It didn’t rain in Edinburgh today. Not one drop. Nada. The expected 4pm downpour didn’t happen and Mirinda managed to remain dry for a change. On a day of bits and pieces it was nice to have the weather behaving rationally at least.
It was an odd kind of day actually. Mirinda finished working on a couple of documents which I then cast an eye over in my capacity as her overpaid editor. We then went for a walk so she could put the documents to bed, so to speak. Also Sarah wanted to work undisturbed for a number of hours so that was a good excuse too.
Rather than walking up Rose Street for the umpteenth time, we decided to try the mirror version, Young Street, instead. While it’s the same it is also totally different.
Possibly the biggest difference between the two streets is the pubs. Where Rose Street has a lot, Young Street appears to have two: The Cambridge and the Oxford bars. We stopped off in the Cambridge for a beer/wine where I explained the intricacies of Rugby to an unimpressed Mirinda. When we discovered the existence of the Oxford Bar just a few hundred metres down the street it did make me wonder whether they had a cobble stone boat race once a year. I also discovered that Inspector Rebus frequents the Oxford.
Having had our drink, while unsuccessfully avoiding the giant TV screen, we continued on our way down Young Street until we reached Castle Street when Mirinda announced that we should head up to George Street and find the tapas restaurant we walked by last night on our way to the Japanese place.
And find it we did. We also managed to get a table in what was a very popular place. We were a bit disappointed by the berenjenas though their version was still quite nice but not a patch on the con miel we’re rather partial to. Still, it all went very well with a glass of rioja and we easily ate our fill.
We also had to be out before the people who had reserved the table turned up. It was really popular. And that was just for lunch.
Don’t be fooled by the entrance, the restaurant goes back a very long way.
We then made our slow old way back to the apartment where Mirinda had a sleep and I went for a looksie at the church across the road (sort of) from us.
It’s St John’s and while it looks very sombre, Gothic and foreboding on the outside, it’s actually very light and warm and friendly once you get through the doors. There are a lot of beautiful stained glass panels throughout the church which casts a warm glow over everything.
St John’s is a Scottish Episcopal church completed in 1818. It was designed by young architect William Burn who, at 25 years of age, was doing some fine work. Most of the stained glass was by James Ballantine and Son. It was really a lovely church.
Not so, St Cuthbert’s next door. That’s correct, there’s another church next door. Well, across the graveyard, anyway. I thought perhaps it was just an over sized mausoleum but no, it is St Cuthberts.
I was going to go in and have a bit of a sticky but the steps leading to the doors were littered all round with the local drunks, junkies and alcoholics which made it a little less than appealing. I gave it a big miss.
It did mean I missed out on seeing the memorial to John Napier the inventor of logarithms. Given I found them particularly annoying in high school I would have liked to have poked my tongue out at him. Still, one can’t have everything. I walked out of the churchyard and into the park that was once a putrid loch before crossing Princes Street and walking into a very crowded Starbucks.
Eventually I returned to the apartment where a now wide awake Mirinda declared we should go for a walk to Dean Village.
Dean means valley and the village certainly is in a valley. It’s a very steep and cobbly stagger down to reach the bottom where the Water of Leith gurgles and races towards the sea. The valley is spanned by the massive Dean Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford (1757-1834) who was often called the Colossus of Roads. It was built in 1831.
The village was once home to 11 mills of various types but now it’s a picturesque village without any shops. Or a pub. That we could find anyway. There is a GP. There are also some impressive buildings.
We walked a little way along the Water of Leith Walk but were turned back by a path closed sign which rankled with Mirinda until she spotted a group of youths who were happy to ignore the sign and hang around on the ‘dangerous’ footpath. Not that we kept going. Instead we retraced our steps and headed back to Rose Street.
We wound up at the Shoggly Peg (which means thin ice as in ‘you’re skating on…’) where Mirinda had a couple of G&Ts and I enjoyed a mango IPA and a wee dram of Crabbies whisky – the Malt of the Month. As usual, it was a delightful pub and we happily sat for a good hour chatting and drinking and watching the customers come and go to the loos, which were either side of us.
Eventually, and because the streets were starting to fill with Saturday night revels, we decided to get a takeaway pizza and take it back to the apartment where we watched an episode of Mar de plástico before heading for bed.
For not doing much we appear to have done a lot.