Saturday 19 December 2009: Festive Edinburgh
Going Christmas shopping mid-afternoon on the last Saturday before Christmas was probably a mistake. Walking though the market stalls to find a blip was a better idea, and then I noticed the Scott Monument. I've never been up in the best part of 15 years living in Edinburgh, and I said to myself "if I have enough change in my pocket I'm going up". The entry fee is £3.00, I had £3.02. Enough!
The first flight of stairs was fine, and the view good. The second flight of stairs gets a bit narrow toward the top. The third flight is a struggle for a man my size carrying a camera and a rucksack. At the top it is really narrow AND has a low roof. How I made it up I don't know. I was certainly dreading trying to maneuver myself back down.
Once safely out on the top platform though, it was all worthwhile. I could look down on the folks on the wheel (link thanks to acronymphomania!) and I thought about blipping it from a different angle but it was the view to the east that really caught my eye.
The helter-skelter reminds me of funfairs visited as a child. The busy pavements tell the more recent story of my afternoon shopping in the crowds. Light spills onto the crowds invoking mental images of Christmas cards with light spilling from the stable - although this light has a somewhat more prosaic purpose. The North British hotel sits above the station, as ever undecided whether it is lumpen or elegant.
In the distance, the folly on Calton Hill distracts the eye from the Forth, the Northern boundary of the city and the main reason the snow isn't too bad. That expanse of water would feel exceedingly cold if you were unfortunate enough to fall into it, but it keeps the temperatures of our coastal city just a little higher than they are inland.
Clouds glower over the whole scene, reminding of snow flurries not long past and the threat of more to come.
The more observant will notice the box junction is somewhat truncated - evidence of the tram works only recently cleared for the festive season. The tram rails stop, impotent, in the middle of this junction. Useless until more rail is laid and the overhead lines to power the trams are erected. Perfectly good busses continue to ply their trade, ignoring the trivial blemish of the rails in the fresh tarmac. Long may it last. Much as they are sometimes late and overcrowded, in general Edinburgh has a great bus service.
Eventually I gave up the view and squeezed and crawled my way back down and back into the scrum of shoppers. Later MrsCyclops and I found a pub to warm ourselves in before heading home.
This evening we watched "Good Will Hunting", a film I have always meant to watch but never quite go round to. I enjoyed it very much, but now it's time to blip and run - time for bed for me!