In June each year the Edinburgh taxi trade runs an outing from the city for what are termed 'vulnerable' or 'disadvantaged' children, including disabled children. This year the outing included visiting children from Chernobyl. A huge fleet of decorated black cabs travels in convoy from the city to the beach at Dirleton, on the East Lothian coast. The taxi in the shot above is rather low key, but it was out and about very early. I hoped to see more extravagant decorations on the remainder of my 40 minute walk to work, but I must have been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Part of me wonders about the whole singling out of children as 'disadvantaged' in this way, but there's no doubt that the event is still going strong after 63 years. It reminds me of the annual outing that my father enjoyed at primary school in a tiny village on Speyside in the 1930s and still talks about today. The entire 2 room school was taken by steam train from Craigellachie (yes, the original of the Canadian Pacific Railway version) to Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth Coast, a journey of 17 miles. On arrival they were treated to lemonade and buns. They then walked to the wide, sandy beach backed by dunes, and played until lunchtime. I don't imagine any of the children owned a swimming costume - it would have been frocks tucked into knickers for the girls, and school shorts for the boys. The school then walked back into town, where they had lunch that still makes my father misty-eyed: soup, mince and tatties and ice cream. Then back to the beach for games of cricket and races, before taking the train back up into the hills. All this was organised and paid for by a wealthy lady landowner, and for most of the children it was the only time in the year they went beyond a 2 or 3 mile radius of the village.