Tips to Tourist

It’s festival time here in Edinburgh and surrounding parts. That means that a few million people descend on the historical town to see and experience the delights of comedy, dance, music, theater, film, books and anything else that you can think of.

There’s a lot of benefits to the Edinburgh Festival aka the Fringe, aka oh F**k its august       already. Mostly its financial. The tourists normally bring in a lot of money to the city, after all there’s a few million people descend onto a town filled with pubs, restaurants, and hotels. It would be difficult not to make money out of something like that.

It also puts Edinburgh at center stage for culture and what people think of when they think of a festival.

However, most of the time the Council and authorities tend to forget about the residents and those of us who financially help the city for the other eleven months of the year.

The city heaves with people and an infrastructure that simply cannot cope with the amount of visitors with so many people who don’t understand how the city works.

So, here’s some top tips for tourists visiting Edinburgh for the Fringe.

  1. Rubbish – if you have rubbish put it in the bin. If the bin is overflowing don’t leave it beside the bin so that the gulls can eat it. Instead put it in your pocket and take it back to your accommodation.
  2. Transport – public transport is not there to provide directions for you. They are not tourist information points. In fact, there are tourist information points throughout the town so maybe rock up to them instead and they will be happy to advise.
  3. The Locals – this relates to tip two. Most places you visit are working towns and cities. The locals have places to be and work to do. They’re probably not totally enjoying the fantastic sights and sounds. More likely they’re trying to make it to their jobs, thinking about dinner or something else that would be considered mundane. So, try to avoid traveling during rush hour and don’t clog up the footpaths. After-all you probably have all the time in the world but if somebody misses their bus home it could be an hour before the next one.

So yeah, I think what I’m trying to get to here is be considerate when you travel and think about where you are and how you impact the place you’re visiting. Enjoy your travels but don’t be a jerk.

 

Feathers

This is a weird and quite personal post.

The last couple of years have been personally and professionally difficult. Part of that difficulty if the repeated bouncing my head against the wall of professionalism and career.

The other thing has been an issue revolving around questions of spirituality and my personal religious and spiritual philosophy. That’s a whole other post and rant around the subject.

What’s the most strange is since the winter of 2017 I have been finding feathers.

Edinburgh has a lot of birds, now I mean a LOT of birds and that is in no way a bad thing. I’m not a twitcher, but I’ve always had a soft spot for magpies. So, seeing feathers around isn’t uncommon. You see a lot of them around the place.

What’s weird is seeing feathers in strange places. I’d done a ritual to ask, “whatever deity who wants to communicate with me to make themselves known”. Nada, nothing, silence.

Then I started to come across feathers in odd places. Now when I say odd, I mean really odd. The bathroom of my office, on the bus, on the stairway to my flat. These are not placing where one sees a feather. I even found one in my office with no sensible way of it getting there.

So naturally I start to check around what is the symbolism of feathers. What gods are associated with feathers. I found one who is the Polynesian deity of War. I have a feeling that it’s not him trying to say hello. In Christianity feathers represent angels. Again, I am pretty sure that it’s not them. Also, the possibility that a departed loved one is saying “hey I’ve got your back it’s cool”. That makes sense but it’s probably delusional.

The rational sceptical side of me is thinking, that I live in a city with a lot of birds, feathers are all over the place. There is no meaning other than a bird lost a feather it’s been tracked in on somebody or it’s blown in through a window.

The other part of me is looking for meaning in something that may or may not be meaningless.

Why am I talking about this?

Because this is the summary of my thinking and my daily conflict between my rational and irrational my beliefs and my understanding.

Personally, if there is a deity out there that wants to talk, I’d much rather they sent a huge neon sign and said “hey look at this” then working through this weird symbolic code, if there’s anything trying to communicate at all.

Taste of Snow?

Everyone that I’ve ever talked with outside of Scotland seems to believe that we get snow for six months and rain for the other.

