Jaunt to Edinburgh

I like the occasional jaunt through to Edinburgh and surely nobody can deny that it’s a very bonnie city.  When I go, I always refer to it as a jaunt as it’s a day out and one purely for pleasure.

I went on January 3rd and I have to say that these Edinburgh folk – or at least many of the ones who live in the New Town – horse out their Christmas trees very early into the gutters when they could have enjoyed them for a few more days.  Many of the poor trees were quite dried up looking so they had not been kept in water; they still had most of their needles but they were grey and curled up, having cried in vain for a drink.

I was heading north to wander round Stockbridge and as it was a fine clear day, I had a good view of the firth and over to Fife in the distance.  I always walk along Heriot Row and think of Robert Louis doing the same.  Then I turn right, looking for the square spire of an old church in the distance.  Unlike these bairns nowadays who can’t find their way round their own city unless they’re staring at a map on their phone, I use landmarks to give me my general direction.

I remembered a great coffee place from my last visit and there it still was: Leo’s Beanery in Howe Street.  Although I’d got a takeaway coffee for the train at Queen Street, I decided I could live a little and have another.  By the way, I must, must get one of those coffee cups that I can take with me next time instead of a throwaway one as I cannot let Michael Gove be one up on me; though it pains me to say it, good for him setting an example though it may be just part of some ghastly plan to rehabilitate himself.

Anyway, Leo’s Beanery is just what a neighbourhood café should be.  The coffee was good and hot, though the cup was maybe a bit wee.  The premises are below street level but there’s not a whiff of damp unlike some of its counterparts in Glasgow.  The food menu looked interesting with squash and chestnut soup, caramelised onion and spinach frittata – I could try to copy both of these.  They’ve got mismatched wooden chairs, benches and tables which are clean.  They have shelves of books and board games.  The staff are friendly and efficient.  The drinks menu on the table has a background wedding photo with the bride in a costume on one side and a woman holding a young child on the other; they look as if they were from the late 1940s, 50s and could have been in my own family album.  The one on my table was in need of a dicht as it had some food stains on it but that was the only fault I could find.  They’ve got some tables and chairs in their small outside space and two Januarys ago, when I was at a bit of a low ebb I remember sitting there and recovering myself.

It’s at the corner of Howe Street and Northumberland Street.  As I walked on, I noticed that the next street was Cumberland Street and then Clarence Street and realised that they were commemorating Dukes.  What fun we’re going to have post-independence when we’re re-naming streets and squares.  Bags being on the committee.  For a start, George Street will become Norman Street – or would MacCaig Street sound better?  Or maybe George Mackay Brown Street?

After my wanderings, I came back to Hanover Street  –  see what I mean?   To become Hugh Street?  –  and had lunch at Hendersons.  It hasn’t changed.  I always go down the steps to the right of the till to look at the painting of Princes Street Gardens as I eat; for the first time, I noticed a couple of characters on the left who were dead ringers for Norman MacCaig and Sorley Maclean, looking a bit the worse for wear.

I had a slightly undercooked baked potato though not enough to complain about even with no teenagers in tow, and a couple of salads.  I enjoyed the cauliflower and green bean one though where had the green beans come from in January?  The battle over seasonality will need to come after the plastics one.  The other one was carrot, rocket and a bit of cheddar and both portions were plentiful.

There were several examples of helicopter parenting going on among the largely middle class clientele.  Bairns who looked to me well old enough to feed and behave themselves and put their jackets off and on were being endlessly fussed over.  A woman used at least half a dozen baby wipes to ‘clean’ a high chair before she deigned to put her squalling child in it – and not just the bit the food was going on but the back and the legs too.  If this goes on all the time, how’s this child going to develop immunities?

When I got outside, I spotted a new place just nearby – a Pakora Bar.  I went in for a look see and ended up getting a takeaway of cauliflower ones for that night.  There was a nice helpful guy at the counter who explained the food was home made using proper recipes and none of your big vats of generic sauces through the back.  I hope they do well.




One thought on “Jaunt to Edinburgh

  1. Pingback: Cauld kail het up – Splendid, Bella!

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