Playing tour guide Pt. 2 (bridges and boats)


One evening when my parents were here, we returned to South Queensferry so that they could see the rail bridge with the lights on. It’s pretty.

Unfortunately, in summer, the sun goes down in the middle of the night (close to 11pm), and so we waited and waited and waited and it just didn’t happen. Ah well, next time! The photos are pretty though.



I also took them on a drive to Anstruther for their famous fish and chips. It was a lot further than I remembered. On the way we stopped in Culross (the palace was closed but it’s still nice to photograph from the outside):



And then after dinner at Anstruther, we had a wander around by the boats after dinner.



Other events included a lovely dinner at The Witchery, a fancy restaurant up by the castle…



And Falkirk Wheel, of course. It’s become a staple visit.



It always impresses!






Hot stuff



Yes, I am shamelessly titling this post after the Donna Summer song, because it’s literally the first thing I thought of when going to title this post.



The first genuinely warm days came this year in May, after a freezing two months.  Despite a few days in April, spring did not arrive until well into June, with March being Scotland’s coldest in 50 years.  May surprised us with some seriously beautiful days and the first I can remember is the Friday I began recording the album (post up next!) and then late May brought a few days at 20ish degrees before it call came crashing down again in June.

June brought us a few weeks of sunshine, and I was super excited that Mum and Dad might get to see it. (Aren’t you so excited so far by this weather post?!)



France was… pretty great, weather wise! (another post coming on that! More than the weather, I promise).

And we came back to Edinburgh to cloudy skies and mixed weather… until they left. Of course. Then the temperatures started to creep up again.



Now let me just explain – late teens/early twenties temperatures are a rarity here and to be celebrated.  I remember laughing at the Edinburgh marathon 3 or 4 years ago when it was 24C and people were collapsing.  Now I understand truly, why they were collapsing.

After 4 years I am well and truly acclimated. 24C feels like a dream, like a hazy, hazy dream.  You wouldn’t get me running a marathon in 14C, let alone 24!



It can be 15C in my garden, still and sunny (quite sheltered back there), and you can sit outside feeling gloriously warm.



So then July came, and suddenly – scorching hot! Like, what is going on? hot.

Late teens/early twenties came. Early twenties stayed. Mid twenties came.  And then late twenties came.

Scotland went mad. 27C just does not happen here.  The beaches, pools and parks are mobbed when 21C hits, so 27C probably pushed families to desperation.  My car was suddenly the worst place ever to be – no air-conditioning.  I have air but it only brings in what’s outside at whatever intensity you set it on.  So it’s hot and you’re driving at 70mph?  Open the damn windows if you don’t want to die.



Another point to note – because of our weird latitude, and the fact that in summer the sun doesn’t set until after 10pm, the “heat of the day” is from 3pm-7pm.  Growing up it was always 12pm-4pm, or 10am-2pm, but here it’s leave work at 4:30pm and oh my stars, is it getting hotter? OH YES IT IS.

Today is forecasted to reach 26C.  This was supposed to be our “amazing week of sun”/the “Scottish heatwave”, and while the weekend is only going to be 20/21, the longer forecast now says it’s going to stay hot until at least the 21st.   Next Wednesday-Sunday reads as 23C, 23C, 26C, 27C, 25C. It’s like Scotland has been transported entirely – just lifted up – and dumped in the south pacific.



And stop laughing, Americans, Europeans et al.  This is worth shouting about.  It’s worth blogging about to remember it.  It’s my 5th summer in Scotland and by far the best/most exciting/most happiness-inducing weather yet.

I love winter. Sure, I get cold and moan, but I love the layers and the snow and the mulled wine.  But it’s so nice to get some actual sun and some colour to my cheeks.



Leeeeeet the sunshine in…!



Coming up next:  Recording like a pro, French wanderings, the internetz…





20 Things I Love About Scotland



1. The national flower is a thistle. It’s a weed, people. But like the Scots, it’s pretty and soft yet prickly and unique all at once.

2. The slang. “No danger” is a perfectly acceptable replacement for “no way”. Babies are bairns and weans, everything has “proper” or “pure” before it, and I am a lass, a hen, a quine (my current favourite).

3. Daffodils grow wild in spring, snow drops appear before the frost is gone, the blossoms are bright pink and fluffy.

4. Edinburgh is full of little nooks and crannies and side-streets of wonders, and I haven’t really discovered so much of it yet.

5. Every man over 60 with a cheeky smile and crinkly eyes reminds me of my grandfather.

6. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear a kilt to any special (or not so special, there are “casual kilts”) occasion.

7. When you’re sick you drink whisky with green ginger wine and float around on the fumes.

8. The acoustic music scene is supportive and active and somewhat glorious, and I have played many a venue, with more to come.

9. No one misunderstands or asks me to repeat my surname.

10. Any day over 20 degrees is celebrated and lauded as a “heatwave”, and we all eat icecream and throw our summer shorts on.

11. Because of the massive amount of importing, avocados are available and ripe all year around.

12. Primark, H&M, ASOS and Amazon UK.

13. Edinburgh’s Liberal Jewish Community has a lovely mix of personalities and nationalities and have welcomed me with an amazing warmth of spirit.

14. We love our Unlimited movie cards, which we abuse to the highest degree, and see a bunch of films that aren’t really worthy of our attendance. And Cineworld has Ben & Jerry’s.

15. I finally understand 99% of accents (they vary!) so am much happier answering the phone.

16. It looks a lot like home. Scotland is incredibly green, with beautiful mountain ranges, rivers and has large variety in its weather. Edinburgh being hilly is also somewhat comforting, coming from a hilly part of the world!

17. And yes that weather. I do kinda love it when the haar settles in and you can barely see the end of the street, or the canal freezes over, or the wind stops just for one sunny day, and you think “Gosh, this is alright.”

18. Despite not knowing anyone who actually speaks it (apart from primary teacher friends who know colours and songs), I think Gaelic is a fascinating language that sounds like you have the video on backwards. I imagine I’ll learn a few bits here and there. There is also a channel of all-Gaelic programming, BBC Alba, which occasionally plays SPL football games, so we watch it and I get confused thinking “I should be understanding this, because the video makes sense, but..”

19. It used to bother me that no one had a house here (well apart from D’s mother) and all lived in tenement buildings with rowdy neighbours, but now we’re on the ground floor with our own outdoor space in a quiet building, it’s kinda nice. I still call it “the house” (or “Featherhall”!) but that’s because I’ve never been fond of the term “flat”, and it really is a nice space. Just big enough for us to try and keep clean 80% of the time.

20. My Scotsman. He is surely the best thing to come out of Edinburgh since 1983.


PS. Weekly photo post to come when I can edit it. Photo placements are tricky from a phone app!