Friday, January 01, 2016

23.9.69 - first day in Edinburgh

23.9.69 [handwritten]
37 Great King St (around the corner from Dundas and Hanover Sts ˗ near Heriot Row, by George St (and Princes St), down from Canongate ˗ and so on! Obviously from the above you can see that I’m either today (23.9.69) in Dunedin or Edinburgh!! [Many of the street names are identical in the two cities.]
Today’s your big operation day too, isn’t it?? I’m praying for you, and have no doubts that you’ll get over this lot as quickly as the previous one. Look after yourself please and don’t be in too much of a hurry to get back to work.
Edinburgh is a very imposing place , it seems ˗ nearly every building in my part of the city (and also in the really old part ˗ this are is the new old part, (or the old new part, I’m not quite sure)) is made of heavy stone, and consequently several of the streets look much the same because they’re all of this grey granite ˗ (is it?) In fact to live in the old part for long could be a bit boring.
I walked up to the Castle yesterday ˗ that is a sight. And what a site too ˗ as we came into the city by bus yesterday we came along Princes St and on your right is this huge rock mound with a castle on top, and surrounded on all but one side by sheer cliff. Very impressive. The Castle was closing up when I got there unfortunately, but I may get back to it on Wednesday afternoon. I walked round quite a bit of the old old town ˗ and peered in at Greyfriars (Bobby) churchyard, though I couldn’t see much. It’s rather strange to find yourself back in a city where everything closes down about 5.30, and the place takes on a thoroughly deserted air. (London never looks deserted ˗ except about 2.00 am, or on Sunday morning.)
The Howard
I’m in quite a pleasant hotel ˗ fairly well-furnished but with singularly bare walls ˗ it’s the Howard, and is, I think, merely two old houses in a set of terraced ones that have been opened up to form one. [Three Georgian houses these days; possibly in 1969 as well, and probably more upmarket than at that time.]

The view from the Castle is fabulous ˗ Edinburgh is practically on the coast ˗ did you realise that? ˗ and you can see the sea! I found at breakfast this morning that I’m not alone in the Hotel ˗ Sara, the stage manager on the TV thing is also here, and Donna the soprano will be also staying when she arrives. I was sitting with a Yorkshire Forensic Science lecturer at breakfast ˗ he’s here for six months (had to leave his wife and three sons) to do a post-graduate course in teaching (as opposed to lecturing), and had my back to Sara for ages before I noticed her. We’re going to walk round to the Studios ˗ it isn’t far ˗ nothing seems to be in Edinburgh. It’s amazing just how small the city is! Love, Mike.

The letter that follows this one is here.