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Over the bridge

In the summer we went to Edinburgh to see a screening of The Killing II, the Danish thriller I was obsessed with all year. They were screening the first episode of series two at the Filmhouse as part of the Television Festival. As a very special bonus Sarah Lund herself was present for a Q & A! Well, Sofie Gråbøl, the actress behind the woolly jumpers.

Season Two Episode One was as thrilling and intriguing as we’d all hoped. Then finally Sofie was introduced and the crowd went mental. I wondered if it would she was be bemused or slightly creeped out that hundreds of British people had turned up to watch a screening of a television programme that had aired in Denmark years earlier?

She was so very, very classy. How do European women do that? You know, look elegantly put-together yet slightly dishevelled like you’ve just had a good tumble? She was wearing slim-legged trousers and one of those big floaty jumpers that would make me look like a lumpen potato but on her was the height of casual sophistication.  She answered the audience questions with wit, patience and perfect English. I was consumed by teenage yearning… how cool would it be to be like that? Understated style, wry and witty, sexy and aloof all the same time. I couldn’t get a toe into her jeans, let alone any of the other stuff. Wah wah wah.

Afterwards, we emerged from the theatre and back into reality. Except it was not quite reality, as we were still in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is a lot different from Dunfermline. I moved to Dunfermline after I got married. Edinburgh and Dunfermline are separated by a bit of water and linked by the Forth Rail Bridge, the Greatest Feat of Victorian Engineering™ (and a nondescript road bridge), but the two towns are worlds apart.  Edinburgh has galleries and festivals and cinemas that show films other than ones that require 3D glasses. There are places to eat foods that are not doused in cheese and/or batter.

Dunfermline is located in the region of Fife, which is known as the KINGDOM of Fife because in the ye olde days Dunfermline was the capital city of Scotland. But that’s going back a long way now. The thrones have long been replaced by kebab shoppes.

Fife has been my home for seven years now and I love it. I dig the coast, our village, my friends, my tiny commute, the veggie patch and the secluded woods to wander in. It’s a great life. But every now and then I need a fix of fancy dinner or entertainment so I hop back over the water.

Being in Edinburgh feels like a different world. There’s a Castle, for crying out loud. On this particular summer’s evening the castle was bathed in that weird metalicky post-rain sunlight. We had a bus to catch back to Fife, but I didn’t want to break the Edinburgh spell. We’d been to see The Amazing Sofie, we’d had a drink and I wasn’t wearing tracky dacks.

Edinburgh

“Let’s come here more often,” I rambled to Gareth, “And see more movies without 3D glasses? Catch some bands? Or a play. We never go to plays. I mean, look at that castle! Why don’t we just move here? There must be a shoebox for sale…”

I swooned at the Edinburgh sunset as we waited at the bus stop.

And waited and waited.

Then waited some bloody more.

Bus after bus after bus flew by, full to the brim with Fife-bound festival-goers. The drivers would shrug their shoulders helplessly as if to say, Sorry love. Nae room.

And with that, the Edinburgh love affair was over.

With every bus that passed I could feel the futile rage boil in my veins. I wanted to be home. Now! Home in good old Fife with a cup of tea. Why did we leave Fife? Whose ridiculous idea was this? I bet it was Gareth’s idea.

Soon it was dark and I didn’t have a warm jacket, coz I thought we’d have been home ages by then. Stupid Edinburgh.

After approximately seven years and many murderous thoughts, a bus finally stopped.

“We are getting on this bloody bus if it’s the last thing we ever do,” I said to Gareth. “So get your elbows oot!”

“I’ve not many seats left!” warned the driver.

Normally in this country there is a definite queue etiquette but this time everyone just surged violently, like seagulls on a hot chip. Luckily we’d been waiting so long we were right at the front, so we managed to get on. I had to stop myself from screaming “IN YOUR FACE!” to those left on the pavement. A family with about six children made it too, but a quartet of revellers who’d been waiting on the steps of a pub - not actually in the queue let me point out – missed out.

Pub Man was very unhappy.

“I want your name and the name of your supervisor!” he bellowed at the driver, “This is an outrage!”

“I’m sorry sir,” said the driver, “The bus is full and I can’t let anyone else on.”

“But how are we meant to get home? Give me the name of your supervisor!”

“The bus is full!”

“Give me the name of your supervisor!”

The bus driver politely explained the situation again, hit the button to close the doors and started to pull away. But Pub Man was having none of it. He leaped onto the bus and somehow managed to wedge himself in the gap of the semi-closed door as we moved down the street.

