Shortly before leaving Burton upon Trent, while I was returning from putting rubbish in the park recycling bins, a woman and some children approached me and started asking if they could have a trip on the boat. English was evidently not their first language. I was trying to explain that it wasn’t a hire or trip boat but that we lived on it. She wasn’t understanding until I said “this is my home!” Once she’d understood I could explain that plenty of companies did hire out and it was a good holiday with a family. I was pleased at her interest but it was somewhat poignant to be declaring the boat as home. I knew I was about to leave our home behind.
Still unlike refugees in many other countries, our home is not destroyed and though some fear of what lies ahead was there, we have the good luck to have kind and generous friends with places to stay and a beautiful city to stay in. Spring is most definitely sprung and we have enjoyed being tourists in our own city by staying in different places.
First we went to stay with Ewan and Bruce in the New Town. Ewan cooked us lovely meals and I have picked up some risotto tips! We had travelled on St David’s day when I usually cook with leeks or something Welsh (Glamorgan sausages last year I think) but it was also Shrove Tuesday, when Shane usually cooks pancakes. I was pleased to be greeted by a pie with leeks from Ewan’s allotment. I felt that I was not losing my own traditions while also gaining someone else’s. I hope refugees manage to do the same.
Our en suite room in the New Town was bigger than the whole of Bartimaeus! We were very comfortable. Nonetheless we have been a bit impatient waiting for action on the melanoma front. Expectations not matching reality are the biggest cause of disappointment and we were bound to be disappointed since we left the boat the day after Shane’s intended surgery date in England. We were already behind time before we got here. We have been kept busy with Shane managing a few cycle rides with Ewan and Sally while I had some trips to Dundee to be company for my sister while her husband is in hospital. I made remarkably slow progress with my knitting. Shane had CT scan but we don’t have the results yet. More information at the end of the week….
Meanwhile, Shane helped fix a door at the allotment and we both spent a morning replacing 20 light fittings – Shane up a ladder almost all the time while I swapped in new components for old and handed him the light ready for wiring into place. The old fittings were not all the same so I was kept on my toes, not being familiar with wiring and transformers in any way. Sharing a screwdriver needed for both jobs seemed to go smoothly enough too. We hope we have earned our keep a little.
We enjoyed exploring the new area, walking through Stockbridge and down the Water of Leith and in the grounds of the gallery of modern art. As we weren’t blogging we didn’t take photos. One hobby down, but I was still knitting and my choir has reformed under a new guise so, not knowing how long we are in Edinburgh, I have rejoined.This base was was also handy for Haymarket station for trips to Dundee.
We had also been offered a whole empty flat in Newington and I had a visit from my friend Margaret. We took advantage of this offer so as to have our own space (sort of) to host her. Shane did most of the flitting while I was in Dundee and luckily I remembered to get off at Waverley on return. Margaret was already there and Shane had done some shopping. We had looked around the flat earlier in the week so I did actually know where the tea was kept before she arrived!
This flat has a view over Salisbury crags and we enjoyed a walk around Arthur’s Seat. I set about contacting people who might want a walk around Arthur’s seat and fitted another one in and had another trip to Dundee and caught up with a few more friends adding extra touristy experience by visiting Shane’s German work colleague and having a Schwäbisch meal of lentils Spätzle and Bockwurst. Before long our flat sitters moved out and we prepared to pack again and say goodbye to the splendid view.
It always adds to the holiday atmosphere to be packing bags and moving every few days. I was living out of a small rucksack. We had popped along to Arden Street occasionally for mail where we had the odd sensation of being guests in our own house. A bonny cat made itself at home on my knee and I was pleased that I didn’t seem to be very allergic to it.
Shane was keen to be home in Arden Street and it does all feel familiar though much of our stuff is in boxes and we are not sure what we should unpack or where some things are. Shane wasn’t sure he recognised the items in the cutlery drawer and I couldn’t find my spatula last night when cooking. It is not how we left it either, with new carpets. It has been well cared for, and the pot plants are flourishing. Despite living out of boxes, it is starting to feel more settled and we were in the right place for the census.
We still have a bit of going to and fro to the previous flat with washing and Shane working on the plumbing (trying to earn our keep again) and we fitted a visit back, after a walk along the Royal Mile and last the parliament, in the sunshine. While briefly in the Newington flat we were able to get a ringside seat on the unfolding drama of a helicopter rescue on Arthur’s Seat. The injuries were minor but the location inaccessible. Life is still an adventure!
Shane has been keeping his eye on the weather in Derbyshire and I surprised him by checking in on the remote console while on a train trip to Dundee. I haven’t kept it up though so still have to get into “communing with the Victron”.
I have met up with former work colleagues and hope to do so again and I finally finished my knitting project, a West Ham themed cardigan, before leaving that Newington flat – thanks to advice from other knitter friends. Melding a new pattern with my own plans has been a bit of a challenge.
I have started a new project of knitting dolls for Ukrainian refugees that can also be used to replace styrofoam packaging. More photos when they are finished!
Now I am going back to Arthur’s Seat again this afternoon for a walk in the Spring sunshine with a friend, while Shane is cycling. Seems like we are in Marchmont mode again.