Sometimes you just hate travelling. Waiting for a connection at a Cambridgeshire station I'm blasted by unrelenting winds and find little solace from the weak April sun. Seeking refuge in a shelter so charmless that it could conceivably be used in the event of nuclear fall-out, I'm met with uninterested stares from a dozen or so fellow travellers. At least it's warmer, but if one more person leaves that door open I swear I'll ...
I pass the time by playing a mental game of 'spot the librarian'. I decide against approaching the likely candidates with "Excuse me, but I don't suppose you're going to the UC&R Conference ?" Perhaps they would be offended - wounded at having been so easily catagorised as a travelling librarian. Then again, non-librarians might take it even less kindly.
In Cambridge I catch one of the multitude of deregulated buses and begin to feel relieved that the long haul from Dundee is over. This feeling quickly dissipates on arrival when I realise that my briefcase is still on the bus which is fast disappearing around a corner. In a split second of inexplicable calm, I wonder what life will be like without my address book, cheque book, keys and rail tickets. Then I start some serious panicking.
Incredibly, I spot a familiar looking bus driver (skinhead, earring, tattoos) in a bus on the opposite side of the road. Offering up a prayer of thanks for circular routes, I dodge the traffic (mostly kamikaze students on bicycles) and manage to get his attention. I babble incoherently about my briefcase before we establish that this is not the same bus.
Another bus pulls up alongside, complete with driver with skinhead, earring and tattoos. As I transfer my hysterical babble from one driver to the next, the first accuses me of thinking all skinheads look alike.
Stereotypes? The image problem? As I grip the handle of my retrieved briefcase with relief, I wonder briefly if this topic is on the conference agenda. I'll check later.