“I’m not getting off until you give me the name of your supervisor! How the hell are we supposed to get home!?”

The passengers rumbled with disapproving tut-tuts and “for fook’s sake”s and “have ya no’ heard of the train pal”s. But Gareth and I looked at each other with an uneasy, “that could have been us” expression.

I mean, how close are we all to coming undone? We’re oh so civilised watching Danish thrillers in the cinema and standing politely in queues, but push our buttons a wee bit and we begin to fizz. And there’s nothing quite like that special brand of impotent rage that comes with public transport delays, when it’s really late and you just want to fucking get HOME to your bed. Another half hour and maybe we would have cracked up too?

The driver stopped at the end of the street, opened the door again and Pub Man reluctantly stepped down. He was still ranting as we drove away. I wonder if those poor buggers made it to the train station in time for the last one over the Bridge.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


16 thoughts on “Over the bridge

  1. When I saw the words ‘Over the…’ I started thinking ‘Over the hill’! ‘Hopefully not!’ was my response. Much better to be over the bridge than over the hill:) Sounds like you had a great time out. Love that pic of the castle.

  2. Ah, I laughed so much reading this, especially because in the middle of the bus rant I said, out loud, ‘why didn’t they just get the train’?! We live in South Queensferry now and have similar public transport rages! Hope seeing Sofie the Well-Put-Together was worth the hassle!

    1. Jo i reckon that’s where the Tightarse Scot nature comes into play – I’ve paid for a return ticket so I’m gonna use it dammit! Hehehe!

      It was definitely worth it though, Sofie was so charming 🙂

  3. Slightly off topic of the post – speaking of foreign TV shows to watch – I’d heartily recommend Inspector Montalbano on BBC4 on Saturday nights and on iPlayer. In Italian in Sicily and a very cool watch. It’s becoming a Saturday night staple for us.

    As for “the big city” – sometimes the only way to really take advantage of it is to live in the middle of it, where a short walk, or a quick taxi will get you home. Of course, like us, that means having about 5 million close neighbours who more than often make too much noise at night and seeing stars is something you only do walking down King’s Road or bumping your head instead of the usual looking up.

    1. OMG Scott I loooove Montalbano! 🙂 Such a hottie. We pretty much watch whatever BBC4 dish up for that Saturday 9pm timeslot #nolife

      1. We watched it for the hell of it having missed all the Danish stuff (which is a shame given the hassles I get at work for wearing my favourite jersey!) and it seems to get better and better.

        He is very cool and it hasn’t been very predictable either which is different. Makes me look forward to Saturday night 🙂

        1. I totally agree! I love Saturday Night Crime. It was a bit unsettling watching Borgen at first, expecting everyone to die all the time! 🙂

          1. That’s the tricky one – how to have a crime drama without the deaths 😉 I think they could pull that off in Italy 😀 All I need is the “combination episode” where Inspector Montolbano goes on holiday and bumps into Inspector Barnaby (the old one) and they end up solving a murder together… I think I should lay off the caffeine 😉

          2. FYI: the only place in the world (seemingly) that produces Montalbano with English subtitles seems to be your home in Oz! The “series 1” here in the UK was actually the first 4 Italian series together or, to confuse matters, Volume 1 and 2 in Oz. There’s a Volume 3, 4, and 5 available with a further 12 episodes. Seriously wondering if I should splash out – although I’m reading a Montalbano book first…and now lost in the grimness of the Bridge! The Italians are lucky – you can stream episodes from their national broadcaster for free internationally. Sadly, not an Italian speaker – only Kiwi 😉

  4. So with you. Lost my rag big time today when the same company had managed to be idiots on both banking and insurance… on both of which I’d moved my accounts to them because they were supposed to be the good ethical customer service driven option rather than the annoying big corporations. I was getting furious on the phone to the poor unsuspecting call centre agents. Then the cat pulled a thread out of my jumper and caused a big hole and something else happened which was so infuriating I can’t quite remember it any more (obviously it scarred my brain so badly it caused amnesia) and I was extremely near being very uncivilised indeed. For me sometimes what makes the difference is a good night’s sleep or lack thereof…

  5. “how close are we all from coming undone” –love. it’s so true. i am from the US, but live in hong kong at the moment. i am not a petite american, but these little chinese sure no how to shove when it’s time for the train! manners have missed this region of the world, i’m convinced, so i too throw mine out the window when it’s time to throw “bows.”

  6. I like your photo of the rainbow over the castle.
    Maybe I’ll get to see it one day.
    All the best wishes for the rest of the year.

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