Failing fairy lights mean a visit to shops that I didn't intend to go anywhere near today. At least an early start will put me ahead of Christmas Eve frenzy and the roads seem quiet as I approach the associated dairies shupershtore, passing the polis with confidence in my well oiled, deep treaded tyres, taxed and insured motor. I slip smoothly into a parking bay and lift my bag, about to make a hasty belt into the shop to make the ultra quick purchase. But no! I lift my eyes to see a big, overweight polisman bumbling towards my window. Whit?
Turns out I don't have a current MOT; ran out 3 weeks ago. Thank goodness this is early morning as I have to go and sit in the back of the polis motor along with their white bunnets and cold coffee cups. Affrontit!
It's actually really untidy in the back seat, papers all over the place and I have to move stuff to sit down and end up sitting on a folder.
The pair of them are sitting in the front and ask all my details and I have to show my driving licence and I presume they're running all sorts of checks on a radio thing at the front.
At first, I am quite bright and, oops sorry, just forgot, run up to Christmas, dead busy and all that. Then when I'm sitting and the one starts on about giving me a white slip so I can pay a One Hundred Pound Fine within 28 days - but don't worry, no points on my licence - I start to feel a bit hard done by and I slump into a misery of feeling sorry for myself on Christmas Eve.
They both call me by my first name throughout - dead pally - and apologise a coupla times for stopping me. It's just that there's an audit trail to these things, says the one and the other says, as I get out the car, that he's sorry, and hopes I won't let this spoil the rest of my day.
First call is to my trusty Govan garage - aw help! can you get me a mot today? Christmas Eve?
"Aye, not a problem. Just bring it in and wu'll get it sorted afore we finish," says my favourite mechanic in his customary laid back manner.
The workshop is dark and chill, the grime and petrol soot of decades are ingrained into the bricks, workbenches, tools, overalls, pores of the skin. Today, the big doors are shut over in the wind down for Christmas. MOT certified, I am effusive with thanks.
"What ye's doing for Christmas?" I enquire.
"Ach well, me n the lady's had a fa'oot, so nothin'. That's life, heh heh."
"Me n a'," pipes up a voice from a coal black corner where the other mechanic is wiping his hands with an oily rag. "Ah've fell oot wi mine an'a'! Ha ha, that's us a singles garage, if any yer friends are interested."
"Ye'll be needin' this then," I say, as I hand over a wee bit of Christmas cheer.