Posted by: christinelaennec | March 15, 2013

A wee jaunt to Edinburgh

Things here have been extremely busy, but in the midst of everything else we took a wee trip to Edinburgh.  This was in order to renew the Dafter’s US passport at the American Consulate.  Because the Dafter is so unwell (with ME/CFS), we took a day to go down, spent the day of the appointment there, and took the next day to come back.  The North Sea was very beautiful as we drove south on Monday:

The North Sea just south of Aberdeen, March 2013.

The North Sea just south of Aberdeen, March 2013.

We stayed in Leith, a first for us.  The Dafter was able to go out for dinner, which was great, and we ended up at a restaurant with an amazing view.  Here is the Royal Yacht Britannia:

The Royal Yacht Britannia from a restaurant at Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh.  March 2013.

The Royal Yacht Britannia seen from the Bella Italia restaurant at Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh. March 2013.

And here’s the view from our table if you turned to the left.  The snow made the quayside very pretty:

View from Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh.  March 2013.

View from Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh. March 2013.

We took a taxi to the Consulate on Tuesday, in good time for our appointment.  However, as they were running late, we were asked to wait outside along with people ahead of us in the queue.  It was cold!   Notice the bollards – no vehicles can come in front of the Consulate.  Not even, apparently, the grocery delivery truck, seen speeding away here:

Michael and the Dafter outside the American Consulate in Edinburgh.  March 2013.

Michael and the Dafter outside the American Consulate in Edinburgh. March 2013.

We played Simon Says (also known as Publically Humiliate Your Parents), and I took a photo of the view across the street:

View from in front of the American Consulate in Edinburgh:  through the trees, the Scottish Parliament and Arthur's Seat.  March 2013.

View from in front of the American Consulate in Edinburgh: through the trees, the Scottish Parliament and Arthur’s Seat. March 2013.

Going to an appointment at the Consulate is not the easiest way to spend a few hours even if you’re well.  Luckily the Dafter is not wheelchair-bound, as there is no wheelchair access, only a flight of stairs.  Once we were allowed in, we had to turn over anything with a battery in it:  cameras, iPod, mobile phones, car keys with plips.  I won the argument with the security woman about keeping my knitting with me, pointing out that the needles were wood and not metal.  Then you go through an airport-type scanner.  And then you are allowed into the waiting room, which has a big sign on it saying “There are No Public Restrooms in the Consulate.  The nearest restrooms are located in the St James shopping centre.”   Too bad if you’ve already waited quite a long time outside!

Inside the waiting room there was a friendly atmosphere, as people waited, were called up, asked to wait again, and occasionally left.  People were very kind and gave up chairs for myself and the Dafter.  The staff there are always friendly, I must say.  The Dafter eventually made up a game where we thought of characters on tv shows, and decided which people in the room were most like them.  After an initial trip up to the window, at last it was Michael’s and my turn to stand, raise our right hands, and swear that we are who we are and that the Dafter is our daughter.  She found it hard not to giggle.  And then we were back outside, heading as you might imagine for the public loos at the St James shopping centre!  It all took just under three hours from the time we left our hotel.

When we left, the Dafter said to the doorman, “Bye, see you in another five years!” (when her child’s passport runs out).  He replied, “I’ll no be here!”  I suppose he was near retirement age.

The Dafter and I rested at the hotel, and Michael went to explore the Royal Yacht Britannia.  He was most impressed by the various specialist ironing tools in the laundry room!  That evening we had tea with Our Son, and had a very nice visit:

Our Son, the Dafter and Michael.  March 2013.

Our Son, the Dafter and Michael. March 2013.

We arrived home on Wednesday afternoon and a few hours later showed the flat for a second time to an interested party.  Yesterday morning someone phoned asking to come at 5, so it was another day with lots of cleaning and tidying.  The Dafter was extremely tired, of course, but is used to being a bit neglected while I do all the necessary preparations.  That was our 15th viewing.  I do pray someone will like the flat enough to make us an offer soon, but 15 viewings in 5 weeks isn’t bad.

And, would you believe it, I hope to be able to go back to Edinburgh tomorrow on a knitting-related adventure!



