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a blog by Chris Barrow

Of travel, imagination and appreciation

Back on the workshop trail this week: Tuesday – Edinburgh Wednesday – Newcastle Thursday – Leeds Friday – Birmingham Saturday – Newcastle (again!). I mentioned in my last post that the Caledonian in Edinburgh managed to destroy my first post-Canadian sleep by setting off the fire alarm at 4.00am on Tuesday morning. Interesting to note that maybe 25% of the guests even bothered to leave their rooms, the other 75% presumably privy to some inside information that the alarm was false – or maybe just stupid. Those of us who did congregate waited patiently whilst both hotel staff and fire crew worked through their “brand standards” and, after a half-hour, told us we could return to our slumbers (or not in my case). A father nearby joked with his young daughter that the only item she has rescued from their room was the model Loch Ness monster, sporting a “Cally t-shirt” – a complimentary gift to all guests.

“It’s only a green plastic dragon.” he commented, loud enouigh to impress those other adults nearby. “Not in my imagination it isn’t.” she responded – putting Dad in his place and making me ponder that a child’s imagination is a potent force. Later that day, the alarm rang again – and we were forced/obliged to wait in the car park for a while.

After the first alarm, we were requested to return to our rooms at about 4.30am – and so the gathered throng did so, rather sullenly I thought. So I made a point of dropping back, waiting until they were gone and then approaching the two fire crew to say a simple but heartfelt “thank you” to them both. I just hope that made their day, the way an unsolicited acknowledgement makes mine.

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