Edinburgh, my friends; my day and two nights were too full to properly describe the sights, the sounds, the smells, the senses of this great city. Too full for a shallow review on blogspot at any rate.
An amazing time I had. Why so amazing you might ask?
Well it all began on the coach going up there (or is it down if you're coming from London?)
As we glided into Scotland under a dazzling sunset, my mate Charlie phoned his mate Steve. Steve was in Aberdeen he said, but would come down to meet us. He was heading back home to Glasgow the following morning, he said. A busy man is Steve, I thought, a good friend.
Meanwhile, I sat in my little cramped corner of the National Express bus and thought of my old primary school friend; Sam.
She moved to Perth when she was 10. Her number was in my phone because a few years ago we tried to hook up in London but it didn't happen.
"I'm on my way to Edinburgh. Do you live here?!" You've got to take your chances when you're on the Express Highway.
Live outside, busy tonight, how about tomorrow, she replied. Wee heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
Me and my mate Charlie got a cab to our hotel, near the Zoo. The cabbie told us to ask for a 'mountain view' because the monkeys can be very noisy in the morning.
We didn't get the 'mountain view' but we thought we'd hang our bag of coach snacks out of the window to entice them (while keeping snacks cool simultaneously). We imagined chimps giving us a personal wake up call tapping on the windows. We found this very funny. The monkeys never came though... or maybe they did when we were sleeping. They never took the food though.
We met my mate Charlie's mate Steve in a bar near Queen Street. He was with his mate Richard. My mate Charlie's mate Steve is only Scotland's FIRST and currently ONLY GOLD MEDAL Commonwealth Games Championship WINNER in Gymnastics. I didn't quite know what to say, so I said "congratulations!"
On Friday night Steve was meant to stay with his mate Richard who was also off to Glasgow the next day to see Elvis in concert. We lost Richard in the Jam House though: "Whatever happened to Richard?"
Steve, "Scotland's Only Son!" my mate Charlie called him, to me, to him, to everyone, stayed the whole weekend with us. Saw us safely on the coach on Sunday morning. We pushed the beds together in our room and the first night I slept on the crack between these two strong physiques. I had nightmares of falling through it though so the next night Scotland's Only Son slept on the crack. What a crack up!
On Saturday night we met Sam on the George IV Bridge. She lives near Fife, not far but not near either!
Now back when Sam was nine, she was cool and she was pretty.
She's still cool, oh yes she is, but now she's beautiful, oh indeed! Eyes on fire and a cracking sense of humour!
She asked me what happened. I told her I threw it all away when I was 14. She said I still had the same laugh and urged me to "get a feckin' piano!"
These three people are why Edinburgh was so amazing, but go, you must go, it's an incredible city!
Right, where we went (will try to remember to edit as I didn't carry a pen and paper with me):
The Toby Carvery, St John's Rd, Corstophine. My mate Charlie has eaten there before (he's one of those who cycles from Edinburgh to London now and then) but we were too late for food so had a slice of pizza at the Pizza Hut across the road.
A bar near Queen's Street. (see, needs an edit) A good place to meet people you've never met before (if you're me) or people you have but haven't seen in a long while (my mate Charlie)
Pub around the corner. "Very Scottish" said Scotland's Only Son. If someone wants to pick a fight and calls your friend a monkey, laugh until your belly aches. They might shake his hand afterwards instead of decking him.
Jam House, Queens Street. A must, an absolute must. All ages welcome. Whatever happened to Richard?!
Southern Cross Cafe, Cockburn St. You'll get a 'Full Scottish Breakfast" but this caf off the Royal Mile is not Greasy. Just so you know....
The Castle. A first trip to Edinburgh is not complete without a trip to the Castle. If your guide is "Scotland's Only Son" you'll see much more besides.
The Standing Order, George St. A Wetherspoons pub with cheap eats. The jokes were funny, they were; sidesplitting I'd go as far to say. Only you had to be there.
The Villager, George IV Bridge. Good, pumping tunes, especially if you're lucky enough to grab a table. (My mate Charlie and Scotland's Only Son went next door to Bar Kohl while me and Sam caught up. It's for them to tell you that story)
We stayed in The Holiday Inn, not far from Murrayfield Stadium. We didn't get woken up by the monkeys but a 'mountain view' would have been seriously good; it's stunning.
We travelled on National Express. A ten hour journey home goes surprisingly quickly, especially if you have a friend who will share his or her earphones.
I'd like to thank my mate Charlie and Scotland's Only Son for paying for everything. I mean everything although they did let me get a few rounds in. Beer is cheap in Scotland oh yay!
Now back in London I am I am, but one last question....
Whatever DID happen to Richard?!