Susan Morrison: Let’s say thank you to our 24hr party people

Street cleaners, bus drivers and shop assistants are the unsung heroes of Edinburgh, helping the city run smoothly. Picture: Scott Louden
Street cleaners, bus drivers and shop assistants are the unsung heroes of Edinburgh, helping the city run smoothly. Picture: Scott Louden
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Well, that’s that for another year. It’s all been jolly good fun, but it’s nice to get the place to ourselves again.

It’s like having a party and then realising you just want the guests to go home. You know, that moment when you start to discreetly hoover the carpet and collect up the glasses.

Why not get totally trollied on a tram today? Picture: Lesley Martin

Why not get totally trollied on a tram today? Picture: Lesley Martin

It’s time to thank folks who really work to make the Fringe happen. People like the street-sweepers – well, in particular, the one I scared the bejeezuz out of.

He was having a well-deserved quiet moment in a sunny spot in the lane behind the New Town Theatre. The last thing he expected was the fire door to crash open and me to lurch out. He screamed, I screamed, we all screamed.

And then we had to straighten up and act normal because Jeremy Corbyn was about to arrive. The leader of the opposition deserves a better impression of the city than a hard-working street sweeper and a deranged woman screaming at each other.

Mind you, we could have got a whole Fringe run out of that act.

Thank you to our bus drivers. As everyone knows, our drivers become moving tourist information services during the Fringe. I watched an astonishingly tall German family with impeccable English cross examine the driver of the Number 10 about access to the castle, the best way to get to the palace and the opening hours for the Royal Yacht. They helpfully proffered a map to help the driver. He gave it back, helpfully explaining that this was in fact a map of Dunfermline. We both looked at each other and tried not to make jokes about German invasion plans.

Thank you to the shop assistants who kept on smiling, like the staff in the Co-op who had to explain to the family from Spain that the £5 note they were trying to use was no longer legal tender. They would have to take it to the bank, who would exchange it for a new plastic one, but you couldn’t use it right now to buy three packets of Quavers and a Red Bull.

That’s a lot of explaining to do when no-one speaks much Spanish, and they don’t speak much English.

Cue an incredibly posh, well-dressed woman who swooped in with a new plastic note, and lifted the old one from the hand of the baffled Spanish mum. “Take this”, she said, “and I’ll take the old one to my bank tomorrow.”

“Thank you so much”, said the relieved shop assistant.

“Not at all”, said the designer lady. “Just lucky, my dear. I so rarely use £5 notes. Do you?”

Get trollied on the way to South Gyle

There are lovely moments you overhear when people are showing the city off. Two American ladies on Princes Street were with a younger member of the clan, perhaps here to study, who was proudly pointing out things of note.

A tram slid past. Ah yes, said our young American In Edinburgh. These are the trolleys. They are really useful for people working out on the edge of the city. They can get trollied now.

One, I’ve never heard the trams described as trollies before and two, getting trollied is a grand Scottish term for getting more than mildly tipsy.

Who knew South Gyle is party central? Could explain those ridiculously happy call handlers I keep getting when I call the Bank of Scotland.

The Joanna Lumley of bridges just needs some TLC

Who does not love a great big piece of engineering? The new bridge is what I call art. Stunning.

We’ve managed to lay the three bridges out like a sort of open-air museum of bridge building. On the right, Victorian majesty, in the middle, 1960s white heat of technology and now 21st century high-tech.

But I will miss crossing the Forth Road Bridge. The sight of those towers was always the moment when I felt I was nearly home, especially late at night.

I’ve always felt protective of the old girl. She has that 60s glamour about her, like a bridge equivalent of Joanna Lumley. I know she’s not in the best of nick, and she could do with a little TLC, but don’t write her off. The bridge, that is, I’m sure Miss Lumley is in very good nick. Well, better than me, I bet.

The game’s up the flag pole

Twenty years ago since Diana died, eh? Seems like yesterday. The day after the accident we got a furious call to the BT Press Office where I worked at the time. Why, demanded the caller, was the flag outside our building not at half-mast?

The press officer, a formidable woman called Barbara who famously gave short shrift to calls outwith her remit, immediately shouted at me: “Call the police! someone has stolen the top half of our flag pole.” Quick thinking, sign of a good press officer. We couldn’t lower the flag anyway. It was stuck.