Last Wednesday in Edinburgh

Graffiti on Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Graffiti on Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Thursday. Full-on tears, sobbing, from the kids — our night-time ritual protracted to around 11. The onset of hormones with Lily, Charlotte tags along for good measure. I build our first fire of autumn, the top floor of our Edinburgh flat, even write a poem about it it’s so good, use up all the wood, burns down unnoticed.

We take the free walking tour to see the sites where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter, where she wrote graffiti on a marble bust of Hermes in an expensive hotel, announces she’s just finished the book with a Sharpie, now cordoned off by the hotel as a special suite, £900/night.

Our guide is wearing a cape, hands out wands and a spell to change the traffic lights from red to green, but the magic takes a while to work, he says. Looks like his hair was purple at one time, just now starting to fade.

We start in the graveyard behind the tavern, Greyfriar’s Bobby, a muddy walk to the far corner — all of it, the old stone buildings, the grave markers, that same bleak look they captured in the films, as if rubbed in soot. And that’s what they used to do when they went out guising for Halloween: just rub ashes on their face, no costumes.

I wash my socks, the jacket Charlotte got car sick on, find a kiosk on a side street to get some help with our SIM card — give the guy a bro handshake when we’re done, hook my thumb around his and squeeze.

And then I call back home to our friends who are renting our house out, Chris got laid off but starts a new job in January, his first Monday not working but still felt like a normal Monday he says, getting up early, getting the kids off to school, going to the store.

And today, the sun rise around 7 from our bay windows, the top floor of this flat, the colours remind me of the view from my office this time last year, that intimacy shared with co-workers when the sun rise surrounds you, sometimes remarking come look for a moment — and it would set the time I’d log off, half-past four, and they’d stay on another hour or so, and leave in the dark.

JK Rowling gave herself a year deadline to write the book and hit it, as a single mom, had just gotten married and moved away to teach English as a second language, came back to her sister in Scotland when the marriage fell apart, got the idea for the series on a train from Manchester to London when there was a delay, looking out the window at some cows.

The morning gulls are flying toward a large cloud that’s advancing in the east, swallowing what might be a star or a planet, and the sky is going from pale yellow to blue, the reverse of last night, and the calendar opens to a new pane, a fresh chapter to save, rewrite, or forget — all those functions necessary to survive.

Upturned Ace of Spades left outside our loft in AmsterdamUsed "It" DVD, AmsterdamIberian leg of ham, on sale at Lidl, Arbroath ScotlandWoodstove in cafe at Glamis castle, setting for Macbeth




Categories: travel, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Ah, the glories of Edinburgh. Love that graveyard – great isn’t it. Hope the tears are finally over and all are happier now, bless them.
    Probably a planet. Easy way to tell if its a star or a planet – planets don’t twinkle, if it twinkles it’s a star. Picked that up from my other half who’s keen on astronomy. Hope today is calmer 🙂


    • The graveyard is wonderful — looking forward to spending more time there when we’re not on a tour and I can really sulk. Yes, I learned that trick on planets vs. stars, if they ‘scintillate.’ For some reason I can’t see too well in the mornings, so it’s hard to tell either way y’know? One more week or thereabouts and we’re off to Belfast!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Belfast – grand! Never been to Ireland, though husband went over to Dublin for a film festival which just turned into drinking Guiness for three days and enjoying the craic!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for teaching me a new word (craic) Lynn – keep it coming, please! I might share some American with you at some point too. – Bill

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! That’d be great. Love a regional word, whatever the nationality. I asked a girl at work the other day if she ‘wanted owt’ and she looked at me as if I was speaking Klingon. ‘Owt’ means anything, ‘Nowt’ nothing in parts of Northern England, you see. ‘Owt or nowt’ :). I love these little linguistic ticks that mark us.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So what I hear you saying is that I need to look at more cows.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rowling deserves a £900/night room. She single-handedly got kids to read who otherwise never would’ve picked up a book. Sorry to hear about the full-on tears.

    Interesting that you’re a Yank but use UK spellings, i.e., “colour” for color. I’ve seen you do this before. When in Rome…


    • She is a saint, through and through. I took to the English spelling, it’s silly, as a kind of exercise to see what it would be like, and since my settings changed somehow and insist on it here. It’s stupid, suits me. I remember your story about To Kill A Mockingbird, how it turned you on to reading — that’s cool. I like her kind of punk attitude, to deface a marble bust of Hermes in an expensive hotel. I would do that, and might, some day.


  4. I miss my daily dose of pinklightsabre writing. I hope it’s because you’re out having fun!


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