When I walk down our very long street on my way home from work,  I first pass grocery stores and bus stops which eventually blur into Victorian tenement buildings and small businesses. Walk further along and the other end peters out into vine covered bay windows, rose gardens and a huge wildlife preserve. I find … Continue reading

A smattering of things

Do you ever have those days where you wake up foreboding some unknown trouble? Despite a whole week of sunshine, enough sleep (for once) and the first faint whiff of Spring, today I was up at dawn on a professional-grade worry streak. So I’m calling time out. No doctor’s anxiety. No weekend overtime. No wedding … Continue reading

Burns and other legends

If I were to describe the delicious, wonderful, humble sausage — all juicy and tender and flavoursome — as a pig’s grissle-bits stuffed in its own intestine, you would probably curl your lip and shudder slightly. Likewise, if you ever give serious thought to deep-fried chicken livers or steak and kidney pie, noses would wrinkle … Continue reading

Darkness & Light

Today, 21 December 2012, in Edinburgh the sun will come up at 8:42am. It will go down at 3:40pm. According to people who know such things, I will have 6 hours, 54 minutes and 33 seconds of day. It is easy to feel panicky this time of year. With shopping and parties and frantic getting-ready-ness. … Continue reading

GiftED – paper sculptures on the road

If you troll about the literary world, you may have heard of Edinburgh’s mysterious sculptures, their delicate carvings found anonymously gifted to libraries and museums. (I briefly mused on the escapades at the time) The beauties were found stashed around cultural venues last year, leaving the city and the literatti abuzz with speculation. Who could … Continue reading


As Scotland debates its independence, everyone and their mother is chiming in.  A staggering array of eloquence, passion, and style whirl in amongst predictable bouts of petty, political jostling and stereotyping. I continue to debate my place here, too, though for unrelated related reasons. These Edinburgh days are numbered, and nostalgia and excitement vie for … Continue reading

Culzean Castle

When Bean moved jobs last summer, his colleagues gave him membership to the National Trust for Scotland as a parting gift. Every property in their care from castles and gardens to ruins and abbeys is now free for us to visit as often as we like for a whole year. We’ve explored the properties close … Continue reading

Walking the Dalmeny Estate

Once upon a time I came up with Thirty Things to do when I’m Thirty. And despite the fact these thirty things never make an appearance on this here blog, I have in all actuality completed a good number of them. Well, like half. So it’s time I play a little catch up. Today: Walk … Continue reading

All the (Olympic) Bells

The Olympics are coming! Sure. You are skeptical of my enthusiasm. I get it. There has been much criticism, confusion and downright buffoonery in the lead up the games. I mean, a rights monopoly on all potato-based sticks in the area is a very odd battle ground no matter where you live. And drivers getting … Continue reading

Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Yesterday over breakfast canapes and clinking glasses the Edinburgh International Book Festival launched the 2012 programme. One of the highlights of the city’s summer festivals, a gamut of writers, thinkers and philosophers descend on Charlotte Square for almost three weeks of creativity and debate. This year’s line-up echoes the now-standard festival motifs: best-selling writers, big … Continue reading