Oh Red Poppy of Edinburgh


In spite of her most strenuous efforts, she succumbed to the lure of Cadbury and consumed an entire bar of milk chocolate, calling it “lunch.”

She was going to e-mail son and tell him:  Sorry I could never get through.

She bought him a book from a place called Transreal Fiction, 46 Candlemaker Row.  She asked the bookseller to show her a book by “the best Scottish writer of fantasy or science fiction” today.  The book he showed her was gi-nor-mous.  Self stayed there about an hour.  Edinburgh is the coolest city.

The British Airways plane has finally arrived (Flight’s already been delayed by half an hour).

Self will leave dear blog readers with a last memento of her fabulous month of June 2012 spent in Scotland.  She took this picture while gallivanting yesterday afternoon with Elizabeth M, a “retired schoolteacher” whose acquaintance she made at the screening of “MNL 143” at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Poppy, Roof Terrace, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Ah, Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow!

At times like these, what better way to salve one ‘s spirits than a glass of good, dark, Guinness Draft Beer!

Last Outing: Beer at the Sun Inn, Dalkeith

Self will sorely miss the scintillating conversations she had with these two, Marylee and Joan.

What self will NOT miss:  How much weight she’s gained here in Scotland.  Scottish breakfasts are positively huge, dear blog readers.  And lunch follows only three hours later.  Then, because one’s tummy has been stoked (already) by the rich food, one simply cannot hold one’s horses until the 7 p.m. dinner.  And that’s when the butterscotch tablets come out.  And the scones and tea.  Aaaargh, aaaaargh, aaaaargh.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Last Day in Edinburgh

Grayfriars Bobby, the Faithful Skye Terrier who guarded the grave of his master for 14 years!

Dear Edinburgh, how self will miss you —  all the sights and sounds of your colorful denizens, your overcast skies, your creepy underground tours, your paving-stone streets, your crooked corners, your fascinating bookshops, your little pubs, your eccentric monuments (Scott’s monument looks like an alien spaceship about to take off into the cloudy Scottish skies!)

Today, self went to the Elephant House.  She took pictures of a bulletin board festooned with drawings of elephants:

Children mail drawings of elephants to The Elephant House, billed as “The Birthplace of Harry Potter”

On another bulletin board were many pictures of a (very young) J. K. Rowling.

In the comfort room was scrawled, on one wall:

If you would like to bang (or make love to) Hermione, put a check mark here.

There were 10 check marks.

Funny, self thought there would be more.

Just to the right of the above scrawled message (Self is amazed that she actually had the wherewithal to take notes on what was written on the bathroom walls — but, anything for “ze blog”!!!) was another:

If you are sane (or cool enough) to realize that Hermione would have nothing to do with you, put a check mark here.

Beneath this message were eight check marks.

Meat pie with mashed potatoes and gravy: Self’s lunch today at The Elephant House. Self noticed that most of the patrons who ordered this accompanied their meal with a large glass of milk!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Jeff Tagami: June 23, 2012

Rest in peace, Jeff.

Self is still in shock.

She really has no words.

She found out from an e-mail from Virginia Cerenio.

Jeff represented everything that was gracious in our community.

Shirley, self’s heart goes out to you.

Today’s GUARDIAN: Something in the “Incredible But True” Category

The largest hoard of Iron Age Celtic coins found anywhere in northern Europe has been discovered by two amateur metal detectorists who have been searching in the same field in Jersey for 30 years.

Reg Mead and Richard Miles found up to 50,000 silver and bronze coins, which remain clumped inside a massive block of soil.  They had been hunting for buried treasure inspired by legends that a local farmer once turned up silver coins while working on the land.  Earlier this year, they finally found 60 silver coins and one gold, dating from the 1st century B.C.  Every coin, Mead said, gave them the same thrill.  “We are talking about searching for 40 to 50 hours to get these coins out, and every one gives you the same buzz.”

They continued searching, convinced there was more to find.

—  from an article by Maev Kennedy in The Guardian, Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Also in today’s Guardian: ads for “The Five-Year Engagement,” which stars Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.  Self watched it in the spring, with son and Jennie.  The Times, The Independent, The Daily Mirror and The Guardian all give it four stars.

Self found it rather bleak (for a comedy, that is).  Self did find the blonde who plays Jason Segel’s flaky, young plaything pretty amazing — awful and yet vulnerable, at the same time.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

B & B, Morningside, Edinburgh

Stayed the night in the city so that self could watch Christopher Gozum’s Forever Loved, self’s third Filipino film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (The other two were Emerson Reyes’ amusing MNL 143, and Jewel Maranan’s documentary Tondo, Beloved:  To What Are the Poor Born?)  Incidentally, self met a fascinating woman at the showing of MNL 143.  Her name is Elizabeth, she has three sons, and we are meeting again tomorrow afternoon for tea)

The festival ends Sunday, July 1.

Isn’t this the most adorable cat pillow?

Self loves the way Edinburgh interiors are so domintated by the color red.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

More of the Long Good-Bye

Entering:  Self’s first thought was heart’s ease.

The park-like surroundings. Self found out today that she cannot re-apply until after five years have passed.

When self first arrived, none of the roses had bloomed . . .

In the deepest, darkest portion of the Pictish Caves! We are so terrorized that we huddle together for comfort and protection!

Self requested Marylee to give the “V” for Victory, to commemorate our having successfully reached the other end of the Pictish, Cave-Like, Demonic, Totally Thrilling Tunnels beneath the Castle.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Long Goodbye


You never saw such green, such loveliness.

Everything ends.  But, always, too soon.

Dinner conversation this evening:  crap, and other such niceties.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Poems From the London Underground

Because of the upcoming London Olympics, there is a veritable extravaganza of art and cultural events happening all over the United Kingdom this summer.

Because this is Britain, a lot of the activities revolve around literary themes.  Such as the collection, World Poems on the Underground, free copies of which are everywhere:  libraries, bookstores, what-have-you.

The poems are written by poets from “forty-four different countries,” many of whom “settled in London, drawn by its long tradition of welcoming the wider diaspora from every country of the world.”  The poems “have all been displayed on the London Underground.”  (Wow, can you imagine such a thing happening in New York???  That would be sooo fab!)

Here’s a poem, “Almost without Noticing,” written by the Finnish poet Eira Stenberg and translated by Herbert Lomas:

Almost without Noticing

Almost without noticing,
without thinking, it seems,
you’ve arrived where you see far.
Thirty years back, more, the path vanishes,
thirty years ahead, more, the path vanishes:
you’re forced to sit down in the shade
and think.
mother of truth and myth,
tell how the terrain divided the stream.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Rain, Edinburgh

Self loves the city, even in the rain.

Her one disappointment is that, in all her peregrinations around Edinburgh, she has never managed to bump into Alexander McCall Smith.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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