March: Shopping Independently

I don’t mean “independent” as in going to the shops all by myself — I’ve been doing that for quite a while now along with dressing myself and packing my own bags when I travel.

Edinburgh is blessed with a multitude of fantastic independent shops; the city is fortunate to have them. Like a lot of people, I think I’m guilty of overlooking them in the name of convenience a little too often.

This month, I’ll not be giving my custom to any chain shops or supermarkets.

An Apple a day…

“You can’t polish a turd.”
– Derived from a Persian proverb

After much speculation it’s looking likely that Edinburgh is finally on the verge of getting an Apple Store.

First mooted for Princess Street almost four years ago, rumours died off for a while until speculation rose again last April before the tram work railings that were reminiscent of the Sangatte refugee camp put the kibosh on things.

Princes Street though? The local rag asked not so long ago if the tram works had ruined it. To be honest, it was ruined long before the tram disruption began. I tend to completely avoid it nowadays. It’s little more than cheap tat shops blaring out tacky music for tourists, aggressive Big Issue sellers, professional beggars and charity muggers.

Maybe Apple coming to town could herald a turn of the tide. I’m willing to bet that the council have negotiated a very nice deal in the hope that like will attract like. You may not be able to polish a turd1 – but you can certainly roll it in glitter.

1 It would appear that Mythbusters would disagree.

Seek and ye shall find

While the rest of the country was busy watching Super Saturday and the British “great haul of China“, I joined 167 other scavengers solving cryptic clues, seeking out items and performing tasks all across Edinburgh for the Festival Scavenger Hunt. If you saw people running around the city carrying obscure items like kitchen sinks yesterday then it’s a fair bet that they were also taking part.

Unfortunately we didn’t win but we did have a lot of fun along the way.

People initially asked which charity the hunt was in aid of but were more curious when we explained what was actually going on. I’m looking forward to seeing what has been made of all the submissions for a week-long exhibition at the City Art Centre that starts tomorrow.

I’d like to say a big thank you to the following people and businesses who helped me out during the day: The Dress Fabric Shop, Twigs Florists, The Bruntsfield Hotel, Cockburns Delicatessen, Greggs Bakery, Witchery Tours and the friends I pestered with phone calls and text messages. Twitter proved useless yet again. Obviously thanks also go to the organisers, my team mates and Whitespace for entering the teams and allowing us to use the office as a base of operations.

A full list of the clues and their point value follow.

Continue reading Seek and ye shall find

Edinburgh – Halifax (162 miles)

I’ve just boarded the train that will take me on the first leg of my journey and have realised that I neglected to include my laptop power brick when finishing off my packing this morning.

I stopped off at Waterstones to pick up some books to read while I’m away and then passed the O2 Memory Project to record the start of my trip. I strolled through the East end of Princes Street Gardens, past the Scott Monument, pausing to take a look back at the National Galleries, Edinburgh Castle and the beautiful architecture of The Scotsman and Balmoral Hotels, the Edinburgh HQ of Halifax Bank of Scotland and made my way down to Waverley station.

A nice start to the day!

Today’s (and probably the last of the year) Edinburgh Coffee Morning was the busiest it has been for a good while. The cryptic promise of some gifts that Ewan McIntosh left in a Facebook message last night turned out to be some really nice signed Hugh MacLeod posters for Stormhoek. The season of goodwill and giving continued with some warmed Panettone and some chilled Prosecco courtesy of our hosts at Centotre. Many thanks to the aforementioned for their generosity.

A couple of stand out things from this morning before the conversations paired off as things are wont to do in group dynamics. Ewan briefly demoed Seesmic which seems to be some kind of video Twitter. I’ve never sent a “tweet” in my life and do have difficulty of seeing the point of it if I’m being honest. At least with Seesmic, there is an element of a two way thing going on.

Via Will Richardson, I found this video of Johnny Chung Lee turning the tables on the light sensing aspect of the Wiimote to produce an interaction whiteboard for around £40 much more interesting: