Susan Morrison: Ready for Waverley step aerobics

The Waverley escalator. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The Waverley escalator. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Been on a bit of an exercise kick recently, so can I extend my warmest thanks to the folks at Waverley Station, who have gone to the extraordinary lengths of making sure that the escalators are always knackered whenever I come out of the station.

And oh, you cheeky rascals, what about that sneaky switching off of the two nearest the top? That raises the old heart rate, especially when a young mum has left the lifts free for those in wheelchairs and is manoeuvring her buggy up the moving stairs only to find that it’s only the bottom one that’s working. Nothing to beat lifting a buggy and toddler whilst climbing the stairs to give you a full body workout!

Thanks, Network Rail. Why, I might just cancel the gym membership.

Every second check counts

Twenty-three years ago at the old Simpsons Maternity, with my devoted and beloved husband by my side, I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl. Everyone was chuffed. I had, after all, managed to go through some three changes of shift during the process and use every machine the NHS had to offer.

The young doctor was delighted and pronounced the delivery time as 10am.

From behind my head came a stern Yorkshire reproof. “It’s 10.01.”

It was indeed one minute past ten, and that’s what it says on her birth certificate to this day.

For my husband, time is not merely of the essence, it is his very soul. I suspect that in a previous life he wore a top hat and controlled the comings and goings of great trains in Victorian railway stations.

Even at the moment of highest drama, he checks what time it is. He is never, ever without his watch. Even on holiday.

So when the watch went astray, it’s fair to say all hell broke loose. The decorating had been finished off, you see, and furniture moving was the order of the day. The watch had been removed as a temporary measure.

It’s a nice watch. Well, it should be, I gave it to him. You should have seen the dodgy wrist gear he previously sported. I remember looking at it and thinking, either it goes or I do. For one thing, the yellow stuff is not gold and it’s turning his skin a funny colour, and for another, he looks like a dodgy bloke who sells clapped-out Ford Cortinas.

It was part of my longer-term plans for his makeover. He just didn’t know it at the time. Still doesn’t, truth be told.

Oh, he looked everywhere, he claimed. Although it did cross my mind that he had somehow not only managed to “take the place apart” (his words) and also “put it back together” (mine) suspiciously well since the living room looked mysteriously undisturbed. He went to work for two days without the watch – an earth-shattering change of habit for a Yorkshireman.

He mumped and moaned about the bloody watch so much that I finally snapped and did what I should have done days before. I marched into the living room. My son is a witness to what happened next.

Coffee table, under, check – clear. Sofa, under, check – clear. Armchair, under, check – clear. Cushions, side, check – watch.

It took a little under a minute-and-a-half.

Adventurers would be lost without us . .

Of course, this is why men became those great explorers we read so much of. They weren’t really looking for the head waters of the Zambesi or the shortest way across the Himalayas wearing carpet slippers.

No, they were looking for the remote control. I swear the upper reaches of the Blue Nile were awash with chaps shouting at each other: “Have you seen my watch?”

And, of course, when the real hunters of lost things get involved in the search – the women of the team – then find said missing items, they immediately look at us and announce that we only found it because we were the ones who moved it in the first place.

The good, bad and the rugly

Walking along Great Junction Street with a whacking great rug on your shoulder (British Heart Foundation, Kirkgate – a total bargain) is quite an experience. At least three chaps stopped me to ask if they could help. Gallant, indeed.

The problem was that one chap was the same size as the rug and was having trouble focusing. God knows what he’d had for breakfast, but I don’t think it was porridge.

The second chap was actually smaller than the rug and would have been flattened, but thank you to the lovely young man in the red jeans who was tall enough, and – believe me, ladies – had the muscle, but I was nearly home.

This week a survey has revealed that the Scots are the manliest men in Britain. And, given the evidence in Leith, they are.