Thursday, June 30, 2011

Edinburgh Book Festival

My tickets arrived today for the Edinburgh Book Festival. It's so lovely when something good arrives in the mail.
 I've bought for four events so far. And I'm tempted by two more - Kathleen Winter and Audrey Niffenegger. If they haven't sold out nearer the time and I'm feeling flush I'll buy tickets then.
I missed out on getting tickets for Alasdair Gray's Fleck, for which he's roped in many leading Scottish writers to perform: AL Kennedy, Ian Rankin, Will Self (not Scottish, I know, or maybe he claims to be, many people do), Janice Galloway and Louise Welsh. It's the event I most wanted to go to but it sold out on the first day.
But I'm very pleased with the tickets I do have. I saw Alasdair Gray at the Book Festival a few years ago, and he was very entertaining and erudite. 
And AL Kennedy, well, I'd like to have her career.

I loved Rebecca Hunt's book Mr Chartwell, about the personification of depression, though her 'black dog' came across as so sweet and charming that if he was my black dog I'd rather want to keep him hanging around. I wondered if Rebecca Hunt has had any personal experience of depression, or knows anyone who has suffered from it, as (as much as I loved the book) I didn't think it depicted depression accurately at all. I wonder if I'll have the bravery to form that into a polite question to ask her at the reading?

And Maggie O'Farrell is someone else whose career I'm interested in. She seems to manage that great feat of being well-regarded by her peers and critics, and having popular sales.

Best Wishes,


x x x

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Woman's Prerogative

Well maybe I was a bit hasty. Maybe.

All I know is that I had a great desire to slash and burn when I left Norfolk. 

And the move was huge.

But anyway, we're settling into the new house/new city/new country. 

Yesterday I took a walk to aquaint myself with Edinburgh. I parked outside my friends' house in Morningside (my great homing-instinct intact as ever) and walked down Morningside, through Bruntsfield, then turned at the Meadows and walked across. I had no idea where this path would take me, but it was a sunny day and I felt like walking.

For a while I've wanted to make a trip into town to visit the Central Library, find a yarn shop, and go to The Elephant House, and strangely once I'd walked through the Meadows I bumped into all three.

(My laptop has been attacked by a virus and Hagos is on tour so I've been unable to upload my own photos. The pictures below are from the internet/the relative websites as I'm currently using our office computer.)   

The Central Library. I was disappointed by it. I expected it to be bigger/laid out better and I was hoping it would have an area to work at, like the desks at Swiss Cottage Library in London, where I really loved to work. Maybe I haven't realised its full potential yet and of course I will give it another go.
K1 Yarns. A beautiful, beautiful, beautiful wool shop with lots of gorgeous and lots of Scottish wool. I particularly loved the alpaca wool for £5 a 50g ball. I'll definitely be back in there. And I think I touched every ball of wool they had on sale.
And The Elephant House. I haven't been in, and it may very well have good coffee and a good atmosphere, but I was very put off by the largely-writ claim on the window of it being "The birthplace of Harry Potter". From interviews I've seen and heard with JK Rowling, she began writing the book in London, I think she then took it to Portugal with her while she lived there, then brought it back to Edinburgh. So, it's a bit of an exageration.

I have still to find a good cafe/writing place because I too like to write and I like good coffee. I've tried a few cafes but so far none has provided that winning combination of great coffee, personal space and time, and interesting clientele that I like. I miss Expresso's in Norwich very much for that. It was located beside the art college and I always felt as though time stood still when I was in there and I could THINK and be inspired and be creative.

But there are many cafes in Edinburgh and a few I have my eye on to try. One promising cafe called The Chocolate Tree, and one called Konditorei (spelling may be off there).

Until next time :)