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.


The past several days have been spent in a winter wonderland. For those of you who don’t know, some friends and I have been working our way through the alphabet of places to spend Hogmanay and New Year. This year was the 10th installment so we spent a few days down in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. Our base was the fabulously equipped Bairnkine Cottages a few miles outside Jedburgh where we were made to feel very welcome.

We saw the Bells in at a wonderful ceilidh in the Town Hall and then somehow made our way back through the snow to the cottages. The next couple of days were spent relaxing, building snowmen and igloos, and ferrying goods from our abandoned vehicles at the bottom of a hill, near the main road.

After a steady drive back up to Edinburgh on the Saturday we were a little taken aback to see the mostly city clear of snow – which we’d kind of gotten used to. It turns out that we needn’t have been too upset though: a further several inches fell overnight and covered the city once more.

It has been quite rare in recent history for Edinburgh to have snow laying for any length of time and as such I noticed a few things. Not being able to rely on the council, people will seemingly clear the pavements only to the edge of their property line and not one centimeter further. Messages in the snow are commonplace – usually obscene ones left on car windscreens but I did notice one helpful message informing the car owner that they had left their lights on. On a grander scale I witnessed a guy shoveling a Spanish message in the snow (with his scarf for the tilde in ñ) for his friend to photograph from their fourth-floor flat for use on a CD sleeve.

Pride of place has to go to this though. It was nice to see a little imagination and something a bit different on Rothesay Place: a snow Sphinx and mini-pyramid!


Last night I saw the annual Fireworks Concert that marks the end of the Edinburgh Festival. I don’t know if it was something to do with being spoilt by the Olympic fireworks or just because of the idiots around us on Calton Hill but I wasn’t as impressed as last year. Also unlike last year I somehow didn’t step foot in the Spiegeltent all month. That’s not to say that I had a quiet August of it what with leaving parties, birthdays, barbeques and the like.

My plan for the next couple of months is to get back into some semblence of fitness. I’ve not really done much exercise apart from a few short games of Ultimate since March and it’s beginning to show. I felt a very definite wobble around my middle when I was running down the stairs the other day and it didn’t feel good. However, my mum claims that she thinks that I “suit a bit of weight” and will try to stir double cream through my porage whenever I’m visiting.

The weather hasn’t exactly helped me get out and do anything as it feels like it has rained every single day since getting back from my travels. I’ve finally got around to taking my gym membership off hold so I should be able to motivate myself to do something active now that I’m paying fees once again!

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

Now for something completely different

Edinburgh in August is a fantastic place to be. The Festival is in full swing, the sun doesn’t set until after 2100 and the pubs are open for longer. Okay, so the weather does demand that you equip yourself with an umbrella and sunglasses but spirits don’t appear to be dampened all that easily.

To many, comedy is what the Festival Fringe is all about and I can’t say that I’m all that different. I have been to see musicians, book launches, gallery openings and the odd bit of theatre but usually I’ll be laughing at Tommy Tiernan or someone similar.

However, for a bit of a change of tack, I think that I may have finally found a use for Twitter: I’m taking part in a scavenger hunt in-and-around Edinburgh in the morning, the fruits of which will be collated and presented in a week-long exhibition.

Keep an eye on my Twitter feed to see what I’m up to and looking for between 0900 and 1800 tomorrow.