There are times when I sit on the bus or in a cafe and I could swear the language I hear is something other than English. To this day, I still find the Scottish accent a struggle to understand. Of course, there are the people who enunciate clearly and I can pick up all the words, but then there are others who seem to chat so fast and run all their phrases together I am at a total loss.
With the Edinburgh festival season soon upon us, I thought I would help those of you who will be coming to Edinburgh to clog our streets in the coming months with some Scottish words which might ‘elp ya seem lika local.
Some of my favourites:
CRABIT - GRUMPY
BOGGIN - FILTHY
SCHOOGLE - WIGGLE
HOACHIN - REALLY BUSY CROWD
HAVER - TALK TO MUCH
DRUTH - THIRSTY
BLUTERED - VERY DRUNK
SCHFUTY - A LITTLE PEAK
TATTYBOGGLER - SCARECROW
These are such fun, I am going to work them into converation this week. First test will be at a very Scottish afterwork festivity tomorrow evening. Skittles at The Sheep’s Heid, Edinburgh’s oldest pub.
For more words, there are many more here.
We arrived in Edinburgh two years ago today. Crazy to think this is possible, but it is, we have the easyjet ticket stubs to prove it. I married a slight hoarder. The two weeks before I started my job were packed with exploring our new city, finding a place to stay, realizing we would never be hot again and adjusting to life in an English speaking country. Here are some of the photos from that time.
Ben and I are looking forward to more years in Edinburgh, so if you have not yet visited us or the city, there is no real rush… or is there?
Six years of wedded bliss- this is completely true. As my grandmother would have said, ‘you picked a winner ‘. The winner and I had a low-key anniversary. Breakfast at home, followed by tasty coffees from the newest cafe in our neighborhood- Blue Bear, coffees in hand, we strolled to the Botanical Gardens to people watch while we read magazines and books. I realize these sound like activities for a 20th anniversary when we are in our fifties, but it was just our speed!
Then we went nuts and had dinner at our local cafe-The Roamin Nose and listened to a band of the cutest, hipster teens- The Haar. I think we were the only people who were not ‘with the band’, but they were fun to see- you can follow them on twitter @thehaar .
For those of you who are not in the know on Scottish meteorology, haar is a coastal fog. It is mostly used in towns which border the North Sea. So educational this blog.
We did not exchange gifts this year- we are going on a trip this summer which will be our special treat.
Thanks for the fabulous years, Ben- here is to six more- minimum!
Since I have been hyping this weekend’s half-marathon more than I should have, I owe you an equally engrossing recap, however I fear the video I posted just the other day sums up the experience in a wind-tousled nutshell.
Picture it- Sunday, April 14, light breaks through a cloudy sky, Reia and Buffy ask themselves- how can rain be vertical and horizontal at the same time? It is impossible, but in Edinburgh our fearless twosome soon realize it is happening before their sleep-encrusted eyes.
Out the door they head, Reia dressed like a true runner in her Falke gear and Buffy like a adopt-a-highway trash collector- hi-vis yellow. Followed closely by Ben- support crew and official photographer of our backs.
Exhausted by the time they arrive at the starting line- curses you hills, Reia and Buffy attempt to stay warm by jogging in place, hopping from one ice-blocked foot to the other and giggling about the male racers relieving themselves in the Queen’s well-trimmed hedges.
Finding themselves in corral 8 meant they had to wait an additional 10 minutes before they would even step foot over the starting line. When it happened, they were good to go- passing people at a steady rate. They even saw the sun for a minute or two.
They pass the first band- trying to play and sing through the wind, they pass the second- Reia continues to give Buffy updates on their pace. Buffy gets annoyed and tells Reia she doesn’t care. Reia keeps checking her watch- they are seaside now along the promenade in Portobello (Buffy has been here before). Support Crew member Ben is supposed to me them there- he is no where to be found.
Out of Porty, they head to Duddingston and tackle the first hill. They crush it. Nice work Reia and Buffy. Due to prior injuries, the runners pull over to stretch and respond to a text from Support Crew Ben.
Hill Two- again taken down by the girls. Nearing a flat area they speed up- Reia still checks her watch. Buffy gets excited, it’s Ben, he is cute and wet. He takes photos- later Buffy realizes they are unflattering and she questions her running style. They don’t stop, they keep putting one foot in front of another.
Another hill, this time, the hill wins. Walking a bit helps the runners relax. Once at the top it is smooth sailing down through Holyrood Park. Reia checks her watch- she says ‘Oh we only have 5 miles to go’, Buffy says ‘huh?’. Reia does not realize they had just passed the 10 km marker and for a brief moment Reia thinks a half marathon is only 12 miles. In their cupcake-fill dreams. A major mental bummer for these two.
Up though Grassmarket, the rain has stopped and they see a rainbow, one of the benefits of living in a rainy land. There is another hill, this one is a slight incline which Reia and Buffy think they can take, they were wrong, because then they turn the corner and bam another short-steep number that makes Reia’s tendonitis go crazy and Buffy’s quads and hammies squeal.
By the Meadows now, they are excited for two reasons- only three miles to go and Support Crew Ben is going to be there with friends Sarah and James. Buffy’s phone rings, Buffy answers, it is Ben tell her where to look. Posters are held up, more pictures of backs are taken as Reia and Buffy wave and run by.
The pace has slowed- Reia knows this because she is still looking at her watch. They are conscious they need to stick with the blue pacer balloon to beat Buffy’s mother-in-law’s time from her last half marathon which she did on a flat course in perfect windless and rainless conditions. Maintaining her athletic superiority over her 61 year old mother-in-law is important to Buffy, less so to Reia.
