Category Archives: Edinburgh

Edinburgh – UNESCO City of Literature

With Edinburgh being the UNESCO City of Literature, there may be no better place for starting on the path of becoming a writer. JK Rowling started out here – living on benefits in a small flat in Easter Road (very near to where I stay), she wrote the first Harry Potter in a cafe in the old town. I have had awareness of this inspiration Edinburgh provides to writers for many years – but this had not thus far been strong enough to push my latent desire to write myself to the front of my mind.

Often, it takes other people and events to make a view, a need, a desire surface again. It happens as if by chance, but really it is more than that. Not a coincidence but a pointer from life, or from yourself via the world. It is I who makes it happen, and it is I who is the receiver.

In this instance, it was a colleague who told me about the Literary Salon event which is one of the projects of the UNESCO City of Literature. This event, on the last Tuesday of each month,  “gathers together literary folk for a few drinks and the chance for a chat in convivial and informal surroundings”.

I’ve planned to go along with this colleague for the next event in September. Not only to see what’s out there – but also to continue picking up bits of inspiration, information, and proceed with my own work of chiseling away at my full-time successful career.

Edinburgh Light Night

Horse on Carousel, Princes Street Gardens, Edi...

Image via Wikipedia

This week Thursday, B. and I will be going to Light Night which starts at 17:00 in East Princes Street Gardens:

Heralding the beginning of a fabulous festive season, Edinburgh’s Christmas Light Night will see the festive lights, Edinburgh Wheel and Carousels, Winter Wonderland, the Traditional German and Highland Village Christmas Markets all open simultaneously with a spectacular show and fireworks.

I’ve been there once before with the ex (a few years back) and it was very romantic. We had had a couple of Whiskys beforehand in a pub and then went there, all warmed up and cosy. All the Xmas lights are switched on together and the Xmas fair including the German ‘Weihnachtsmarkt’ opens.

I’ve taken half a day off so I don’t have to rush around. I had some toil left to take anyway. It’s just beginning to become all Christmassy everywhere – even Wetherspoons at the week-end had the trees and decorations up. I don’t normally have any Xmas decoration, but this year, what with a cat and the home being a bit more homely, I might just do it 😀

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Walking Alone in the Dark (as a WOMAN!)

I’ve gotten into a routine now where I go for a walk each night after work, for about an hour. I take the same route each night. As it happens, with winter approaching and for the fact that I live in Edinburgh, it’s now dark when I do go out. Hence I stopped the Holyrood Park – route (I walked through there a few times when it was pitch black! Rapists abound).

Now, my BF B. thinks Edinburgh is a dangerous place, and isn’t too keen on the idea of my walking alone at night. I’ve thus far dismissed it – for me, the city is a safe haven compared to the horrors of Hackney (crime pit!) where I lived last year. Here, I feel very safe and at home. Edinburgh is ‘my’ city and my home, and for some reason it’s as if it could never do me any harm.

Yesterday, however, a work colleague said the same thing – she was SHOCKED at my walking on my own in the dark, and strongly recommended I don’t do it. This has now put some doubts into my mind – nothing too major but still – do they have a point?

I always feel invincible here and very reasonable. I would NOT have left the flat in Hackney after dark – hell, I didn’t even dare walk around with my laptop during hte day as the chances of it being robbed off me were quite high (no exaggeration here – my chav mate J. had contacts to this person who handled stolen goods… and that’s the kind of thing that this dealer in stolen goods was offered, apparently).

I really don’t want to change my ways with regard to this walking. It’s refreshing and extremely relaxing, and I have a good night’s sleep every night. I may have to give it some more thought though, or make extra sure that I’m safe. Maybe not go out too late, and avoid the roads that aren’t too well lit or not busy enough. I.e. stay on the main roads 🙂

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Trick or Treat?

For the first time EVER, I’ve bought some sweeties for kids coming to my door for trick-or-treating. Despite having lived in the UK continuously for 8 years, I’ve never ever done anything. Most years I simply didn’t open the door (hehe), not because I didn’t want to give kids treats, but because I had completely forgotten about it.

Last year Halloween I think I was in London, and the year before I remember being in my flat in Edinburgh and opening the door – to find various dressed-up kids asking ‘Trick or Treat?’ (and I was WTF?? I think I gave them a couple of pounds).

This year as I’ve said though, I am prepared. I went to Sainsbury’s earlier to buy various sweets and chocolates – see pic. There are so many kids living around here these days – next door neighbours alone have 3! – that I can’t just NOT open the door any more 😛

I just hope they do come to my door now, after all these years of my ignoring their trick-or-treating. Otherwise I’ll be stuck with the sweets and chocolates, and will have to feed them to my sweet new BF 🙂

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Volunteering in Scotland

Inverewe Garden Walls

Image by Ian JC via Flickr

I’ve been thinking about what useful, enjoying, relaxing things to do in my spare time i.e. the week-ends. One thing that’s always interested me is volunteering. Not in a social way – I don’t want to meet new people (hehehe)! But more to get outdoors, or to do something with/for animals.

I’ve found the following resources and potential options:

1. Volunteer Centre Network Scotland

This is a site listing (searchable) opportunities of volunteer work all over Scotland. I’m particularly interested in becoming a sheperd in Fife! Anything with animals really. I also wouldn’t mind driving, e.g. driving people’s pets to vets that can’t do it for themselves etc.

2. National Trust for Scotland

They do a lot of outdoors conservation work, in 4 areas, one of which is my area (Lothians).

3. Scottish Wildlife Trust

Local opportunities, as well as week-long work e.g. on Orkney. Assisting rangers, monitoring of e.g. seabird population, etc.

While I don’t want to spend my entire week-ends or spare time volunteering, and have no altruistic bone in my body, I like the idea of being able to get stuck in to some practical, useful task, and focusing on a new challenge that doesn’t involve sitting at a computer! Just doing something that contrasts with and complements my Monday-Friday. The fact that it’s ‘for a good cause’ really isn’t my main motivation though 😛

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