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RAB MCNEIL: Time in the big city. Traffic! Roadworks! Shops!

Rab went back to 'Embra', his old home. Nice, but he couldn't live there...
Rab went back to 'Embra', his old home. Nice, but he couldn't live there...

Well, that’s my sojourn in the city (Embra) over. Did I enjoy it? I did, I did, I did! Loved it. Well, apart from the chaos on the roads.

This was for the trams extension. But, all week, I never saw anyone working on that.

One day, I nearly got into a right mess. I’d found a way out from my hotel that took me further up the way from the nearby pandemonium of blocked-off roads.

So, this day, I went back that way. Should have known there was something wrong. There was a massive queue of cars backed up on the opposite lane. I was the only one in mine. Then I hit the buffers.

Aaaargh! Stuck in the roadworks

That lane was completely cut off. Luckily, there was a big industrial plant just opposite, and I was able to cut across, after a kind driver made room, and turn around in the entrance yard to join the queue going the other way.

Otherwise, I’d have had to reverse three-quarters of a mile, and I can’t reverse three-quarters of a yard in a straight line.

Tell me straight: do you get emotional when leave a holiday cottage or hotel room that has has been your home for a week or two? I know I do.

This has been the HQ for your quest. And that quest has now ended.

You remember your arrival and all the happenings thereafter: in my case, in between still working, going for meals and pints with my pals.

I must have put on a stone, and the harsh light in the hotel bathroom told me that, rather than the lithe, “good for his age”, gym-honed Adonis I see in the mirror at home, I am in fact a fat, wrinkled old git. Ach weel.

The changes in the city

Certain behaviours changed while I was away too. I had porridge pots for breakfast – the kind you pour boiling water on. That became one theme of my trip.

Another was that I shaved every day. Just my cheeks and under my chin: makes me look right sleek, ken? I guess it was because I wanted to look smart for folk I hadn’t seen in a while.

Back home, I’m lucky if I wash my face on a normal day. What’s the point? Naebody sees it.

A third strange thing I do when away is that, before leaving, I give my room a thorough cleaning, which rarely happens at home. I guess I don’t want the hotel folk to think I’m a slaister.

Shops are different now

I had one afternoon of retail therapy, at B&Q, Markies and Argos.

One thing you notice now is that shops seem to be acting as mere windows for online purchasing. Everything I wanted at Argos was “out of stock”.

Though there are bigger branches in the city, the Markies I visited had a very limited choice of men’s clothes.

And they don’t do knee-length socks (a thing of mine) any more. Disgraceful.

Anyway, I still came home with a car boot full of towels, pants, an exercise band, interesting shower creams (very limited where I live) and bits of wood.

So, all in all, I had a grand time in the city. Not sure I could live there, though.

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