Scrap Book Project – 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 in 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 a three hundred mile 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, probably no more than a couple of pounds.

Edinburgh Postcard

In the early hours of the morning the coach pulled into Glasgow to drop off some passengers 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 start to the day.

After a few days in Edinburgh it became obvious that it was very unlikely that there was going to a romance, I had been rather impetuous 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, a Lion Dance and a Frog Dance performed by the Singapore Armed Forces. I remember that I really enjoyed it!

Tattoo 1972 2

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 or wrote to each other ever again.

1972 Military Tattoo 1972 1Edinburgh Military Tattoo 1972 2

25 responses to “Scrap Book Project – The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

  1. That’s one thing I have never seen – nice read Andrew, perfect over my mid-morning coffee after planting out seedlings for 2 hours 😀

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  5. You don’t give much of a report on the Tattoo but no doubt it would have been along the lines I was talking about.

  6. Love the story Andrew, so glad you linked to Brian’s post.

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  8. And does Jackie read your blog now? I wonder.

  9. 18, Andrew! Just the other day… 🙂 🙂 Have you been back for the Tattoo since? I never did like the sound of bagpipes too much and all that military stuff, but it’s a fair old gig these days (except, like so much else, I expect it’s cancelled this year 😦 )

  10. I have always wanted to attend the Tattoo, but alas, I fear I am stuck with YouTube videos. If we would ever get to the UK I’d want to visit you, Derrick, and see the Tattoo. 😉

  11. . . . and here, I was imagining an actual bagpipe tattoo, or something . . .

    Actually, a friend of my wife (on a cruise) took the side trip to go see it a few years back, so I know a bit about it, but I still expected some sort of skin ink as the title didn’t immediately register as the event.

    At least, I think it’s the same thing the lady described. She was favorably impressed.

  12. Your story about Jackie made me smile. I had a very similar experience of travelling by train to Edinburgh to stay with a boy and his family… and the same outcome. 🙂

  13. Never been to the Tattoo and don’t have any ambition to do so. Your non-romance story is much more entertaining!

  14. I love this story Andrew!! What wonderful adventures can be found in a life well lived. The best thing you got from Jackie was these memories and the story to tell, so it was good you met her after all. The photos are great. Are these yours? The sunrise shot of the city is stunning.

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