Susan Morrison: Flying high with a little help from a proper big umbrella

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In my grandparents’ house there lived just one umbrella. It was vast and black and weighed a ton and most of the family could shelter underneath it as we appreciated the icy rain smash into the battleship grey of the Costa del Clyde during our summer holidays.

All umbrellas then were heroically sized and the colour of a bat’s wing. Men used umbrellas in them days, children. Women never left the house when it rained, which given the fact that my gran was just under five foot tall, and the state of the roads in them olden days was probably a good thing. One false step and a pot hole would have got her.

These were proper brollies. They protected policemen from the sleet at cup finals and nannies could use them to fly about between jobs, which must have caused problems for Air Traffic Control. No-one wants to see nanny turn into bug splatter on the windscreen of an incoming Boeing 747.

You did not loose an umbrella in those days. You could, understandably, pick up someone else’s in mistake for yours. Oh what larks that was. You got to speak to a complete stranger and pretend to be posh by apologising over and over again.

We lost all that with the arrival of the folding umbrella. Of what use is this flimsy construct during the standard Scottish summer gale? They do not fold, they collapse. You’d get more protection from the sort of brolly that decorates one of those appallingly coloured drinks hen parties favour.

What chance would a highly qualified but underpaid nanny with magical powers have of achieving lift-off with some cheap plastic nonsense with teddy bears all over it?

More than this, my friends, this folding multicoloured farrago is an independent thinker, with none of the grim, steadfast loyalty of the mighty black umbrella. It may start the day in your shoulder bag, but by nightfall it will have made good its escape and be riding around the city on the back seat of the number 22, just waiting for the chance to leap to freedom and join the millions of other tiny umbrellas fleeing to the land of lost brollies.

About 30 of my brollies have made their way to Brolly Glen. Eventually I rebelled. I asked my mum to buy me a proper umbrella for Christmas.

In my head I saw the black one of my youth, but mum had other ideas, so I wound up with a silken glory printed with irises and orchids. It is, my friends, a thing of spectacular beauty, and is big enough to shelter me and an entire class of primary kids waiting for the bus to take them to the museum.

I lean on its rolled up beauty with a rakish air. Taxis are hailed with dandified wave. Teens have been poked, and not in a Facebook manner. My umbrella seems to channel the spirit of Miss Marple. I haven’t solved any murders yet, but when someone dropped litter, I felt empowered to holler at them whilst pointing to the offending crisp packet with the brolly. It’s like a superpower.

But best of all, when I get home in the evening, my umbrella is still with me. Now, that’s loyalty.

Impossible to disguise

OH, incidentally, if anyone out there has suddenly been inspired to rush the shops for a brolly for a close friends birthday or something, word of warning, it’s devilish difficult to disguise the present within when wrapping an umbrella, so don’t be surprised if they guess what it is before they open it.

Long time to wait, hope you didn’t miss it

WELL, did you see it? They say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, you know.

We’ll have to wait, well, obviously, another lifetime before we see that again.

Have to admit, I missed it, but then, it’s not actually something I’ve been watching out for, but folk who did catch it say it was worth it, and I believe there are some spectacular photographs.

Victoria Beckham was seen to crack a smile last weekend.

A right Royal muddle

Mind you, speaking of last weekend. Well, it’s all a bit awkward, really. Did no-one tell her? The Queen’s a busy woman, lets be honest, mistakes can happen. And it was a nice display, what with all the boats, the fireworks and Sir Elton – although do you think she ever turned round and said “where have I seen him before? Something about a Candle In The Wind . . . oh yes . . .”

What a right royal diary-crash. One of those equerries is going to get it right in the neck. Hope it’s not an axe. Have they stopped that sort of thing?

Imagine mussing up appointments Royal like that.

Honestly, it’s all a bit embarrassing. All that effort, but The Leith Festival and Pageant is this Saturday!