And so it was an early start on Friday morning, but the taxi found me okay, despite asking my neighbour in no.23 where 21 was, and them not knowing… doh?!!! Delay on the tarmac at Heathrow due to a missing passenger having to have his bags removed, but by half ten we were landing in broken sunshine in Edinburgh. After a quick walk down Princes Street and back down George Street, we found the office (a curious six floor building on three floors!!) and met with our *new* department, enjoying some champagne before heading out to a Thai restaurant in Hanover Street. There, we ate, drunk and chatted with our new co-workers, and I surpassed my own expectations at remembering everyone’s names…?!!!
Following the meal we regrouped a few doors up the road in a bar, where I stayed until about 10… before flagging down a passing taxi and making my way to my less than solubrious hotel. Helpful tip: I don’t recommend the Murreyfield Hotel! In the morning, I breakfasted, checked-out and headed to the Haymarket part of town to check in to my B&B. Free of my larger bag, I head out into town, making use of Edinburgh’s excellent bus system, and begin my foray into the delights of rambling tenements and luxiurious new town with an open top bus tour.
Having been *introduced* to the fine city I headed up through Mary King’s Close to the Royal Mile and turned upwards to make to the castle, ambling past photo opportunities to the castle. I decided with only a day and a half *in town* to not go in on this trip, so instead ambled back down the the royal mile poking my curious head in there and down that passage (again taking more photos – Edinburgh’s a very photogenic city).
I stopped at a market stall – Adore – that I had spotted on the way up selling silver jewellery, and bought another pendant to interchange with my amber one. I then met up with Jane and David – old friends from Crewe+Alsager, and we went to find a soup and roll before they took me off to show me the Grass Market and the Cowgate part of town. After I left them I did the eastern end of the royal mile, all the way down to Holyrode Palace (past the endless construction site that is the Scottish Parliament), by which time it was starting to get dark and I decided to head back to my B&B for a bit of a lie down and a wash before the evening.
And so to the evening. A simple Italian meal in a place opposite the Festival Theatre, early so as to make the the ghost tour of the old town. Meeting at the Tron Kirk, it was a little confusing as there was 50 strong pre-arranged group that was being split over two tours, some coming with the public tour I was on. Our guide cloaked in back was a youthful American with an excellent conspiratorial tone, she took us first through the old town and then through the underground city. At the end of the tour I wasn’t ready for bed, and so, on my way back down through the town I stopped off in a wine bar for a glass of a whisky, a write of my novel, and to create the third Edinburgh inspired this weekend. Back at the B&B, a fourth poem came to me, as I sat watching the end of the HIGNFY repeat.
Sunday morning, brought clear blue skies, and a walk through Princes Street Gardens, and a trip to the Blackwell’s bookshop to equip myself with histories of Edinburgh for my *new* novel. Another lunch of soup, a stroll back to the West End, and it was time to catch the AirLine bus home … still, at least I have orientated myself to the city ready for my next visit (which, I am told, will be early next year)…