Morning rush hour
This is Dunoon on a Monday morning at 8.40am. It's not a holiday; it's not New Year's Day. It's a normal working day. Just down the road to my left, the doctor's surgery - where I am headed - is open and already busy, and the café on the corner I'm about to turn is bright and smelling of coffee and bacon. But there's very little traffic, and few people on the street.
I suppose one reason is that there's little need for most people to drive along the main shopping street at this hour. Only a few shops are open before 9am; the school is up a hill at the far end of Argyll Street, on the right, and any children walking to it tend to go along side streets. It's a small place; you don't need to start early unless you're going for a ferry - and you'd be away by now if you had a job on The Other Side.
So it's understandable that it's so quiet. But when I think of any city I've been in at this hour - Glasgow, London, Paris, Venice, Saigon - they're all thronging with traffic, cars hooting, cyclos braving the fumes (that's Saigon/Hoh Chi Minh city!), full of life. And this morning I remembered what it was like when I had small children: I'd drop the older son at the Primary school and then, rather than hauling pram and heavy second child back up the 17 steps to my front door, I'd head down to Argyll Street and wait - yes, wait - for the shops to open so that I could kill two birds with one stone. It took years to get used to this - and by then I was joining the run along the road out of town to get to the Grammar School where I'd started working.
Small town life, eh?