Having spent the week in London, seamlessly falling back into the old routine of rushing even when I wasn’t in a hurry, the time spent this afternoon in Helensburgh was excruciatingly slow in terms of pace.

I’m sure Henry Rollins once waxed lyrical about people robbing him of valuable seconds of his life due to dithering in front of him in queues. That kind of thing does my head in, too. You’re there for no other reason than to pay for the goods you wish to buy.

When a check-out becomes available you should be poised to complete the transaction. Not gazing around the store, full of wonder. Not standing in a daze until the second or third call from the check-out assistant or a prompt from the more alert customer behind you. And, most important of all, it should not be a bloody surprise that you have to pay to take the goods away. Have your means of payment ready – don’t wait until after you’re told the amount before you go searching for your purse or wallet.

Sadly, the paragraph above is largely lost on the majority of dithery old bats in Helensburgh. Today I nearly ended up as aged as they were before I got to the counter, shuffling along in the queues behind them at glacial pace.

This is no fault of the town, of course. It’s not Helensburgh’s fault that it’s a great big waiting room for heaven. Nor is it my home town’s fault that the masses that move throughout the capital do so at a rate which suggests their life might well depend on just how fast they can get from Oyster barrier to Oyster barrier. It’s just that the stark contrast between the two can be kind of jarring when you’ve spent the past five days cranked up to eleven.

The good thing is that, as much as London forces the urge to rush upon me, the sedate pace of life in Helensburgh has helped me to unwind. Which is why I’m looking forward to my birthday tomorrow, before I fly back down to London again on Monday morning.