I pushed past the junkies in the dark alleyway at the top of Edinburgh’s Broughton Street to enter Crombies’ temporary butcher’s shop. The butcher business taken over the halal meat emporium/paperback library/convenience store while its main shop several yards down the road was being renovated. When I reached the head of the queue, I picked up the pack of bacon that TPR had ordered earlier in the week, and engaged in a short conversation with the staff about the contents of the book shelves behind them.
On my way out of the building I pulled out my big camera to photograph the temporary set-up. Then I negotiated a route past the junkies for a second time and set off again down Broughton Street.
Half way down the hill I could hear someone behind me joining in my rendition of Genesis’ ‘I know what I like in your wardrobe’. When I turned round I saw that the person accompanying me was a skinny blonde woman dressed in rags. I recognised her as one the junkies that I had seen earlier at the top of the road.
This woman initiated a conversation with me, then lunged for my backpack. She managed to unzip it, then pull out a slim bottle of vodka and a blue silk scarf. I fought with her to retrieve my belongings, but failed miserably. Soon she had my entire rucksack in her grasp, and ran off into the distance.
Gone were my camera and my laptop, but – worst of all – the only copy of the manuscript of the journal article that I had promised to complete for PC over the weekend.