Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Monday, October 08, 2012

We go to Edinburgh

It was a bit of a bus man's holiday for J but for his birthday we spent a few days in Edinburgh.

We were blessed with mostly sunshine, although it was a few degrees colder.

From our hotel roof garden we could see some interesting buildings - I thought they were follies - not too far away, so we scrambled up to Calton Hill and took some pictures.

Next we ventured across the Forth Bridge  (no painters in evidence) and across beautiful countryside to go to Crieff, and the Caithness paperweight centre attraction.

I have been collecting paperweights for quite a few years so this was a Big Occasion for me.

Sadly it was a little disappointing. I watched two glass blowers but it felt a bit embarrassing  (I was the only one) and I'd been hoping for a tour.

On the way back to Edinburgh, we stopped at Drummond Castle to look at the gardens. This was an unexpected highlight. We were practically the only ones there, and the formal gardens were stunning! Peacocks wandered, including into the vegetable patch where I think they were not allowed.

Drummond Castle gardens

For dinner J took us to a place he's been to before, a former banking hall called The Dome. I chose haggis, wrapped in filo pastry. I have never had it before but it was absolutely delicious.
The Dome's ceiling

Haggis - yum!
Rather too much wine was consumed (we peaked too soon) and so the next day we were a little bleary eyed for our 10am appointment with The Pandas.

Yes, another highlight: the two pandas on loan to Edinburgh Zoo, Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunlight).

The panda viewings are executed with military precision by the cheerful helpers.

Sweetie was fast asleep.

Sunlight gave us quite a performance, first chewing on the old bamboo and then, when we moved to look at his outside enclosure, coming out to pace around for us.  The helper was quite surprised at his activity saying he normally goes to sleep after eating.

The rest of the zoo was a little sad. Clearly the pandas are the big draw. We didn't see the lion or tiger and the penguins have been temporarily rehoused.

We spent the afternoon climbing what Foursquare described as "my first mountain," the group of hills in Holyrood Park. We didn't get as high as Arthur's Seat because, true to form, I only had impractical shoes. But it was high enough for me.

Another big highlight that evening, a visit to The Kitchin. I've always been impressed by Tom Kitchin when I've seen him on cookery programmes. He's the kind, curly haired one on the Masterchef chef's table. They had remembered it was J's birthday  (I mentioned it when booking, months ago) and there was a signed card on the table.
The amazing pork and langoustine

We went for the surprise tasting menu (as opposed to the game tasting menu) which included lobster and partridge. The stand-out dish was the boned and rolled pig’s head, served with roasted tail of langoustine from Tobermory and a crispy ear salad. Historic, as Michael Winner would say. A fabulous experience.

I left with a copy of Tom's new book, specially signed for me. He was there and we saw him a couple of times briefly, but sadly didn't get an introduction.

So that was it, a very memorable couple of days in Scotland's capital. A very handsome city.



Maddie Grigg said...

What a great trip, Gail. I also loved The Dome when we went earlier in the year for afternoon tea. You need to go back, though, to go up Arthur's Seat, girl! x

Trevor said...

Sounds like you had a really great couple of days...glad you enjoyed it.
I like Edinburgh...I was last there at the end of May before setting off on a cycle ride back to the Southcoast (Portsmouth)


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