Susan Morrison is among the walking wounded injured after a fall on Edinburgh’s streets, which she says have become littered with anti-personnel devices disguised as flagstones.
Two weeks before the Fringe began, I tripped and sprained my ankle. Naturally, I blamed myself, because I have all the grace of a rhino on roller skates.
A few days before my personal pavement slam, a meeting I should have had with a lovely Canadian was cancelled. She had taken a spectacular fall on Leith Walk, which required a trip to A&E, a further visit when she became seriously dizzy, a shot on one of our finest MRI scanners and the attention of various NHS consultants, nurses and a woman who kept offering her tea. I explained the tea tsunami was standard NHS treatment for everything.
Earlier this week, I went to the aid of a woman who took a tumble on Princes Street. Naturally, me getting involved only made things worse. We wound up with two sets of paramedics. My fault.
Lest you think all these unfortunates were women, a doughty fellow took a tumble on Great Junction Street. Despite this being Leith, the chap in question was perfectly sober and appeared to be in control of his faculties. He certainly had an excellent command of some of the more profane and colourful aspects of the English language.
All over our city, people are going down like some sort of whack-a-mole game. One minute there they are, strolling along without a care in the world and then the next it’s face-to-face with the flagstones and a quick trip to A&E, which can be a pain when you planned your day to pick out curtains in John Lewis.
Is there some plague affecting us? Are we secretly knocking back the sherry? Are the good people of Edinburgh suddenly so unsteady on their pins that they need a helpful arm provided by kindly young men tasked with escorting us about by holding our elbows? I would be keen on that, were it not for the fact that a young friend of mine is currently laid up with a broken ankle, so the young are not spared this sinister affliction.
The city is slowly being taken over by hirpling, limping, zombie-gaited creatures trying to source support bandages and ibuprofen gel, like a giant Walking Dead re-enactment.
It’s not us. It’s the pavements. The council is currently on some deranged mission to dig up every road it can find. I suspect that someone in the City Chambers bought a map off a mad old pirate which claimed to show treasure buried under the streets, but the X got wiped off.
Whilst this trench digging festival is going on, at the same time, incidentally as the actual Festival and Fringe, the pavements are slowly crumbling like my last attempt at shortbread. We have holes big enough to trap an elephant. Heck, should Godzilla rise from the Forth and threaten to rain down fiery destruction, we in Edinburgh would just cross our arms and say, nah, mate, cos you won’t even make it past the Foot of the Walk.
The pavements are strewn with cunning hazards, like those skew-whiff cracks that mysteriously appear overnight to trip the unwary and my personal favourite, the shonky flagstone that looks as solid as the Bank of England, until you stand on it, when it suddenly wallops down on one side and flings you over like a judo master.
It has another little trick. It hoards rainwater, which it expertly dumps into the shoes of its victims.
Not even the Viet Cong came up with an anti-personnel device as brilliantly disguised and effective as that.
The pavements in this city would fail a health and safety inspection. So, what are we to do? Zipwire the city? Learn to levitate? Start moving about by leaping from building to building like Batman? Admittedly, my bingo wings are capacious enough to allow a decent glide path, but not everyone is so well endowed.
No, good people. We need to take that pirate map off the council. We need pavements we can use without hearing adverts for HowInjuredDoYouWantToBe.com going through our heads. We could have a march, but how many of us would still be standing by the end? Pavements for all I say!
Don’t let fly at the frequent flyerers
Week Two of the Fringe and most performers have forgotten how to eat with a knife and fork.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Some comedians I know become a positive menace if you let them get their mitts on anything sharp and shiny.
It must be maddening for you going about your daily pothole avoidance to be hassled by the young folk with the flyers, but most of them have a smile on their faces and are cheery wee souls. Take a flyer now and then, but if you don’t want to, does it hurt to smile and say no thanks? There is nothing sadder than a flyerer in the rain, after all.