Our day started with an early breakfast at The Thistle Stop Cafe. We are suckers for a bad pun! John tried porridge which wasn’t a good idea, it was made with water. Kim of course went for a traditional cooked breakfast including Haggis. We had booked a 10am walking tour and met our guide, Gareth the Welshman, at the foot of the castle in glorious sunshine and had a whistlestop tour of the history of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
Although, let’s be clear, the Old Town in places in newer than the new town which isn’t that new! Confused we were…….in fact we still are.
We learned about George Heriot who was jeweller and money lender to Queen Anne – a clever business model to sell her the jewels then lend her money against them. He left the money to found the magnificent George Heriot school to educate orphans and the poor. Now it’s one of the top fee paying schools in the UK. A far cry from its roots. We also heard the story of James Barry – you’ll have to look that one up, it’s fascinating.
The tour ended in Princes Street Gardens, the boundary between old and new. Apparently covenants going back to 1750 mean that building on the south side of Princes Street is forbidden. The wealthy of 18th century Edinburgh New Town didn’t want their view across the valley spoiled. Bad news for Waverley Station that wants to build a couple of retail floors above the platforms. It’ll be interesting to see how long Edinburgh is able to hold onto its Unesco Heritage Site status. Will historic importance or financial greed win?
There are posters and adverts everywhere, the choice is overwhelmingly. There’s also a sense of guilt when you’re handed a flyer for a show, by someone desperately trying to promote it, and you have no intention of going.
Just time for tea and cake at the National Gallery before heading off to Arthur Smith and mindlessness. Arthur Smith in a skin tight body suit is an image that we stay with us!
We spent an hour learning the art of mindlessness. All you need is to breathe, put your pants on the right way and burst bubble wrap. You just have to love a show that gives you bubble wrap to pop – even Matt would have loved that one!
Three ‘shows’ down, only another seven to go to meet John’s challenge. There is a chance we’ll be counting the Queen’s coach and free fireworks in the tally.