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Good times …

Last week, a British friend took a trip up to Scotland and actually went by our old flat in Edinburgh. He was kind enough to snap a picture (we lived above the bookshops!).

What a special place it was!

We were located right in West Port, a stone’s throw from the famous Grassmarket, surrounded by plenty of independent shops, pubs and restaurants and some tremendously tasteless strip bars. Our flat was on the top floor (I feel out of breath just thinking about it! No elevators!) with a view of Edinburgh Castle (via a very small window). We opened the flat with a big, old-fashioned skeleton key.

Ah, good times …


A weekend in Edinburgh

If I could be anywhere in the world this weekend, I would kilt up and head to Edinburgh (ed-in-bur-uh).

Not for the haggis, the corner street pipers or the cozy fireside pubs (although those would be nice …). No, I’m thinking specifically about Edinburgh festival season – the mad, vibrant, sensory feast of a party that takes place nearly every day and night in August.

What festival? Well, take your pick. Scotland’s capitol city is currently hosting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the International Festival and the Art Festival. There really is something for everyone. Find more information at

But wherever you are spending this weekend, have a fabulous one. I’ll see you back here Monday!

The Sound of Music

Grassmarket in Edinburgh

Much singing can be heard at night in Edinburgh's Grassmarket

After doing a few minutes of searching on the Internets, I’ve decided that what the world sorely needs is an anthropological study of the drinking habits of people across the globe. A cultural analysis of the inebriated, complete with full color pictures. Maybe a coffee table book.

If such a book were written, then much could be said about the copious amount of singing that goes on in the United Kingdom, following last orders.

For a time, we lived in a cozy flat (translation: apartment) in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket area, a stone’s throw from quite a few pubs. And so it was that every Friday and Saturday night, we would inevitably hear the lilting melodies of “Flower of Scotland,” Scotland’s unofficial national anthem, from roving bands of merriment makers. It was like clockwork. The pubs would close and then, cue the singing. Nothing resembling The Warblers. Always “Flower of Scotland.” Sometimes something by the Pogues.

Now I’m no anthropologist but I think it’s fair to say that such a thing doesn’t happen in the US. There are bar fights, yes. Shouting, of course. Loud chatter and giggles and the clip-clop of heels hitting pavement but strains from “America the Beautiful”? Uh, I think not.