STATELY as a galleon she sails through Embra's streets.
She is, if I may mex my mitaphors, the Jeeves of buses.
Classy, reliable, and perhaps a little imperious, the number 23 links two of the capital's best-loved areas: Morningside and Trinity.
Ah, Trinity: genteel suburb by the sea; an upmarket Leith; a neighbour of Newhaven. Sometimes her big stone villas have captains' towers, where salty old sea dogs would sit and train their telescopes upon the wind-blown Forth. Morningside you may know better. Famously posh, with its Waitrose an' all, it's actually quite lively and distinctly tenemental. There are far richer places in Embra than Morningside, places where you never hear a Scottish accent.
But on the 23 no-one cares how you speak. Just get a window seat and drink in the scenes passing by.
Our journey begins a little beyond Morningside, near leafy Craiglockhart, where Napier University has a campus. The bustle of Morningside Road comes next, and here must be negotiated dotty old ladies, mad car-door openers and aggressive, self-righteous cyclists.
The 23 manages them all and glides on through Tollcross, past the old Royal Infirmary, then down the Mound to Hanover Street. At least it did before the tram works began. It probably goes via Glasgow now.
Rejoining her at the botanic gardens, there remains just a short hop and skip (something not every bus can bring off) to Trinity, where she stops for a rest by the tennis courts.
I travel by bus only rarely now, as I find other people unsettling, but in my experience the 23 was always relatively civilised. If the world were ending tomorrow, many folk would have rampant sex or drink themselves into a stupor. But I'd take a trip on the 23, and feel bliss on my way to the terminus.
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