Category Archives: Edinburgh, a love letter

Bench in the Botanics

Written today, for a picture taken yesterday.


Taken 9 January 2007

Beyond the hut, the gravel path turns right
To meet a branch that leads across the bridge.
And, nestled in its curve, a pleasant sight:
The wooden bench sits sheltered by its ridge.
Like half a hundred others in this place,
The seat’s a gift, and labeled with a name:
Our hostess here, whose memories still grace
This place she loved, and hoped we’d do the same.
Her unobtrusive presence here receives
Me with no ceremony, and we share
The silence as I sit and watch the leaves
Drop in the pond, and brush and braid my hair.
She is a gracious hostess, and her guest
Appreciates her gifts of peace and rest.

The only technical point I would make is that the transition between the octave and the sestet is, in this case, the transition from setting the scene to my entry onto the scene.

Recent Photos

In case you’re wondering, dear reader, Edinburgh continues to be lovely. It isn’t always sunny, or warm, but it is still magical to me.

Leaves, a pattern shot
Taken 10 July 2006

Tree bark in the botanics
Taken 18 July 2006

Rose in Gorgie Farm
Taken 14 August 2006

Monocot lying in the arms of a dicot
Taken 22 August 2006

Scarlet poppies, glowing in the rain
Taken 23 August 2006

Poppy seed head. (This photo has been cropped)
Taken 23 August 2006

Thistle buds, insanely purple. (This photo has been cropped)
Taken 23 August 2006

These photos, like all of mine these days, are hosted on Flickr, and can be viewed in different sizes by clicking on them.

Recent Edinburgh Shots

In between trips to London, I’ve been so busy studying that I’ve taken very few shots around Edinburgh. Of those, only a few are really worth your consideration, gentle reader.

The roses are past their best in George V Park, but I still love them.


Taken 15 June 2006


Taken 15 June 2006

Splendidly bizzare monkey puzzle in the Botanics.


Taken 1 June 2006

Tender shoots of holly, Arboretum Avenue


Taken 1 June 2006

Biking on the Beach

Friday, though cold, was a bright and sunny day – perfect for a family expedition. We took Alex’s bike to the John Muir pathway along the Firth of Forth, just outside of Musselburgh. It’s time for Alex to get more confidence in his bike and himself on it. He needs to ride faster if we’re going to take his stabilisers off.

It was a good ride – he started slow and hesitant, but I started challenging him to races. As the trip went on, I found myself striding less and running more to keep up with him. He was thrilled to be pushing me, but insisted after a time that we were “a team” and should cross every minor finishing line at the same time.

At the midpoint of the ride, we all stopped on the beach. The kids threw rocks into the water. I found a couple of old bikes on the stony shore, slowly rusting in the salt and being buried by the tides.

The first bike, frame and cables


Taken 14 April 2006

Cables round the stem of the bike


Taken 14 April 2006

Pedal mount on the second bike


Taken 14 April 2006

Rust replaces chrome on the second bike


Taken 14 April 2006

Handlebar mount on the second bike


Taken 14 April 2006

Sprockets in stone, bike 1


Taken 14 April 2006

Stone in sprockets, bike 2


Taken 14 April 2006

Wheel mount, bike 2


Taken 14 April 2006

Not just a bike, but the headphones for a walkman too!


Taken 14 April 2006

Handrail hardware by the firth


Taken 14 April 2006

The Camera is Back

My phonecam developed a spot about a week ago. Ugly, in the way, and depressing. It ruined a number of photos that I really wanted to take.


Taken 1 April 2006

Occasionally, I could get a shot in that it didn’t ruin, but that was rare.


Taken 29 March 2006

Fortunately, my phone insurance covers the functionality of the whole instrument, including the camera. I called Vodafone, and they sent a new phone to replace the old one. So now I have my camera back!

I tried it out on Fiona this morning.


Taken 4 April 2006

Then I was back to taking the pictures I’ve been missing.

Leaf growing through a fence, Newington


Taken 4 April 2006

Shadow of a doorknob, looking like a warmer day


Taken 4 April 2006

Cut-off fence post.


Taken 4 April 2006

Framing the world, one tree at a time (this photo has been cropped)


Taken 4 April 2006

Yay new phone!

I Love My Coffee

…and it loves me back.


Taken 6 March 2006

I love this city, too, though it doesn’t show its affection in the same way.

I love the Botanics, and they show me the delicate drops of rain on a branch.


Taken 7 March 2006

The first yellow flowers come out for me, even on a cold day.


Taken 9 March 2006

The side doors of St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile stand solemn and graceful.


Taken 9 March 2006

And the door handles from the back of the cathedral have their own rhythm. (Yes, this has been cropped.)


Taken 9 March 2006

Hail, Hail!

Yesterday, while I was walking in the Botanics, I came under a sudden assault of hail. I had to shelter under an umbrella under a tree – one layer of protection was not enough.

After the white stuff stopped falling, it seemed to vanish. Only a few balls were left to convince me that it wasn’t a dream.


Taken 21 February 2006

The hailstones didn’t last, but the raindrops were beautiful as well.


Taken 21 February 2006

This shot reminds me of one of my favourite poems, No Road by Philip Larkin


Taken 21 February 2006

I’ve had a few other photos building up that didn’t really deserve their own entries. Of possible interest:

The sacred cow is coming home to roost.


Taken 20 February 2006

Plant in the car park at the Cuddy Brae. Very red!


Taken 19 February 2006

Bus stop hardware…one of those tiny details of life that looks so good up close.


Taken 19 February 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Today was my birthday, and a very good one it was, too. From the flowers the kids gave me first thing, to the cards and the presents that started my day so well, to the very good day with my colleagues at work, it was both ordinary and magical. Even got my usual walk through the Botanics, taking the odd picture along the way, seemed a little special, though I don’t know if that shows in these phiotos.

Something sprouting through the rocks


Taken 15 February 2006

Something about this drystane wall spoke to me too.


Taken 15 February 2006

Then, on the walk home, I was struck by the beauty of these balustrades in the raking sunlight.


Taken 15 February 2006

But that was nothing to the sky over Calton Hill! (Photo cropped to remove a crane)


Taken 15 February 2006

The best moments came at the end of the day – playing tag with the kids on the walk home in the last of the sunlight. Noticing that Alex has finally figured out how to moderate his pace so Fiona can catch him. Chocolate cake. Silly kids in their bubble bath. A chance to talk to Martiin in the evening (and to thank him – I am aware that the flowers, the presents, and the cake only seemed to appear magically at the right moments!)

In some ways, having such an ordinary working-day birthday was better than having an all special day, because it made me look at my everyday life afresh and see it sparkle. I hope I can hold onto that for a while yet!