In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
I can’t quite believe that I haven’t thought to write about this before, but I think the time has now come to share with you the delights of one of the Meadows’ most marvellous phenomena.
Here I must apologise to those of you who do not and have not lived in Edinburgh as you may not know what on earth I’m going on about. If this is the case then please feel free to stop reading at any time (but please don’t because this will upset me and I know exactly who you are and where you live and I have mad skills with a screwdriver, just ask Maurice).
However, anyone who has had cause to traverse the Meadows on a fairly regular basis will attest to the fact that there are many slightly strange, often curious, and always intriguing sights to be seen there. The somewhat lyrical cockney who sells the Big Issue, the lunchtime jugglers, the trainee tightrope walkers. We once met a very exciting man who claimed to be a Jedi and informed us that light sabers would soon be a reality and they would look a little like violin bows.
But this is even better than all of those. If you go down to the Meadows on a Thursday morning around eleven o’clock then you’re in for a wonderful surprise. No I’m not talking about a gathering of every bear that ever there was, though in all honesty I wouldn’t actually be too shocked to stumble upon a bona fide teddy bear’s picnic. This surprise involves gym kit, pushchairs and an unreasonably plucky instructor.
I’m talking about what I have rather ingeniously named (even if I do say so myself) The Pushchair Jogging Group. This is a particularly impressive stroke of genius you see because they are a group of people who get together to go jogging and they all bring their pushchairs with them. I know. I even amaze myself sometimes.
I’m assuming that they all have children in the pushchairs, I haven’t actually checked. I am also assuming that any children residing in said pushchairs are actually the children of the women pushing them. This may of course all be a fantastic cover for an audacious band of child kidnappers who have devised the perfect method of escaping the scene of a crime. Which is actually not a bad idea, if you’re in the child-snatching business that is, which I’m not. Honest.
Anyhow, let’s all assume for now that these are not evil criminals and, all similarities aside, these are in fact just mothers. Because if that isn’t true then this is all a bit weird and I probably shouldn’t be writing about it. But the sight of this happy bunch has brightened my morning on numerous occasions.
They all seem to gather at the end of the Quartermile and engage in a bit of vital stretching, lunging and jogging on the spot. Then the plucky instructor shouts out some instructions and jogs past them all, blazing the trail with her pushchair, to the front of the group. They all set of at what can only be described as a brisk trot down middle meadow walk.
I can’t tell you what happens throughout the whole session because I’ve only ever seen glorious snippets. After all, it’s fairly impossible to stop and watch them for any length of time without looking incredibly suspicious. So all I’ve seen at once is that which takes place in the time it takes to walk (unusually slowly) across the Meadows.
I do, by some happy turn of fate, seem to have caught them at varying points throughout their progress though. They seem to be doing a kind of pushchair-based intervals session. At times running circuits, depressingly some of them appear to do it faster than I could probably manage without being weighed down by a child (which may or may not have been stolen). Sometimes they congregate at one end to perform some squat/thrust/lunge-type manoeuvres.
I don’t know how to say this without sounding condescending but they really are incredibly entertaining. I may mock (but then I do mock everyone, not least myself), but they genuinely are quite magnificent, and I defy anyone to witness a group of women merrily trotting through the Meadows with their pushchairs in hand and not smile.
So if you’re lucky enough to happen upon them on your way to or from lectures then I can assure you that your spirits will be buoyed by the hilarious and splendid sight of The Pushchair Jogging Group.