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28.7.10

Changing trains



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Because the railway authorities will want to question him about why he’s driving their train, and why he took it in the first place, Bakulebe says that he doesn’t want to stop in Edinburgh. I tell him that the line we are on ends at Edinburgh Station, but he says that this is the Flying Scotsman, and, if we hit the buffers at great speed, he thinks we should be able to take off, or, at least, somersault over Edinburgh Station, thus avoiding the officials who will be waiting for us. Juan asks Bakulebe if he is completely insane, and reminds him that the train weighs hundreds of tons and, however fast we go, it definitely will not fly. However, Special Train Service drivers are utterly fearless, in any given year, Bakulebe crashes trains through more stations, plummets down more mountains, and plunges off more railways bridges than most people do in the course of a lifetime, so we do respect his experience in such matters. However, seeing Bakulebe accelerating wildly, while singing, ‘The Emigrant’s Death Song’ and ‘The Widow’s Lament’, we are somewhat alarmed, and when he bursts into a rendition of ‘Within a Mile o’ Edinburgh’ and ‘The Lay of the Hopeless’ we quickly fortify ourselves with draughts of Vintage Clynelish, Littlemill, Springbank and Longmorn Private Reserve, then, wishing Bakulebe the very best of luck, we dive from the train.

After rolling for hundreds of yards, we come to a stop and watch the Flying Scotsman speeding off toward Edinburgh. A few moments later, Juan asks me if I think Bakulebe will be able to get enough speed up to vault over the city and escape the authorities. I tell him that the skills of a Special Train Service engineer should never be underrated but judging from the tremendous crashing noise and the plumes of smoke we can see rising from Edinburgh Station, I think that Bakulebe, may have taken the name of the locomotive a little too literally.

After applying emollient, in the form of Vintage Glengarioch, to our wounds, we remember that we are fleggarishly behind schedule and decide to catch another train. Fortunately, the next train we see is the Aberfeldy Express; we flag the locomotive down and clamber aboard, I give the driver a handful of gems and ask him to drop us off at the Cheeky Monkey, Juan distributes flasks of his Special Reserve to our fellow passengers and, clapping and cheering and yelling with excitement, we clatter onwards, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary