Monday 8 October 2012--We only have one full day in Edinburgh, so sleeping in is probably not the most sensible thing to do. We do it anyway,
without regret. Sometimes you just gotta. We're out in time for an early lunch at Café Rouge, after which we wander the New Town a while, ending with a
stroll around Calton Hill. It's a splendid clear day, and we take in the views to Arthur's Seat and the Pentland Hills to the south, North Berwick Law to
the east, and New Town, Leith, the Firth of Forth, and Fife to the north.
After a poke around Calton Cemetery, we go up the three progressively narrow spiral stairs of the Scott Monument. It's been years since I last did this, and I'd forgotten the fine views from the top, down to Princes Street and over the Old Town and up to the Castle. The façade of Jenners department store provides a lesson in late 19th-century commercial architecture. The statuary is supposed to show that women are the support of the house. The ladies, alas, have lost their arms, and are unable to finish changing their clothes.
Below us on Princes Street, the seemingly unending Edinburgh Tram project continues, with no apparent finish in sight. Ground was broken on the light rail line to the airport in 2008, with a projected opening in 2011. Now they're saying construction will be complete in late 2013, followed by an indefinite period of testing. I haven't seen a concrete opening date lately. The cost has spiraled ever upward, of course, and at last check was somewhere north of that for the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island. It's still a pittance compared to Boston's decade-long central artery project, aka The Big Dig.
Win joins me on my annual visit to Coda, the folk & trad-oriented record shop on the Mound. We each come away with a bagful of CDs. Then we part ways for a while, as Win goes to shop for gifts for family, and I head down the Royal Mile to the Cadenhead whisky shop for a chat with Mark and Neil. Win arrives mid-blether. I'm interested in whiskies from the stretch of coast between Inverness and Wick, and purchase bottles of Ord, Balblair, and Pulteney. (Other distilleries in that part of Scotland are Teaninich, Glenmorangie, Clynelish, and Dalmore, and I'm fond of all but the last. I've never subscribed to terroir theory in whisky-making, but there does seem to be an appreciation for a fairly austere, American-oak-matured product in this region. Dalmore much more usually prefers European oak.)
The shopping done, we decide to go to Greyfriars Bobby's for a pub meal. It seems to have had a bit of a makeover, with an apparent emphasis on being more of a restaurant than a pub. Good luck to them. On to the Bow Bar, where Mark and Neil await, and the estimable Dr Willie joins us presently. A suitably convivial evening ensues, until Mark and Neil drift off, and Audrey arrives to whisk Willie away. Win and I have a nightcap at the Bon Vivant in Stockbridge, after finding the Stockbridge Tap closed early.