Tag Archives: Edinburgh

When cultural references go haywire

IMG_7829 So there I was in Edinburgh this week, mum and dad were up so we went and had a look round the city centre as they’d never been there before, and I came across this sculpture outside St Giles’ Cathedral. It’s a snippet of a quote from the 3 Witches in Macbeth. As I read it I found myself wanting to carry on the quote further in my head, but in a bizarre mixing of cultural metaphors what came out was:

“Double, double, toil and trouble, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb”.

(there’s one for the 70s kids among us :O)

Yay me :D

So I had the job interview today (in Edinburgh). Why yes, I did get the job, thank you for asking 😀

I start in May, which is perfect timing as my OU work stops in June for the summer. I am really chuffed – I enjoyed the interview, felt that if I didn’t get it it would be because there was someone better rather than because I wasn’t good enough, and know it will be great experience. It’s a fixed term position, for 21 months, but it should give me tons of experience to bring to a permanent position.

Thanks Ian, and all, for your prayers and good wishes. I am really grateful. Hooray! 😀

NB I’m not saying anything yet on fb or twitter (I’m not on fb till Sunday anyway); I want to tell my family and work colleagues first rather than have them read something on fb. Thanks!

2011 Project365 (day282)

9th October 2011

This afternoon I met up with the lovely Rain as she arrived in Edinburgh on her world tour of the UK. We had a lovely few hours wandering up and down the Royal Mile, culminating in a stop for tea and the most stunning chocolate cake. Ever since I’ve been in Scotland (over 6 years now!) I’ve been meaning to take a look at the Scottish Parliament building, but never managed it. Until today! Here it is.


Yesterday saw us heading out to Edinburgh to meet up with some other people from Ship of Fools. It was fun to see people again (nobody new for me to meet, though there were a couple of people that HD hadn’t met before) and catch up. During the lunch there was football on a large screen, showing the first semi-final from this year’s Scottish Cup between Queen of the South (first division) and Aberdeen (from the SPL – Scotland’s equivalent of the Premiership down south). Having bumped into Derf and scz at Queen St station heading for Hampden (he’s an Aberdeen fan) we had half an interest in the match – at one point there were 5 goals in about as many minutes, and the end result was QoS winning 4-3. It’s not often I like having football on while eating, especially with other people, but it was quite exciting.

After lunch we all (apart from Wet Kipper, who’d already been) went along to the Ansel Adams exhibition. He was the leading American landscape photographer, and some of the photos really were stunning. Well worth the visit – though if you’re around Edinburgh and want to go, you’d better hurry up as it closes next weekend. We had thought instead about going to Edinburgh Castle, as this weekend Historic Scotland (the UpNorth equivalent of English National Heritage, for those of you down south) was having a free weekend, and the castle is usually extortionate (though well worth the money). We eventually decided that as it was free it would be heaving, and both of us had been before, and this may be the only chance to see the Ansel Adams photos in this country. I think we made the right choice. As we walked along Princes Street towards the place where the exhibition was, looking up at the castle you could see loads and loads of people on the battlements.

Once we got home we watched a DVD that we’d got as a wedding gift, Rivers and Tides which is about the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. We both really like his work (he was one of the sculptors whose work we saw at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on Easter Saturday), and both enjoyed the DVD a lot. Like many artists discussing their work he did occasionally sound a bit Pseud’s Corner, but never in an inaccessible way, and I found I loved his reflections on the processes of working with nature (he works with natural objects – leaves, rocks, ice, trees, bracken, all sorts – many of which are quite vulnerable to the elements and so are sometimes quite ephemeral, though others have a hugeness and solidity about them which is very impressive and awe-inspiring, for me at least). I particularly loved when they showed him at work on a beach and the sculpture he was working on (a cone-shaped cairn) kept collapsing – he talked about how this particular sculpture had collapsed four times, but each time he started again he felt he understood the rocks a bit better, so he was able to build up the sculpture higher each time before it collapsed again. I really loved the thought that the longer you spend getting to know the medium – whatever it is you’re working with – the more you understand it, the more intuitive you become with it. It reminded me of my own work – the interviews and the literature and everything is just the beginning, the more I immerse myself in it the more understanding I gain and the more creative and intuitive I can be. HD has written a similar reflection on his blog, about the same bit of the film, in relation to his line of work (programming) – I think that art at its best can do that, speak the same message in all sorts of different contexts.

