Yesterday was the anniversary of Robbie Burns’s birthday and we enter yet another Scottish season of celebration. It was a stereotypically Scottish day – windy with rain scudding almost horizontally across Arthur’s Seat. It was one of the very few days we haven’t ventured out – we have actually been pleasantly surprised by the number of sunny (if icy) days.
Talking of celebrations, we resisted visiting Edinburgh castle until Geoff's sixty-sixth birthday when we went in style with a special “January indulgence” lunch at the restaurant there. This was Geoff's first winter birthday ever. His most precious gift was his Scottish bus pass, which the postman pushed through the slot in the front door on the day.
Our white Christmas may have been due to frost but 2008 brought real snow! On 3 January we woke to the stuff that Australian dreams are made of. No, we didn't build a snow person, but we did gaze at white flakes falling and coating the landscape, went “ooh” and “aah” a lot and took photos for you.
Our blood has thickened and we now believe that, if it is five degrees, it is decidedly tropical. Our Rainbird coats are constant companions on our daily walks, which have taken us up Blackford Hill, along the old Innocent Railway, around the narrow corridors of Craigmillar Castle and through the local farmers’ market.
Daily life has settled into a bit of a pattern of work, walks, buses, shopping for groceries at the local Sainsbury’s and meeting new friends. We continue to be warmed by local hospitality. We have enjoyed an evening of storytelling and singing with the neighbours, two more churches made us very welcome when we visited, and last Wednesday we went to our first Burns supper with friends, Jenny and Mike, where we ate haggis, neeps and tatties and listened to orations of Burns’s poetry.
"Spurtle" at the Burns Supper
Chris is meeting new collagues at New College and has been invited to give a seminar there in April. Her writing is under way. We have each set up a work space at home the way we like it and try hard not to interrupt the other too much. Geoff, despite himself, has accepted an editing job and is also helping Chris design forms and things for the WSCF Senior Friends gathering she is helping to organise. (For those WSCF friends out there, go to http://www.wscfglobal.org/showStoryNews.php?id=60 to read about it and download your registration form.)
New College in the sights from Edinburgh Castle
The accumulation of new bird sightings has slowed a bit but there have been a few, including the Long-tailed Tit.
On 8 January an early morning call came with the news that our friend in Perth, Louise Scott, had passed away. On the day of her funeral, we gathered with her friends here in Edinburgh to remember her and honour a life well lived.
So, you have our news. We certainly like receiving yours and keeping in touch over the seas and skies.