Scottish Country Dancing (2005-06-08 - 8:28 a.m.)

Went for a walk in the city centre last night because the weather's been so gorgeous. It finally stopped raining (right after the weekend) and was a beautiful warm night. Went for a wander with Brad in Princes Street Gardens and heard a band playing on the stage thing, so we wandered over. It looked like a big ceilidh - all these old guys in kilts and old ladies in dresses dancing on the ground in front of the bandstand! I flagged down one of the stewards and asked her what was going on and who organised the dancing. She said, "Oh, we organise it ourselves." "We?" "Yes, the Scottish Country Dancing Society. We just get together in the Gardens every Monday and Tuesday night, hire a band, and charge 2 for entry."

I thought that was the coolest thing ever. So impressive, for one thing, to see all these 80-year-olds donning their kilts and getting out dancing around the gardens. And the fact that they put it on themselves just because they want to is even cooler (I thought maybe it was a council initiative to get old people to exercise or something). And they are GOOD dancers. The difference, apparently, between a ceilidh and Scottish Country Dancing (besides the dances being more complicated versions) is that there isn't a caller at the latter, since the dancers know what they're doing. Princes Street Gardens is on a slope so we were standing above the action, and it looked absolutely amazing seeing the formations from above. Everyone was perfectly in time with the music and in exactly the right spot. All the kilts and tartan skirts were swirling in and out - we were so impressed.

The lady we talked to said that anyone was welcome and if we didn't know all the dances someone would probably talk us through them. I am considering going next Monday (although probably a bad idea with a 7.00 am flight on Tuesday - but hey.) As long as they play the Dashing White Sergeant there'll be at least one dance I can manage with some degree of competence!

We also went for a wander up Calton hill, which believe it or not I still hadn't seen properly. This is one of the main hills in Edinburgh and is stuffed with monuments to various things - a half-completed necropolis, a monument to an "obscure professor" (Dugald Stewart) set up by his students, the old observatory and the Nelson Monument. There are also amazing views of Edinburgh. You can see right across to the castle, and you can also see under some of the bridges. I like this because it emphasises that Edinburgh is a city of layers - such a complex place, with buildings on top of other buildings and paths going over, under and around everything. If you go around the other side you can also see right out to the Port of Leith and the Firth of Forth.

In other news, I have FINALLY got all my flights sorted and if everything works out as planned, I should be able to get home! I fly to London Stansted on Tuesday morning at 7 am (so a 4:30 or 5:00 am start), then catch the bus from Stansted to Heathrow, which takes about two hours, check in to Heathrow, fly to Calgary, wait in Calgary for a bit, and then fly to Edmonton. Whew. Going to be a long, long, long day (including an extra seven hours because of the time difference.) Going to be a long haul, but I can't wait to get there. It's really too bad I have so little time at home - was hoping to stay till June 27th but I couldn't find a flight, so sadly I'm leaving the night of the 25th. Still, it's all good, at least I'm going and I'm so excited. And I'm thanking my lucky stars I don't live in Australia! Imagine a 24-hour flight to get home for a visit.

backwards ~ onwards

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Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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