Spoiled for choice!

More and more and more things to see and do! I think the only way to keep up-to-date with reporting everything is to do these lists on my blog. Once I start work, I’m sure I won’t have as much time to explore…so onward! Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Edinburgh International Science Festival – As Sean has been spending his days and evenings working at the festival, I’ve popped along to a couple of events. A is for Arsenic was a talk on the different poisons used in the novels of Agatha Christie! Kathryn Harkup, who has written a book of the same title, took us through the literary uses and the science behind four different poisons – arsenic, strychnine, cyanide, and phosphorus. Her book discusses fourteen different poisons, so this was just a taster (PUNS! PUNS FOR ALL!) and I can’t wait to read more…I also attended The Mathematics of Why I Don’t Have a Boyfriend, which was a talk by Dr Trina Dinnis. This was hilarious – a very entertaining presentation that treated the acquiring of a boyfriend like a science experiment and maths problem, using case studies from romantic fiction and involving crazy complicated graphs and equations that ordinarily would give me a panic attack. She invented and explained ‘The Darcy Standard’…essential viewing for any Austen fan!

Scottish Poetry Library – Oh, my heart. I can’t express how lovely this quiet little jewel of a library is. I have been in just to sit in the comfy chairs and read the collected works of Carol Ann Duffy (not the entire thing, obviously. That would take days), and I’ve put in an application to do some volunteer work, which involves helping out at their events and weekends. The staff are friendly, the collection is immense, the building is quiet. Bliss.

Edinburgh book sculptures – an anonymous artist has deposited a group of beautiful, intricate, delicate, gorgeous sculptures around the city, all made from the pages of books. The sculptures have all been ‘found’ in various cultural institutions, and most (but not all) are on public display. It has been a joy running around the city to view them! The artist has apparently said they are finished with the project, but they have been appearing at odd times since 2011, so anything is possible…

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Iona – No, not the island sadly. But I will go one day! This is a film, about a character named Iona, set on the island she was named after. We went to the Edinburgh Filmhouse to see it (and I will definitely be back there, though it’s not quite as affordable as my beloved Astor), and I really enjoyed it. Everything was beautiful – the score, the cinematography, the scenery (shot on location), and Ruth Negga as the protagonist. The ending made me want to throw something – I thought it was out of place and not fitting with the rest of the film – and I felt like too much was left unsaid, but I still enjoyed it immensely. It’s quite bleak – don’t watch it if you’re after something ‘feel-good’.

Lauriston Castle – I would never have visited this place, or even heard of it, if it was not for my wonderful mates back home, Cara and Alfie. As part of their list of missions for me to complete, they sent me off to the Edinburgh-Kyoto Friendship Garden, located in the grounds of beautiful Lauriston Castle. This is a place I am definitely going back to – the daily tour was cancelled, so I need to go back anyway – and it was an utterly stunning and unexpected pleasure. This was even more precious than your normal ‘castle-and-grounds’ combination I’m so fond of. It was relatively small, meaning one day when I eventually win the lottery, I could live somewhere like this (I can dream), and I felt as though I had stepped back in time. The day was a bit grey, and there was barely anyone else around. In addition to the Friendship Garden, there was a beautiful pond, a croquet lawn with fantastic views of the Firth of Forth, and the prettiest toilet block I ever did see (it looked like a little cottage). The castle wasn’t even open, but I spent a long time wandering the grounds and had my picnic (a Subway sandwich, two chocolate biscuits and a nectarine) while reading a 1996 copy of The Paris Review that I picked up at The Abbey Bookshop in Paris. The Friendship Garden has the normal Japanese features, such as water, stones, and cherry blossom, and was utterly still and quiet. Perfection. Even the friggen bus ride there and back was pretty.

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