Wednesday 25 November 2020

Another Walk Around Edinburgh Part 1

Today was my Professional Development Day, so B.A and I went to discuss my work with our ghostly counsellor. We took our time getting there: in fact, we did quite a lot of the journey on foot. I took advantage of our bracing stroll (it was sunny but cold) to take photographs for people who cannot travel to Edinburgh and miss it. 

I took a goodly number of photos, and we walked through four or five distinct neighbourhoods, so they will not all fit in one post. 

1. This is the Surgeons' Hall Museums. I have never been in, but I hear they are gory. They are on Nicholson Street, near my favourite cafe.

2. This is the Festival Theatre. It is locked up because of the coronavirus panic. As you can see, it has resorted to begging for money. Bizarrely, although British society is hooked on entertainment, out performing arts are in serious, serious trouble.

3. Speaking of the performing arts, here is the Varsity Music Shop.  It is Edinburgh's "longest running Musical Instrument Store." I don't know if it has spent all its 50 years at this location, but it has certainly been there since I've been here. 

4. Jordan Valley is a Middle Eastern grocery with a very large range of teas. If you want delicious exotic foodstuffs, this is a good place to go. 

The photo slants because the road slants. One of the strange things about this particular street of many names is that two parts of it are literally bridges, but you can't tell until you come to the balustrades and look down. 

Edinburgh is built on seven hills. 

5. South College Street looking across the beginning of the South Bridge to Drummond Street. 
6. Here is an ugly bit of Edinburgh University on Potterrow. Potter's Field is more like it. 

7. Here is a much nicer building in Edinburgh University. We are now on Teviot Place. 
8. This is the Middle Meadow Walk through Edinburgh University to the Meadows, and it is very nice indeed. 
9. Sadly we didn't have time to go for a walk towards the Meadows. Instead we turned onto Forrest Road. Here is a post office rather important in my life.  The big red bin is a double post box.

10. This is Sandy Bell's, a very good pub. It is one of the few Edinburgh pubs I've had a half-pint in. It's closed for the duration of the coronavirus panic. No wonder: all pubs, bars and restaurants in Scotland have had their liquor licenses removed. All Sandy Bell's served besides beer, wine and liquor was the occasional pie.

If you want a drink in Scotland, you must get it from the supermarket--or make it yourself. 

There must be a lot of solitary drinking going on behind closed doors in Scotland. But in happier times, folk bands would meet in Sandy Bell's to play as others drank their pints. I think random people with random folk instruments would just come together and play, too. 

11. Here is a double-decker bus. Edinburgh abounds in double-decker buses. 

12. Forrest Road turns onto the George IV Bridge, and then Candlemaker Row slopes down from the Bridge to the left. The George IV Bridge swoops over the Canongate below towards Bank Street. An engineer might understand what the original hills and valleys must have looked like once upon a time, but I can't get my mind around it. 

13. Here is the monument to Greyfriars Bobby, a semi-legendary Skye Terrier who allegedly sat on his master's grave for years and years in the nearby Greyfriars Kirkyard. 

Bobby looks rather shiner in this photo that he does in real life. Usually his whole head is golden from tourists rubbing him for good luck. Now just his nose is. 

The summer of 2020 was probably the first since World War II when crowds of tourists weren't constantly having their photos taken with ol' Bobby.

14. We were surprised to see that the Elephant House was closed.  B.A. said, however, that lately it has been entirely about Harry Potter. Elephant House bills itself as the Birthplace of H.P., Joanna R. having written some of the first book there to save on heating. 

When B.A. went there regularly, it was still largely committed to elephants, not touristy, and a nice place for him to drink pots of leaf tea. The National Library used not to have a caf, so he would sit there on his break, drinking tea, eating tiffin and looking at the amazing views from the back windows. 

He once wrote a haiku there, too: 

Pale golden lapsang
In my cup; on the Castle
Pale golden sunlight. 


15. This is to remind us that George IV Bridge is a bridge. Vittoria, on the right, is an old-fashioned Edinburgh Italian restaurant. B.A. and I once gave a Chair of Moral Philosophy Professor of Analytic Philosophy and Logic supper there. He was a very charming and entertaining guest, as you might expect the current successor of Adam Smith to be.  (Correction thanks to B.A.)

16. This delightful Victorian architectural mess is the Central Library. I adore it. I have spent long hours browsing its extensive language section and, across the floor of the main room, the Agatha Christies. I have also taken out several volumes on making cider, raising chickens and any number of other interesting things.

The Central Library has several floors, including one dedicated to Scottish Stuff and one to Art. 

17. Attached to the Central Library is a building housing the Central Children's Library. I sneak in there to take out Rosemary Sutcliffe books. 


18. And here is a shot from the other side of the street of the Cowgate below. But now we are about to cross the street and toddle down the Bow to look at Walker Slater's, and you have seen this already recently. 

Thus I will end this entry, and put in some photos of the next stage of our walk tomorrow. 

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