Are you sitting comfortably? Good. I am about to tell you a series of stories about the adventures of one extraordinary man, and believe me – you do want to be sitting down for this.
Yes, I know you have heard many stories before, exciting stories, thrilling stories, stories that set your heart pounding and your blood racing. However, these particular stories are different. They are funny ones that make your heart sing; your body convulse with laughter and leave you to enjoy a warm contented glow. You may think yourself a veteran of the works of tellers of tales and can no longer be surprised, but these stories have something that those others do not; they have Zander. So relax while I reveal to you just how interestingly unlucky, irresponsibly thoughtless and innocently insensitive this one man and his pals can be.
This taster story begins in a railway station, one of the big ones crammed full of people, some travelling out and others returning; the building part has been modernised in a desperate attempt to conceal that the overworked station is a dying relic of bygone days.
An ever-moving mass of people are bustling about the station concourse, filtering past each other, going to and arriving on trains. A red-faced man carrying a holdall is making a fair fist of sprinting along the broad platform between two trains. The guard’s whistle had already blown and the train is relentlessly gathering speed. On the train, another bigger, powerful looking man is holding open a carriage door, anxiously encouraging the man to run faster.
Though everyone around him is getting on with their own travel arrangements, those who do notice the runner take a second look – something about him tells them that they have not often see his likes before.
The man is dressed in a Harris Tweed jacket, border check shirt, striped club tie and grey flannel trousers – an outfit, that like the rest of him is ordinary enough looking, but in spite of his look of desperation, it is his face is that catches your attention.
A tousled mess of black hair hangs down over a broad browed forehead a nod in the midst of a strong, slightly weather-beaten complexion is an upside down, but not unattractive, smile while in his unforgettable grey blue eyes, there lurks mischief. The whole face looks lived in, likeable and promises a world of fun.
With a last desperate lunge he throws his holdall into the carriage; helped by a strong pull from the door holder, he jumps into the compartment, flops on to a seat and out of breath but triumphant, smiles up at his friend and says jubilantly,
“I told you I’d make it.”
An elderly, white whiskered minister sitting in a corner of the carriage watching the escapade over the top of his ‘Scotsman’, nodded approvingly to the late arrival and his helper and said, “Well done lads, you’re lucky you managed to get on board; its four hours till the next train to Carlisle!”
“Carlisle!” the flabbergasted pair gasped,
“But our boat’s in Oban.”
From the book More Ports More Storms by Johnny Jones
The Station is Edinburgh Waverley in the days when it was open plan. The platform is one of the West bound double ones.