Given the decidedly appalling weather we have had out here, the very first signs of sunshine returning are enough to tempt people out of their various hiding places on to the public spaces again. Walking down my usual route back to work – after a quick lunch hour detour into town – I notice the forecourt at the Square is a lot busier than usual. There are people seated on the wooden benches, others standing in little groups and more , like me, passing through, all united by the desire to soak up the rare sight of the noon day sun.
I make my way to my baguette place and order the usual – a freshly baked baguette stuffed full with plain chicken, crispy bacon and mozzarella cheese. I add a bag of potato chips and a coke and then join the queue slowly snaking its way towards the till. It is one of the regulars manning it today.
– I think you not come anymore today, she says. She is Polish, speaks English in a decidedly belaboured manner, and smiles a little too enthusiastically at times.
– Had things to do in town today. Totally forgot the time, I say shaking my head for emphasis.
– No sauce for you? Her tone is flat, almost listless, delivered in that half-question half-statement tone that masks resignation at the fact that I am short changing myself – or so she thinks.
– Nah, I reply. You know I like it dry.
– Your money, four pounds, she says.
I rummage in my wallet, find a five pound note and hand it over to her. She unlocks the till, finds two fifty pence coins and hands them over to me.
– Tada. That is the one Scottish quirk of language that is default out here. Even she, knows that. I nod her my reply, grab my stuff and head out the door.
Outside I find a spot on a bench, settle in to attack my greasy carb fest and soak in the sunshine. Knowing this city, there is no telling when the next opportunity will come.