Tip and Mitten

Don’t ever come to Edinburgh if you don’t want to be smitten by it, big time! Thank you, Tracy – charismatic and knowledgeable Edinburgh enthusiast and super conversationalist – for the wonderful tour of Stockbridge you gave me this morning, braving the beautiful but treacherous ice and snow to do so!

My first reader at primary school was a book I loved then and treasure yet – more than half a century later! It featured a dog called Tip and a kitten called Mitten. I’ve since encountered many a Mitten but never dear old Tip, until this morning in Stockbridge – long retired now, obviously. Warm and contented today, and becushioned on a wonderful sill with an interesting view, I fancied he was glad to see me. I thanked him for teaching me to read, but forgot to ask how he wound up in Scotland. You’ll have spotted Tip on your way down here. And I imagine you’ll also have smiled a greeting to a Stockbridge-Scottish Snowman who’s hoping, post-lockdown, to catch the first flight out to Hawaii. And you’ve almost certainly slowed a couple of times to gaze into wonderful bookshops, and – because who could be without one? – the most glorious old oil-lamp shop you’ve ever seen, or could have imagined.

Who was it that was telling me a day or two ago that Edinburgh is mysterious and enchanting and beguiling? She may, perchance, come to read this, and be glad, too, to have met up with Tip and a Tartan-Capped Edinburgh Snowman who hopes to be headed for some sunshine. To her, because she was and is right; and again now to Tracy; and to properly socially-distanced hosts at The Howdah; and to one of the city’s friendliest taxi-drivers; and to snowy Edinburgh her glorious self: thank you!

happy 85th birthday today to my dear and youthful Mum

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