Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week Thirty-Six: Crossing the Border

Walks in the Yorkshire Dales involve tramping across green fields past fat sheep and flourishing oak trees, alongside dry stone walls (more of which on Kate's blog). And who says stone terraces can't be beautiful?

Breakfast in a cafe in Otley - it was a little too early for the pubs to open so we made do with a full English and mugs of tea.

I love how these villages still have individual specialty shops: grocers; butchers (with award-winning pork pies); stationers (with an amazing array of magazines to suit every conceivable hobby); ironmongers; sports apparel; and a tobacconist - you may not even like smoking but the products have such seductive names - James's Blend; Black Cordial; Old Judge; American Black Cherry; Light Toffee; Curly Cut; Blueberry; Wharfdale Mixture; Broken Scotch Cake; and of course (my favourite) Best Shag.

The maze of cobbled streets and clutter of tiled roofs is as picturesque as anything in Europe.

And so to Scotland, where a boulder marks the wind-swept border, just so you know where you are.

And where we are, is Edinburgh - monuments, castles, cobbles and pubs galore!

Remember that nursery rhyme, The Lion and the Unicorn? Well, it was about the unification of Britian, with the lion representing England and the unicorn standing in for Scotland. The fact that the unicorn is not actually real and that the poem goes - 'The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown / The lion beat the unicorn all around the town' seems to be best forgotten.

At Grassmarket we join the general frivolity - honestly, Him Outdoors was in training - that's my pint he's gurning over. A bloke played classical guitar picking out all the old tunes that I learned in my youth and playing them a whole lot better than I ever did. It seems people arrive here in all sorts of ways - from tinted-window coaches to Dr Who police boxes.

It's encouraging to see the Union Jack and the Saltire fluttering proudly side-by-side in the stiff Edinburgh breeze. Princes Gardens are full of visitors and locals - the monuments to writers, thinkers and members of the Scottish Enlightenment. Him Outdoors poses beautifully with the Family Blackhurst on a park bench.

There are heaps more pictures of Edinburgh, but they'll be incorporated into Kate's Blog, with words. You have been warned!

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