Posted by: christinelaennec | October 10, 2010

An October visit to Edinburgh


Yesterday we went to Edinburgh to visit our son / the Dafter’s brother.  It was a rather quick trip:  we left the house at 7 a.m. and were back by 6 p.m., so had about 5 hours there.  But it was a good trip.  As always, I loved knitting on the train.  Our son – I haven’t been able to think of a nickname for him – is doing well and we had a really good visit.  And Edinburgh looks lovely in the fall, even (or especially?) on a grey day:


Looking across Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. October 2010


The window-washers were busy at the Halifax/Bank of Scotland headquarters on the Mound.  I wouldn’t like that job!


Halifax / Bank of Scotland headquarters on the Mound, Edinburgh, seen from Princes Street Gardens. October 2010. The window-washers are at work on two of the tall central windows.


We went to see the beautiful Impressionist Gardens exhibition at the National Gallery.   I couldn’t take any photos to share with you, but if you click on the link you will see several pages on the National Gallery website about the exhibition, with information and some images.  There were paintings by familiar artists – Monet, Sisley, Cassatt, Klimt – but many wonderful paintings by artists I didn’t know so well.  One of my favourite paintings was (predictably) “The Rainbow” by Leopold Graf von Kalckreuth.  (It’s on the National Gallery website page on Late Impressionism.) There were also exhibitions of books about the evolution of gardening, both in private gardens and also the in grand public gardens of major European cities.  I hadn’t realised that Monet’s garden at Giverny inspired other painters to make their own gardens, where they could explore the effects of light in a private space.

After we left the exhibition, we loitered for a while in the beautiful Princes Street Gardens:


Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. October 2010


We were amused by this plaque on one of the benches:


Plaque on a bench in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.


I love the affectionate phrase “old Scotch mither”.  We know one family (Scottish-by-adoption, like us, with children raised in Scotland) who call their mother “Mither”.  And another family we know (real Scots) address their father as “Faither”.

Poetry was in evidence, too.  Here is a building under construction, facing St. Andrew Square:

Quotations on the side of a building under construction on St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh. October 2010

The quotations in full, to save your eyesight, are:  “This profusion of eccentricities, this dream in masonry and living rock, is not a drop-scene in a theatre, but a city in the world of reality.” – Robert Louise Stevenson, from Edinburgh Picturesque Notes; “It seems like a city built on precipices, a perilous city.  Great roads rush down like rivers in spate.  Great buildings rush up like rockets.” – G. K. Chesterton  (Information about the building and the source of the Stevenson quotation are from the South Bank Centre’s website.)

We then went to the shoppers’ mecca which is Jenners department store:


Jenners, seen from next to the Scott Monument. Princes Street, Edinburgh, October 2010


The outside of the building is as interesting to look at as the inside:


Rose Street entrance of Jenners. I like all the decorative carving.


The inside has a very Liberty’s-of-London type of well:



Inner well at Jenners, Edinburgh. October 2010

The main attraction in Jenners – for the Dafter, but for us vicariously as well – was the toy department.  We were welcomed by a life-size Lego model of Indiana Jones:

Lego man at Jenners, Edinburgh.  October 2010Isn’t it amazing how effectively the draping of the fabric is done?  You’d almost think the woman behind, at the perfume counter, was real.  Oh that’s right – she was!



  1. Dear Christine,
    lovely photos from Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities, and Jenners reminds me of Liberty in London.
    Today I received my book: My Antonia by Villa Carter, I ordered it all the way from America as it was the only place where I could find a hardback copy of the Modern Library of the World collection. I love the size and look of those books and I can’t wait to start reading tonight.
    Thank you for making me aware of this book.
    Love from Heike x

    • Dear Heike,
      How wonderful that you’re going to read My Ántonia! I’m so pleased. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I don’t know the Modern Library of the World collection – perhaps you can do a post about it on your blog!
      Happy October – C.

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