation, I heard a soft burr behind me – and then, barely idling, a bright red Ferrari curled past. What was it doing out there on that narrow, rattily surfaced country road, its violent red outline cutting like a gash through the muted tones of wild Scotland?
If fate presented me with enough money to buy, fuel and maintain a Ferrari for the rest of my days, what would I buy with it? Out there, the question is easy to answer: a lifetime’s bare necessities; in other words, freedom.