Seeing the year out

I was wakened beore 5 this morning–in a place where dawn doesn’t come until going on 9 in winter–by bangs and small explosions, to say nothing of the laser beams.  All this is in preparation for tonight’s major festivities: Hogmanay. Princes Street is to be closed off and so temporary, but quite sturdy, fences/walls have been set in place just south of Rose street, which is to say jus about right square below our room.  Stages have been built, vans are delivering god knows what, and the beams are apparently being used as survey marks.      

Castle Street when open to traffic, at George Street

Castle Street when open to traffic, at George Street


Hogs Head Pub, next door to us on Castle

Hogs Head Pub, next door to us on Castle




Yesterday morning, Bob and I took a wonderful walk south of Old Town, through the Meadows and along a path bounded what are here called “double dykes,” that is, tall stone walls enclosing the passage space which, in this case, went on about a full mile through Marchmont to Blackford Hill. It was much colder than it has been the rest of this trip and so, en route back to meeting Fred on Princes Street, we stopped for coffee at a styling little Swedish coffee house called Peter’s Yard.  It was the sort of place where simply looking at the cookies and cakes satisfies me, never mind wanting to actually ingest any of them–all very pretty and delicate.

We still had time so visited both the public library, near Freyfriars, and then the National Library of Scotland.  The former organizes its collection by LC, which seems a tad odd, and the latter had three wonderful exhibits, including a Monty Pythonesque take on John Murray, an Edinburgh intellectual who moved to England where he took to publishing folks who weren’t immedaitely attractive to other printers, including Thomas Carlyle and Jane Austen, later taking on Charles Dickens.

All in all, in the words of Wallace and Gromit, it was a grand day out, and that was just the morning! Fred, we think, agrees for wholly different reasons: he got to plead off due to revising for finals and thus avoided an entire day of parental attentions.


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