“I have seen the future …” – 3 August 2021

“… and it works.” Reputed to be the words of Lincoln Austin Steffens after he had visited Russia in 1919 and had seen the new Soviet society in operation.

We did travel east today, but not as far as Russia. We went to Embra. We wanted to ‘expand our boundaries’, travel on public transport and live like ‘ordinary’ people. We survived the adventure. One of the places I wanted to see was the new St James Quarter with its roof that isn’t really a roof and its multi-storey shopping extravaganza. But first we had to get off the train at Haymarket, walk through Ladyfield (where today’s PoD came from) to Cafe Nero on Lothian Road, because that’s what we used to do when the world was a different place. The last time we were in Embra was in January 2020, by the way!

After the coffee and feeling suitably refreshed we walked round past the Usher hall and up on to the Grassmarket. Strange to see it without any stalls but with cars and buses driving past. Lots of tables set out where the stalls usually are, so the cafés and restaurants were in business. From there up the hill and round to cross the Royal Mile, then down The Mound (not the pile of turf beside Marble Arch, but the real Mound) to Princes Street Gardens. On that walk I got this shot of an old joke. Scrawled on a sign beside some scaffolding. It made me smile. Back at the stroll through Embra, we walked through the gardens and finally reached The St James Quarter which is quite impressive on a first viewing. But anything would be impressive compared to the old St James Centre which always looked like it was based on the design for Cumbernauld Town Centre. Yes, that bad!

We had a wander through one of the levels, marvelling at the amount of shops some with names we’d never seen before. Some with names we’d seen in foreign climes. Some we feel sure will last 6 months and then be replaced with shops that people will actually buy stuff from. I wanted to have a look at the ‘toys’ in JL, the new six storey JL. Why do they put the best stuff on the top level? I saw, what might be, my next camera. One version up from what I have now, but light years ahead in tech. I did say at the start “I have seen the future …”. Scamp wandered round the lower levels but didn’t buy. However she gave an ultimatum that she was looking for a new dress. I got the impression that the shortlist has already been written.

We exited the bit glitzy glass building and found our where we were. We were heading for Valvona & Corolla, only to find that it’s not there any more. We were definitely in the right place, but it wasn’t! We walk on along Rose Street to find our second choice, but it was closed. At least it was still there. Eventually we gave up and walked back up the Grassmarket and waited five minutes at Petit Paris for an outside table, because it was still a lovely, fairly warm day. Scamp had Salmon Rillette followed by fish of the day, Coley with a Basil Sauce served with mash. I had Countryside Terrine followed by Chicken Supreme with Forestière sauce, and Hazy, we hadn’t brought the voucher, but we asked if it was still valid and the reply was “Of course! Bring it next time.” Lesser restaurants would just have said no, but the trio of French blokes are better than that. We’ll know for next time.

We retraced our steps from the morning and after almost exhausting ourselves climbing about a million steps to get up from the low Kings Stables Road to the Castle Terrace, then marching down Morrison Street we managed to catch the train home with a couple of minutes to spare.

A great day. It was almost like it was before the world turned upside down.

Two days of eating out. We need to get back to cooking and eating our own food tomorrow! We might even get some rain.

Lovely Scones – 2 June 2021

Today we were off to The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

I didn’t think we were going to have a very special day as were driving along the M9 towards the capital. The mist came down and the sun disappeared for a while, but as we were nearing the city itself, the sun broke through and although the mist stayed for a bit longer, it was gradually being burned off by the sun. I was worried about parking in Embra because it’s a long time since we’ve driven there. We usually travel by train, but that would have meant a drive to the station, train to Embra, bus to the nearest stop to the botanic gardens and then the same again in reverse going home. It was much easier to just bite the bullet and drive. I needn’t have worried, we got parked about 100m from the entrance, plus it didn’t break the bank to park for the whole day. Scamp had printed off our entrance passes this morning (it’s free entrance, but you must pre-book a time slot). We were in and through the gates in no time.

So … where would we go first? That question was answered by a girl just inside the gate who gave us a potted description of the layout of the garden and told us where to go first on today’s adventure. Entrance, as I said was free, but they did ask for a voluntary contribution to go to upkeep. We’d have done that anyway, so were happy to part with a few quid to make us feel better. We climbed the Chinese Hillside first. It wasn’t a strenuous as it sounds. It was about as heavy going as a walk round St Mo’s. Not energy sapping at all. However, the Rhododendron bushes were amazing, absolutely beautiful. Then there were bunches of gigantic blue Meconopsis. Mine failed to make an appearance this year. Theirs were stunning. I won’t go on and itemise every flower, plant and tree we saw. It would bore you and unless you could see it all for yourself it would be pointless. If you’re ever in Embra, make a point of going to see the Botanic Garden. In the three hours we were there, we only saw less than half of the garden.

