Friday, 28 September 2012

Retail comfort

When you open the door to a changing room in a clothes shop the last thing you expect to see is a fully made-up bed.

In a fully furnished bedroom.

This haven for weary shoppers is Jack Wills, in Edinburgh's George Street.  In the British class system which still seems alive and well, the clothes of this brand are associated with well-off, upper class university students,  not least by the company's own advertising.  Think rowing sweatpants, padded gilets, checked shirts, retro woolies. While there is a certain clumping of the brand in this sector of the population, the appeal seems broader than that.  My daughter is now a university student, but I wouldn't put us in the well-off, upper-class bracket.  How comforting it is in Britain to know exactly where you come in the social scale.  (Should I have a little pop-up here to say 'irony intended'?) It should be said that well-off and upper-class don't always go together, so it's less of a scale than a complex matrix.

I know that the price of the clothes (ouch!) is paying for the sumptuous changing rooms, but there is a certain relief to encounter a bed while accompanying an about-to-be student on a big pre-university shopping expedition.  And yes, of course I lay down on it.  Apart from the price tag at the end, I wish all retail experiences could be like this.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dalek of the apocalypse

And a headless one, at that.  Another in the City of Edinburgh Libraries' wonderful dalek series.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Skywatch Friday - skyline conversations

The conversation I had in mind when I took this shot was the one between the streaming plume of cloud and the docile clouds below.  As I framed the shot however I was aware of the tiny scale of the houses, and that got me thinking about Edinburgh's skyline in general.  

We have the cluster of monuments on Calton Hill, the Castle, of course,  and the Royal Mile.  There are a few very modest 1960s tower blocks erected by Edinburgh University, tall blocks among the social housing outside the city centre and in the new waterfront quarters being created, but apart from those the World Heritage status awarded to the Old and New Towns in 1995 by UNESCO means that our skyline conversations are somewhat restrained, and restricted by the hilly nature of the terrain.  It probably accounts for my sense of dislocation on a visit to Antwerp, where tall buildings stood up from a flat cityscape that stretched away to the horizon. 

 Photos I took first thing on the same day from the same spot but facing the other way show how buildings seem to hug the contours of the land.  I was taking this shot to track progress of the ongoing flood defence work, but you can see how the New Town seems all of a piece.  A church tower which would be dwarfed in other cities seems doubly tall as a result.

I can't immediately think what the crane in the shot below is constructing, but I would guess it's not a tower block.

Strangely, the low skyline makes me very conscious of how the city has flowed over the land beneath, covering hills and virgin ground with a stone and concrete carapace.

More skies from around the world are at Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Great Wall of China it's known in our family.  More prosaically, it's the pipe taking water down to the power station at the Killin end of Loch Tay.

A couple of days later, all is clear.  The power station can just be seen among the trees by the loch shore. 

Sunday, 9 September 2012


With the closing ceremony of the Paralympics about to start, here's a themed window - an osteopath's clinic which always has a topical window display.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

The tidy up

The Edinburgh International Festival ends today.  As I write, the final event is resounding across the city: the fireworks concert from the castle accompanied by live music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  After the fun and mayhem, the city is in clean-up mode.  What goes up during a performance, in the form of the glittery 'rain' above, comes down and tends to lie around.

The once beautiful grass in the quad of the University of Edinburgh's Old College is emerging from under its stage of the past month.

The quad was the venue for several plays performed by the Polish theatre company KTO.  Below, a rehearsal of 'The Blind'.  I didn't go to see the play - the synopsis of  'the blind secluded in a hospital-like camp soon lose their civic structure and create their own world based on violence and animalistic instincts'  didn't attract me.

I was however fascinated by the moving hospital beds motif, given the National Health Service segment of the Olympics opening ceremony.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Gentle alternative

And a gentle easing back into blogging for me.  I did consider a huge, attention-grabbing post, but I haven't been doing huge, attention-grabbing things, so here is life as it has been in Scotland this summer.

Some might say that 'the' T in the Park is the rock festival with international names and epic mud and all the standard, repeated across the country rock festival ingredients.  I prefer the sound of the Glenlivet version.  We didn't manage to get there, sadly, but we hope to make it for the 10th annual event.  There's still just time to catch it, if you happen to be in the area this weekend.


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