By Craig Goldthorp
Arriving in Kirkcaldy on a Monday morning after a stressful 90-minute car drive festooned with traffic jam problems on the Forth Road Bridge, I was hot, sweaty and battling a severe cold featuring a loud cough with volume levels similar to those of a large grizzly bear roaring his amorous intentions to females during the mating season.
Feeling increasingly under the weather, my mood wasn’t helped soon after arrival when I drove down Kirk Wynd and onto Kirkcaldy High Street, looking for somewhere near the office to park. Stopping on the double yellow lines in High Street, I rolled a window down and asked an elderly pedestrian where the best place was.
His reply of: “Parking around here is a nightmare son,” was not what I wanted to hear.
I had arrived at 8.50am, keen to make a good impression on the bosses at this newspaper. Sadly, I was still driving around in circles 20 minutes later.
Ironically, I found the office car park extremely easily, as it is right next to the Fife Free Press base. Sadly, the large No Entry sign at the car park entrance meant that I was prohibited from driving into it from that direction to park my vehicle!
Becoming more and more sweaty and with my sat nav still in full operation, I assumed that driving down High Street and then turning right at the seafront would see the wonders of modern technology (featuring a recorded female voice sounding like a Young Queen Elizabeth II) direct me onto a road which led into the car park in the correct direction. Wrong!
One of the perils of sat navs is that – no matter how hard you try to get somewhere via a different road – these blasted things always seem to take you back in the same direction.
So, coughing and spluttering and uttering phrases slightly stronger than ‘oh bother’, I drove past the office three times before eventually having to settle for parking in the railway station car park about half a mile away. The subsequent stroll in the fresh Fife air from station to office would have been a pleasure had I been 100 per cent fit.
However, my flu-hit and heavily perspiring state meant that this cough-filled walk felt like I was running the London Marathon while carrying a backpack weighed down with several large bricks.
Anyone who knows me knows that I detest being late, so the feeling of guilt as I finally entered the office at 9.30am must have been similar to that experienced by legendary Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson whenever recounting his description of successor Davie Moyes as ‘The Chosen One’.
But I had no need to worry when I finally reached the top of the stairs and entered the newspaper office, as Jerzy Morkis and his staff helped me settle in straight away.
Anyone who’s done placements at newspaper offices will know that there is the possibility of being left feeling like a plum and with nothing to do. This certainly wasn’t the case - I was busy every day writing news and sports stories, dealing with emails, doing interviews and arranging photographs.
The staff were friendly and very helpful to me which was a minor miracle given the fact that my regular coughing must have offered the threat of approximately 15 million germs being deposited around the office.
As someone who has worked as part of a miniscule staff in Carluke for over 16 years, it took me a while to get used to the concept of actually working in an office with a few people in it - but I did just that and I hope that I was of assistance to the journalists.
There’s also a rumour going around that my regular purchases of medicines and cough sweets boosted a local supermarket’s profits by 10 per cent!