The domed railway concourse was packed. I sat on a bench surrounded by a mixture of old friends from the University of Birmingham, as well as a couple of school friends. In conversation it emerged that KM (now KC) had suffered the recent dreadful weather in the Outer Hebrides, just as we had done. The running club girls were there at the back too, all ready in their gear for a quick run around Edinburgh. Unfortunately I was not able to join them on this occasion.
Every now and then a pack of brightly dressed cyclists surged into the hall – but not on wheels, because cycling on the station concourse is forbidden. Instead they jumped off their bikes at the doorway, then carried them aloft from one end of the hall to the other before leaping back on again. This appeared to be some form of circuit training for them.
Soon it was time to catch a train. TPR hurried me along. I wasn’t sure that TPR had identified the right service, but he didn’t care: he just wanted to get moving. Inevitably we found ourselves on the completely wrong train, heading for Devon via Glasgow. In our hurry to leave at the first opportunity at York my bag burst open and all the papers that I had been carrying, including months and months of precious expenses receipts, were scattered along the length of the carriage. The Apprentice’s Natasha Scribbins made an attempt to help gather everything up, but there really wasn’t enough time to do so before the train was due to leave York for its next stop.