This gentleman was playing his bagpipe on the corner as I hopped off the bus downtown Edinburgh for the very first time – what a wonderful welcome!
I had been booked for a 2 1/2 week housesit in a beautiful home in the area of Morningside, a short bus ride to the center of this ancient city. With the mighty castle dominating the city center, overlooking both the Old and New towns, it is always in photos – no matter which direction you are pointing your camera.
A wee bit about my housesit – interesting. It began with my being asked to sit for 2 Jack Russells and 1 miniature chihuahua. Things changed when I received an email saying that I would be sharing the house and the sit with a woman from New Zealand as the homeowner did not want the tiny little dog ever left alone – day or night. Elizabeth and I exchanged emails – she is a retired teacher, in Edinburgh to visit her son and new granddaughter and we agreed we could easily handle the house care, 2 terriers, and one tiny chihuahua.
But about 2 weeks before the sit was to begin, Elizabeth and I each received another email from the homeowner stating that she had decided to put the terriers into the kennel and had asked a mother and daughter to also stay at the house (thank goodness, it was a big house!) with the 18-year old daughter’s only job being to stay with the chihuahua full-time. The mother would go to work during the day and Elizabeth and I could then take full advantage of literally over a 1000 events that the 3 big festivals were offering daily throughout the city – The International Classical Music & Theater Festival, the International Book Festival, and The Fringe Festival. OK!
Just so you have the picture, there are now 4 women (complete strangers except for the mother/daughter) in a huge house to oversee the care of one tiny dog that weighs less than 2 lbs, yips and barks at any and everything that moves and has been trained to pee and poop in any of the houses 4 showers (including those in the guest rooms) instead of using the lovely garden out the back door. As I said, interesting. The daughter was quite lovely, and the mother was a well, but she had such a heavy Scottish accent we could barely understand her when she would actually talk to Elizabeth and me, which was rarely There is one TV in the house which the 18-year old commandeered immediately.
Elizabeth and I decided the best way to handle this very interesting situation was to go out the door the first thing every morning and cram as many of events and performances we could into each and every day – from musicals (I saw the Cambridge University Players production of Pippin), comedy shows, Breakfast with Shakespeare (Hamlet 3-D), book readings, discussions by famous authors on numerous topics, street performers, walking tour of the city, etc., etc.
|Fringe street performers on the Royal Mile drumming up business for their daily theater production|
|Rubbing Bobby the dog’s nose brings good luck!|
We did try and made up an evening cooking schedule – I think I cooked 3 meals during the 2 weeks. The homeowners were quite good about having the fridge totally stocked before they left and had a 2nd delivery arranged for the 2nd week, so we had everything we needed to cook and eat 3 meals a day. The mother and daughter were good cooks and they did several evening meals, as well, but as you might imagine, time around the dinner table conversation was rather difficult.
The highlight of my first week in Edinburgh was attending the Royal Military Tattoo held on the Castle grounds. Over 1400 cast members from countries as far away as China, Australia and U.S. (the Citadel’s Bagpipper’s Band and the US Air Force precision rifle corps) played, danced and performed to sell-out crowds of thousands twice a night, every night for 2 weeks. I had gotten my tickets before I left the States and had excellent seats as well as attending a fabulous Whiskey Dinner before the show at a lovely restaurant – while sitting next to a family from Kansas! The photos don’t begin to do justice to the evening – but here are just a few! I’ve made them as small size but if you click on them individually, you can see the full-sized photo. I even managed to upload the video I took during the finale – hope it works!
|Our beautiful table w/view|
|Handsome Scottish Men!|
The men decided the ladies would look brilliant in flashing Minnie Mouse ears that were being sold down on the street!