We'd sent an ambulance round to a wee old lady who had fallen. I called back later to see how she was faring.
"I'm fine now hen," she said with a crumbly giggle. "What happened was, I fell into my Christmas tree."
"There's needles and tinsel everywhere. Will you come over and help me put it back up?"
The back shift always goes on forever. It gets dark so early, so I sit there hoping they will go to bed or at least stay very still. But they don't, so Saturday night I was bellowing Are you okay Mr McWrinkly over the roar of the Pop Idol final on their televisions.
And then it started to snow. Slowly slowly it wafted down, not looking like much at first. A few hours later I took a break from rescuing geezers and stared out the window in amazement. It was as though a crack team of CWA ladies had been out, coating the world in marzipan. It looked surreal, almost fake. I couldn't stop babbling, Dude, it's my first snow! My Canadian colleague told me that I should try living in Calgary if I wanted proper snow. But this was my first time, and even as she shoved a snowball down my shirt I couldn't stop grinning.
Right up to that point I'd believed I was still living in Australia, just in some remote pocket where people talked funny and ate a lot of lard. After my shift I got the bus back into town, along the same road we'd come in from the airport nine months ago. Only now, gawking at snow-coated cars, did it finally sink in that I was in Scotland.
A familiar face got on at the Edinburgh Zoo stop. Memories of Paris flooded back — I could never forget those watery, bulging eyes; those freakish spectacles! It was Afghan Hound Woman! I couldn't believe it. What was she doing out at 11 o'clock on a snowy night? She clung to her handbag, looking as terrified of the world as ever. Her wobbly eyes were glued to a bunch of scruffy kids clattering down the stairs, punching each other and yelling, Look at the fuckin' snoooow!
It took me half an hour to get home from Haymarket, shuffling through the sludge. My shoes were drenched, my legs were frozen. I smiled at people going by as they stabbed at greasy chips in polystyrene boxes.
I stopped on the canal bridge with the shivering ducks and stomped around a bit. It was like a thousand Lemonade IcyPoles crunching underfoot. It had stopped snowing and now the sky was soggy and pale.
It felt so fanbloodytastic to be there, under the watery streetlight. To have reached a point of familiarity in this town where you know someone on a bus, yet there's still enough unfamiliar left that a new day can knock you off your feet.