Monday, 29 December 2008

Travels with Muriel VII: seat hoggers and paying to pee

There were no seat snoggers on the coach to Edinburgh (for which I offer up silent but sincere thanks), but Scotsmen returning from down south did nothing to alleviate their reputation for meanness when I and one other woman got onto the coach in Manchester at a very chilly 1am last night.

The coach was about three-quarters full and there were no double seats left - most people had bagged themselves a window seat and put their coats and bags on the aisle seat, the better to preserve both for themselves. As this other new passenger and I staggered down the aisle, wrapped up in jackets and scarves and gloves and weighed down with hand luggage, each person we passed possessively put a hand over their own hand luggage on the seat next to them, making it very clear that we were not welcome to sit down there. As a result, we both managed to get right to the back of the bus without ONE PERSON being generous enough to shift their bags to make space for our bums. I found this extraordinarily mean-spirited.

Fortunately, a young man took pity on me, and moved his hand luggage to let me sit down. And I lucked out - while the coach steadily filled up over the next few stops, forcing the meanies who'd tried to preserve two seats each for themselves to relinquish their extra space, the kind young man got off the bus in Lancaster, leaving me with two seats for myself for the rest of the journey. Oh, I love poetic justice.

We pulled into Edinburgh at about 7 this morning and after six hours on the coach I was dying for a pee (I can't bring myself to use the loos at the back of the bus - yukky quotient far too high). So I was very much less than enamoured of the Scots, once again, when I was faced, in the large, modern central bus station in Edinburgh, with a toilet that required a 20p-piece to unlock a turnstile, necessitating my trundling my gigantic suitcase all the way down the concourse to the newsagents, buying some mints I didn't want in order to get the requisite change, then trundling my gigantic suitcase all the way back again - all with crossed legs. Then spending yet more bladder-wracking minutes trying to work out how to get my gigantic suitcase through the turnstile with me, because if you leave any baggage unattended for longer than a nanosecond in this part of the world, they clap you in chains.

But here I am at last, in Donald's beautiful, old, interesting, big house in Edinburgh, the Castle just over the hill. My room is up in the sky, on the top floor, with a fabulous view over Pilrig, which looks to be a promisingly fascinating place.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So post some pics please! Give that new cyber snappie some exercise.