  1. How extrodinary that they have neither wheelchair access nor toilets, never heard of such a thing and certainly not the case in consulates in London. I am amazed they can get away with that. Lucky Michael having visited the Royal Yacht, something I would love to do one day…maybe when you live in Edinburgh I will have to pop up to see you, I have not been there for a long while.
    Fingers crossed on the sale of your flat soon.
    Big warm hugs from Wales 🙂

  2. Gosh, it sounded quite a trying day! Great you were able to visit your son though, and I’m very intrigued to hear about your knitting adventure! xx

  3. You’ll be glad when she can get her 10 year passport. However you do have to apply in person for the first one of that too but you don’t need parents. YDS just got his adult one. All my sons have dual US/Canadian citizenship.

  4. The Consulate sounds like quite a daunting experience! I’m so happy that you all were able to spend a couple of enjoyable (if cold) days in Edinburgh. And by the way, I love your title “a wee jaunt” – so British! ❤

  5. I was certainly surprised about the wheelchair access. I am glad your daughter was able to handle the long day. How nice to visit your son too. I would love to see the royal yacht. My fingers are still crossed for the sale of your flat. I can’t wait to hear about your knitting adventure!

  6. I’m glad you were able to remain so positive but I think it’s shocking that they don’t have toilets in the Consulate, especially if you have to wait so long to be seen. It’s not exactly nextdoor to St James Centre either. How lovely to spend time with the whole family though, and to see Britannia. It’s very shiny inside isn’t it? I was very taken with the gleaming engine room fittings. I do hope you receive an offer for your flat soon, it must be trying to have to keep showing people round. I wonder if people are slightly less willing to make offers in this financial climate, perhaps these big decisions take longer when mortgages are not so easy to come by. Your knitting adventure sounds intriguing, I’m looking forward to the next post!

  7. That sounds like quite the adventure (rather like my afternoon at the Iowa DMV)! Glad the dafter was able to make it through and now has an updated passport. I am surprised about no restrooms and no wheelchair access though. Hopefully, you will receive a wonderful offer on your flat soon and be on your way to your new home! Look forward to hearing about your knitting expedition. 😉

  8. Wow, a visit to the Consulate sounds like quite the experience! Glad there were plenty other positives to your Edinburgh trip to make up for it!

    Still praying for you all in the house-selling situation.

    Blessings xo

  9. Amazing no loos orwheelchair access, I would have been explicit about the result of no loos, and what about US citizens that are wheelchair bound?
    But you all had a good time, thanks for taking us with you.

  10. No bathrooms – what !! How uncomfortable that must have been and no wheelchair access — oh my goodness that can be easy for others either.. Can’t want for you to share you knitting outing.. Hoping for the best for you always..

  11. Are you going to the yarn festival? See you there! (Bagl’s teething permitting.)

    Shocked about the toilets!

  12. Quite an energy-sapping trip, Christine. Glad all went well, though.

  13. Ditto everyone’s comments about the lack of restrooms/wheelchair access/general blah about the consulate experience! We need to get our girls’ passports, and I’m putting it off because I’ve heard it’s a nightmare. The Dafter looks beautiful in the photo of Michael and Your Son. Next time I’m in Edinburgh, I’m going to tour the Britannia!

  14. Can’t wait to hear about your knitting related adventure!! I can’t believe that you had to stand in the cold with the Dafter! Glad you got the mission accomplished though! we just did passports a few weeks ago. The childrens had all run out. James was 3 days old when we took his picture last and I think we had him to the consulate before he was 2 weeks because we had to be home in the USA for a wedding when he was 6 weeks old.

  15. Like everybody else I’m shocked by lack of disabled access and no loos! But the pictures of your visit are lovely.

  16. Lovely photos of the North Sea and your family with the rosy cheeks – a testament to the cold, no doubt, but very charming. A daunting challenge to accomplish in the cold and with no facilities on top of it! It must be a big relief, but so nice that you were able to spend the day with your son and Michael got to tour the ship. The Dafter has such a happy smile, so nice to see. xoxo

  17. Been following your blog for some time. I think this is my first reply, though I have often thought about commenting. Like everyone else, I am surprised that there is no loo or disability access at the consulate.
    I will be visiting the Britannia in May, and so was interested in your dining experience. Looks like there are several places to try at Ocean Terminal. Thank you for sharing.

  18. A belated thank-you to everyone for your comments. So I wasn’t being a drama queen about lack of wheelchair access and no toilets!

    Lorna, I was taking a much-needed nap while Michael was touring Britannia, so that pleasure awaits me another time!

    Jen, so nice to hear from you! I hope you have a really great visit to Britannia, and there are several restaurants in Ocean Terminal with that same fantastic view.

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