A Place I Know

We have extended our time in Edinburgh and filling the time nicely, unhurried but full of interest, even if I am not travelling to a new place every day. Shane keeps an eye on the boat but both here and down in Barby, the temperature reached freezing. Yesterday I had a walk along the frozen canal. 

 

Mostly frozen canal in Edinburgh

Spray from the aqueduct overflow had frozen on the nearby trees, making a singular icicle display. The sunshine and lack of wind made the walking still fun, as well as the lovely berries, and making a pinkish backdrop to the crouching elephant.

On an earlier and less cold day Shane and I approached the canal by a familiar route and met some unfamiliar murals with some of my favourite familiar canal sights depicted on an otherwise very dull wall. There were also some sights I have not spotted in the canal like frogspawn andpike, though they may well be there.

I got kingfisher socks for Christmas from my friend Margaret. She was very unlucky to see no kingfishers on her canal boat visit. This year she is hoping to visit again and have more luck in that direction. I have seen one in Edinburgh too, but it is a rare event. While Margaret was visiting after Christmas we went for a walk round the pond and saw swans at least. Golden eyes were at another partially frozen pond this week and it made me shiver to watch them dive.

Swans on a milder visit to an unfrozen Blackford pond

A Christmas present I had chosen for all the family was a booking on an alpaca walk. Bryn and Nye have been before but a new alpaca farm much closer to home is offering walks accessible by the local Edinburgh buses. We had booked in the first half of January thinking we might be away before mid January. We were lucky with our weather. The sun shone for us and the next day it snowed. The alpaca are used to the cold so don’t hurry so you can’t up your pace to stay warm. I hotly recommend Bobcat Alpacas. All the potential walking companions were introduced so we knew their characters and then you chose which one you fancied. Others in the group had chosen their alpacas before I got my turn so some I had thought to choose were taken (they are all adorable though) and I couldn’t remember the name of the ones that were fearful of dogs and liked a comforting cuddle so I just named the name I could remember, Marco Polo. As soon as I had his lead I recalled why he was named after a famous adventurer; all the othe alpacas selected were quietly grazing and mine was walking swiftly around exploring. As I worried I had meant to choose a quiet beast, Nye reassured me that he thought I was quite adventurous myself and would be fine with the great explorer. He had chosen Ra the sun god. Bryn had one described as a quieter older brother (which turned out to have a penchant for walking through holly bushes). Shane had Praline, not a chocolate he prefers at all, but the kind I had planned to get that likes to be petted to calm him when a dog is around. (I like pralines too so why had I not remembered that name?) Shane was very happy to have a cuddle friendly alpaca, but was in for a surprise when he found Praline also liked rolling around in leaves. Friends of ours were there too and another family group. We all had a great time even if I was dragged down banks off the track and led trotting swiftly through the group by Marco Polo at random times, having to excuse myself. We all got a chance to hand feed the alpaca at the end.

I have tons more photos but that is enough. Getting off from the bus back I popped in to buy some buttons from a newly knitted cardigan and found the shop stocked alpaca wool from that very farm. I couldn’t resist. They may form my next project.

Shane and I had another bright walk today with lovely views, however familiar they are. But tomorrow I become an adventurer again, heading off to Snowbound Aberdeen on the bus for free, for a few days leaving Shane behind in Edinburgh.

Arthur’s Seat (crouching elephant) and Salisbury Crags on a clear cold day
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