Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sunny Scotland

It was sunny and mild this afternoon. It's not such a bad old city really and neither are its people. I feel a bit guilty about the things I've been saying - and I'm not so stupid that I don't know that it says more about me than the reality that is Scotland. This photo depicts a statue of Donald Dewar looking down Buchanan Street in Glasgow on a wet autumnal evening. Mr Dewar was the inaugral First Minister in 1999 when Scotland became a devolved power with its own parliament. Sadly he died a year later whilst in office, prematurely of a brain haemorrhage, and then this statue was erected. He wore glasses, which are a difficult thing to sculpt, so they were made of wire. Several times young tykes pulled the wire glasses off the sculpture and in the end he was left spectacleless. He surveys the throbbing metropolis, in a blurry haze.

So, I was in town to do a bit of last minute shopping and I was accosted by a charity worker. She was very persistent and I'm very polite, especially when the lady in question has a lilting Limerick accent. She told me all about the mistreatment of animals and how gorillas have their hands chopped off to make ashtrays. All she wanted from me was the price of a cup of coffee a week, via a standing order to help fight a war against animal trafficking and mistreatment. I felt terrible - and sorry for her more than all the gorillas with stumps. However, I told her about my shoestring existence and how me and my last pennies were about to go to Australia. Somehow I managed to extricate myself and then bumped into my neighbour, Tony.

Tony had just used his bus pass for the first time, as he's now 60 and bus travel is free for oldies. He walked back to keep me company though, as I don't do buses. I don't usually do walking, but of course I can't ride my bike for fear of contamination. He told me about the time he was swimming at Bondi Beach and a jellyfish tentacle became wrapped around his middle three times. He said it was the worst pain he'd ever experienced, although he had made a complete recovery within an hour. When we got back to our tenement building, Tony helped me to dismantle my bike and put it in the box. Or rather he did most of it because he's very handy. He had donned his blue overalls and he meant business. Even with a wheel removed, along with a mudguard, the rack, the handlebars and the saddle, it was still a squeeze to get in there.

The rest of the day was spent packing. Or rather I spent the rest of the day covering the my bed and surrounding floor with things I might pack, then Laura came over after work and supervised the actual packing.

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