Building's star columnist is on a train to Cardiff to give a legal lecture, but damn, he's left his mobile behind. Thankfully a kindly trolley lady stepped in and saved the day.
I fumbled in my trousers. No sign of it. Felt naked, and a tad vulnerable. How on earth was I going to make Biggleswade to Cardiff and back without my mobile phone?
Did you know that it now costs 30p to make a call from a public phone thingy? Like a man in need of a stiff drink, I found the thingy, couldn't find anything less than 50p but it was worth it. I phoned base camp. Mobile? Yes, left on the kitchen table, silly boy. The trip to Cardiff to give my lecture to the Society of Construction Law would be a struggle - no phone - but the handicap would be overcome, we will survive honest!
Do you know the organisation I like best is the Society of Construction Law. It actually isn't anything at all. No don't get me wrong, when I say, "Isn't anything" I mean it isn't an Institution or Association or Chartered what not. No one has to pass exams to get in, no has to do CPD to stay in, no one is subjected to disciplinary rollicking to make you toe some line thought of by mouldy oldies. Is isn't anything, save that you and you and you can come and listen to a lecture on, well ‘Construction Law' at 12 UK venues + Eire + Hong Kong - and go home. Come, listen, and leave free.
My paper? ‘100 adjudication Appointments later'. I would write it on that train. And if I wanted a smidgen of information I could use my mobile phone couldn't I? The lady with the drinks trolley became my friend. I confided in my nakedness. "Come with me" she urged. Took me to the buffet car. Took me into the galley, "There" she said, "Don't go phoning New York", "Have it on me". Her boss will marmalise her if he knew. It was a PR masterpiece. I love that lady. I used her thingy.
The welcome in Cardiff at SCL was the best. Did my paper and skidaddled for the return train? The lady was gone. The ticket inspector was a bit grumpy. "Will we get in at 11 o'clock", I asked. Broad Welsh twang replied, "No, no boyo, this train's always late!" He was right. Kings Cross at 12.45 has lots of phone thingies ready for use at 30p a go.
And do you know by that time of night I had got quite used to being phone free. Home 1.30am, but it was worth it - for that Society of Construction Law. It's the best.