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And that’s the reason why I wear the kilt

Total strangers, mostly beautiful females such as this real English rose, she was called Rose too, want their pictures taken with men in kilts. Need I say more?

Poissons et Frites avec mes amis Francais

Bet you’re impressed eh? A lovely second day was had with my French friends on the trip to St Andrews. I suggested the coastal route through the East Neuk (corner) of Fife and we enjoyed this beautiful part of this beautiful country to the strains of the Red Hot Chiili PIPERS and Ally Bain and Phil Cunningham. Everybody, kids and teachers, wanted to have fish and chips for lunch and there is only one place to get them in this part of Fife, The Anstruther Fish and Chip Bar. I didn’t have the number to call ahead and warn them that they would need to find fish suppers for 51 people, but it didn’t matter. We arrived and as usual the place was packed with a queue out into the street. But when we got to the front and asked…

Shock as Stanford University abandon Edinburgh!!

Shock as Stanford University abandon Edinburgh!! Last week, Bill and I had the latest in a series of lovely jaunts round town with students from Stanford University. The Stanford tour has got to be something of a fixture in our diary. Our Spring is almost defined by seeing their happy faces. The Stanford students are…

Fun times with Rand and Scott

Fun times with Rand and Scott Had a phenomenal time over two days spent in lovely company with a great couple from Chicago, Rand and Scott. These were guys who had really done their homework and laid out an itinerary in minute detail, booking all their dining ahead of time from out of town –…

Festive fun and frolics

Festive fun and frolics Spent a lovely day yesterday with Elizabeth and Sydney Reed. Sydney was just finishing off a semester at Edinburgh Uni before returning back to Kansas to continue her studies in Political Science and Arabic. It’s wonderful when we can tour with folks who already have a working knowledge of the city…

Stanford brave the sleet

Stanford brave the sleet We love having an involvement with some of the world’s top providers of higher education and it’s great, each year, to provide tours for students visiting from Stanford University in sunny California. Quite why they always come in February is an unknown to me. Bill and I spent the last two days with this year’s tranche and, whilst yesterday was quite clement, today was something of a challenge for kids used to Palo Alto sunshine. I’m pretty sure one or two had no concept of sleet, but it wasn’t just quite cold enough atop Calton Hill to summon down the real white stuff. The strength of Edinburgh’s natural beauty as well as its built heritage means that even on a challenging day, a bit of a climb is rewarded. A few were enthusiastic enough about the…

Bill’s and Cammy’s Discography

Bill is an original and has written some of the funniest songs to have come out of Scotland. Backed with sharp incisive and hilarious comment, Bill was one of the country’s most sought after performers on the Scottish scene. In the 70s and 80s, Bill presented and wrote humorous songs for Radio Forth and some of these found their way into publications such as Punch, one was included in Jocky Wilson’s Own Story and one was performed on the Beechgrove Garden. He has appeared on many TV and radio programmes and has made four albums. Cammy’s whole life has been peppered with music.  At the stupid age of 16, he packed his troubles in a kit bag and joined the world-renowned Black Watch as an entertainer: you might say he was a musician, if you viewed percussion kindly. The army…

Edinburgh Castle

People have been seeking the protection of the castle rock for around 5,000 years. It was a natural fortress, commanding the surrounding countryside for many miles. First referred to by the Roman historian Tacitus in 98 AD as ‘wooden settlement surrounded by a stockade’ and known as Dunedin – ‘the hill of the fortress’ by the tribe that occupied it. The first written record of stone fortifications was in the 6th century. It featured strongly in the 13th and 14th century wars of independence from the English crown and later in the political and religious conflicts of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It was the birthplace of a King and houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland as well as the Stone of Destiny, upon which Kings of Scotland and England have been crowned for centuries.

Greyfriar’s Bobby

Hear the story of the devoted Skye Terrier who belonged to a 19th century policeman. So fond of his master that after his death the little dog kept vigil over his grave for 14 years until his own death. Beloved at the time by local children, innkeepers and the Lord Provost, this story has captured the hearts of millions around the world and has been made into film twice; once, famously, by Walt Disney in the 1960’s and more recently in 2005. Today he lies in the Greyfriars Kirkyard, as close to his master as religious protocol allowed at the time – the kirkyard itself the scene of dramatic events in Scotland’s turbulent history.

Sandy Bell’s

Sandy Bell’s is located at 25 Forest Road in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The bar is a well known gathering place for folk musicians as well as being a great little bar just to enjoy an excellent pint or a good malt whisky. Friendly staff and locals, Sandy Bell’s is open 12 noon until 1am Monday to Saturday (11pm on Sunday), with music sessions starting at 9pm weekdays and 3pm at weekends. Bill can take you there, telling stories of the historic area and ensuring you have a geat time !

The Grassmarket

The Grassmarket This delightful part of the town was a medieval market place where you could buy anything which ate grass – it was a livestock market. It was also a place of public execution where the Edinburgh population would turn out in their thousands to watch criminals die on the gallows. The Grassmarket was, famously, the location of Sir Walter Scott’s novel ‘Heart of Midlothian’ and also the site of the execution of 100 protestant martyrs during ‘the killing time’ when Charles II took his revenge on those who had risen against his father. Here you can hear the stories of ‘half hingit Maggie’ and the ‘resurrectionists’ who kept the medical school supplied with bodies for dissection when they could not get them from the gallows. Today in the Grassmarket you can enjoy the many wonderful pubs, restaurants and…

Not in Kansas anymore

This is Patti and John, 2 delightful people from Kansas. I met them very early from a cruise liner docked at Leith and we saw Edinburgh at its best in beautiful sunshine. Here we are having the farewell dram at the Guildford Arms. A fleeting glance at Edinburgh, but enough to enchant them and they will be back.