Very pleased to hand you over to another blog sitter this afternoon. Author M.J. Mallon. (Marjorie). An adventure in Scotland when Marjorie and her mother visited the famous Kelpies on their trip to Edinburgh.
The Kelpies, a pink bus shelter and two taxi drivers by M.J. Mallon
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?
©M.J. Mallon images 2017
About The Curse of Time: Book One – Bloodstone – a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.
On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.
Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.
Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.
With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?
A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.
One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads
The Curse of Time is a young adult fantasy novel set in Cambridge, England.
This book has a complex mix of themes running through it, and at times my head did spin as I tried to keep up. Amelina is a likeable character. She receives enchanted gifts and dreams about an elusive cottage. Her parents can’t offer her the support she needs, and instead, she turns to Esme, a friend who lives in the mirror.
As a qualified crystal therapist, I liked the inclusion of crystals throughout the story.
Our clasped hands shook with fear. I waited, afraid to witness the effect the Black Obsidian would have on my friends and me next. Our eyes met, and we strengthened our hold, clasping our hands tighter. The blackness of the moment grew. A flowing ribbon of dark, velvety light encircled our hands and bound our palms together sealing our bond.
There is also a strong personal development theme running through the book which I enjoyed.
As with all coming-of-age stories, Amelina grows as the story unfold. Learning who to trust, and how to use her gifts. Enjoyable novel.
And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon
About M.J. Mallon
I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-o…
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.
As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.
After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.
Connect to Marjorie Mallon
My thanks to Marjories for sharing her day out and I would certainly love to visit these magnificent statues. I am sure that Marjorie would love to receive your feedback. thanks Sally