GUEST POST… Chloe, friend and former colleague, who recently visited our fair city and us, wanted to give you the account of her weekend. Chloe is a great writer.
You might not think that one’s enduring memory of Edinburgh would be its seagulls but every morning my own wee birdie woke me at 5.30am to remind me that this part of Scotland is in fact a near kin to my part of Wales – rolling hills, an arm of water stretching out into the body of the sea accompanied by cloud dancing, scattered showers and sunbursts.
(A picture of the three of us! Note Chloe’s knock-off purple Doc Marteen’s- perfect for the rainy Edinburgh weather)
Once over the initial hurdle of getting to Geneva (no bus provided by the SNCF on the Pontcharra-Chambéry leg - a big thanks to Nadia for saving the day - M&S pressie on its way) my favourite airline whisked me off to Buffy and Ben’s lovely town house where Ben gallantly offered to drag my luggage over the cobbles in case they loosened some of my fillings.
Easy Sunday morning saw us heading off to visit the sights which seem to involve a lot of hills and cemeteries. We overlooked the Forth of Firth and underlooked Arthur’s Seat (he got everywhere but there again the similarity to the Welsh Cader Idris is spooky). We stopped off in the funky Canongate Kirk whose pews are painted sky blue and the carpet a fuschia pink. Maybe a bit of Royal Colour Blocking has rubbed off on this house of worship since the other royal wedding but it certainly made a change from the granite and slate versions of my religious instruction.
(Who knew that Lionel Richie owned a police box in Edinburgh, well spotted Chloe)
We wended (I think this might be a Scottish word) in an out of the Royal Mile and despite near hypoglycemia for the more senior member of the party managed to make it to Charlotte Square in time to a) feed me a cheese scone and an orange juice b) get second in the queue for the Tony Ross Book signing. In fact I was there first but this small girl who looked like she belonged more in a Roald Dahl story in a sort of I’ve-got-tickets-to-all-the-signings-for-the-whole-week-because-my-mummy-has-organised-it sort of way managed to barge in front of me despite my (only just) mock ‘oi you I was there first cry’(which gratifyingly made her jump momentarily) and proceeded to get the delightful T.R. to sign about 790 books. I will not stoop to being a groupie.
(Chloe charming Tony Ross)
Back to base for this amazing barbecue and salsa dish with homemade bread – it is all true about the culinary prowess of Eyre Place. A few episodes of ‘30 Rock’ with unusually astute insight into leadership fake authenticity (more on this with Gavin E.) and off to bed.
Monday was quartier libre for me as my hosts went out to work and I treated myself to a splurge on Princes Street. Good shopping weather with just the right amount of rain. My mock Doc Marten’s were the ideal footwear despite many a sceptic wondering whether the fact that the soles did not bend as I walked might cause some discomfort. Pff! Minor huge panic in the sock section at M&S when I realised I COULD NOT FIND MY WALLET and had to go back to Waterstones (no apostrophe any more apparently) in the hope that my holiday fun was not about to end and be replaced by international calls to the Sécu, LCL, CAF and François Hollande. Phew – there is a God and he reads books because that is exactly where I had left it. My second fright in two days propelled me into a carpe diem sort of approach to shopping. Hence I am now the chuffed owner of a new coat, dressing gown, boxer shorts (am I allowed to say that on this blog?), perfume and the rest.
“Quick nip back” to base camp (which in fact involves topography not that dissimilar to the 7 hills of Rome) for a snack before heading back to the Book Fair to listen to and stare glassy eyed (concentrate, Chloë) at the gorgeous Gavin Esler discuss his new book ‘Lessons from the Top’. His accessible, knowledgeable and humorous approach to his subject matter was delightful and I am now the proud owner of a slightly botched signing session copy of said book. The only slight fly in the ointment was that he did mention he had quite enjoyed interviewing Angelina Jolie so I thoughtfully warned him about her kind – half woman, half plastic. You can only give advice and hope people learn along the way. I will not stoop to being a groupie. I really won’t. Well I might if pushed.
Back to reality and a delicious risotto, salmon, goat’s cheese and beet dish for supper although I soon realised that the ch**se word is now a source of potential friction in the Gorrilla/Pawson love nest. I can say no more but I hope I am not asked to testify in court some day.
Tuesday, sun and a following wind saw Buffy and I cycling down to Leith to catch the midday screening of BRAVE. It was lucky we had no pressing appointments as we sat through 30 minutes of unsuitable trailers, in your face adverts with lots of noise and bright colours (call me old fashioned), a Pixar short and finally the film during which I spent the whole time waiting for Merida to give the English the thrashing of their lives (must have misunderstood the trailers). Anyway a great film with and amazing hairdresser on the set and so glad I saw that instead of ‘Rebelle’!
Cycled back via Mimi’s Bakehouse where sugar levels were replenished with a slice of coffee and walnut cake that could have doubled up as a door stopper. A quick loop to visit Ben and Buffy’s old residence in Leith (next to Barclays funeral Services – no connection to the ch**se word of course), a lightening shop at Tesco then home for more deliciousness in the form of lamb lasagna (two helpings for me – doesn’t anyone eat in this household?).
And so to bed knowing that tomorrow (today) I’ll hear that bonny seagull for the last time in a wee while but taking with me such positive vibes from a kind city and its more than generous hosts that I’m set up for the rentrée (yawn) and then some.
Haste ye back Buffy and Ben
REMEMBER JACK… My cousin who came to visit us for over one week? We received his timely thank you note and I was almost brought to tears by his heart-felt sentiment for all the fun we shared. Both Ben and I were bowled over by the recollection of the impact we had on his young life and the memories we made together in Edinburgh.
Jack, you are most welcome- we would allow you to stay with us when ever you would like!
We have a very important visitor arriving next week. My mom lands on Sunday, February 5.
This is her first visit to our new apartment and our new city. We are so excited; we have a week of fun times and memory making planned.
My mom has agreed to go to her first spinning class. We are going to visit Ben’s mom and dad. There will be plenty of wandering around Edinburgh, people watching and latte drinking. Some of our favorite mother-daughter travel activities.
Unfortunately, I have to leave on February 10 (going to Toronto), Ben will carry on the entertainment and my mom’s birthday celebration until she heads out on February 12.