curiosity about the ways of the world

Category: Street life (Page 1 of 7)

Cafe culture, arts, music and the way we live.

Ghosts of census past and present

Thursday 17 March 2022.  Approaching Census night the old kitchen has the look of a Victorian museum, or maybe a low budget costume drama.  Granny’s white cotton nighties hang in front of the shiny black range. Crisp and cool to the touch, they are the very devil to iron.

These are things of impressive though now impractical beauty and I rediscovered them during one of those lockdown cupboard clear-outs of 2020.  On impulse, I dug them out again to spruce them up in time for our Scottish Census 2021 – postponed because of Covid.  Removing the creases and wrinkles from yards and yards of best cotton, tackling the finicky fine tucks and broderie anglaise round the neckline, I’m thankful for the steam iron.  A Victorian maid standing in the old scullery (more or less where I am typing now) would have been applying flat irons heated on the coal-fired range, and no doubt listening out for the bells summoning servants to other tasks in grander parts of the house. Let’s call on Elizabeth…

Ironing granny's nightie: Fay Young
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Edinburgh Makars mak mischief

At the mercy of the elements, does Henry Dundas

aloof in St Andrew Square still ponder having been

the most powerful politician of his day? Stewart Conn

Politicians come and go. While that stone-hearted rogue Henry Dundas looks down on the Christmas crowds let’s start with a moment of poetic (and blissfully Brexit-free) mischief. Here’s the very much alive and kicking Darren McGarvey…

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Putting HER story up in lights

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Lamplighter

My daily walk was later than usual. After five o’clock in January the skies are dark and pavements less inviting.  This is Leerie Lamplighter time in Edinburgh and I was remembering…  Continue reading

Turning leaves of the Poetry Tree

‘And so, let’s pause a moment here, draw strength –

and reclaim what is ours.’

Reclaiming St Andrew Square Ron Butlin

Green, gold, gone. Any day soon the leaves will turn and fall. And in a shady corner of Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square a young tree will reflect the colour of its relatives on distant mountains of Japan. Here’s a good news story for the telling. Continue reading

SAY Award: so Paisley 2021

The Gender Neutral Toilets are warmly welcomed by ‘trans queer’ punk band Spook School though I tiptoe back out to the old school Ladies after encountering a row of urinals.

‘Hello World, welcome to Paisley,’ the smiling face of Paisley2021’s Jean Cameron beams a global greeting from the SAY award screen streamed live from Paisley Town Hall, ‘Enjoy the party. We’re delighted to have you with us’.

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