After a couple of hours we needed a break, so we stopped for coffee. The first time we found the coffee stall, the queue had about fifteen folk waiting to be served. It’s just an outside stall, it looks like the restaurant is being renovated while Covid rules are fluid. We gave up on that first visit, but on the second attempt there were only about six or seven couples in the queue. Scamp went to grab a seat and I went to queue. We just had a coffee each and a scone with butter and jam. That’s where the title of the blog came from. I don’t think we were expecting anything special in the coffee or the scone, but the coffee tasted like coffee and the scones were lovely. Scamp remarked on it a couple of times. I think she’d have been happy with a slice of bread and a cup of water today because she looked absolutely delighted with everything she saw. I must admit I enjoyed the visit too and took 140 photos. Two of which are on Flickr now.  PoD went to a Gazania that we saw in the shop on the site.

After three hours we decided we’d seen enough and rather than spoil the day, we’d leave the other half of the garden to another time. But we didn’t leave empty handed, Scamp got a yellow rhododendron plant a little plant for the garden too. Best part of the day for me was the Meconopsis. Best part for Scamp was … All Of It! And of course, the scones, because they were Lovely Scones!

There was a surprise waiting for me at home. A big box had arrived while we were out, addressed to me and when I opened it, inside was a Venus Fly Trap and a Pitcher Plant. I had said earlier in the year that I was going to get a Venus Fly Trap to catch the little white flies that plagued my chilli plants last year. Now I have them. The Pitcher Plant is actually in the garden just now. It seems to be hardy and safe down to -7ºc. We’ll see. Maybe it will trap slugs too!

Tomorrow will hopefully be a lazy day. We may go to visit the jeweller to get our wedding rings back.

Today we went to Embra – 18 January 2020

It’s ages since we’ve been in Embra. Not since last year at least (Ha, ha).

Still sticking to the “Up and out before 11” mantra, we headed off for the 10.40am train from Croy. On the way we picked up the tickets for our London trip, so, a tick in two boxes. Fairly slow train, and in the same carriage as a foursome of what Scamp called “Apprentice Witches” who looked as if they were off on a Ladies Only weekend, lubricated with a bottle of cheap champagne. And why not, even ladies wot lunch are allowed a weekend off the leash occasionally.

Got off at Haymarket and were surprised with the number of polis in attendance, van loads of them. Hearts must be playing at home, I thought. I was right. Hearts were at home to Airdrie. We walked up and over to Nero on Lothian Road for our morning coffee. Suitably refreshed, we should have walked through the Farmers’ Market and over to the Grassmarket, but today was different. Instead, we walked down to Princes Street and then along its length to The Bridges. Walked over The Bridges and on to the Royal Mile. It was cold. Not bitterly cold like it sometimes is in Embra, but cold enough to require my wooly Buff, wooly had and a pair of gloves. At least it was bright as well as cold.  Took some foties on the Royal Mile and then we ducked down to the Grassmarket. This was really strange. We were going in exactly the opposite direction to what we usually go and the vistas of architecture we were seeing were totally different to those we usually see. “A change is as good as a rest”, they say and it was proving true. One thing didn’t change and that was lunch in Petit Paris in the Grassmarket. Truly French restaurant with a French menu and served by French blokes. Scamp had Crayfish in Garlic Butter and a main of Salmon Fillet with Thyme served with mash. I had Garlic and Pea soup and a main of Beef Bourguignon. Both meals were just as good as we expected them to be. I even risked the wrath of Nick the Chick with a glass or red wine.

To continue our ‘Wrong Way Round’ walk, we walked through the Farmers’ Market that was just starting to close for the day, and where I got today’s PoD of a bloke enjoying the view of the castle from the comfort of a deck chair. Then out past the Usher Hall and back to Haymarket for the train home. A much quieter train home, now that the Apprentice Witches were suitably sozzled and off making a noise elsewhere.

Not a bad day. Pity it was so cold, but the lovely meal in Petit Paris made up for the lack of warmth. PoD was indeed the bloke on the deck chair, but there are others on Flickr if you care to visit.

Tomorrow we believe there may be dancing at the Record Factory.

