Saturday, 1 December 2012

Edinburgh Castle views and the Deacon's Hoose

Yesterday was St Andrews Day.  Patron saint of Scotland.  We went to Edinburgh Castle because entry was free.  It seemed a good day to upload my first post about our trip to Edinburgh.  But I was just too tired.  In fact, I am overwhelmed by all that I want to write about our time in Scotland.  So I have decided to start by telling you about my day yesterday.

The day started with me waking early.  Our sleep in Scotland is settling down but I am still finding it a wee bit unpredictable.  Here is my breakfast.  Granary bread with swiss cheese and some leftover roast vegies.  I bought the swiss cheese because Sylvia loves it.  Her eating is unsettled with our travels and she is resisting food that doesn't look like that which she knows (eg she wont eat baked beans in square tubs because they should come in small round tins).

After my breakfast E and Sylvia got up in time to see the sunrise from the window of our holiday flat.  We watched a heron on the nearby burn (that is what E says is the Scottish word for the stream).

We rugged up on our winter woollens to go out.  This is Sylvia's new hat and gloves.  She hasn't really had to wear gloves before.  Only the occasional mittens.  The weather is so cold that gloves are necessary.  The dolly is borrowed from her cousin.

We did some shopping at Cameron Toll and then met up with E's dad and nephews for lunch at Burger King.  Many years ago when I first travelled to the UK, Burger King had an surprisingly good vegetarian burger.  Now they only do a fairly average bean burger.

After lunch we visited Greggs.  Branches of this bakery are everywhere throughout Edinburgh (and the rest of the UK).  I find the blue fronted shops remind me of the time I lived in the UK.  E loved the doughnuts and I loved the cheese and onion pasties.  Yesterday E had a doughnut, I had a chocolate muffins with rainbow buttons on top and Sylvia had a snowman biscuit.

Then we took a bus to the city centre to visit Edinburgh Castle for free.  Hurrah for St Andrew's Day!  We visited the castle on our last visit to Edinburgh so we were happy to wander without having to see everything.  The sunny photo of the castle above was taken this morning.  By the time we arrived yesterday afternoon, it was around 3 and the light was already drawing in. 

We didn't bother going into St Margaret's Chapel or the War Memorial or the Great Hall or the War Museum.  Instead we joined the crowds by the canons at the viewing platforms.  What I loved best about this visit was the views.

Sylvia declared that she had never seen anything more beautiful.  I felt the same way.  Above is a view of Princes Street.  Locals often bemoan how this shopping strip has gone downmarket.  From above it looks like a grand collection of buildings.

Edinburgh Castle is an interesting place to wander around.  So many fascinating historic details.  I couldn't believe the queues yesterday.  And after walking around the steep footpaths in the cold, we were ready for a warm drink.

E took us off the High Street down a dark close into the Deacon's House Cafe.  As soon as we arrived, the guy from behind the counter offered a drink for Sylvia and brought it to her quickly.  It was typical of the friendly service.

Around the walls were murals outlining Deacon Brodie's life.  The cafe was once the workshop of this rascally councillor who was the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde. Apparently he hanged in 1788.  It struck me that if he had been arrested a few years later he might have been transported to Australia and become a big wig there.

This room is cosy with olde worlde ornaments along the shelves and in the deep set windowsills.  Above the counter is some bare stone wall as a reminder of the age of the historic building.  Christmas decorations add to the warm welcome.  The top photo is the fireplace with the stockings and pine cone decorations.  Sylvia was fascinated by the baby Jesus in the windowsill and the Christmas tree with the flashing lights in the corner.

The menu was fairly standard offering of soup, sandwiches, toasties, slices and scones.  But what it did, it did well.  I ordered a cheese scone and a hot chocolate.  The scone was large and fresh.  It was served with a magnificent raspberry jam (though E was less enthused with his strawberry jam that came with his plain scone).

I ordered the hot chocolate because Sylvia was so cold that I thought she might like some of my warming drink.  She had a few spoonfuls but that was enough for her.  I find hot chocolates quite rich and would have preferred a herbal tea.  Nevertheless it was a lovely place to sit and relax and thaw out.

We stopped at the supermarket on the way home.  This selection of fruit juices wearing woolly hats amused me.  Supermarkets in the UK are different from home.  In the UK the cashiers sit down but they stand at home.  At home they pack the groceries for you but in the UK they ask how many bags you need and given you bags to pack your own groceries.  I think I would prefer to work in a UK supermarket than an Aussie one.

Rather than going straight home, we took our tea to E's dad's house.  Sylvia and I had wild garlic and parsley sausages with brussel sprouts.  I was glad to be able to offer her some vegetables at last.  She had so much fun playing with her Scottish cousins that I was worried she was too distracted to eat.  Finally she gobbled it up.

