Jings, do I love a conference. They’re bigger versions of my other favourite hobby, going to meetings. You get loads of free coffee and biscuits, but at conferences there’s even a chance of scoring free pens.
So, of course, when invited to a conference in Dundee, you bet I said yes. It was a fantastic gathering of amazing women. They even asked me to address the delegates, which I managed to do without swearing.
Then, to my utter surprise, they presented me with the loveliest bouquet of flowers in the colours of the suffragette movement, green, violet and white. It was stunning, completely unexpected and reduced me to tears on the spot.
It was virtually the same size as me. And I was taking the train home. So, I hoisted my gorgeous trophy up to carry it away and headed for the station.
Dundonians scattered as a floral version of Macbeth’s murderous moving trees clattered about the pavement. If I called that performance art I’d get a grant from Creative Scotland.
Dundee’s having a bit of a facelift, so crossing the road is as exciting as it is here in Edinburgh. You just never know where the traffic is coming from, or where the temporary traffic lights might be lurking, so I had to get across a busy junction on high alert, peering through the foliage for a traffic stream on a filter light heading my way.
I peered round the roses at bemused drivers like one of those Japanese soldiers they used to find who couldn’t believe the war was over and took to hiding in the bushes.
Dundee has a new station. The ticket machines weren’t working. Natch. I bought my ticket from a woman behind a window. At least I think it was a woman. My view had been temporarily obscured by a drift of gypsophila.
The incoming train saw the march of the flowers as I got on board. It’s the Aberdeen-Edinburgh service which means no seats and the tables are inevitably covered in two things, one, rattling empty beer cans and two, the heads of oil rig workers, who have just discovered that their tolerance for alcohol has been dramatically lowered.
Never mind, I wedged into a corner and hid behind my arrangement.
A voice suddenly bellowed ‘Haw, there’s a wee wumman wi’ a loada flo’ors. Needs a seat.’
Two great bears from the North Sea rigs suddenly got up and basically lifted me into a window seat. The bouquet was copiously commented on until my Sir Galahads fell asleep about Leuchars.
I had to wake them up in Waverley. One of them had forgotten his early gallantry and gave what I can only describe as a girly shriek when he opened his eyes to what he clearly thought was a talking bouquet.
It was and still is a wonderful arrangement of flowers, and one I treasure. Not only does it still look sensational, the scent is incredible. Everyone on the train, even my gentlemen roustabouts, commented on it.
When did flowers lose their scent? Is it something to do with commercial growing? I blame the Dutch. Well, it must be someone’s fault, and they’re so nice, they’d probably apologise anyway.
Mind you, a highly scented bouquet is a real lifesaver if you’ve been wedged into a corner seat by two guys just off the rigs . . .
The latest side effect is a belter
Of all the post-surgery side effects I was warned of, seatbelt irritation wasn’t one of them. I’ve checked the leaflets and read all the websites, even the crazy American ones that say breast cancer is caused by too much toothpaste, being born a Gemini, and not voting Republican, and can find no mention of this phenomenon.
Put simply, my seatbelt won’t stay put. Time was, of course, my own personal airbags used to anchor the darned thing, but not anymore. Car journeys are now an endless battle as I haul the belt into position, and it slithers back to grip the side of my neck.
The first time it happened I staggered out of the car looking like I’d been given a socking great love bite by a dinosaur.
I bought myself my new winter scarf last week. It is big, red and fluffy. It stops the seatbelt wander.
Clearly, I am condemned to drive for the rest of my days with my scarlet scarf marking me out like some sort of 17th century woman who has sinned dreadfully.
Oh look. Not saying this was planned or anything, but remember those pesky trees they took down in the Gardens? Well, gosh, that’s handy now for the Christmas shenanigans. More space for the market, apparently. Obviously, that’s just a coincidence, isn’t it?
Well, now that the market has more room, can we expect loads more access for buggies and wheelchair users, or just more stalls squeezed in?