It seems that every post I've written since I moved to Edinburgh has been of the fish-out-of-water variety. If we're not careful, it'll turn into the worst kind of formulaic sitcom where, each week, your hero will get into a series of scrapes due to his accent/condiment choice/hygiene standards, only to be redeemed by him realising that everyone can just get along if we embrace our differences. If we're lucky, it'll turn into Joey.
So, let's take a break from half-arsed attempts at wry observational comedy, and enjoy a few photographs from the last three months:
Fulfilling the role of "park next to the university that you probably shouldn't cross on your own at night" is The Meadows. Nevertheless, if you happen to be there as the sun comes up, the mist upon the grass makes for quite the dramatic picture. And, if you're down there, what better place to avail yourself of Edinburgh's liberal stance on the public consumption of alcohol. (Okay, permit me one observation. Glass of wine with your picnic in the park, good; sozzled tramp on a street corner drinking from a can of special, not so much. The absence of the latter is why I think a ban has been a good thing for Glasgow, and why I find it jarring every time I see even a student walk up Nicolson Street with a bottle. That said, it also explains the frisson of excitement I felt when I cracked open a can in the street, unmatched since I was a thirteen year-old, buying a copy of—ahem—FHM from the local newsagent.)
Perhaps you're feeling more adventurous, more energetic. Then perhaps a climb up Arthur's Seat is in order. The views of the surrounding area are unparalleled, and the mobile phone reception is outstanding. The best time to visit, however, is practically unphotographable. As you walk into Holyrood Park on the fifth of November, there is a moment when the streetlights end and the hills are pitch black in front of you. As your eyes adjust, you start to see the light of a hundred sparklers and a thousand stars. Then, as you sit with your back to the rocks, you look out over the whole city, and enjoy the fireworks.
But maybe you're not so keen on hillwalking. A lifetime of holidays in the Mediterranean has left you dependent on a regular diet of sun, sea and sand. (If you thought I was going for a different triplet, you might be better off in Tollcross.) A short walk out of town to Portobello will guarantee you at least one and a half of these on any given day. You'd be well advised to stop in at The Prince Balti House for lunch, before heading down to the beach to walk off your excess. Here you will find everything from cryptic messages in the sand, to, um, cryptic messages on walls.
If that doesn't whet your appetite for a trip to Edinburgh, I don't know what will. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a train to catch.