May 7th, 2004


Seagull's hour

Hi, audience! I have an update of the "boring but slightly unusual event" variety. I went out last night for the usual coffee and laptop late-night at the Favorit, and when I came back I noticed I didn't have my keys. I retraced my steps back to the Favorit but they were not found. By that time it was almost 3AM.

I'm very careful not to lose keys, so I reckoned I must have left my flat door unlocked and the keys somewhere inside, which would be OK (it doesn't lock automatically). But the street door does lock, so I had to wait until morning when people would open the door to come out.

So I had a pleasant night of walking round Edinburgh between 3AM and 7AM, mostly hiding in the shadows around the Royal Mile: Resting on a ledge by the Qakers' house overlooking Victoria Street. Sitting on the benches of the Jolly Judge pub reading Chomsky (always handy for times like this). Looking at the changing light as day broke over the High Street. If you know the city, there's a surprising number of places where you can hide for a few hours, right in the oldest and most central part.

I went to Greyfriars cemetery and looked at all the "and his wife" inscriptions on the gravestones. Yadda Yadda of the honourable East India Company (sic), and his wife, and his son, and his wife, and some kids... Very suitably patriarchal. That cemetery is in the centre of Edinburgh, but a very old part, so it's possible to look around and see nothing that's new: No cars, no signs, no 20th centrury buildings. So the distance from the gravestones becomes indeterminate. It was raining very very slightly and the birds were singing stereophonically (well, as a group).

Eventually it got to 7am and I managed to get a coffee from a nice North African looking guy's shop in South Bridge (waiting for Starbucks to open would have been an admission of defeat). Got back into my building and, sure enough, I had carefully locked my door and left the keys on it! Mmmm... now warm...