I had a pleasant day on Sunday as my mate Gordon took me with him and Bruce (the friendly greyhound) off to Dirleton, near North Berwick to let Bruce have a good run on the beach (the beach between their and North Berwick is a doggy social club, with more than enough butts for any happy dog to sniff). Chums have been good at making me go out – life hasn’t come to a halt. We lucked out weatherwise – the cycle of sun-rain shower-sun-rain shower-sun-small meteorite shower-sun (very Scottish weather) came to an end just as we pulled up to the beach to be replaced by glorious, golden sunlight.
We thought we spotted a couple of very cool kites flying as we walked over the dunes – they looked like mini parafoils. When we cleared the dunes we realised they weren’t kites and were miniature parafoils, being used to pull little trike buggies along the windswept beach – very cool! Our on-beach entertainment was continued as we watched Bruce and a very small dog both happily trying to establish ownership rights over a 3-day dead fish (it may have been 4 days – I’m waiting on the lab results, but the death doesn’t look suspicious at this stage).
Then we had a visit from our old friend in the biplane, presumably from nearby East Fortune airfield (next to the museum of flight where one of the Concordes now resides). A few minutes later he was joined by a red biplane. Naturally this lead to ‘curse you, Red Baron!’ comments, but fortunately my brand-new Sopwith Camel wasn’t shot up (okay, some may say I’ve read too many Snoopy books here, but I’d respond how can you read too many Snoopy tales?). The pair of them went into a series of loops, spirals, barrel rolls and the dangerous Immelman (straight upwards until stalling then flip over and dive, dive, dive!), all performed in formation. Our own free air show! Perhaps I’ve watched too many movies but when the roar of a diving biplane filled the air I found myself waiting on the rat-a-tat-a-tat of machine gun fire and was vaguely disappointed when it didn’t come (although it’s probably for the best it didn’t since the other form of firing was more than enough).
We made our way back to the car in the beautiful but eerie twilight we get in Scotland; a very odd light quality, it’s easy to see why our ancestors thought this was the time the Faeries were most likely to venture out on their mischief making. The strange light quality between end of day and fall of night also made this time perfect for mugging and indeed many old Scots Parish records recount gentle citizens of yesteryearbeing accosted by Faeries on the way home and having their wallets, pocket watches and snuff boxes pinched (many a sneeze came from Faerie Mounds as they partook of the snuff).
The lamp came to life on the Fidra lighthouse on its stormy little rock as we left; a pure, white beam sweeping round and round as the light of day faded. For some reason more people were still driving up to the beach as we left. Perhaps they were the vampiric beach-goers, off to walk their hellish hounds by the surf and perhaps get a nice Morticia Adams-style moon-tan on the beach.
On the way back we watched as the headlights picked out road signs on the Edinburgh bypass. One was the type you see all over the world advertising an approaching service station. We couldn’t help but notice that all of the available services are denoted by pictograms: a knife and fork crossed like weapons on display on a castle wall for food; a cartoon outline of a bed for rooms; a picture of a petrol pump. All in cartoon form so all can understand it, even the illiterate. All except the sign for the loos. The only one denoted by letters instead, in this case ‘WC’. Why no little cartoon cartouche of a toilet pan??? Or maybe a loo roll??? Just think on all those poor drivers with reading problems who suffer the agonies of full bladder because the authorities are too uptight to feature a cartoon lavvy seat on our nation’s road signs. It’s a disgrace.