Instagrammers Anonymous: Moving Closer To Christmas

And so this is Christmas – or so the song goes – and as if to confirm it there was a light scattering of snow on Edinburgh Castle this morning (I’m being uncharacteristically organised and writing this on Thursday). But at the same time, I’ve found myself questioning quite a few times where on earth December has gone. I’ve not even had any mulled wine yet this year – so that’s not even a potential excuse for loosing a few days/weeks.20121213-143400.jpg

I guess the biggest reason for the festive season’s disappearance is that I moved house last weekend. Yes, packed up lock, stock and most of the barrel and decanted across town. So whilst tidying, packing and unpacking have sapped most of my time, I can confirm that life is back on track and I can once again think only about all things festive!20121213-143332.jpg

Talking of unneccessary festiveness, another completely unnecessary trip to a well-know, tax-avoiding coffee company happened this week. But it has a snowman on the cup, so I’ve totally justified it to myself as being festive. In the branch across the road from the office, they have, however, learnt my name. And what size of drink I have. And what type of drink I have. And that I don’t want cream on top. Come January, I think it might be time for a change…20121213-143343.jpg

And finally this week, since it’s Christmas we’re going to have an extended edition of Instagrammers Anonymous!

It’s the office party today (Friday)! Yes, that awkward time of the year when everyone tries not to get too drunk, but inevitably someone has one too many and photocopies their backside. We’re trying to counter that this year by going out for a nice meal, but so as not to be too dull, we’re also having a Christmas jumper competition! Here’s my entry, and yes, the nose and scarf do stick out…20121213-143350.jpg

And if one extra wasn’t enough, here’s a second. Hamilton and Inches have my favourite festive display of the year. Not for all the jewelery on display and not for the little trains they have going round each window, but for the fact that in one of them there’s also a little piece of track on which a tram that can go nowhere is sitting. This subtle, festive dig at the city is by far my favourite thing I’ve seen this Christmas; good work H&I!Tram in Hamilton & Inches Christmas display, Edinburgh

I’m off to find my hangover tea now, in preparation for Saturday morning. Have a great weekend.

Cr

A Weekend of Frozen Adventures

I think we can all agree that winter is now well and truly with us. But, on the plus side, it’s now CHRISTMAS TIME!!!!!!!!!

I’ve ditched my “It’s not even sodding December yet!” hat and replaced it with one of festive excitement and (bad) singing.

This weekend I definitely got well and truly into the festive spirit, and then promptly got back out of it by attempting to do some Christmas shopping. However, with a mince pie in hand and the Michael Bublé Christmas album on in the background I’m getting back into the mood.

Frosty leaves on atree trunkI went on a bit of an adventure on Saturday up to Perthshire, to go visit my great uncle. I don’t get up nearly as often as I’d like, but when I get the chance, I don’t hesitate on breaking free of the city and head of to more rural lands; so with the dog in the backseat we headed up the A9 for a day out. This is where most of my festive spirit came through – it was beautifully crisp and clear day, and the hills were all dusted with frost and snow. With the Christmas music drowning out my tuneless singing it was hard not to wish it was the 25th already.dog looking at river

To give her Majesty a bit of a walk I stopped off at The Hermitage, near Dunkeld. This turned out to be both a lot of fun and a bit precarious as it was, for the most part, a large ice rink. Keira had a whale of a time, of course, and I only had one unscheduled sit down, so I would definitely call the walk a success. It also gave me plenty of opportunity to take photos of frosty things. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by them, but each time I’m out and about I end up taking more photos of them.

Once I’d ditched the boots we headed off to the village of Blair Atholl for a few hours of coffee, cake and chat (he still thinks I’m slightly nuts for going to Moscow, but we put pretty much everything else in the world to rights and I learnt a lot about Burma during the second world war). By the time we got round to leaving it was pitch black, but we were just in time to make a quick visit to one of my favourite shops – The House of Bruar. Whilst I would love many of the jackets and boots they sell there my salary doesn’t quite cover it, so I made do with a visit to the foodhall. On the somewhat transparent excuse of ‘looking for Christmas presents’ I managed to come out with some roast duck pâté, claret-infused cheddar and some honey and whisky smoked salmon. Definitely the best shopping I’ve managed so far, and definintely not one I’m keen on sharing. Our drive home was pretty uneventful, but I can confirm that my singing abilities did not improve.

Front of Edinburgh CastleSunday was another bright and early start, but this time to make use of my free Historic Scotland weekend pass and go have an up-close look at Edinburgh Castle. I only discovered last year that Historic Scotland do this pass each year on a weekend around St Andrews day, but some friends and I decided to monopolise on their good will and take a look at the most famous landmark in Edinburgh. Very little has changed since I went last year, which I guess isn’t hugely surprising but it was a lovely morning to stare at every horizon. One thing I did observe though, is that people are rather dim and were definitely waiting for the One O’Clock Gun to be fired, despite the large sign that says that it isn’t fired on a Sunday.