And now I’m starting to sound all Pseud’s Corner myself 😀 Anyway – worth a look if you come across it. It’s also beautifully filmed and (I thought) very sensitive and not intrusive – a great way to spend an hour and a half.


If anybody is able to invent something (gadget, pill, I’m not fussy) that enables the printing out of vast numbers of journal articles and photocopying of lots of bits of books to be the equivalent of reading them and taking them in, I suspect you would make your fortune. Maybe I’ll suggest it to HD (we could do with a fortune).

In other news, I spent a lovely night in Edinburgh last night staying with friends. I must get to Ed more often – I haven’t really explored it and it’s not *that* far away.

Of moons and spiders

Yesterday evening I headed out about 10.30 to watch a bit of the lunar eclipse. I was on the main road outside the offlicence, sharing the view with four guys in their shirtsleeves (I was wrapped up with coat, scarf, hat and would have had a hot water bottle and cup of tea if I could have!). They’re tough up here. I wished HD had been there too – he’d have kept me warm. We were joined by a couple of people from either the offlicence or the next-door takeaway who saw us all staring at something and wondered what was going on, so it ended up being quite sociable. I didn’t stay to watch the moon turn red (it was far too cold without someone to snuggle up to), but did see the total eclipse, it was stunning even above a Glasgow offlicence.

Today after church I went to Edinburgh for lunch and board/card games with friends, which was great – I even got the hang of them quite quickly which is very impressive for me (I don’t think I have the right sort of brain for strategy games, I normally just rely on the luck of the clueless). Got home about an hour ago and went to check out the bathroom for my 8-legged nemesis, and for the first time since its reign of terror began (5 whole days, readers!!!) it had moved beyond the corner crack behind the toilet where it was impossible to get to it and was instead poised on the ceiling directly above the toilet. Now, there was no way I was going to let that state of affairs continue – I wouldn’t ever dare go to the toilet again for fear of an ambush from a great height – so I ended up perched on top of the stepladder with the trusty spider-hoover-upper, hood up over my head in case Smudgie tried any sudden kamikaze moves, lots of swearing to keep my courage up, and finally managed to trap it. Mind you, even with the hoover-upper it clung on to the ceiling for ages before finally being defeated, and once I’d got down the ladder I didn’t just chuck it out of my front door like I usually do but went right out onto the street to make sure it was well and truly evicted.

Peace and tranquility (and hopefully a lot less swearing) has now been restored again to the Stately Pile. Phew and double phew.

Street art

Lots of people have already linked to Little People – a tiny street art project which I think is rather fabulous, in a miniature kind of way. Yesterday whilst wandering round the west end I spotted some street art on a somewhat larger scale, I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed this before:


It really is a bit trippy, but certainly brightens up an otherwise thoroughly dull side street.

In other news, we had an Edinburgh shipmeet last night, with guest of honour UltraCrepidarian all the way from Australia-land. As usual I ate far too much, but I think a good time was had by all. Good food, wine, company. I don’t stand a chance of losing any weight.


Sadly I didn’t make it to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition in the end as I didn’t leave myself enough time, but Edinburgh hosted a shipmeet this lunchtime which I don’t think was very weightwatchers-friendly (not at all helped by me scarfing down a pudding which I didn’t really need, but which was flippin’ delicious after a week of no chocolate!). I do like Edinburgh – after the meet a few of us wandered round up the Royal Mile to the Castle and back before getting the train, and although it was a bit parky (brrrr!) it was a good way to walk off the cheesecake and reacquaint myself with the city. It’s very different to Glasgow – obviously a lot prettier, and more compact, I think I feel much more at home here in the bigger city but Edinburgh definitely makes a good change, will have to try to go there more often. And I really ought to try to get to the Festival sometime. It would be silly not to, being so near.