Resting on the Nethers

The first Saturday in June, no Meadows Fair again so I headed to the Park and clambered up Raven’s Rock on to the Nether Hill. That is a knackering climb up on a warm day (okay, so warm for Edinburgh so far this year), a lie down was definitely in order. There’s worse places to stretch on and enjoy the sunshine! The occasional breeze was nicely warm, even though overhead there did seem to be a number of dark clouds massing (the rain gods possibly thought, first weekend in June? – we should at least threaten rain).

The Nether Hill is a good place to be still; it’s neighbour Arthur’s Seat is more popular and everyone knows it’s name, but it’s all about getting up there, a quick pic for evidence and back down, busy busy. On Nether Hill I could lay back and watch swallows swooping around and about, the odd crow would enjoy a glide on the thermals. Just a smattering of chatter could be heard wafting over from the Seat and the usual background hum of traffic in the town, but plenty birdsong distracted from them. Oh, and there was a piper playing somewhere in the distance for a while. That’s how pipers should be heard – at a distance!

As I lay there it occurred to me to share with you just what I could see at that moment, so, a head turn to the right and it’s Arthur’s Seat, and above me some rather worrying clouds (glad to say they all just moved along without shedding their loads).

Sitting up I could see the Castle and the Palace. One of those, wow, and I live here moments. If I’d stood up and turned left I could have made out the top of another castle, I didn’t, I stayed sitting marvelling at the views. The two observatories on Calton Hill and Blackford Hill, the three bridges spanning the Forth, well, just bits of them, Cramond Island with the causeway just visible. For all that humans can make things hard and drain the joy out of life, seeing my adopted town spread out before me always gives me a sense of wonder and hope. All the lives that have been lived here, are being lived here, weaving into the rich, colourful tapestry that is Edinburgh. I may feel on the fringe of it all at times, but there’s no place I’d rather live.

Aaand, back in the room. I eventually shifted my butt and toodled over the hill down to Dunsapie Loch, where much to my surprise, a heron was busy fishing on the road side of the loch (they usually stay on the far side, well away from people). I’ll leave you with the view over to Fife as I headed down and the heron doing his best to ignore me.

Toodle pip!

Ah, those fair meadows 💛

Last weekend would have been the Meadows Fair if not for the Lockdown. The Meadows Fair, as it says on the tin, is held in the Meadows a well-loved parkland area on the Southside of town, always on the first full weekend of June. I say always but in the last few years there has been some doubt as to it’s continuation as the council, well, behaves like it does!

See the Meadows Fair is just a lovely local event for local people, there’s no big sponsors or money in it, tourists don’t come for it – ah, of course, that’s why the council are so unhelpful, it’s just for locals! Not that you wouldn’t be very welcome should you be in Edinburgh, dear hearts, everyone’s very welcome but like I said, it’s not a big flashy event, it’s a free, volunteer-run grassroots affair; various stages with live music, kids’ activities, a dog show, performers, a beer tent, some of the best bric-a-brac stalls you will ever see along with plenty other stalls (and the usual overpriced food stalls) and a travelling fair always sets up beside it just off Melville Drive on the Marchmont side.

Apparently it was founded in 1974, and plenty of folk look like they dig out their old 70s gear to wear for it! Hippy Central it is. Many just chill out in front of the main stage, the odd few have a wee boogie-about, you can always stretch your legs by a wander round the stalls. At the other end of Middle Meadow Walk is a smaller but equally loud stage showcasing young upcoming local bands, worth checking out, the sets are quite short so if one band isn’t to your fancy, don’t worry, there’ll be another along shortly!

People come back year after year, the once young hedonists come back pushing buggies, trying to be hip-cool with their teenagers, sharing a beer with grown-up kids each reminiscing their times at Fairs gone-by. Of course, even though it wasn’t on this year I just had to take a trot up there and boy, the locals were out in numbers (all observing social distancing, I hasten to add). There were family groups, flatmates, couples, plenty sitting one chatting to another at the appropriate distance, it was really good to see. The whole area was dotted with folk enjoying a summer afternoon in the park.

One thing though, I’ll bet the folk on Saturday left all sorts of rubbish behind! I was always taught from very young to never litter, even if the bins are full, no excuse, take it home! At the end of both days of the Meadows Fair a small army of volunteers go round collecting up all the rubbish leaving the place spotless (frankly there shouldn’t be any on the ground as there are plenty of bins). There’s also donation buckets going around, I always give to help this marvellous institution survive another year.

