Jamón, whisky and sculpture

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Once again the tents have gone up in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, the walkways laid, bookshop and bars stocked, hospitality spaces decked with tubs of flowers, toilets positioned, and the central area supplied with watching-the-world-go-by chairs for some of the throngs anticipated.

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The entrance to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, held every years in the gardens in the centre of Charlotte Square in Edinburgh’s 250 year old New Town.

The International Book Festival is underway, running for over two weeks and hosting over 750 events. The book festival vies for attention while the Edinburgh International Arts Festival, the Military Tattoo and the Fringe are also in full swing, attracting hundreds of thousand of visitors to the city. Last year the Fringe alone featured 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues during its 25 days.

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Literary pubs that span the literature of hundreds of years are sufficient to merit their own tour.

Husband and I had received an invitation to a book launch, not in the tented village of the book festival, but not far from it in Waterstones, the well-known book shop, at the west end of Princes Street. More about that in another post.

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Even the local seagulls like to get in on the act, strutting their stuff and squawking a verse or two from the platform of a local worthy.

We left ourselves plenty time for during festival time parking is non existent and roads can be gridlocked, so we had almost an hour to wander along George Street, much of which has been closed to traffic to accommodate open air cafes.

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This is usually a busy thoroughfare with parking down the centre of the street.

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Numerous patio heaters in evidence as Edinburgh’s climate is not quite Mediterranean.

The street’s Georgian architecture provides a classical backdrop to a tented area where artificial grass covers the tarmac of the road, and cars are replaced by tables and chairs.

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George Street is a mixture of upmarket shops and businesses and residential accommodation, part of Edinburgh’s 250 year old New Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Some of the bars bear the names of whisky brands – a high profile setting for them in a busy main thoroughfare closed for the festival, with cars and buses diverted.

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Though neither is food forgotten.

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Amongst the bars and cafes sit two mobile cinemas, one modern, one from the 1960s that had been driven up from Bicester near Oxford to show old film footage.

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Always good to have a choice of places to go when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

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Dating from the 1960s, this mobile cinema is names Audrey. No guesses why.

In the centre of the road stands a large horse’s head, similar in style but smaller than the thirty metre high Kelpies sculptures designed by Andy Scott, that form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal near Falkirk. The Kelpies commemorate and celebrate our horse-powered heritage, while the head in George Street was commissioned by Hamilton and Inches, a famous jewellers, to celebrate 150 years of business in Scotland’s capital city.

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Hamilton and Inches shop can just be seen to the right of the photo, in navy with a black blind. Would love to know what will happen to the sculpture once the festival is finished. Hope a site is found somewhere where it can be enjoyed by everyone.

From George Street we wander round to Princes Street for the book launch, and afterwards stroll along towards the Mound to catch a bus, taking a photo of the Church of Scotland Assembly Rooms on the Mound…

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Ooops! The Assembly Rooms somewhat obscured by the statue commemorating the Royal Scots Greys regiment.

and another view of the castle that sits on its rock like an elderly grand dame and her retinue watching over her subjects scurrying below.

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About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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4 Responses to Jamón, whisky and sculpture

  1. Some day, Dorothy… some day! In the meantime, your photos are the next best thing.

  2. Ah, thank you Tara. When you manage to make it over the festival will be extra special for you, and we’ll even order a special serving of golden sunshine with your name etched in it.

  3. Mama Cormier says:

    This looks like a great time to visit Edinburgh. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I visit my son in London, hopefully next summer.

  4. Edinburgh during the festivals has a amazing lively, buzzing atmosphere with lots to do and see – endless things to photograph. You can hop on a plane from London and be in Edinburgh in an hour, or take the train which takes about four or five hours. You need to book accommodation well in advance because of the influx of visitors. Edinburgh is a small city and during the festival walking is definitely the best way to get around. Hope you make it as part of your London trip.

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