Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
soapy suds just struck me as deeply worthwhile; it seemed like an important artistic state-
ment and a veritable piece of aesthetically relevant semi-vandalism; art terrorism.
I'd got my hands on a big polythene water container from a camping shop which just
fitted into an old fake-leather shoulder bag that my mum would otherwise have thrown
out. I'd cut a small but carefully positioned flap in the bag so that I could easily reach the
little plastic tap at the side of the container and turn it on. The plan was that I'd select a
low-rise fountain, one which you could sit on the side of, I'd stock up on lots and lots of
Fairy Liquid bottles, empty them into the water container in the shoulder bag, go to the
fountain, sit on the side (preferably somewhere near the fountain's pump inlet) and then -
while looking like I was pretty much doing nothing at all - reach down and open the tap,
letting the glistening green liquid flow into the waters. With any luck the container would
be fully empty and I'd be making my escape before the detergent hit the impeller blades.
Cue vast heaving quantities of foam filling the whole square or corporate HQ en-
trance, filmy billows of it floating away on the breeze, and assorted comical turns by
janitors/policemen/council or corporate officials as I stood somewhere in the middle dis-
tance, peeking round a corner and tittering at my merry and not at all in the end destruct-
ive prank, readers.
My original intended target had been the fountain in Clyde Square in Greenock, out-
side the Town Hall, but this struck me as a bit too close to home. I needed somewhere, I
decided, where I wasn't known (and probably wouldn't be visiting again for a while). The
Highland camping trip seemed to present an ideal opportunity for me finally to fulfil my
dream. What was more, with Jim and Dave, I'd have accomplices; they could be lookouts
and witnesses.
After days of searching we settled on Elgin the way a cloud of locusts settles on a
ripe field of corn. We reconnoitred the target; a perfect, low-walled municipal fountain,
rectangular in form, with a single medium-height jet and an easily identifiable pump in-
let. Having secured the cooperation of Jim and Dave with a minimum of eye-rolling and
head-shaking, I prepared to put my long-mulled-over plan into effect.
A busy but peaceful market town of some architectural significance not far from the
Moray coast and about 40 miles east of Inverness, Elgin had no idea, as its innocent cit-
izens woke up on that warm summer morning a quarter of a century ago, of the fate which
lay in store for it …
… And it had no idea, the following morning, what had just happened to it, either, be-
cause we had obviously been the victims of unscrupulous local traders selling low-grade
adulterated detergent, or perhaps an unsporting killjoy of a County Council committee
had anticipated my deviously brilliant plan and fitted some sort of foam-defeating filter,
or possibly the water used in the fountain was so incredibly hard it would have taken a
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