Roll on the 5th of June 2021!

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On checking a few factoids I’ve noticed it’s officially called the Meadows Festival, well I’ve always known it as the Meadows Fair and thats what i intend to keep calling it!

 

How much fun is Joe Gilgun?

Blimey it’s a tad warm this evening, what happened to the thunderstorm I was promised?? One, it would have cleared the mugginess and two, I love a good bit of thunder and lightning. Even the forecast for tomorrow has now dumbed down to just rain in the afternoon. Rain was always on the cards for tomorrow, it being the Meadows Fair (it’s like a Glastonbury thing – rain and mud are inevitable).

This was to be a post about this year’s Film Festival but I’ve waylaid myself and watched the first three episodes of Preacher. How good is that??!!! I’m sooo tempted to put the next dvd on. Cooper, Gilgun and Negga, all just beyond brilliant! Joe Gilgun especially,  he’s so alive and exciting to watch. Tip, give the film Lockout a go, Gilgun is very entertaining as a psychotic Scottish criminal; it’s no masterpiece but it does also have a laconic Guy Pearce!

I’ve not read the comic books of Preacher, just perused the odd one in friends’ flats many years ago. I just stuck with Sandman at the time but I do remember liking the look of Preacher, hardly surprising as I’d been a big 2000AD fan from its beginning until I gave it up in the early 90s as it became too much into the artwork and not enough actual storylines. I do still have all my old 2000ADs back home, oo, what a fun distraction that would be. Then I could revisit Sandman! For lighter moments I could put Bloom County Babylon in the bathroom for my toilet-reading. No, no, no!! The Fringe programme is oot on Wednesday, that’ll be my reading for the next while.

Beware the Ides of May!

I say this because the weather this last week or so has been darn lovely which, in my experience means the sunshine ration for Edinburgh will have run out by August! Brollies and rain macs will be must-haves at this year’s Fringe, I predict.

This coming Monday is Victoria Day, a little known public holiday in parts of Scotland; it’s celebrated on the last Monday before or on 24th May, which was Queen Victoria’s birthday (I just looked that up, I’ve only known it as usually the third Monday in May). I used to get it as a public holiday from work and in the further past we had the previous Friday off too, before they cut down on our public holidays – yes, I am a working moose, the bills don’t pay themselves, unfortunately!

It was a weekend to be off as most people are working and the kiddies are in school; Bud and I had some great camping trips with glorious weather. The Lake District being just down the road was a favoured destination. Beautiful scenery, good campsites and plenty of great pubs! Oh to be waking up in Great Langdale with the sun already shining and lambs gambolling about the place (those same lambs you could have quite happily barbecued at 4 in the morning when they did their own version of the dawn chorus!); then, later rounding off another perfect day with a drink or three at the Old Dungeon Ghyll’s Hikers Bar, a no-frills pub with good grub and well-kept ales (I could be wrong but I think they have been in the Good Beer Guide nearly, if not every year). And only a drunken stagger away from the campsite!

Over in the east County Durham and North Yorkshire, another favourite area for Bud and I to visit or use as a good stopover when heading south. Let’s face it that whole swathe across the north of England is bloody marvellous, scenery, great pubs and grub and lovely locals. One particularly sunny May we went to Beamish, if you’ve never been, go!! I’d wanted to visit for years but just never got round to it, one day I’ll have to go back and see what I missed last time – it’s awfully big, a full day and you still won’t have seen it all!

Heading south there’s Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Richmond, Leyburn, to name a few old market towns worth a stop and wander around. Leyburn sits on the A684 which runs across to Kendal with plenty to enjoy in between. Leyburn is also a hop and a skip away from Middleham, which is very close to the Forbidden Corner, so good we went twice (a few years apart). The Forbidden Corner started out as a private folly, but then like Topsy, it growed and growed, now there’s grottos, towers, tunnels, chambers, a maze and beautiful gardens. But, and it’s a big butt, it will be full of children. If you have children this is the bestest place you could take them, but do microchip them first so they can be located when you lose sight of the little dears, and you will! This is why a May visit, on a weekday preferably, book for a visit straight after breakfast ahead of the coachloads of school trips, is great.

Ah, the sun is beckoning me to go oot and play. It teases Edinburgh with the prospect of a fine Meadows Fair in a couple of weeks but more on that little extravaganza later.

Toodle pip!