Ever had one of those days where every time you go to do something or answer your phone, you receive one surprise after another? Well, I had one today. This morning I had nipped up to town to get in some Saturday morning inspiration, when it all began unfolding.
Surprise number 1: a travel bureau in Princes Street to change back some unused traveller’s cheques from our holiday. It turned out the cashier who was serving me was from Paisley (my birth place), and we got into a conversation about the decline and hoped regeneration of the ailing town.
Surprise number 2: my favourite coffee shop. When I arrived with Laura, we discovered it had been boarded up some time over the last two weeks and was now closed.
Surprise number 3: The Writers’ Museum. Laura and I took a tour around the museum, where I was surprised to discover how much she had remembered from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, Kidnapped, which she read last year at school.
Surprise number 4: Scottish weather. When we left the house it was warm and semi-overcast; when we left the museum a river was flowing down The Mound onto Princes Street and we were dreuchit within seconds from the torrential rain.
Surprise number 5: A phone call from my mother. My sister’s waters had broken two weeks early, and I could expect to be an uncle again within the next 48 hours. As I write this, she is back home, comfortable, and if nothing happens overnight she will be induced towards the end of tomorrow. Every phone under the ownership of a Galbraith is now permanently switched on and within arms reach.
Surprise number 6: A phone call from William McIlvanney. Yes, I’ll repeat that for the hard of reading – William McIlvanney rang me up this evening, at home, to thank me for the letter I sent his publisher concerning the long lost member of his family living in Australia, who had contacted me in attempt to contact him. The two legs of the McIlvanney clan are now back in contact, and I’m very proud to have been able to play a small part in it. It says an amazing amount about the man that he called me up personally to thank me, and I’ll be sure and take up the offer of a drink the next time he’s in town.
Surprise number 7: There isn’t one, I just happen to like the number 7.
The term ‘one of those days’ just doesn’t cover it. How often does one’s sister move into pre-labour and a living literary legend ring you up for a quick chat?