Sunday, 25 January 2009

Nothing Much

It's mid afternoon and I've just got off a train at Maidstone, Kent, on my way to collect a car from a Vauxhall dealership somewhere on the outskirts of the town. I know I'm only about three miles away, but my satnav is having a bad day and is insisting that the shortest walking route is nine miles.

Not far from the station, in a pedestrianised area, is a billboard with a detailed streetmap on it - surely the cheapest and quickest way for any local authority to give the impression that their town is a welcoming place to visit.

I stand there working out a route from 'You are here' and trying to figure out whether the distance really is reasonably walkable or whether I need to start a probably stressful search for a bus.

I have a cold coming on and let forth the latest of many sneezes.

'Bless you,' says a calm and quiet male voice from amongst the passing crowd. I glance up but no-one is looking my way and I can't begin to guess from the backs of people's heads who the mystery well-wisher might be, although it doesn't really matter.

As with the provision of the map, all it takes is an unexpected blip of thoughtfulness here and there to brighten up my opinions of an unfamiliar town on a dull afternoon.

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