I had to visit Edinburgh earlier this week, and I was ashamed to be Scottish. Our capital city is inundated with visitors this month, what with Homecoming celebrations and the start of the festival season. It is usually a beautiful city, but is a tip this month. The problem is a dispute between Edinburgh Council and those who collect the city's rubbish. There is a work to rule in place, and mountains of rubbish are lining the streets. The Haymarket area was especially bad. 'Disgusting' doesn't begin to describe it. It's a disgrace.
The pile of bags above was on the Royal Mile! Scratch the screen to smell the problem. If your computer hasn't this feature, then just imagine stuffing your nose in a country pancake... or whatever. It was awful.
I don't want to take sides in the dispute, but really, heads should be banged together. Scotland needs its tourists. Impressions count. If Tuesday had been my first visit to Edinburgh, I can assure you I would be thinking twice about returning. I commiserate with my friends who live and work in the city. And I would like to apologise to the thousands of tourists I encountered. Some of us are embarrassed.
Read news here and here. And an apology to visitors from a council representative is on YouTube here. Good enough? I think not.
I know that Edinburgh residents are also frustrated by the ongoing roadworks and traffic disruptions caused by the new tram works.
Indeed, it is sad to see this most iconic of streets in such upheaval. I can only hope that it will all be worth it when the tram project is completed. Read about it here.
Is it just me, or are buskers getting younger and younger?
Eating one's lunch in Princes Street Gardens is soon going to require considerable bravado. The black backed gulls are getting really aggressive, and are quite a size!
Right, I wouldn't want to leave the impression that I was only looking at the world through dark glasses on my visit to the big city! I encountered something at the foot of the Scott monument which really gladdened the heart.
For the past couple of weeks the Edinburgh Playhouse Stage Experience 2009 has been taking place. This project has been going for four years. It's a two-week theatrical workshop to give the city’s young actors, musicians and technicians experience of acting and production. At the end of the two week camp the youngsters put on three performances. In 2006 this was Oliver; in 2007 it was High School Musical, and last year the production was Annie.
Tomorrow and Saturday the Stage Experience presents Cole Porter's Anything Goes at the Playhouse.
The hundred or so young people in the cast were selected in auditions last February, alongside musicians and technicians.
As a marketing ploy, the cast were rehearsing in Princes Street Gardens on Tuesday. And very good they were too.
Enthusiasm was much in evidence, and I'm sure the final production will be great. I'll let you know! I wonder if Sir Walter enjoyed the rehearsal?
There were a number of different reasons for my visit to Edinburgh on Tuesday. One was to look in at Cairnie House, the headquarters of the Royal Club. The office sits in the RHS Showground at Ingliston. In the years ahead, the staff will move to new offices within the National Curling Academy when it is completed in Kinross.
There is no truth in the rumour that I've already begun my new retirement project!