Two gentlemen of Leith, promenading Constitution Street in the early spring sun. One was in a white shell suit, which fashionistas know is a pleasing retro note in today’s street style. The second was in blue. They wore baseball caps and were almost identical in size, build and tattoos.
They looked like a novelty salt and pepper set.
Through the kirkyard and left at Trinity House, our two gallant lads ran slap bang into a couple. She was opening a can of lager. He was staring into the distance. But they both snapped to it like Guardsmen when the high-stepping boys came into view.
The parties were known to each other, and in dispute, centred around a financial matter, possibly a boardroom battle or a hostile share acquisition.
The woman of the piece gave vent to the sort of full-throated fury that Boudica summoned to scare the living daylights out of the Romans. The very windows of the Banana Flats shook.
Her companion said not a word, but had the thousand-yard gaze of a man you wouldn’t like to get stuck in a lift with.
White Shellsuit and Blue Baseball cap were halfway through the Kirkgate, but they returned verbal fire.
Anyone stuck beneath the fly-over zone of aggression suddenly realised how those wildlife photographers must feel stuck between two roaring lion prides disputing ownership of a downed antelope.
The Kirkgate Valkyrie gave vent to a new battle cry. Blue Cap wasn’t having this, whatever it was. He started back. The mood changed. Staring man blinked. Something told me this was not good.
Blue Cap, enraged, did the traditional war dance of toe bouncing, arm waving and chest thumping, then, he suddenly whipped off his belt and started a rapid advance at the opposing team.
The dangerously silent man slowly shifted his gaze to lock on to the approaching threat. It was like watching the gun turrets of HMS Hood move.
Y’know some military manoeuvres should really be thought through. Blue Cap leapt like Nureyev, arm aloft, belt in the air.
At that precise moment, his jeans fell down, he tripped over and he planted his coupon in the concrete.
The staring man roared with laughter, the lager lady near choked to death, and White Shellsuit said, and I quote: “Gonnae get up, man, yer gie’n me a right showin up, so yer are.”
Kirkgate. An everyday story of urban folk.
Red flag to a bull for all the 20mph zone opponents
Look, I get this 20 mph thing. It must make it safer for other road users.
So why not go the whole hog and bring back someone walking in front of the car with a red flag? Brilliant. You’d feel like a Cold War Soviet Ambassador.
We could create jobs and get more Scots exercising. Get older people to do it. Think of the opportunity for socialising, thus battling the modern curse of loneliness.
Imagine the dressing down a pensioner with a flag could give the speed demon boys and girls who seem to be constantly racing against the clock to deliver donated organs.
How funky would it be to have a tailgater torn a strip by a grey-haired guardian of the limit?
Trust me, I’ve seen lollipop ladies reduce drivers of 44 tonne trucks to snottering apology, so don’t tell me they can’t sort out a 50 year old ‘boy racer’ with a mid-life crisis and a BMW.
So camera shy
In nearly 30 years driving I have only once been flashed by a speed camera. It threw me into such a palaver I never knowingly broke the limit again.
My driving licence is a privilege that cost me dear in money and sweat, and I’m not about to lose it for something stupid like speeding. Don’t get me started on drink driving zoomers.
The trouble is that right now, I don’t know what the speed limit is.
On at least two stretches of road I’ve used the signs for 20 and 30 are both clearly visible.
Now, whilst I am happy to tool along trying to take my best guess at the law, there are some folks for whom this state of affairs is quite clearly dangerous, and I refer to the Tailgate Tommies and Tammies I see in my rearview mirror.
Those forehead veins are throbbing. That blood pressure is going to fell someone shortly.
That double flash from the speed camera has caused many a rapid deceleration.
These days there’s also the average speed camera, or the vulture, to give them their street name.They currently roost above the workings for both the Fife side of the new bridge and the M8 upgrade.
Ah, but my pal has them beat. Nae worries, said he. Just belt along and watch your time, then when you get to near the end, pull in for ten minutes. Mibbe 15. Seriously, this bloke has got a vote.