The Kelpies, a pink bus shelter and two taxi drivers
I’ve been longing to see the Kelpies, two enormous horse sculptures that live in Falkirk, Scotland. This had been on my bucket list of things to do whilst up in Edinburgh. Not only did I come face to face with the Kelpies I also met two entertaining taxi drivers and came across a bright pink bus shelter with no buses. Such is Scotland, it has a charm you can’t hope to find anywhere else in the world and that is why I love it so.
Mum and I set off the day after I arrived in Edinburgh. The weather seemed fair, so I wasn’t about to take any chances. In Scotland when it’s dry you go out, you don’t wait for the next day!
We travelled by train and arrived at Falkirk High hoping to take the bus to the Kelpies. As we went off in search of a bus we walked past three taxi drivers having a chat. I sensed that these three were not your ordinary run of the mill taxi drivers. The nearby bus stop had a timetable that stated a half an hour wait so mum and I decided to opt for a taxi.
This is when the fun began!
We asked the three taxi drivers if one of them could take us to see the Kelpies. They greeted us with enthusiasm, told us the price and suggested that we take the taxi at the front. It turned out that our driver had a dual career. He’d grown tired of plumbing and now worked as a taxi driver/plumber. He had a fine line of chat that could win him a job as a chat show host or a comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe. I’m not joking! His banter started as soon as we asked him the price to take us to the Kelpies. He said Scottish folk get a special rate of six or seven pounds but the English have to pay ten. Obviously, he had heard I live in Cambridge!
Thereafter, his commentary continued in a steady flow of detail about local tourist attractions such as Callandar House – Visit Scotland, as well as unexpected details such as taxi drivers not being able to use the toilet in the station. But, his pièce de résistance came in force towards the end of the journey. He suddenly waved his mobile at us, revealing a photo of him in a kilt. Obviously, this must have been set to that exact spot on his mobile for effect. I have to say he cut a very fine figure in his kilt! Mum and I were gob smacked. I have never had a taxi driver show me a photo of himself in a kilt before and this is when the conversation took an unexpected direction. He mentioned his surname, (which I’ll keep to myself,) and asked us if we knew how to check whether a kilt belonged to a McDonald clan member. We said no. His exact words escape me but he said something like: ‘You put your hands up the kilt, and if there are two quarter pounders up there, then you have your answer.’ We had to laugh at his crude joke – there was nothing else we could do!
Mr Kelpie reared up in shock!
Thereafter, he mentioned how he always wore his kilt during the festival. Mum asked him what he did whilst wearing his kilt during this busy time and he replied, ‘I get pissed.’
What a laugh! Oh my goodness, we were nearly there! The Kelpies were in sight.
He dropped us off and suggested that he could pick us up on the way back from the pink bus shelter and gave us his business card with his plumbing details on one side and his taxi service on the other. We wondered what the return journey would entail…. More banter about his kilt, perhaps?….
The Kelpies were magnificent. We took lots of photos, had a lovely cup of tea and cake and wonder of wonders we sat out in the café and had a walk around before it started to rain! Soon, it would be time to go home but not before we took some more photos. My mum, bless her, isn’t a fantastic photographer – this is her photo of me and the Kelpies!
She tried again and again and finally succeeded in taking a tiny photo of me beside the Kelpies. Unfortunately she cut one of their ears off, and the other one lost his nostrils but at least this photo gives you an indication of their mighty size!
Here’s my mum with the Kelpies doing their thing…
We returned to the very freshly painted bus stop shelter by the exit. A large poster said THERE ARE NO BUSES FROM THIS STOP (another peculiarity of Falkirk, a bus shelter posing as a bus stop with no hint of a bus in sight.) The nearest bus stop was at Falkirk Stadium. I wondered how far away this could be… a football kick away? Five minutes, or a mile? I asked a local lad directing traffic for advice and he said it was twenty minutes’ walk. This would have been great if it had been just me but my mum is getting older and a younger person’s twenty minutes’ walk is more like an elderly person’s mini marathon so we decided to get a taxi. The young man offered to book us a taxi so we accepted his kind offer. Of course this meant that we didn’t have a return trip with our taxi driver/cum plumber/kilt wearer which was somewhat disappointing…. But perhaps recommended!….
Our return journey taxi driver turned out to be a silent chap and mum and I sat at the back of the taxi waiting patiently for his much anticipated line of banter. I kind of missed Mr Kilt Taxi Driver but eventually Mr Strong Silent Taxi Driver spoke. He received a message telling him that his last pick up had left their phone in his taxi. Boy, the flood gates of speech opened! He said he gets the blame for stealing people’s phones and added that it was their fault as they can’t remember where they’d left their mobiles because they’re drunk. This led to a conversation about kids never admitting to doing wrong, and his daughter damaging his new flooring with her high heeled shoes. She said she didn’t do it, and his wife doesn’t wear high heels so I concluded that if his daughter and his wife are innocent then he must be a Taxi Driving Cross Dresser! But, of course I didn’t dare mention that to him as he was a big burly bloke who probably wouldn’t be seen dead in a dress or a kilt.
So, what an adventure the Kelpies turned out to be! Don’t you agree?
If you’re ever in Falkirk don’t miss out, go and see the Kelpies. You must and make sure you visit the pink bus shelter and take a taxi! Who knows who you might meet?
Bye for now,
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Categories: The Kelpies