They reach the top of The Mound- the shouts of you are almost done do not help- especially when shouted by people with cigarettes in their mouths. Down The Mound- ouch-down hills hurt by this point. Through the National Galleries- Reia is getting the best, most-painful tour of the Scottish Capital.
Through the Princes Street Gradens and past the Scott Monument, this halfie is winding down. Up to the Royal Mile, the home stretch, man, would they ever arrive at the end, Buffy was trying to motivate Reia using old sayings from her days as a cross-country runner- Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forver, Running is 90% Mental and 10% Physical and Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body- sayings even 16-year-old Buffy never beleived- sorry Mrs Gavic (Buffy’s cross country and track coach).
Support Crew Ben had made it to the finish line to get additional photos, hand in hand our heroines crossed the finish line. They collected their medals and feasted on bananas at the post-race banquet. Too cold to concentrate, they left before they found where they could collect their finisher technical t-shirts.
The official time posted after showers, scrambled eggs and naps was 2.17.16.
High-five Reia and Buffy!
Given how much time and consequently money Ben and I have spent over the almost two years at Peter’s Yard, I think it deserves a bit more of a shout out. I am thankful they have a loyalty card, take that Peter’s Yard- loads of free coffees.
The first summer we lived in Edinburgh, it was the only place which opened at 7.00 a.m., this meant Ben and I could have a Friday-morning coffee date. A ritual we still to adhere to week after week when I am around. It is the best way to start the Friday.
It is a Swedish bakery with the friendliest staff members who have begun to recognize us even when we cross locations form the original location in the Quartermile area to the new Stockbridge outpost.
Top treats include the fresh-baked buns- the employees have t-shirts with FRESH BUNS inscribed on the backs. A reason enough to look for a job there, if things do not work out for us in our current roles! I am partial to the cardamon bun and Ben always chooses the ones with custard.
They are known for their loaves of bread with impressive oven-spring and uniform crumb. We were gifted a loaf of the carrot variety and I could just feel my eyes getting brighter- a real health food! Their scones always fluffy a real feat when compared to my hockey puck versions. Crammed full of rotating goodness in the form of fruit, seeds and nuts and a savory variety.
The past few weeks Ben and I have been following an eating plan called Whole 30 and we have eliminated gluten (and many other things) and have been bun free since April 1, but our coffee dates continue and we take advantage of the free smells!
I like flowers and I like vegetables, they are pretty and tasty respectively, but I was never too interested in growing things.
Since we moved to the U.K., I have become mildly fascinated by the increased popularity of allotments.
Allotments have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the Anglo-Saxon times, but today’s system is based on when land was given to the labouring poor so they could grown their own food. There have been several legal movements to ensure the state is providing a sufficient number of allotments.
Today, you can rent an allotment and prices can range between 25 and 125 pounds depending on your location. The demand for an allotment continues to grow as people want more control over how their food is produced. At the moment it is estimated that over 90,000 gardeners would like a piece of land and are on a waiting list.
I have heard from fellow Edinburghers the most desired allotments are in Inverleith Park and after checking, there is a 9-year waiting list to secure a plot. In Edinburgh there are 1233 plots across 21 sites in our city. The photos are of the India Place allotments in Stockbridge, these only have a four year wait. Are we ready to commit to Edinburgh for this long?
The system of measuring the allotments is interesting as well- they are measured in rods a measurement from the Anglo-Saxons, historically 10 poles is the correct size. This is equal to 250 square meters.
This got me thinking if there is a similar scheme in the U.S. and I stumbled on the American Community Gardening Association which promotes gardening and greening across the U.S. and Canada.
For more information in the U.K., there is The National Allotment Society.
HALFIE… Rock n Roll Half Marathon- Edinburgh- Here is the video- the sound quality is poor and for this I apologise, but it also shows how unbelievably horrendous the weather was. We finished in 2.17.16- not bad we think and truthfully we do not care what you think! Plus there were hills- quite a lot of them.
Ben went above and beyond, he cycled to several points on the course to support us. Our pals Sarah and James also popped out in the wind and rain to hold a sign and clap as we ran by the Meadows.
More photos to come!
Swans will hold one happy memory for me, when Ben proposed to me along the banks of the Isere River, there were two swans swimming near by. We laughed that he had trained these normally terrifying birds to deliver the ring- so now whenever we cross paths with swans, I think they will have a little something for me, so far this has not happened. I have to be realistic. Plus since swans, (usually) mate or life it was appropriate
We went to Inverleith Park to feed the swans, ducks and whatever other filthy flying rats swim or loiter like the at-risk youths of the bird world in the little ‘lake’ at the park.
We confirmed, swans are mean, seagulls and pigeons are greedy mother-hubbards and no birds like stale Rice Krispies- I think it is because they have lost the Snap, Crackle and of course Pop.
It was fun for about 10 minutes- we have this book- Passing Time in the Loo, which suggests this is a fun couples activity. I disagree. Ben sat on the nearest bench and let me do all the feeding. In the future, if needed, I will consult another book for fun relationship ideas.
We took some pictures anyway. I am even in one- what the what?
SPRING… Everyone seemed to trumpet the arrival of spring, but amidst the flurries, wind and cold, I could not join the celebration. Today is much more spring-like, sunshine and a blue sky overhead. Looking forward to being in Edinburgh for several weeks (no travels until the end of April), getting out for some cycle rides with Ben and enjoying his company.
What do you have planned for your spring?