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…
Our daily constitutional takes us uphill. Late afternoon, defying a gloomy weather forecast the sun breaks through. We could take that as a good sign. Well, why not?
A robin sings into the night from a bare branch tree. The sound, sad-sweet in the din and dazzle of
Edinburgh’s Christmas markets, seems to come from another world.
A gateway opens. Where does it lead? To a wider world? To inspiring
people in unexpected places? To be
honest right now I have no idea, but I’m tentatively opening the gate….
How history twists and turns. The at times black comedy tour, first improvised by comedians Jamie MacDonald and Harry Gooch six years ago, acquires newly topical significance at the finale in St Andrew Square. (Disclaimer: I’m a director of Walking Heads but there are many true words among the jests so I’m reblogging the story here.) Continue reading
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’.
Tread softly on the way to Paisley Town Hall; it’s a journey threaded with names of the stuff that made a great civic centre. Here’s Gauze Street crossing the canal. Turn right at Abbey Place just before the road divides between Lawn Street and Cotton Street. And pause.
All’s fair in love, war and creative city competition. Well, yes, maybe but losing a heartfelt City of Culture bid can hurt as Creative Dundee’s Gillian Easson freely admits. Continue reading
Just for the record, I objected to ugly plans for a new development at Canonmills on the banks of Edinburgh’s Water of Leith. Midnight was the deadline but my email to the Planning Committee prompted an auto response…the planning department officer was now away for two weeks. So I posted it on the City Council Planning Portal and got a response telling me my ‘truncated comment’ had been lodged. Online objecting is not quite as easy as it seems, but still worth doing. Why do I care? It goes back a long way. Continue reading