Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Edinburgh Weekend - Part I

Right, I have two more days out to tell about before I even think about books or France or whatever.  One weekend in June we went up to Edinburgh to visit Sarah, Bill's youngest.  She had been extending an invitation for some time and this was our first opportunity to meet up.  We'd been hearing about her boyfriend, Johnny, but hadn't yet met him.  

I first met Sarah when I joined her, Bill and Simon on a family holiday in the Norfolk Broads aboard a narrow boat.  It was an amazing boat with several bedrooms and kitchen facilities, but we tended to dock in villages and eat in pubs.  Simon was about 16 and Sarah about 12.  She was a real trial, clinging to her dad, fighting with Simon and throwing every bit of bread to the ducks because they were so CUUUUUUUTE.  I remember one evening Bill sitting down to repair Simon's cassette tape which Sarah had unwound in a temper tantrum; I went off and had dinner alone.  She was obviously going through a difficult adjustment. 

For the next few years I managed to be out of the house most of the weekends we had Sarah visiting.  Then one day we bumped into Sarah and Helen at Ikea and went for a coffee together.  Sarah was quite pleasant at 16 and I told her she had actually become a regular human being.  She took it with the remarkable grace she's demonstrated ever since.  I've often said that all three of Bill's children are exceptionally nice people and I feel very lucky to be part of his family.

We didn't do anything really exciting in Edinburgh.  Just walking around looking at the sternly elegant buildings is enough for me.  We did stumble onto a store I've heard about but never been in and I must admit I was taken with Anthropologie.  However the Wikipedia entry says they aim at women in their 30s and 40s, so that's probably why I didn't pull out my wallet at anytime.  I mainly loved the shabby chic furniture they used to display their wares.  Johnny met us there and we strolled along to The Dome for coffee.  I could show you my few paltry photos, but they can show themselves to you much better. 

Then we went for a tour of The Georgian House in Charlotte Square.  Afterwards I was quite taken with the house next door and snapped several photos.  Turns out it was the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland.  I didn't believe Bill at first, but then I wondered if some very large military type was going to take my camera away, but thankfully not.  No guards, no blockades, not even any obvious CCTVs, no observable security.  I just didn't know what to think about that, except that it's a beautiful house in a beautiful square.

We also went thrifting (!), but I want to save that for another post.  

Afterwards we went our separate ways to rest and change for dinner.  We ended up at a little French restaurant.  Sarah was going to order escargot, but they were out.  She highly recommended the dish and thus opened my mind a bit to the possibility. 

Johnny turned out to be a charming Irish man from Belfast who plays rugby for a respectable team (which apparently is social code for middle class) and is keen on travelling.  We've heard impressive things about him and I was prepared to meet someone quite full of himself.  However, he only mentioned getting along in Spanish when visiting Barcelona and struggling to learn Japanese for work; also, playing piano at a party with friends.   He is full of fun.  Most important, he seemed thoughtful and kind to Sarah. 


Anonymous said...

Awww, you just took me back to part of our Scotland trip. We went in 2003...first time to Europe. LOVED Edinburgh...I thought it was a beautiful city. We were only there one day but I remember it well.

Shelley said...

Bliss - Edinburgh is lovely, though it's always seemed quite small to me compared with other European cities. I'm hoping that Sarah will be able to show us more things we've missed in the past. She's firmly routed there now I think. She's even getting a bit of a Scottish accent!