Monday, January 07, 2008

JK Rowling's cafe in Edinburgh

Sunday I went to brunch in Edinburgh with Matt and Susan Reed, a British couple we met in the Galapagos. We went to a little place called the Elephant House and had a nice chat. Turns out this was the coffee house where J.K. Rowling penned her first Harry Potter book, and maybe several thereafter.

It is obvious why. It has an airy main room, high ceiling, big windows, big tables, lots of room, lots of space for a writer to get lost in thought.

Saturday night I went to see the Scottish ballet perform Tschaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, which was very good, mostly. Some of the performers are of very high quality and some are pretty dodgy.

The city is dominated by a castle that dates back about 1,000 years and has been overrun and heavily damaged several times. It's built on a pile of rock that is an extinct volcano.

Sunday I hiked to the top of Arthur's Peak, about 800 feet above the city and extremely craggy and blustery. It's also an extinct volcano.
Edinburgh is a bustling city of about 450,000 on a wide water highway to the ocean called the Firth of Forth. Interesting architecture.
The accents are very strong and hard to render in written form. Robert Burns was not exaggerating. Nor was the Fat Bastard's accent overplayed by Mike Meyers in the Austin Powers movie.


The Conservatives have made a big stink lately about the number of British workers on disability and have made a proposal to get them back to work. The total of 2.6 million people collecting disability payments is huge considering that the workforce numbers only 30 million.
British employers fret about that cost as well as the cost of workers calling off sick, which is a massive problem here.

Oscar Wilde said it best: Work is the bane of the drinking classes.

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