Diwali and French cuisine – 26 October 2019

We heard about the Diwali festival on the radio yesterday and Scamp decided it was a fair excuse to visit our eastern neighbours – Embra.

Actually our next door neighbours woke us just after 8am with the sawing and banging associated with having more decking laid in their back garden. We were up and out almost in time to catch the 10.30 train to Embra. The key word there is “almost”. We missed it by seconds. Not to worry, we walked back to the car and waited in relative comfort for the next one. Well, if it was you, would you rather sit on a cold aluminium seat on a station platform with a cool 1ºc breeze blowing or would you sit in your cooling, but 12ºc car with soft fabric seats? I rest my case, yer honour.

Caught the next train and luckily chose the right carriage to get a seat. I’d my phone in my pocket, but, of course, my headphones were in my other jacket. Typical. Never mind it was good watching the sunny, if Arctic, countryside whizz past. There was a zoomer in the carriage. I thought he was German or possibly Austrian. Scamp thought he was Dutch, but he was definitely from the Planet Zanussi. He kept asking people questions with the Columbo catch phrase “I have one question.” He also seemed to holding a conversation with his phone, not on his phone, but with it. Really strange. Never met a German / Austrian / Dutch Zoomer before.

While he went off to find Kirkcaldy, we walked up towards the Nero for coffee. As we were walking through the architectural canyons that link the Western Approach Road with Lothian Road, we chanced upon a window cleaner washing the windows on one of the canyon sides with an enormously long brush. Strangely I’d never wondered how they washed those window. Now I know. Rattled off a half a dozen shots and knew right away that I had a potential PoD. Coffee and a pastry in Costa then a walk up through the farmers market and on to the Grassmarket. I could see Scamp’s eyes light up as we got near the Petit Paris restaurant and knew resistance was useless. That was going to be our lunch venue.

Today’s topic for sketching was Urban Sketch. It was now about 3ºc, but with windchill it would be nearer 1ºc, so I doubted that I’d be doing anything urban and still retaining my fingers, so we went for a walk instead, but just in case I’d get the opportunity, I got a cheap sketch book in Greyfriars Art Shop. Then on to the Meadows and, because the sun was in our eyes and it was blinding, we took a detour round the University, then doubled back when we found we were near Bristo Square. From there it was an easy jaunt back to the Grassmarket and Petit Paris.

Got a table easily downstairs in the dungeon. I had Lentil Stew with Bacon and Sausage. Scamp had Pan Fried Chicken Breast with Forestiere Sauce. Both were lovely, although I had an upset stomach later and the only thing I could blame was that lentil stew. Half a glass of red wine washed down my lunch and a glass and a half of the same washed down Scamp’s. Thanks for that Nicola, ya bastard!

Just managed to catch the end of the Diwali Festival group walking and dancing their way across Embra. There were two big white horses pulling the ceremonial carriage. When they were stopped on The Mound, one of them felt the need to receive itself of excess liquid. Dear me, these horses can carry a fair amount of water! I reckon it stood there for about five minutes “emptying its tanks”. Needless to say, it being Embra, after the procession had passed, the last vehicle was a street sweeper! Can’t have the horses messing up their clean streets!

Decided we’d been fed and watered and seen part of the procession, so we headed for the train and caught it this time with just a few minutes to spare. No foreign Zoomers on it, just some home-grown ones.

I chose to draw our last five apples as a replacement for the missing “Urban Sketch”. I was quite pleased with the result.

Tomorrow we have no plans. We don’t even know the predicted temperature. It’s supposed to be sunny, so we may go for a walk.

Embra beckons – 22 June 2019

We’d both had it in our heads to go to Embra today, but it wasn’t until Scamp said “Right, let’s go to Embra” that the idea became a plan.

We headed for and caught the 10:12 train to Embra. Got off at Haymarket and walked along Shandwick Place, past some Oor Wullies, hoping to get coffee in Nero. Unfortunately, other people got there before us and there were no seats left, so, so did we. We left. Walked up to our usual Nero on Lothian Road and were welcomed with open arms, because there were loads of empty seats. We even got a window seat so we could watch the world, or at least the Embra world, go by.

Suitably refreshed we walked up through the Farmers Market stopping only to buy a couple of hogget leg steaks and a chump roast for my dinner tomorrow. No doubt Scamp will have a piece of salmon instead. On past more Oor Wullies only one of which was good enough to be ranked beside Glasgow’s versions. Embra folk are too ‘po faced’ to fully commit themselves to the topic of humour, especially street humour. Yes, they have the ‘festival fringe’, but that’s really just a bunch of foreigners (i.e. not Embra folk) who are to be tolerated rather than encouraged. Anyway, I digress as I usually do. We walked up through the Grassmarket and on to the Royal Mile. Today was the Embra Gay Pride March. We simply followed the throng to find the weirdos.

