Culture weekends

The last three weekends have been quite busy for me, with fun activities to keep me busy. The first weekend was the annual Roslin Village Fete, followed by a weekend attending a talk at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden, and finishing this past weekend with a visit to the National Galleries of Scotland for an art exhibition. There was quite a bit of walking involved, too!

The Roslin Village Fete took place on 7 September at the park. It started with a wee children’s parade, led by the Glencorse Pipe Band. It was one of those frustrating autumn days where I was both over-and-under-clothed for the weather. Because I walked there and back (2 miles each way) I was far too warm with my jacket and scarf. But at the venue, it was a bit too chilly to go without the jacket but too warm to wear it. (By that time, my scarf was off for the duration.)

After the pipe band finished playing, I had a wander around the stalls where I purchased a Roslin t-shirt for my mum (I’ll send it to you soon, I promise!) and a jar of local honey. I also had a nice chat with the folks from the Roslin Heritage Society. And now that my PhD is fully behind me, I finally have the time to join! So, I will be attending their next meeting so that I can pay my membership dues and participate in a bit of community spirit!

The following weekend (15 September), I made my way into Edinburgh to attend a talk at the botanics. The talk, “Ethnobotany: Plants, People and Nature”, was presented by three researchers who shared stories of cultural sanctuaries, valuable orchids, and medicinal plants from their ethnobotany fieldwork around the world. It was an interesting talk, although I was definitely more interested in the part about developing new (synthetic) medications from the natural properties of healing plants found around the world.

On the way to the talk, I visited the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail at St Andrew’s Square. It was fun to see all of the statues on display in one place, especially as there was no way I would have been able to see them all otherwise. I took photos of some of my favourites, although I don’t know that I could pick a single favourite from the collection. (Although the tiger comes close as I love tigers and that’s the statue that was in front of Usher Hall on the day of my PhD graduation.)

On the way home from the talk, I stopped off at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for a wee dram and a haggis lunch. The plan was then to get a bus from Princes Street to Roslin then walk the nearly two miles home. Only I missed the bus by seconds and the next one wasn’t for another 30 minutes. So, I walked to Morningside to hit a cash machine with the plan of getting a taxi home from there. Only there weren’t any taxis on the road so I kept walking towards home thinking I’d find a taxi eventually. But, long story short, I didn’t. Instead, I ended up walking all the way home. Yup. I managed to rack up more than 21,000 steps and nearly 10 miles on my wee legs. (But the weather was lovely, so I’m not complaining!)

Yesterday, 21 September, marked my third “culture” weekend in a row – and three straight weekends of getting out of the house, not something I do most weekends. The day’s cultural activities were split between art and politics. The first part of the day was spent at the Bridget Riley exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland. The exhibit was my housemate Adrian’s idea, which surprised me a bit because he’s never suggested such a “cultural” outing in the past. But I was pleased that he did suggest it because I don’t think I would have been aware of the artist or the exhibit otherwise. Much of her monotone line-based work really “spoke” to me, as it’s the kind of thing that I enjoy doodling (but as she’s a proper artist, her works are leaps and bounds beyond mine!)

After the museum, Adrian and I wandered up to the Royal Mile to meet our friend Harry so that we could all take part in a pro-EU rally. We met at St Giles’ Cathedral then joined in the procession down the mile towards the Parliament. There, thousands of like-minded pro-EU folks gathered to listen to some of our elected officials and community leaders speak in encouraging tones about the importance of maintaining a multicultural society. It was a very pleasant and upbeat day in the Scottish sunshine, and it made me feel quite confident about my place in my adoptive home.

Having spent three weekends in a row out and about, I am feeling quite cultured. But I am also feeling that I’m due a restful weekend. Or, rather, a weekend at home to catch up on chores. So, I am actually looking forward to next weekend when I have absolutely nothing planned! And once I’m rested up again, I can plan a few more fun adventures to keep me busy at the weekends!

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