“Are you a night shift worker?” This is the greeting from the gentleman checking me in to my budget hotel a short walk from Leith docks.
I look at him and listen to the girly giggles coming from his two colleagues behind the desk. Standard greetings in such places are usually a bit different from that: “Did you have a good journey?” or “Is this a trip for business or pleasure?” But, “night shift worker”? Briefly, I wonder if he is planning to rent out my room overnight to a second guest if I answer in the affirmative. Then I can see by their red faces and suppressed giggles that something else, something a bit darker, may have crossed his colleagues’ minds. Fortunately he explains: “We are planning to fit a new carpet in that room, so I’d move you to a different room if you wanted to sleep during the day.”
Relieved by this explanation and released from the surreal conversation, I wheel my small bag towards the lift. If you’ve had man flu and you’re returning to the big world for the first time in more than a month, everything can take on a slightly surreal air. I had certainly not expected to find myself looking forward to a new carpet. But then I didn’t expect to have a stroke on 18 July 2004, to find Britain had left the EU, to see Donald Trump as US President or to enter the new year of 2017 by spending a month fighting man flu. Man flu? Did I mention the man flu before?
I am in Edinburgh to attend a couple of meetings at the Stroke Association office in Leith. It is my firm intention as a man flu and stroke survivor, to improve my recovery by walking the mile or so next morning from my budget hotel to the office. To that end, I have taken with me my walking poles. Big cities, big crowds, big traffic are important considerations if you’re a stroke survivor with questionable balance and stamina. The poles at least offer some stability and reassurance, even if with a leather rucksack strapped to your back, you look as though you should be walking the hills rather than a city street. An aside here for Edinburgh City Council – it is actually easier for me to tramp the paths of Deeside, than to walk the streets of your town because of the uneven pavements and the short time given at green man crossings.
That walk is not to be. A brief foray outside the hotel’s front door next morning reveals a fierce icy blast and occasional rain – possibly the opening salvos of the predicted Storm Doris. My re-entry to the world of rough pavements will have to wait for kinder conditions and a less wimpish me.
This naming of storms is weird. To me, “Doris” suggests a homely lass, with perhaps a quiet self-effacing husband and a small dog. That may be a sexist, husband-ist or dog-ist remark. But Doris does not suggest a fearsome destructive gale or the red, amber and yellow warnings beloved of our forecasters.
Deeside, March 2018
Plus ça change, ….
Tuesday and Wednesday’s draft posts above from 2017, almost exactly one year ago, somehow never made it on to the public face of this blog. After typing the word “forecasters”, the will to continue seems to have deserted me. I am sure this had something to do with the repetitive tedium of weather-related news. In March 2018 we’ve had The Beast from the East and Storm Emma. The Emmas I know do not remind me of storms. But the Beast from the East does suggest Vladimir Putin in one of his bad moods.
On Deeside, the Beast has consisted of a series of heavy snow showers interspersed with brilliant sunshine. Storm Emma didn’t reach us. The net effect has been a few inches of snow and this view from my study window:
And this is what a shivering whippet looks like when contemplating a freezing walk:
At least this weather allows time for open space, to think and to blog. Beware, and note the “1” in the title above!