It couldn’t be further from the truth, particularly in the central belt. Edinburgh tends to be quite warm and avoids snow. Last year we had the “beast from the east“, and that was pretty cool. (no pun intended)

Now the temperature is dropping properly and it makes me want to stay in under a duvet with a gin and the cats. Of course I can’t but I’d like to.

Were you stranded in snow? Are your stuck in snow? Do you think it’ll snow in Edinburgh soon? The air tastes of snow so maybe.

Surprise Halloween Post

It’s Samhain or Halloween.

My favorite time of year to be sure. The only time of year where its socially acceptable to dress up and take sweets off strangers. Also the spiritual element of change, rebirth and magic. The atmosphere, particularly in Edinburgh, is quite charged and it’s hard not to enjoy this old and new festival.

Tonight I shall leave you with a poem by Rudyard Kipling. I’ve taken it from here:

The Moon of Other Days

BENEATH the deep veranda’s shade,
When bats begin to fly,
I sit me down and watch—alas!—
 Another evening die.
Blood-red behind the sere ferash
 She rises through the haze.
Sainted Diana! can that be
The Moon of Other Days? 

Ah! shade of little Kitty Smith,
 Sweet Saint of Kensington!
Say, was it ever thus at Home
The Moon of August shone,
When arm in arm we wandered long
 Through Putney’s evening haze,
And Hammersmith was Heaven beneath
The moon of Other Days? 

But Wandle’s stream is Sutlej now,
And Putney’s evening haze
The dust that half a hundered kine
 Before my window raise.
Unkempt, unclean, athwart the mist
 The seething city looms,
In place of Putney’s golden gorse
 The sickly babul blooms. 

Glare down, old Hecate, through the dust,
And bid the pie-dog yell,
Draw from the drain its typhoid-term,
 From each bazaar its smell;
Yea, suck the fever from the tank
 And sap my strength therewith:
Thank Heaven, you show a smiling face
 To little Kitty Smith! 

Some Marginally Filtered Xennial Rage!

You know what I am fed up with? Being a Millennial. Actually technically I’m a Xennial but it’s much of a muchness.

Constantly I’m under a barrage of “buy this” of “Do that” and of course “FOMO”. People who are even five years older than me constantly saying “oh why don’t you just buy?”

It’s made me bite my tongue and not drop into a furious rage at them, sigh and go, “well we’re working on it”.

Do people not understand how fucking difficult it is to save?! In Edinburgh you need about £25,000 to realistically buy a house that’s inhabitable. Flats have their advantage but I’m too old to be dealing with stair politics or caring about being within stumbling distance from the pub.

I’m not going to lie, pre 2008 I had a damn good time. Mostly it’s a haze since I was probably drunk for most of it.

Post 2008. Well fuck! I was lucky and I kept my job but saw the impact of austerity on friends and loved ones. It was hard. Life went from planning for a future and retirement to living from month to month. Honestly it’s the biggest joke that you earn what would be a reasonable wage but because everything got so expensive that you were perpetually broke.

That’s been me ever since. My salary has decreased but costs are still pretty much the same.

What gets me is that I know I’m lucky being able to rent comfortably and keep pets. However we can’t do all of this and also save.

“Get rid of the pets and get a cheaper flat”

Nope, I love the cats and wouldn’t get rid of them.

As to the flat. I’m sure there’s probably a place cheaper but not as comfortable. Also it’s about quality of life. I do not want to be in my seventies and finally have that four bed house but absolutely no happy memories other than the argument about why we can’t have meat tonight we’re saving for a house. Fuck that shit. Also give me a steak!

In real terms we will probably never be able to buy our own place. I really just want to love someplace where I can paint the walls and put down new flooring. A place where I’m not always slightly worried we’ll be turfed out because the landlord decided to sell. It’s already happened to us before.

So there’s no happy balance but I swear I will end up arrested for shouting and swearing at the next person who suggests that we buy.

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