The ferry from Shetland arrives in to Aberdeen at 7am. The air feels cool and chemical, like water from a cold tap. I carry my luggage on my back, and it’s heavy.
No, they won’t take my bag at the ferry Left Luggage. Only if I’m travelling on the evening ferry will they take in my luggage. I am not travelling on the evening ferry. I have just arrived on the morning ferry. And I am going to the airport. But that is later. For now I have a heavy bag, and the whole of Aberdeen to explore.
Let’s try the train station.
It is Sunday. Aberdeen is closed. The Union Square shopping centre is closed. So the route to the station is three sides of a rectangle, a circumnavigation of the Union Square, Jury’s Hotel and the Bus Station. Outside the Jury’s Hotel, a cluster of men with beer cans part to let me through. My grim determination is reflected in their faces. Or perhaps it’s something else I’m seeing: their effort to stay vertical.
I spot the “Left Luggage” symbol at the Train station. The door has a dim window which frames a seated man. “I see the Left Luggage operative,” says my optimistic brain. The straps of my luggage are now making permanent furrows in the muscles of my shoulders. The door is locked. I rattle it. “It opens at nine,” comes a voice. It’s the seated man, who is behind me, reflected in the dirty glass. He is sitting on the sunlit steps, waiting.
From the table at “Patisserie Valerie” I can see that he is still there. He hasn’t moved at all. Those steps must be cold, granite. He must be fed up. But he didn’t seem fed up when I spoke to him. Perhaps he is sitting there for some other reason. Perhaps he does not require the services of the Aberdeen Station Left Luggage.
I do, though. I order breakfast at Patisserie Valerie. The glass and steel of the modern shopping centre cuts the view into bits. I can’t draw it all, so I draw a segment.
That odd curl in the top right is the “e” of “Union Square” written on the outside in modern 3D lettering.
Here is work in progress.
Exactly one hour to draw, including eating breakfast. Patisserie Valerie opens at eight. The Aberdeen Station Left Luggage opened at nine.
When I went there, the seated man had gone.