View over the top of my book #17

This past weekend we went down to Edinburgh, as it is my daughter’s seventeenth birthday this week, and as she has a thing about underground places, caves and caverns, she wanted to do one of those spooky tours.ย  We went down into the vaults under the bridge which once housed a ton of potato-starved Irish people, as well as all other types of poor and desolate (and their sewerage, the sewerage that dripped down on them from the streets above), and stood in damp, pitch-black rooms while an entertaining man in a long black leather coat told us funny and spooky stories. We then went along to the Covenanter’s Prison in Greyfriars Kirkyard (of Bobby the dog fame, although that’s all a myth as well, it was a just a stray dog locals fed, and the story caused more people to come to their area and their shops, so just a huge tourism con, and one very lucky dog) which is also supposed to be super-haunted. Youtube is full of these videos about it, but personally, I felt nothing. At one point, when we were all huddled in a dark cell, a man jumps into the room and screams and everyone went nuts, and I looked over to see the woman next to my daughter was clinging to her like Scooby does to Shaggy. I personally don’t do ghosts, in fact back when I was nursing the subject really annoyed me. When someone died on the ward, it was pretty normal for a nurse to open a window so they could escape. I distinctly remember one telling me she didn’t do it one night, and after that the x-ray light box at the end of the corridor kept flashing for the rest of the nightshift. My guess was the bulb was going, as I’m pretty sure if we have spirits they won’t be outwitted by closed windows. If they can’t go through walls, they’ll find an extractor fan in the toilets or something. Us embalmers and funeral directors in general are a far less superstitious bunch, which is more conducive to a calm working environment.For me, the scariest part of Edinburgh is not its dead nor its underground black spaces, it’s the barrage of hen parties and stags in their matching t-shirts and other novelty items we had to fight our way back to the hotel through. ‘Mum, why have those men in Star Wars costumes got an inflatable sheep?’

Although going back to the tour, there was one part that I did find moving, which was when leather-jacket-guide-man pointed out the wall in the kirkyard where the covenanters were executed 337 years ago, and the musket ball marks are still visible in the stone. That felt like a dark piece of history and a very real connection to the evidence of their death, and more is explained about the religion and politics and injuries sustained by those attacked by the poltergeist (hmmm, *suspicious eyebrow lift*) in the low budget video linked below, if you feel like hearing Scottish words said with American pronunciation.


On this trip we did things my daughter wanted to do, we only had 24 hours and so I didn’t get a chance to do much book shopping, although I did pick up two beautiful notebooks. One has highly coloured animal artwork on the pages, the other lots of quotes. The view is from the hotel bedroom, with the castle (only) just in shot at the top.

There’s also some pictures of Greyfriars, one of the art galleries at dusk, and St Giles’ cathedral, where the tour started from. I also took a shot on the way home, mid-Forth Road Bridge, as they are building a replacement one next to it. I’ll be interested to see what they do with the old bridge, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns up on eBay.