As in gru-u-u-u-u-u… *whole-body shudder and relocation of shoulders up under ears*

Still, at least it’s warmer, for the moment.

And here is a photo of me in my prom dress, in which I met Royalty up in Edinburgh last weekend.

Don’t worry, I didn’t stand like that all evening.  Actually, I didn’t even look like that.  It blew a gale that night, so I arrived at my destination with a Bobby Charlton combover and the top layers of my skirt all bunched up around my waist.  Oh, and I skidded on some wet, ancient stone in my unaccustomed heels, right in front of some dignitaries.

So I didn’t make quite the swellegant impression I’d hoped. 

Oh well.  After the ‘do’ (which marked the start of a conference to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock lighthouse, if you must know…), I was a free woman once more, and schlepped around rainy Edinburgh in much less extraordinary gear, taking in the sights and eating at some fantastic places.

The Hairy Muse and I wondered at the Edinburghers moseying around town – why were they not all the size of houses?  There are so many wonderful places to eat!  In my haste to record them, I won’t do links or anything, just a short list:  Monster Mash!  Ann Purna! (I like to imagine each ! is a round of applause)  The Baked Potato Shop!  Urban Angel!  The Dogs!

OMG The Dogs.  Don’t laugh at me, but I nearly shouted after tasting my lentil and nut roast.  Seriously, it was that good.  The Hairy Muse had some rabbit affair, and spent a large part of the evening sucking on the poor beast’s spine (and later fantasising about what wonderful stock it would’ve made).  In the end I had to tell him to stop, in case someone tried to shoot him in the head a la Zombieville.  Dessert was pretty amazing, too, including a delicately-flavoured whiskey jelly with oatmeal cream, a zingy rasberry sorbet….slurp.

We also drank in a variety of fine establishments, and particularly loved Kelburn’s Dark Moor.  It provided us with some good material for bickering: was it a stout or a porter?  The brewery’s description was no help:

“Smooth, dark and dangerous, this ale is designed to warm the cockles of your heart whilst sitting around the ingle after a long cold winter’s day outdoors. Although dark and and robust the aftertones of licquorice and blackcurrant make this an ale of complex character, not to be missed.”

 So now you know.  Just in case you’re worried about my health, it wasn’t all drinking and eating.  I managed to visit a lot of second-hand bookshops, the cute and quirky Writers’ Museum, the Museum of Scotland (maybe my favourite ever Museum?  Maybe…) and the Scottish Poetry Library, which is awesome.  I’m jealous of the Scots, having that.  It’s not just that the building is light and welcoming, or that the collections are up-to-date, beautifully arranged and accessible, or even that the staff are so smiley and welcoming without being intrusive.  It’s also that they seem to do so much to support readers and writers, and to reach out to people.   This is evident if you follow them on Facebook and Twitter, as I do – but also in the way that there are publications, events, posters, invites to join this or that all over the place – all kept up-to-date and in good nick.

Aaaah.  And on that happy note, I’m getting back to work.  Two big deadlines, two weeks to go.  By which time, I suppose it’ll be nearly March.   Erk.


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