Autumn in Edinburgh

This afternoon I went for a ‘Sunday stroll’ around the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Edinburgh with friends Doug and Cat and Heather (Doug’s Mum).

With my mind buzzing after the church conference yesterday, it was a great decision. It also gave me and Cat a brief chance to catch up after a rollercoaster summer where we haven’t seen each other at all.

This is my favourite photo of the day….


We are so very lucky to live in such a beautiful city.

Americanese to British/Scottish: Ideas needed!

Hi folks,

It’s been ages since I wrote a translator post.

I need some topics to cover…can you give me some ideas?

So far I’ve done:

  • Food
  • Socialising
  • all the words for being drunk
  • Bathroom stuff
  • Car stuff

There’s one I’ve been wanting to do for ages and that is ‘Clothing/Fashion‘. But gonna need some help as don’t know what some things are!

What else do you reckon needs covering in our translator posts?

Flower of Scotland Friday: The Lamplighter

So the more observant of you may have noticed a few changes to my header. Includes one of my favourite pics taken with the Simunye kids in Bhekuwandle but also a picture of one of the flagstones outside the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh with a quote from one of my favourite childhood authors, Robert Louis Stevenson.


There were a few books, mostly hand-me-downs of my Mum’s and my cousin’s that stayed in my Nana’s house. The three books I remember…Laura’s Summer Ballet (a prize my Mum got for good attendance at Sunday School); The Complete Works of Beatrix Potter and A Child’s Garden of Verses.

In the last, there was a poem called The Lamplighter.

I loved that poem. Perhaps because I could imagine it all, my Nana living round the corner and up the hill from where RLS had been born, lived and gone to school as a child.

I knew it off by heart.

And if I ever read it aloud, I think it’s the only thing (apart from being angered about something) that makes my accent at it’s most Scottish! :)

My tea is nearly ready, and the sun has left the sky;

It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;

For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,

With lantern, and with ladder, he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver, and Maria go to sea,

And my Papa’s a banker, and as rich as he can be;

But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do;

O Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky with a lamp before the door,

And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;

And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;

O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight!

The Lamplighter by Robert Louis Stevenson © A Child’s Garden of Verses – 1913

Flower of Scotland Friday: Only at the Fringe

A wizard tuning his guitar outside St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

A wizard tuning his guitar outside St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

I noticed Lori’s ‘only in California’ post, and it reminded me that I never posted this pic. I was walking down the Royal Mile with my friend Gregor and saw this out the corner of my eye…I couldn’t help but get out my camera!!

Only at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival do you walk down the street and see a guitar playing wizard in the middle of the street.

What’s even better that nobody was giving him a second glance really.

All perfectly ‘normal’ during the Fringe!

Flower of Scotland Friday: Friends at the Fringe

So this year, I’ve tried to make an effort to do the whole Fringe thing. You know I’ve been a native Edinburger for over 25 years now, and when you live somewhere, you tend to take stuff that’s there around you all the time for granted. I didn’t realise what special city Edinburgh was until I lived in Aberdeen for 5-6 years!

I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks with various friends experiencing the fringe, meeting for coffee and discovering a few places I hadn’t noticed or been to before.

Last week, Mike and his girlfriend, Kelly were up in Edinburgh. Mike and I realised that we’ve now been friends for a decade! Wow. That makes us sound a little bit old! Kelly is from Colombia, so it was lovely to be able to show her round and teach her a little about the Scottish culture (some of this will be saved for future Flower of Scotland Friday posts!!)

Mike & Kelly outside the Writers Museum

Mike & Kelly outside the Writers Museum

On Wednesday night (last week) we went to see one of my favourite comedians – Mark Watson. His show last year was my favourite at the Fringe, and this year he still takes the top spot, joint with The Amateur Transplants!IMGP0466IMGP0473Afterwards, we went to Chiquitos, which I really want to pay another visit too when I haven’t already had my tea! We had the most bizarre and slightly eccentric waiting staff there.

IMGP0483IMGP0482On Saturday night my friends had booked tickets for The Amateur Transplants and Sammy J and the Forest of Dreams. We got a little hyper after The Amateur Transplants. Especially as it became a little bit of an Aberdeen Medics reunion in Medina.

3 fellow Aberdeen graduates - Don't worry, we're all completely normal! (ahem)

3 fellow Aberdeen graduates - Don't worry, we're all completely normal! (ahem)

By the way, Jenni and Gaz have alerted me to lovely restaurant place where they had ‘High Tea’ the other week called Eteaket. They highly recommend it!

In between the 2 shows, we had an obligatory drink outside the Udderbelly.


yes, it's a big marquee in the shape of an upside-down purple cow

yes, it's a big marquee in the shape of an upside-down purple cow

Then on Tuesday, I met my friend Gregor (another Aberdeen graduate) who was in town to interview someone at the Book Festival.

Gregor with his 'Metro of Death'...

