Festival days ii


Seagulls soar over the City of Edinburgh whilst on terra firma my soul soars.

My time living in Edinburgh to date has been marked by encounters – with art and architecture; with culinary delights – haggis, chateaubriand, tarte aux poires, and affogato; with a delightfully modest though renowned dancing teacher; with the very air filled with history, with literature, with lovely people, one of whom introduced me to the wonders of the animator Ray Harryhausen; with sparkling intelligence, pride and passion; with sand and sea, sunshine, blue skies and sullen grey, with heights and haar, ice and wind and snow; with cartography, Cramond, Colinton, the Firth of Forth, the bridges, the Highlands, ambling in Bruntsfield Links, the Grassmarket, Morningside, the Meadows, Newington, the Royal Mile, and Tollcross, astonishing hospitality beside a glorious loch in Perthshire, and the library at Innerpeffray; with Alexander McCall Smith and 44 Scotland Street; with Sir Walter Scott and Abbotsford and Waverley; with Toppings Booksellers; with one of the world’s finest universities and the restored McEwan Hall; with The Meadows and Quartermile, the Waters of Leith and the old lamp shop close to Ginger and Pickles and Golden Hare Books in Stockbridge; with some of history’s most eminent architects, lawyers, medics, neuroscientists, novelists, poets, sculptors, and divines; with Nicola Benedetti’s numinous presence in the city (ah, Spiegel im Spiegel – YouTube); with Amarone, The Beach House, Blonde, Café Andaluz, Chez Jules, Civerino’s, Côte Brasserie, La Barantine, Mamma Roma, Thomas J Wall’s Coffee, and The Witchery; with an astonishing exhibition of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s Our Lives in Watercolour at the Palace of Holyroodhouse; with many a glorious sunrise and sunset down at Portobello; with one of the loveliest little apartments – in the tower of the former James Clark School beneath Arthur’s Seat – that anyone could wish for; with breathtaking and startling surprises almost everywhere I go.

When my lovely neighbour welcomed me here she spoke with an infectious enthusiasm about a city that was magical and mystical, and about how if we could get past the standing almost knee deep in snow, windblown tears streaming down our faces, the coming of Spring and the warm coconut scent of gorse on Salisbury Crags would make for the arrival of a season like none other. And of the city’s being quirky – in just exactly the right ways. And then serendipity led me to Dundee trained illustrator Alice Newman’s perfect expressions of that quirkiness and – yes – of Edinburgh’s being a celebration of life … of encounters for which, for the rest of my days, I shall be profoundly thankful.

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MD Edin

I’ve wandered in The Meadows pretty much every day since I came to live in Edinburgh – and am always struck by the number of fellow solo walkers who appear to be both happy and deep in contemplation. This is a city that provides loads of food for thought and recollection. Strolling up Middle Meadows Walk towards the Medical School reminds me every day that my being here in good health today is just one result of the work and discoveries of many, many great women and men who have wandered and pondered here before me …

Ars longa. Vita brevis

Art is long. Life is short

Among generally accepted meanings:

Learning one’s craft takes so long that a lifetime may not be adequate

Works of art may outlive their creators

Signatories of the American Declaration of Independence! A small world, even then?


A wonderful ScottFest, Saturday 14 August 2021, at Abbotsford House, Melrose, Roxburghshire – the home of Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832 – celebrating the 250th anniversary of his birth

Old newspaper stuffed into the dining room window at Abbotsford, presumably to stop rattling or draughts – which, fascinatingly, just happens to advertise a 1908 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost for sale at a ‘mere’ £35,000.00 ono – that ‘looks and drives as it should.’ I wonder who bought it, and where? And how many others have spotted the newspaper here? 🙂 #scottfest2021

The Scott Monument on Princes Street, Edinburgh

Waverley Station, named after Scott’s Waverley series (27 books) – once the most widely read novels in Europe, and the Balmoral Hotel beneath Calton Hill in Edinburgh

Edinburgh dreamin’

As Summer saunters towards Autumn, so also my season in glorious Edinburgh ambles towards its close (for now) – and I can’t get enough photos of what has become a treasured little home – though I have many hundreds! Apologies for having been off the radar a bit recently – especially to my wonderful friends in the US. I never mean to ‘disappear’ – it just happens that way some months. Too busy living and thinking about writing to write about living and thinking! Thankfully, I know that L & M understand that.

Oh but Edinburgh has been wonderful, and I don’t quite know how I’m going to process leaving this lovely little apartment beneath Arthur’s Seat for the last time. But something about the very movement, history, vision and vivacity of Scotland’s gorgeous capital city has reminded me that the world is full of things to be marvelled at, and wonderful people yet to be met. So, all being well, the Autumn months will become another season of preparation for further explorations towards the close of the year, and onwards into the early months of next. So there’ll doubtless be more images and reflections to come – and innumerable reasons for gratitude …