We are in Edinburgh. The most amazing thing about Edinburgh is that the whole city is heritage listed! It wasn't bombed like London and it also had Sir Patrick Geddes who had the foresight to replan the city, using the old buildings rather than pull them down in the name if progress, as happened in so many other parts of the world. Everywhere you look there are quaint turreted buildings. The castle is visible through so many of the alleyways, called Closes or Wynds and can be seen standing high above the city from many vantage points.
Here is the castle seen through the thistle. This nasty weed ( Don took exception to my saying that!) is the national emblem of Scotland and it seems to have been cultivated in this park.
Which is the real Hogwarts's? I took the photo of the George Heriot school before I realised that it was just around the corner from the Elephant cafe where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. Combined with the rock from Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat scenery from Holyrood Palace, I think we are getting close. Edinburgh is full of magic!
Now here is a story. In this,area, called the Grassmarket, is a Square. You can see the rondel here in the middle of what was once a bustling market area. Today it has a body bag on it. I am happy to report that the bodies in these bags are alive! Once though, hangings were performed in this spot and as the inhabitants of the day were not able to watch bodies being realistically shot, hung or knifed to death in good quantities on TV, as we can, a good crowd would gather to watch the performance. One Of those hung was Maggie Dickson, for disposing of the body of her 3 day old child without having advised the authorities that she had been pregnant in the first place. The pub named after her is right here in the Square. Strangely Maggie lived to serve in her pub, as the hangman's noose had not finished her off after all, and when her kinsfolk stopped for a wee drink after the morning's thirsty work, they heard young Maggie clamouring to be let out of her coffin. After due consideration the authorities declared her rescuscitation an act of God and Maggie was allowed to live.
Today's body bags? This was a demostration in favour of more liberal government in Belarus. In Belarus there are many political prisoners and executions of political prisoners. Often the families can find out nothing about their loved ones and are not even able to reclaim the bodies for burial. You can sign a petition on freebelarusnow.org.
I spotted this obelisk and had to find out what it was all about. It is in the Old Calton Cemetary near the Governor's House that you can see here. The reason that someone has had an obelisk erected in their memory is that this person, Maurice Margarot fought for the vote in old Edinburgh town. This so outraged the power brokers of the day that they had him, along with four others, charged with treason and transported to Australia for a double sentence of 14 years. Maurice was the only one to return, all the others having died, and as his mate said at the time, which is recorded on the obelisk, “history will rejudge these …days”. Charged in 1793, these martyrs to the cause were pardoned in 1838.
Hi Nathan, these two are for you. You told me to look out for Andy Goldsworthy sculptures and lo and behold I found these on top of the National Museum of Scotland. Look a bit Anish Kapoor to me. I wonder which was first to do this size blocks with holes in them?
One of the best places to get a good view of Edinburgh is on the roof of the National Museum. The rooftop garden border adds to the scene too.
We are here while the Festival is on. It is actually 4 festivals in one; the Book Festival, which dates back the furthest, the Classical Music festival, the Edinburgh Tattoo and the Fringe Festival. The latter is for comedians, musicians, circus, theatre and anything else. There are, I think, 379 venues around the city. we went to see Mugenkyo taiko drumming, John Hunt in a jazz bar and Claude Bourbon playing guitar. They were all fantastic. We have also done a Castle tour, a walking tour (really worthwhile, called a tale of Two Cities), spent many hours int he National Museum, been to the National Art Gallery and visited Holyrood Palace. Oh yes, and we saw Craig Hill, the comedian. He was terrific and high energy, would have been better for us if we could understand his accent better and local references.
Actually he was wearing a black leather kilt with silver sporran, which was pretty sexy!
I love taiko drumming and have seen it a few times in Australia. This is the first time I have seen it performed by an all Caucasian group. Pictured here is one of the two girls in the troupe. Unlike the Japanese troupes, the girls were given a chance to play the big drums. Altogether they made a great sound. Apart from ninja costumes they also dressed in a sort of army camouflage gear. I want to be a taiko drummer!
Here he is, another tribute to a loyal dog. In Australia we have the dog on the tuckerbox at Gundagai and the statue at Balmoral Beach and in Japan there is a statue at Shibuya Railway Station. I suppose there are many more around the world.
THE WORLD'S END
I particularly wanted to visit this pub, which is on the Royal Mile, because I read about it in Diana Gabaldon's series of books, the Outlander. Her character visits the pub in about 1766. Gabaldon talks about a bit of old wall that sticks up in the cellar of the pub, which was a remnant even then of Flodden's Wall which had been built after the battle of Flodden (1513) to define the limits of the city and mark the end of the civilised world. I asked one of the bar staff who said that it is still there. Outside in the street are some brass cobblestones to mark where the Flodden Wall used to stand.
Those pictures were taken inside the World's End.
This is to show that the sun did shine in Edinburgh. Just ignore those clouds in the background. This was taken through the window of Costa's cafe where we regularly got connected. It is the National Art Gallery. Have you noticed that I have learnt to put the writing beside the picture? Yay.
We are leaving Edinburgh now. Here is another picture of the Thistle in full bloom. It is lovely isn't it?