Unfortunately, over the past twenty years I have noticed a frustrating increase in littering and fly tipping all over Edinburgh. But perhaps I should reassess if that matters at all, if random passers-by in Edinburgh are the best kind to have by your side in an emergency.  

Yesterday in Edinburgh, I saw a man step off a Lothian bus on the bridges. He could have been anyone’s dad or granddad, he could have been you. One moment he was standing, the next it looked like he lost his balance and fell with his head against the large rubber tyre of the bus. People nearby immediately surrounded and comforted him: one asked the driver not to start the bus, another bent down to see if the man was conscious, another pulled out their phone and called for an ambulance. Luckily a doctor was on the bus heading to the airport. He assessed the gentleman’s condition and asked his name, as others offered wet-wipes to clean the blood from a slight gash on the gentleman’s forehead, and some bottled water for him to drink.

The thing I took away from yesterday ̶ as a young man and women crouched on the pavement with the gentleman, telling him that he was ‘in good hands’ ̶ was how glad I am to be Scottish; that while people worry about the unity of the UK, there are other things that are more important in our day-to-day lives. To be from Edinburgh, or quite possibly British, or European, or to be human for that matter, as I don’t know where everyone came from yesterday, the thing that should matter the most is the way that we treat one another. Consider, the concern of the medical student who stopped to ask if she could help after the doctor had to leave to catch his flight. I was inspired by the number of people who showed concern for a stranger in need ̶ people with a beautiful diversity of facial features and fashion statements.

Och, the littering-thingy still bugs me. Edinburgh is so beautiful, we have the right people, now we need to be proud of our surroundings too. Aye?

If you do want to help our environment in term of practical conservation work, check out LCV Edinburgh

Emma Parfitt

Proofreader for business and academic documents, translations, and English writing.


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