I found my new Joey D handbag again where I’d left it: sitting in the corner of the lift. It must have been travelling up and down the floors for hours, yet it appeared untouched.
I pulled the zip to check that all the contents were still intact. The only missing item was my Blackberry. “A thief with no taste”, I thought, relieved that my iPhone was still tucked in its place, and that all the cash and bank cards remained safe in my purse. However, when I later attempted to take money from my account, the cashpoint behaved very strangely. First it spewed randomly coloured notes (tenners, for example, were chocolate brown). Then it shredded a few fivers before eventually gobbling up my card. Perhaps someone had accessed my account in the period the period that my handbag was lost?
I needed assistance to count out the cash that I had managed to extract. I summoned my friend KA to meet me on the gym mats at the Edinburgh Omni Centre where we would stack up the notes. Unfortunately KA was only half-interested in helping. With an eye on the clock at all times, her main concern was catching her return train to Newcastle. She promised that she would come and visit another time and stay a full weekend.
I considered who else I could ask to count my money and reckoned that my niece AF would be a more willing helper. I caught the bus over to her house in Corstorphine where she and her friend HH were busy battering prawns. AF was more than happy to abandon the recipe. She pulled off her apron, climbed out of the kitchen window (almost taking out the Indian house busker in mid-tune) and strode along the main road towards the city.
I had problems keeping up with her, but managed to catch up when she paused to look at the scorched wasteland at Murrayfield. Like everyone else, AF first thought that the smouldering expanse was riot wreckage. Up close, however, you could see the melted wax and burnt-out stubby wicks of church candles alongside singed signs of cities of the world. This was a massive art installation, sponsored by the City of Edinburgh Council.
Our last port of call on the walk back into town was a medieval tower. The man in the queue in front of me asked if I would mind carrying his baby up the staircase. This was too much of a responsibility, so I refused. As “punishment” for approaching a stranger with such a request the man’s wife forced him take both their children in a sling up the steep spiral steps. I knew that this couldn’t end happily. As he set off I shouted after him “Beware the steep drop at the top!”. When he fell the 50 feet to the ground below the wife bitterly remarked “Well that takes care of birth control.”