My body feels on the verge of rebellion, the effects of eight hours spent at the wheel of a motor car sustained only by third rate espresso and chocolate still working their way through my system. These roads of Ayrshire are familiar, but only in so much as anything we spent time with as teenagers are familiar after thirty years away. I ride up over the hills outside Tarbolton and back again towards Galston, past innumerable little brown signposts with a portrait of Robert Burns to remind me whose country this is. I take the road for Craigie and forget that it brings me back down into the ragged road surfaces of Riccarton where a man wanders blindly in front of me. Later I emerge on the circuit we all rode with such alarming regularity in our youth and as I pass a row of cottages I notice this collection of homes now has the official settlement name of Earlston. The familiar subtly altered like memories that never fade but merely disfigure themselves with time.