Since coming to the North - east over 40 years ago I have been generally happy to call Aberdeenshire home, even if don’t always buy into the wha’s like us mentality held by many of natives, most of whom seem to come from Aberdeen City.
I was, however, less than proud of my adopted place of residence last week, and had I been a first-time visitor to the area, and in particular the Granite City, I would have formed a very bad opinion of the basic services of the so-called oil capital of Europe.
Having committed myself to a mid - morning meeting in the Mannofield area of Aberdeen I set off by bus, giving myself plenty of time to change buses and find my way to my city destination. Oh that it were that easy!
For starters it was a dreich, nasty morning which after the recent spell of wonderful weather came as shock to the system, but having been forecast the night before it should have alerted me to the fact that the traffic heading for town might just be a little slower.
This proved to be the case, not that I expected my bus to be half-an-hour behind schedule in reaching Union Square.
I was now running well behind my own schedule, and opted to take a taxi to my city destination, but first had to use a cashpoint in order that could pay the fare.
This proved to my second disaster of the day, as neither of the two ATMs were working, this despite the fact it was now after 10am.
Luckily I had what I reckoned to be enough to pay my fare, and duly scurried to the taxi rank in the adjoining rail station, only to find a queue of nearly 30 people waiting with the same purpose in mind of getting to work or where ever.
We waited a full five minutes for a taxi to appear, which seems an eternity when you are running late. But in fairness when one taxi came a stream of them all appeared at once, enabling me to make my meeting with a full three minutes to spare, although my inelegant entry to the meeting did nothing for my city gent image.
But in the end no one died and I was even able to make light of the matter as the day progressed.
It did, however, draw my attention to the hopelessly inadequate approach Aberdeen has to dealing with visitors, and as for being an oil capital, don’t make me laugh.
My disquiet was shared by a gentleman in the taxi queue whose question confirmed his first time status in Aberdeen. ‘
“Is Aberdeen always this shambolic,” he said.
I diplomatically chose not answer in the affirmative, though I was thinking otherwise.