What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare?
One of those occasions when such time is forced upon us is queueing. I was reminded of this as I waited to take my seat on a south-bound aircraft out of Edinburgh. Ahead, unseen people were no doubt fumbling to retrieve the boarding cards they had tucked away after making their way through the gate. I waited. We all waited. We all waited quite a while. I found myself reading a notice on the wall beside me.
Quite who, I asked those around me, was this aimed at? Presumably any dog padding alone down the rubberised ramp would not be expected to look up and take notice. Was it then a warning to pilots and cabin crew to leave their hounds behind? A reminder to dog-handlers that their drug-sniffers would be denied access to the aircraft? Or did it suggest that cats and hamsters, sheep even, might proceed, dogs only being banned? I envisaged an orderly line of non-human couples making its way forward with Noah and Mrs Noah sternly pointing any canine back: “Back! Back! You are not my dog,” in tones similar to those I use to any cat which optimistically tries to follow me home.
Anyway, such harmless whimsies help to pass the time and I might have forgotten all about it had I not, shortly after landing at Gatwick, found myself facing another ‘welcome’ notice addressed to the unaccompanied but literate travelling canine.
Make tracks home, it reads, the easiest way to and from Gatwick is by train.
But I being human, and off to the land of Cave Canem, turned left not right, thus postponing my opportunity to see whether dogs are any more skilled than I am at finding the way from baggage reclaim to platform.