So you see, we are having a great time.  We've been sightseeing and shopping and socialising.  I've been to the Edinburgh Farmer's Market this morning, a fete this afternoon and tonight we went to my sister in law's place for her delicious and spicy Mexican lasagne with goats cheese

Deacon's House Cafe

2 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2PS
Tel: 01312 261894

22 comments:

  1. We're going to Edinburgh for a week next September - it looks SO pretty. Hopefully it'll be just a tad warmer when we get there.

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    1. Thanks Miss Piggy - it is snowing this morn so I guess you wont get that in Sept but don't expect a lot of warm weather - but you can expect it to be just as pretty. (let me know if you have questions)

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  2. It does sound like you are having fun and it was lovely spending the day with you. It nearly ended badly. I got back to the car and no phone. A run back to the cafe, no phone. They checked with all the waitresses, still no phone, but I wasn't budging, so the manager rang it with his phone and we found it on the crate of oranges at the front door. Cooper must have taken it with him when he ran ahead and just laid it down and left it as if it was nothing. Jings! So lucky to get it back.

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    1. Thanks Jac - relieved to hear you found your phone - kids have no idea but I bet Cooper gave you a charming smile (if he was still awake)

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  3. It looks as though you are having an amazing time! Loe Sylvia's new hat and gloves - they are very cute and look very warm.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - they are very cute woollens - and I will be getting a new scarf after losing mine - have been using sylvia's scarfs meanwhile :-)

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  4. Hehe Sylvia is a cutie as always hiding behind her newly borrowed Dolly! Good to hear that you're having a wonderful time too :D

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - Sylvia loves to hide behind her dolly for a photo - either that or make a face :-(

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  5. Your postcard style photo's in this and your last post are gorgeous. It looks such a magical place to be at Christmas time. Did the juice company put the beanies on the juice bottles or had someone yarnbombed them? They are very cute!

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    1. Thanks Tash - glad you are enjoying the photos - it is indeed a magical place to be at christmas. The hats are a fundraiser - http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/bigknit

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  6. My goodness, this is a sad indictment of my blog keeping. I didn't even know you were planning a trip over here, never mind that you've already been to Dublin and are now in Edinburgh! It sounds like you've been having a fantastic time and you were so lucky with the weather on your castle trip too. I also hear you managed to meet up with Jac and Chele, so I'm looking forward to hearing more about that.

    I love Edinburgh, it's my favourite UK city and has quite a few family connections too. Hope the rest of your stay is a good one.

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    1. Thanks Choclette - I am a bit behind in blog visiting too so I understand - glad you have caught up with my UK posts while I am over your side of the world - shame that cornwall is not a little closer to Edinburgh or I might have tried to drop in :-) We have had snow overnight but hopefully the weather wont be too bad for getting about today

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  7. Wow - you certainly know how to pack the most into your days :0)
    And it is so strange to see the normal everyday things I take for granted as a showcase on your blog ... I really need to start taking more of an interest in this city!!

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    1. Thanks Chele - it is easier to appreciate a town when you are a visitor and have a bit of time - I think I always loved the Edinburgh architecture when I lived here because I lived so close to the grassmarket and high street

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  8. I'm dying to know why the juices have knitted hats, is it a fundraiser?

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    1. Hi polka dot rabbit - check out the website at http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/bigknit - it is a fundraiser to raise money for older people during winter (though I am not sure how it works)

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  9. Thank you for the wonderful journey! Tho' pretty well travelled I never did make it to Edinburgh [not even to my beloved Tattoo :( !] and it is such a delight to go walkabout [yup, another Aussie :) !] with you!

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    1. Thanks Eha - we went to the tattoo a couple of times and lived close enough to the castle to enjoy the fireworks - glad you are enjoying some vicarious travel in Edinburgh with me - such a beautiful city

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  10. great to hear you're enjoying your trip. Try Hendersons downstairs for cheap and cheerful veggie. Also very good but higher end is David Banns.

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    1. Thanks Adam - I loved David Banns last year when I had dinner with some friends and Sylvia stayed with E but am not sure I will get there this time - hope we might swing by Henderson's but time is already flying by.

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  11. I would prefer to work in UK supermarkets than Australian ones too, but I think there are many reasons for that, and not all of them involve sitting ;)

    Your pictures of Edinburgh are beautiful. I love the lighting in the shot of the chapel and the layers of buildings in the one below. It is a really gorgeous city. I'm glad you're having so much fun and that Sylvia is well equipped with warm clothing!

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    1. Thanks Kari - the views from the castle were really gorgeous in what E calls the gloaming - Sylvia is just up so must go but yes we are all having lots of fun

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