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It's nice to get a seat on the bus

I ENJOY the company of my fellow man, I truly do.

But I have to admit that, as a cross-country commuter of some years standing (pun intended), occasionally having fewer of them around is not too much of a hardship. These past few days, I have had the luxury of being able to sit comfortably on the bus into town (normally my only option is to perch on a slice of upholstery left by the giant economy-size passengers everyone else has managed to avoid), and I've even been able to hear myself think on ScotRail's answer to the Titfield Thunderbolt, the Edinburgh-Glasgow shuttle.

The reason, of course, is that everyone else is off work. It's a situation most journalists know well. Like the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and Homes Under The Hammer, we don't do public holidays.

They creep up on me unawares. They just don't impinge on my consciousness. It's only when I dimly wonder why there's snooker on BBC2 at nine o'clock at night do I twig that today must have been Bank Holiday Monday.

I seem to have slipped into this holiday-missing mode early in life. I well remember as a youngster doing a paper round on New Year's morning. To my shame, the 13-year-old me took a perverse pleasure in rattling the letter boxes extra loudly. The much-older me, if he were able to hook up with Marty McFly, would go back and clip that pubescent me around the ear.

When I was a student, I used to do labouring work outwith term time at a textile mill on Tayside. I worked Christmas Day one year, though quite why I cannot now recall. Probably a rush order on, though the juvenile dogsbody was not high enough up the food chain to be privy to such information.

There was great excitement when it was revealed the mill owner was to pay a visit, an event that had last occurred, according to some of the older hands, on VE Day. Mid-morning, a Bentley rolled up, and a white-haired Young Mr Grace-type stepped out. He handed each of us a goodie bag. They were only opened once he had departed - mine contained a pie and a bridie. Considering this was Christmas morning, I suspect they may not have been freshly baked. Young Mr Graces don't get where they are by throwing money away.

Over the years, my family have learned to leave me out of any plans they might have for Easter Sunday, Bonfire Night, Boxing Day and the like. I don't mind too much. After all, I get a seat on the bus.

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