Hot City, Killer Shoes (Edinburgh, festival season)


The Castle (which I’ve decided reminds me of Wurm)

If I look left from my temporary home’s front windows, I can see the entire top part of this big pile of secrets. It’s on an extinct volcano, there are secret entrances and tunnels. It belongs to the military too. You can walk around in some areas though.

My move was brutal but mercifully short, move number one now completed. I shall be here while builders do unspeakables to my home. I’m perched in the rooftops  very near Princes Street in Edinburgh, and the Festival is underway – I think. The Festival has so many parts, it’s hard to tell where it begins or ends. There are books and science and err theatre, comedy, film, music and more I’m sure. The Interactive Festival (includes games) is disappointingly cancelled this year but I don’t think I’ll be short of things to do somehow. Very soon now the Tattoo will begin and the early evenings will resound to gun and cannon fire (blanks I think I should point out), bagpipes, and fireworks.

And it’s hot, hot, hot.

Edinburgh in a heat wave is positively metallic. Princes street is what we used to call a bakoond (sort of a baking oven for bricks) in one of the languages of my youth, and all the tourists who expected fog and mystery look like prawns by the end of the day. I use lessons learned in that same youth to survive the heat, ambling out for long walks in the early morning and retreating to some interior coolness for the day. Siesta when possible and emerge again later if it’s not too hot a night.

Below my flat here are restaurants and clubs so that my front door is defended by bouncers – I feel very safe. It is noisy revelry at night and I sleep right through the racket with no trouble at all. One of the gifts of age 🙂 Which brings me to the shoes. This year the shoes are quite astounding. High, impossible, gorgeous, magnificent, lethal in all possible ways. I’m sure they make amazing melee weapons. They are also a hazard to the tipsy if worn. We have cobbles. And a tram being built. It must be quite a skill to get across a road in those shoes – and then of course they are total and utter traffic stoppers. They are more beautiful than cars. The shoes on women in Edinburgh this year are amazing. And I love looking at them! An unexpected bonus to being here.

Of course, I personally wear sparkly flipflops or chinese-old-man-shoes.

Then, there’s things you discover. I know I live here, but I don’t travel to the heart of it all that often. New businesses open, old ones fold, old buildings are renovated or more often destroyed, glass and concrete things spring up and I don’t notice a lot of it. So I’m enjoying the rediscovery.

Early in the morning, when I meander out not much is open. After an hour or so though, I am in need of a rest and refreshment so I look out for little places, open early where a cup of tea is on offer, and a seat. Treasure. I’m going to do a longer piece on Social Bite (Rose Street). You may or may not know what Social Bite is (your cup of coffee pays for one for a homeless person) – I’d never heard of it.  Anyway I like both the idea and the neat little cafe, conveniently close where I intend to pause again.

Then yesterday my feet took me towards Leith. My favourite internet cafe wasn’t open yet, so I stopped at Qupi (near the bottom of Leith Walk). Apparently this has been here for 12 years without me noticing it and it’s lovely! My nose led me in – it smells of delicious things with undertones of rosewater! Yesterday morning the temperature rose fast and early and I was grateful to find a place to stop.   Tea was served with a cold glass of water, and I subsided on a red velvet chair with golden trim to well, subside. The decor totally charmed me, eclectic but not fussy. I’m no expert so this is just a vague guess I think some things were part middle eastern/turkish? and some were vintage. I have a daugher who will love this… Not too much of anything though, not clutter and the layout means that a cool, scented breeze runs through. It was like finding a little opulent magic oasis. I enjoyed my cup of tea very much and was fortified for the trek back up Leith Walk under the blazing star we call our own.

I think that’s my brain empty for now. I’m not much of a camerawoman, but I’ll try and take some pics as I go.

Categories: Edinburgh

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