The weirdos in question were gathering at the the bottom of the Royal Mile outside the parliament building. That’s the first time I’ve actually been to the parliament building and I must say, reluctantly, I was impressed. It is an interesting building and I think now I’d like to see inside. After all, I helped pay for it. I wonder where the bit I paid for is. Would I be able to see it? Would it have a wee plaque saying “DC paid for this bit of skirting board.” That would be nice.

Back to the weirdos. Scamp reckoned that the majority of the LGBTIs were under voting age. I’d say so too. Mostly opinionated school weans who don’t fit in with the ‘big boys and girls’ but want to be in a group who are ‘different’. All the group are different in the same way. Boys who want to be girls and girls who want to be boys, but they all want to be different and still be the same. Would they all be happy to be called homosexuals rather than ‘gays’? I get the L and the G and the B and even the T, but what in the name of the wee man is the I. I think it stands for “Isnae Sure”. Anyway, as it turned out, this was a refined Embra Gay Pride. Nobody really gave the impression that they were out to have fun. They just marched slowly up the Royal Mile. My PoD was a wee man who stood defiantly with his sign and ignored the children who posed coquettishly beside him. He looked dignified and stoic. They just looked like the spoilt children they were. Mummies’ little darlings. I didn’t agree with his religion, but I did applaud his courage.

After watching the boring march we went for lunch in a Turkish cafe where I had a Falafel, Peppers and Hummus wrap with a salad and Scamp had Sweet Potato and Smoked Haddock Fishcakes with a similar, but slightly different salad. Food was interesting, but coffee was black and pretty tasteless. Pity. However we left with some Baklava for me and Borek (Spinach and Goat’s Cheese in Filo) for both of us.

Train home and then sat in the garden, in the sun for an hour with a G&T to toast the day.

Alex sent me some disturbing news that Craig Fell, whom we both knew had died while on holiday in Greece. He’d thought it was a spoof at first, but then Gillian had confirmed it. Such a sad time for Uncle Herb and Auntie Maisie. Craig could be an absolute eejit at times, but always had a smile on his face. He’d never do anyone a bad turn. A loss to Larky.

Tomorrow we have no plans, other than a bit of shopping, maybe in Glasgow.

Embra – 20 April 2019

We’d said we’d go to Embra and we did.

Set off early and did our usual walk up from Haymarket station to Nero on Lothian Road then from there through the farmers market where I got a piece of Hogget Leg Steak and Scamp got a chunk of Focaccia. I also grabbed a PoD of the folk sitting in the sun.

From there we walked up to the Grassmarket and Scamp bought a wee bottle of Elderberry liqueur, although the rum liqueur they were selling tasted very nice. They didn’t have wee bottles of it, unfortunately, only big bottles. The place was mobbed. In fact Embra in general was mobbed. It was a beautiful day. Warm sunshine and very little wind which is strange for Embra because it quite often is the Windy City. I was beginning to regret wearing my leather jacket AND a jersey. One had to go, in fact, eventually both had to go.

We couldn’t decide where to go for lunch, so we headed for Princes Street Gardens via M&S where I went to get some fresh fruit while Scamp searched for the trousers she’s been looking for for the last week or so. I got the fruit, but Scamp didn’t find the trousers she wanted. However she did find a sun hat that looked good, so after some swithering about a colour, she opted for the plain white one.

We sat in the gardens for a while eating the fruit and people watching, but decided eventually that it was far too busy in Embra and we should just head for home. Went for the 2pm train and were there in plenty of time. Sat waiting for what seemed a long time when a message came over the tannoy that with apologies, the train was cancelled. There was nothing to do but walk back to the concourse and wait for the next train which was in half an hour. Then Scamp noticed that it too was cancelled. Apparently due to a signalling fault. She suggested we get the 2.15 train which wouldn’t stop at Croy, but we could go straight to Glasgow and get another train back. After all the ticket did say “Valid via any permitted route”, so we could have gone via Inverness if we’d fancied, but we didn’t, we just wanted to get home now. Got the 2.15 which did take us all the way to Glasgow and then got the Stirling train back to Croy. A journey that should have taken us 40mins had taken 2 hours. Strangely, the 2.15 train travelled exactly the same route as the one that was cancelled because of a signalling fault. Did they magically repair the fault for the 2.15 train to pass, but knew that it would be broken again when the 2.30 train was due to leave? Maybe they should just be more honest and say “Due to staff not being available because it was such a nice day”. Anyway, we got home.

