Travel Stories

Edinburgh: Haggis Bonbons & Creative Industries

2015 03 13 Laduree Macarons and Minor Goods Props 03

Yes, I just lured you in with a picture of macarons. That’s what bloggers eat, and avocados.

I’ve been busy, I’ve been away, I been chasing Baby chick Ruth Sultana round the garden and eating snowballs.

Last week I was up in Edinburgh to speak at the Festival of Creative Industries. Edinburgh Napier University welcomed me with open arms and I had a fabulous time, not only giving a talk, but running portfolio review sessions with their graduating photographers.

It was the first time I’d flown alone, except I wasn’t alone, I was middle-seat-sandwiched between my new row buddies.

As the plane took off, the man on my left leant forward, patted himself on the back and then instantly fell asleep. The woman on my right cracked out a massive oniony baguette. Good job she had an aisle seat. I bet she booked that specifically. I sat very still, reading my book and eating a murray mint.

I messaged my co-worker to say I’d arrived and no one was hurt. I messaged my mum to say ‘I’m in Edinburgh. I flew here on my own! In a plane, with other people, and a pilot. I was just a passenger.’ I felt I needed to make that clear, my mum believes I can do anything! I found tea and cake and got on a tram.

Seven hours continuous travel, from blue skies and sunshine, to grey skies and rain. As I shivered and piled on all of my clothes in the back of the taxi, the driver told me about his holiday to Crete.

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I arrived at the University, met up with Sophie, and was shown to the lecture theatre. I prepared myself. People began to arrive. The first person to enter the room was an ex-student. Sophie asked him, ‘Did you study photography here?’ ‘No, psychology,’ he said, all beardy and blasé. My first thought was, ‘Oh no! He’s here to analyse me!’ but it turned out he was just there to try and get access to the fake nurses room so he could make a personal film.

The talk was good – I’m not just saying that, Sophie recorded it, so there’s evidence. I was fairly well behaved but I do seem to recall saying that I was going to change my name to Conchita Hotdog. Catchy. Then during the Q&A I learnt that it had recently been International Respect for Chickens Day, and someone said that I reminded them of a homeless person, or something. It was all very exciting.

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I walked to the hotel, down the street of lovely antique shops, artisan cheesecake makers and chocolatiers.

I checked in to the Bruntsfield Hotel, went to my room, dumped my bags and checked out the biscuit situation. Reception called up to check that everything was okay with the room. I was halfway out the window at the time, so I wondered if they’d seen me.

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In the hotel restaurant, the Bisque Bar and Brasserie, the waitress found me a nice corner to sit in and offered me haggis bonbons. I accepted. They were larger than I’d expected, like a trio of scotch eggs, but without the egg, and made of organs.

I retired to my room and made myself at home.

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The bed was huge and comfy but I didn’t sleep well due to the noisy fire door bang-bang-banging away in the corridor outside my room. If you ever stay at the Bruntsfield, unless you sleep like the dead, I strongly advise you to avoid room 141. Ever helpful, and opinionated, I did let the lady on reception know, and she advised me its because the door swings both ways. I explained how the issue could be resolved with a special hinge and some push/pull signs, and went on my merry way.

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2015 05 28 edinburgh napier university 02

2015 05 28 edinburgh napier university 03

2015 05 28 edinburgh napier university 01

2015 05 28 edinburgh airport

A day of sunshine and portfolio reviews was just what I needed to keep me awake and alert, but by the time I got back to the airport all I could do was slump over my bag and look sorry for myself. I thought about getting a sandwich, but my brain couldn’t convince my legs to move.

A woman and her son stood near me, looking out of the window. ’Mummy. There is something very, very wrong’ said the little boy in a calm and knowing voice. I listened, wondering what ‘Final Destination’ premonition he was about to announce. ’There is only one yellow car in the carpark,’ he said.

On the plane I was distracted by another small boy who was kicking the back of my Recaro seat (nice, Titan Airways!) I was going to ask him to stop, but then I tuned in on his conversation, he was telling his dad that a good way to get the ball in football was to head-butt his opponent. His mum said, ‘How would you like to be head-butted? You can’t do that!’ His dad agreed, ‘You’ll get sent off!’ The boy carried on to say that if you wanted to distract someone who was taking a penalty you could do so by biting their hand.

I figured a gentle kicking through a soft seat was acceptable.

The next few days involved sleeping, catching up on emails, and being driven into a field by Adam!

This week has been equally as eventful.

It’s been over four months since my disco injury and this week I was finally discharged from physio. I’ve been told I can walk as far as I like, and wear whatever shoes I choose, but I’ve been advised never to attempt the ‘running man’ again. I shall now move on to the worm.

In other news, I’ve been asked to be a judge at the UK’s largest Italian food expo, invited to the House of Commons, and, drum roll, I’ve been asked to go to the next village and help judge a primary school poster competition. I think they said it was something to do with peace, or peas? Who knows. My computer got overexcited and stopped working then.