Gregor with his 'Metro of Death'...

While collecting some tickets (Gregor for the book festival, me for the Comedy festival) we got shown a few magic tricks by Ian Randall standing in the queue.

While I was waiting for Gregor to finish interviewing said writer-dude at the Book Festival, I did my usual and browsed those lovely shiny new books in Waterstone’s. And did I not randomly bump into a couple more Aberdeen folks while in there?! So off we went to  Charlotte Square where we bumped into Mr Fourth Space and then surprised Gregor.


Jim then took us to another place I never knew about – Tea Tree Tea. There’s a café I’ll have to visit again!

On Wednesday night, I took my friends Richard and Jason to see Stephen K Amos and met up with Adam and 3 of his friends. We got soaked in the pouring rain waiting outside the Pleasance Grand. But it was definitely worth it. We got a wee taster of another bunch of Fringe performers who you can check out at the Gilded Balloon. 3 Aussie musicians who have a sort of comedy band called Axis of Awesome.

You only need 3 chords for a worship song, but apparently you need as many as 4 for a pop song!

So there we have it. BK’s 2009 Fringe experience! The month of August has been on the expensive side, but it has been a lot of fun, and great to catch up with folks or get to know them a little bit better. Two things I hope I get the chance to see once I’m back from Momentum is the African Children’s Choir and The Hotel. I’ve heard great reviews about the choir (and my friend works for them) and as for The Hotel – I’m intrigued by the whole installation using comedy thing…plus the guy behind it is Mark Watson…

Flower of Scotland Friday: Fringe Street Theatre

One of my favourite parts of these 3 weeks during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is that really…anything goes. It’s perfectly normal to see a guy dresssed in a rabbit costume wrapped in cling film wandering the streets. You get used to going into Subway and seeing Superman, Zorro and someone in some kind of Victorian get-up standing in the queue for a sandwich.

On Tuesday I had the day off so I met up with my friend Mike, and his girlfriend Kelly and I took them down the Royal Mile to see the street performers. And we met some Free Hugs campaigners there too. And a air brush tattooist, eating a Pot Noodle with chopsticks…(it would have been rude to take a pic of that!)

But here’s a few of the pics that we got on my camera…


Flower of Scotland Friday: Edinburgh Festivals

Yep, this weekend madness and chaos descends on Edinburgh. Why? Because the Edinburgh Festivals begin!! How this will work with the entire city centre one giant pile of tramworks remains to be seen, but already I’ve been accosted by tourists going to work in the morning and strange sights are appearing…like the giant purple cow in Bristo Square otherwise known as ‘the Udderbelly’.

I love festival time (apart from when I’m trying to get somewhere…) as it’s fun, vibrant, and full of tourists who don’t realise that Scottish ‘summer’ is often all 4 seasons in one day! Gotta love ‘em in their yellow plastic ponchos covered in Scottish thistle motifs!

Been trying to find some clips on YouTube for you, and I have to say, I’m disappointed. So I’ll start dragging my camera everywhere and see what I can do over the next few weeks during this crazy festival time!

We have…

The Edinburgh Mela

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh Comedy Festival

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (this one started last weekend)

Edinburgh Art Festival

….have I missed any out Edinburgers?

I go to the Soul Survivor Momentum conference at the end of the month, so I miss a chunk of the festivals – most annoyingly I’ll miss Alexander McCall Smith, Ricky Gervais and Michael McIntyre. :(

I have however secured tickets for one of Mark Watson‘s shows. I went to see him at the comedy festival last year, and he was fantastic.

Hoping to see some other stuff too, and if you know me ‘in real life’ and are up for going to see anything…let me know!!

American to British/Scottish Translator: Travelling

Well, you know…keep with a theme…only problem is that I couldn’t remember much travel-related Americanese…so please add!

Vacation = Holiday

Fanny pack = Bum bag

Route 65 = M65

Freeway = Motorway

Airplane = Aeroplane

Security in America = stringent if you’re coming into the country, couldn’t care less if you’re going out of the country (as far as I can tell from past experience…)

But I’m assured even with the visa changes I’ll still get asked if I was involved as a Nazi guard during the holocaust, convicted of any terrorist acts or committed espionage. I would like to know who admits to that on a visa form?!?! (thankfully I’m always being honest when I’m answering ‘no’ to those questions)

Security in England (or at least London) = Grumpy and disorganised

(again, why during peak holiday season do they have like 1 metal detector/security queue in London airports and about 9 others shut?)

Security in Scotland = always with a smile and a sense of humour, and pretty organised! Hip hip hooray! And if all else fails, bring in John Smeaton to save the day. Nobody messes with Scottish people who are about to go on holiday.

Carousel = Conveyor belt (in relation to the airport baggage claim area!)

Cart = Trolley

Trolley bus = Tram

Sunscreen = Sun Cream

Shades = Sunglasses

Overhead bins = Overhead lockers