A long flight then the purgatory, or hell rather, of Heathrow and a four hour layover, I rode the bumpy skies of the UK convinced I’d never make the trip again. I looked out of the window at the Pennines and as we crossed over into Scotland saw the first heather, gorse hills, a lonely stone croft, a bridge, a snaking river and my heart softened. Once landed, all it took was the warm blanket of the Scottish accent on the Tannoy (loudspeaker) and I was well and truly rebitten.
I had forgotten the warmth of the Scots, and how that’s possible I don’t know. Exhausted, missing a connection with a friend who had driven to the airport to meet me but had left before the delayed plane got in, I fell into the hands of a great bus driver who drove me to Edinburgh and dropped me right outside the 17th c. Candlemaker Row flat being lent to me.
Unpacked, tea with good friends, then ambled up the Royal Mile in the late sunshine. It really felt like home to me as I walked past all the familiar sights-the Tron, John Knox house, Caidenhead Whiskey shop… how many thousands of times have I walked up and down that cobblestone road (setts they’re called), as I marched a girl and her dog to and from George Heriot’s in all weather. I ate at a favourite cafe and met one of the members of Shooglenifty, a Celtic fusion band that is much loved by our family… Edinburgh’s welcome! Then off to the Bow, our local, for a half pint, a chat with Ian the ex-bartender who now props up the other side of the bar, then home to the cosy flat that overlooks Grey Friars Kirkyard and Candlemaker Row, right in the heart of medieval Edinburgh.
The sun shines again today, I’m sleeveless, well rested, and heading by train and a six hour ferry ride for the Western Isles tomorrow morning. A good start. A very good start.
Later, on my way home from good music, good food, good friends, I pass the Tass and find 15 musicians with all their instruments, playing the night away. It’s a warm night, everyone in Edinburgh is smiling. I don’t want to go to bed…. Edinburgh is working really hard to win my heart back…