Sat in the garden and scoffed a bottle of wine that had been in the fridge since Christmas. It would be getting near it’s sell-by date anyway!

Tomorrow we may go dancing in the Record Factory.

Out to Lunch – 19 February 2019

Not just any old lunch. Oh no, this was lunch in a Michelin star restaurant!

The day started with a taxi to the station where we got the train to Embra. Walked along Shandwick Place from Haymarket to have coffee in a new Nero we’d found a couple of weeks ago. From there we walked up Lothian Road to get the No22 bus to Leith. In fact, to Ocean Terminal in Leith where we knew we could fritter away half an hour or so before we went in to the restaurant.

We found an interesting ‘Design Gallery’ which looked like the Embra sister of the one in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow. The difference was many of the offerings had an Embra slant whereas the ones in Glasgow are more authentic Scottish. Oops, a bit of East / West competition crept in there. Then I found a little gem of a place, next door to the ‘Design Gallery’. This one didn’t have anything for sale, it was more like a museum, but one where people were encouraged to touch the exhibits. There was an old piano at the back of the room and, of course, Scamp just had to have a shot! Lots of lovely things in there. There was a collection of Airfix planes glued up and badly painted, but they had obviously been in a few dog-fights since their construction. We found a Bunty magazine dating from 1963. There was a toy typewriter and also a few real manual typewriters. What a lot of people would consider junk, but it was a room full of memories for people of a certain age. It’s even called The Little Shop of Memory. Brilliant idea.

About a fifteen minute walk from Ocean Terminal is the restaurant which strangely doesn’t have an entrance from the street, you have to enter from the cobbled path at the back. We were still early, so decided to have a drink before the meal. Both of us had a G ’n’ T. Scamp had boring Hendricks I had Fidra. A nice relaxing start.

The meal:

Clockwise from the top left:

Amuse Bouche the same onion soup as last year in baked onion with croutons and spring onions. (D&S)
Vol-au-vent filled with lamb sweetbreads and tenderstem broccoli and served with a lamb’s tongue jus. (D)
Haunch of venison with venison offal and savoy cabbage faggot and baby carrots (D)
Rhubarb and blood orange with meringue and rhubarb sorbet plus meringue lollypop sticks (D)

Apple and soufflé with vanilla ice cream (S)
Hake with seafood, octopus and gnocci – two pictures (S)
Open artichoke ravioli served with crowdie and edible flowers (S)

We went for the wine package we had last year and it was equally eye-opening. Especially the Tokay wine!  I couldn’t believe that this white wine would complement the Rhubarb pudding so well.  Startling!

After we’d dined and scoffed the wine, we got the bus to the station, then just managed to catch the Croy train.  Taxi home after a full and enjoyable day.  I hadn’t even taken one photo with a camera all day.  That’s why there’s a photo of a rhododendron bud as PoD.

I was going to use another of yesterday’s sketches as my drawing, but instead I drew my hand holding a paintbrush.  It’s not very interesting, but it does look like a hand and it’s done and on time, which is probably more than can be said of this blog post!

Best news of the day was that the Advanced Salsa class has been given a reprieve!  Don’t know how.  Don’t know why.  All I know is that it’s done and we’re both relieved.

Tomorrow?  Auld claes and purrich I think!

Cauld Reekie – 2 February 2019

Today we went to Embra. About a couple of thousand rugby supporters went too. I think they were all on our train.

We’d been promising ourselves that we’d go to Embra since well before Christmas, but with the combination of health problems and rodent problems, not to mention the train problems, we didn’t get. Today we did. The seven coach ‘leccy train was mobbed, but we did get a seat and of course we got off with all the rugby supporters going to see Scotland get humped by Italy. I hope they weren’t too disappointed when our team won! It was cold enough to freeze the snotters dripping from my nose as we walked up to our usual Nero. How cold must it be when you’re wearing a kilt and sitting in Murrayfield for a couple of hours? I suppose most of them had some form of alcoholic central heating so wouldn’t feel the cold too much.

