A Life in a Year – 26th August, The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

In the summer of 1972 the family went on holiday to the Croyde Bay Holiday Camp in Devon.  I was eighteen and had finished my ‘A’ Levels and was probably waiting for the results.  Whilst we were there I met a girl called Jackie Grieg from Edinburgh and we became quite friendly.

After the end of the holiday we kept in touch by writing to each other and she invited me to visit her for a few days at the end of August and it seemed there might be a romance on the cards.  One tea time my parents drove me to Coventry bus station where I had a ticket for an overnight coach journey to the Scottish capital and soon I was on my way north.  I don’t remember the price of the ticket but a single National Express ticket today costs nearly £6o but looking at the advert below from 1972 I suspect it was quite a lot cheaper then.

In the early hours of the morning the coach pulled into Glasgow for a short stop just as the city was waking up and then continued east to Edinburgh where we arrived at around breakfast time and where Jackie and her dad were waiting to meet me and take me home for a full Scottish.

After a few days in Edinburgh it became obvious that it was very unlikely that there was going to a romance and this was not a match made in heaven and we would have to put up with each other until my return journey a few days later. Luckily her brother came to the rescue and we struck up a short friendship.  He worked at Scottish and Newcastle Breweries and had unlimited supplies of McEwan’s beer which I was happy to help him dispose of.  It was obvious that Jackie wasn’t madly in love with me and he took over the hosting responsibilities.

One evening we went to see the Scottish folk group The Corries in concert and I liked them so much that when I got home I bought an LP record and I still have it somewhere in my redundant vinyl collection.


Like a lot of other artists the Corries were in town because my visit coincided with the annual Edinburgh Festival and at the end of the week we had tickets to go and see the Edinburgh Military Tattoo on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle and on that chilly evening we took our seats in the open air arena and watched the show that included the pipes and drums of the Scottish Regiments and the Massed Bands, a drill display from the Norwegian King’s Guard and a Lion Dance and a Frog Dance performed by the Singapore Armed Forces. I remember that I really enjoyed it!

When the week was over I caught the bus at Edinburgh coach station, said goodbye to Jackie and waved through the window as the bus pulled out and then slumped back into the seat relieved that it was all over.  I suspect she was as glad to see the back of me as I was to be returning home and we never spoke of wrote to each other ever again.

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