Edinburgh Freewrite Travelogue, day 2
Day 2 in Edinburgh
I awoke with a only a wine bottle in my duvet. Memories of the night before returned in brief snatches. The suggestion to the room service waiter that he might stay for a glass or two, the revealing gowns we both wore, and the white fluffy bubbles emerged high from the champagne bottle, ‘voila,’ I said to them both, and the cork. Where was the cork?
Alone in the morning. T’was always the way here in my fast lane, I reflected – eleven mirrors, and a hairdryer in this room. Anything might happen, on or to me, before any one of the full-length mirrors. I knew my potential for house-play and bit my lip in a dangerous thrill that threatened to overwhelm and scratch on furniture [what?]. Bed-naked I strode from the emperor divan across to my acquired collection of micro sachets. I passed three mirrors, then quickly hop-skipped past the other eight. Then, a vision of great masculine beauty I drank my coffee at the bureau.
And yet my wife had gone to work, of course. I would drink coffee, and tea alone, read the menu again, and then enjoy myself solo, probably [all] in a day’s work. Eyes searched for a chandelier, for a fruit bowl, but no amenities, no special channel for men in this Presbyterian establishment. Instead, I relished an alternate prospect. Ten hours of daytime [Scottish] television, a remote control in the one fist, just me and the [Scottish] antique auctioneers.
An incredible chill interrupted all motion. The hotel cleaner was due to inspect the bedroom at any moment. Literally any second she would barge in with her nozzle and her hatred for lizard-men. She would clean my room. I had to leave the room, and immediately.
I grabbed my filthy t-shirt, my dirty trousers and my greasy socks. I
surveyed ignored the fourteen dresses hanging in the wardrobe. Also, she had forbidden hotel breakfast. It was ‘fifteen pounds,’ she [wife] had said all skinny that night before, ‘go get yourself a sausage – in a roll. I’m sure (a) man of your intelligence can find a sausage in a roll in Edinburgh town centre,’ she cackled.
Starving until lunch-time at least, I endeavoured to accomplish the real sightseeing that had so eluded me the day before, on the day of my rescue. I knew that across the way from the hotel a banner proclaimed ‘National Gallery’ and that behind it there might be a shop or park to walk around until my wife called me for her cocktail arrangement [soiree with colleagues, later on].
With some pride I navigated past the student security and looked at paintings inside the gallery. Here hung the famous painting of a deer standing on a mountain, alongside it in a frame the portrait of Mrs Evelina McCartney 1806, and yet, just as lids weighed heavy I followed the trail of anoraks and children and Italian people toward the section ‘Interpreting The Renaissance Nude through Modern Perspectives.’ Jackpot, although the renowned Tennis Girl 1975 was nowhere to be found, my single disappointment.
At this stage I realised that I really did not require a map at all. My new strategy was to follow tourists, or potential tourists. Waiting aside the hop-on, hop-off bus stop, I would mingle, shadow the crowd toward a shared destination of their choice naturally which was part of the appeal, reasonably.
Reclined against a wall outside the ladies public lavatories I assessed visitor flow, frequency , duration, and then continued my adventure, and strolled 100 yards behind a blizzard of Canadian women I had followed all afternoon.
Which leads to the climax of my account.
The women and myself passed in our kagouls the concrete structure known as the Scottish Parliament building, a tribute to the British Parliament building I heard the ladies say, I think so, [no, you twat] but yes, and just there stretched before us stood the majestic Highlands of Scotland on Edinburgh’s doorstep. Absolutely, and see it for yourself.
One minute I was walking the regal mile the next I was alone, immersed in heather to the thighs, [the Canadians fell behind] and I struck out, climbed onwards higher and higher along the mountain goat public foot track that leads to Europe’s highest mountain Ben Nevis. This was a feat of endeavour, each step followed by a pause for breath and then a cigarette before I, and with tears in my eyes, reached the summit over-looking the city.
Wobbly from exertion and the sheer thrill of accomplishment I
surveyed beheld the metropolis, the street plan memorised for my return journey, and surveyed admired the sea surrounding spread away in my hinter vision. I marvelled at the same seas that once inspired Wordsworth or Emily Bronte. The wind howled at my back, and by dead reckoning I calculated ways back down to the hotel lobby [over several hours]. I had finally found my Edinburgh.