We walked through the farmer’s market and I got a bit of shoulder mutton for tomorrow’s dinner. It should be cooked like steak apparently. Hopefully I’ll be singing its praises tomorrow. After that we walked along Rose Street, had a coffee in Waterstones in Princes Street and then just missed the train home, so had to sit for half an hour in Haymarket. That’s where today’s PoD came from. The poor woman must have wondered what the bloke across the concourse was doing, and why is he laying his camera on the floor? Much quieter train home while the tartan clad hordes roared their team on to victory.

Today’s 28 Drawings Later sketch was a bowl of pears and I’m pretty happy with it. I just wish Facebook would get it into its tiny head that I’m not selling it!!!

For tomorrow there are no plans. We’ll just see what the day brings.

The Far East – 26 October 2018

Not quite as far as China or Japan, but certainly a different land.

South Queensferry was Scamp’s choice of destination today, so that’s where we went. Not quite as far as Embra, but just on the edge of the capital city. It does look like a different country and probably a different era too. Narrow winding streets and cobble stone roads. For once we got parked with not problem in fact I had to check to make sure it was still free parking. It was.  The low light was really bright and the sky was blue.  We went for a walk.

We walked through the town and had lunch in Scamp’s favourite restaurant. My burger was a bit dry and needed some salt. The chips were excellent and I had to ration myself. Scamp’s Fish ’n’ Chips looked lovely and the wee bit she gave me to taste was indeed delicious. Thin tasty batter, not overdone as it sometimes is.

Took a few photos with the Samyang to get the wide look through the narrow closes down to the sea, but finally settled on a Samyang shot through the handrail at the carpark that allowed me to capture all three bridges in the same frame as PoD.

Couldn’t settle on an Inktober sketch and finally copied and simplified a photograph I’d taken in St Mo’s away back in the heady days of summer. Remember summer? I quite liked the finished article.

Tomorrow we may be going to Glasgow, again, but this time for a pizza lunch.

I have seen the future and it works – 15 September 2018

Electricity travels at almost the speed of light. Diesel is hard to spell and is a fossil fuel.

Today we took the ‘leccy train to Embra. We didn’t intentionally go the ‘leccy route. It just happened that the train we were waiting for was powered by the new clean, invisible power source. The Stirling train that preceded it was powered by old fashioned, smelly, hard to spell deisildesil, diesel. That’s because they don’t have electricity in Stirling yet. They still have gas lights in the street and coal fires. I do feel sorry for them.

The super fast ‘leccy train took longer than the diesel trains they are replacing. Maybe it was cheap, slow electricity they were using or maybe it was Abellio who now run Scotrail who couldn’t manage the rail system properly. Surely not! Anyway, we got to Haymarket and walked up the road for morning coffee in Nero, but not before I set the Samyang loose in Ladyfield which is a great canyon between large imposing office blocks. That’s where PoD came from. I really like the perspective this lens gives. With one in the bag, I could enjoy my morning coffee.

After that we walked up through the Grassmarket to see if anyone was actually selling grass. They weren’t, but I wasn’t surprised because I hadn’t seen anyone selling hay at Haymarket. (Sounds better with a Chic Murray delivery.) From there we headed for the Royal Mile which was mobbed. I was beginning to think that there had been an extension to the Fringe Festival, but it was just the usual bunch of escapologists, jugglers and fire eaters performing for the tourists. We’re not tourists, we LIVE in Scotland. There did seem to be quite a lot of tourists about, but I later checked and the Norwegian Jade cruise ship was docked at Leith, so that probably explained things.

We walked back down through the Old Town and from there along George Street, then back along Rose Street, eventually giving up and heading for the tea room at the National Gallery where our lunch was a shared baguette of smoked salmon with leaves and mayo and a two cups of tea, paper cups, to Scamp’s disgust. After our light lunch we just got the train home. We’d had a bit of a wander around the Capital and were ready to return to the real world.

It was a dull day weatherwise with nothing much to recommend it. I took a few more photos to test out the ability of the Samyang, but am fairly confident that at f8 or better it can handle almost anything I can throw at it. It’s a keeper, for sure.

Got the ‘leccy train back home and it was fast! Impressively so. Shave a good 10 minutes off a 45 minute journey. The folk in Stirling don’t know what they’re missing. They thought it was a great thing last year when the diesel trains replaced the steam trains they’d had for years. Not to mention that the carriages had roofs, not like the open carriages they’d had before.

Tomorrow it’s the Cumbersheugh 10k, so if we’re not out by 10am we’re locked in until midday. I don’t suppose we’ll mind as the weather is to be ‘Scottish’. Hopefully dancing later.