After our trip to the Castle I went on an unsuccessful attempt to buy others presents and have established that I am not a fan of festive shoppers. I am also very disappointed in the selection of Christmas jumpers on offer! Even the Jeremy Kyle recruitment centre (aka Primark), which has many in its window, couldn’t provide me with something for the office party. And even more upsetting, Whittards had sold out of Mulled Wine tea! I did get an orange and cinnamon rooibos, but it was the icing on the cake of a spectacularly bad (even by my standards) shipping trip. Time for mulled wine and Amazon shopping, I think.

Click on one of the photos below to see the slide show.

Cr

Instagrammers Anonymous: A Busy Week In Edinburgh

Friday has come round again, which thankfully means it’s an end to a really busy week in the office. It also means it’s time for Instagrammers Anonymous!

The Instagramming week started on Saturday, when a friend and I decided at the last-minute to get tickets for the rugby. Whilst neither South Africa nor Scotland can really call it a triumph of a match, it was still a fun afternoon. Given that this week’s match is up in Aberdeen, I think we’ll just have to watch it on TV.Scotland Vs South Africa at Murrayfield

Charlotte Square seems to be going through another run of appearances on the blog (it seems to do this every so often, and not just because I work nearby), so here’s this week’s lunchtime wander photo.Sunlight in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

Much as I think Christmas should be kept firmly to December – I heard Christmas music blaring from someone’s car yesterday evening and immediately turned into Scrooge – there are certain things that I realise need to be prepared for in advance. Edinburgh launches its Christmas markets and associated frivolities at the end of November (just in time for proper Christmas shopping to begin), one of the most famous parts of this being the giant ferris wheel that sits beside the Scott Monument in East Princes Street Gardens. Obviously a giant wheel is quite hard to miss, so when I was wandering about town at lunchtime the other day I decided to ditch the Scrooge hat for a couple of minutes to acknowledge that it looks quite good set against blue skies and Thunderbird 3 (aka the Scott Monument).The Christmas Wheel and the Scott Monument, Edinburgh, Christmas

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you can resist the Yuletide lure – just one more week then we can all be so excited we’re bored of it by the 15th!

Cr

Instagrammers Anonymous: Princes Street Gardens and Charlotte Square

Normally Instagrammers Anonymous is a summary of the week that has just been as seen through my addiction to Instagram; however, it would have been VERY dull this week. Aside from a trip to the rugby at Murrayfield last weekend (obviously that doesn’t come under the dull category) I’ve done very little except work and look at flats.

My moving plans appear to be being thwarted once again – think mouldy bathrooms which are going to get “sorted, they’re painting it this week” (I kid you not), rooms the size of shoeboxes and rents larger than Greece’s national debt – but to counter act this dullness I thought we’d have a couple of photos I’ve taken during lunchtime wanders this week.

The first is of the Royal Scots Greys monument – better known to most of us as the guy on a horse at the top of Princes Street Gardens. It’s appeared several times on the blog before, in a post about Princes Street Gardens, to name but one, but most of us know very little about it. One of the UK’s longest serving regiments – in fact Scotland and the UK’s, as it pre-dates the Acts of Union – the Royal Scots Greys were part of its respective national armies for 293 years from 1678 to 1971. The statue itself dates back to 1906 and was to commemorate the fallen of the Boer war. More about the statue can be found here.Royal Scots Greys Monument, Princes Street Garden, Edinburgh

On the theme of ‘seen that here before’, the other photo is of one of my favourite buildings in Edinburgh – West Register House. Set in west side of Charlotte Square this one-time church is now part of the Nation Archives; but the building still retains much of its grandeur and pressence. From its site it looks across the square and has an uninterrupted view down George Street to the RBS building at the other end in St Andrews Square. I love this building for its green dome and golden top; standing taller than anything else around it, it looks especially good on crisp autumnal walks.Charlotte Square and West Register House, Edinburgh

Cr

“Isn’t it Getting Dark Early?”

It was a busy old weekend, not quite sure where it went, but then again do I ever? Sure, losing Saturday morning because of Friday evening was pretty much all of my own making, but it sure did shorten the weekend.Bike going along a track

Water of leith and Murrayfield stadiumNot that I spent it all sleeping – far from it. Since Thursday’s jam making session, I’ve spent the evening in the pub, a morning feeling ever-so-slightly sorry for myself, made a Christmas cake, taken the dog for three walks, made a risotto, been out for a cycle (and somehow ended up buying a bottle of wine and a jumper, as you do), made a ham, chicken and leek pie, and labelled the jams. All of this has kind of limited my time for writing blog posts.Clouds at sunset

As luck would have it though, walking the dog was later on Saturday (delayed due to Christmas cake creation) which meant that the sun was setting when we got down to the shore – I do like sunsets, not sure if I’ve mentioned it before – and it was also wonderfully crisp [read: bloody freezing] on Sunday when I went for a ride on my new bike, both of which led to some photo taking. Combined with the phrase I’ve heard so many times in the last week – you’d think with the clocks going back at this time every year we’d realise it got dark earlier, but seemingly not, I’m as guilty as everyone for saying it – I think they sum up the non-food part of my weekend quite well. Hope you enjoy.Sunset at Granton, firth of forthReflection of trees in the water, at sunset

Cr