Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Edinburgh - Part One

The day before we went to Edinburgh I nearly suffocated in lists. Our flat was littered with small, desperate scraps of paper with scrawled To Do haikus on them.

Loop pedal (and lead)
Black dresses (one, two and three)
Ibuprofen (lots)

On the morning we left Ben made egg mayonnaise sandwiches for five people, while I checked corners for lurking fruit that might be ready to go dramatically mouldy as soon as the front door slammed shut. As usual I did not check my lists, considering a thoughtful frown in the vague direction of my luggage sufficient insurance against forgotten things.

Once at the train station we met Dan and stood amongst our metropolis of luggage. A cello, a speaker, a guitar, a loop pedal, a midi keyboard, computers, a snake nest of leads, a keyboard stand, a wooden board and two weeks' worth of clothes and shoes. I may have been responsible for slightly more of the last two things than Dan and Ben, but luckily for me Sophie and Lowri soon arrived to even up the scores.

Having wrestled our suitcase city onto the train, we excitedly all ate our sandwiches way before lunchtime, gazed out of windows for goat-spotting and made jokes about what we were going to do next year instead of saving for six months to go and rinse our money trying to get people to validate us. "2013: Costa del Sol!" I remarked, hilariously, privately deciding to make it an in-joke for the rest of the trip.

Finally, after quite a number of "are we in Scotland yet?"s and "have you brought your passport?"s, some whole carriage conversations and sudden realizations that one of us had forgotten something vital, we pulled into Edinburgh Waverley.

Two taxis later and we arrived at the accommodation we'd booked months previously. Loud music screeched from the battered, pebble-dashed flats. "Don't you just love the summer holidays?" one of us muttered in response to some howls that echoed from an upstairs open window. We sat on a wall and waited for the estate agent to come and let us in, everyone trying their best not to look like a snob and consider the over-a-thousand-pounds we had paid for a two week stay in this place where brown water was seeping down the walls and the hallway seemed dark and foreboding through smudged glass.

Eventually the agent loped into sight. He was tall, with a bald head and an expression of amused distaste. He gamely picked up a suitcase and lead us through the damp concrete hallway to our flat on the fourth floor.

I was heaving my cello onto the second set of stairs when I heard Lowri and Sophie being shown into the flat.

"Oh!"

It was an "Oh!" that could have been "Oh! An en suite!" or "Oh! A balcony!" or "Oh! A hot tub with a built in Champagne dispenser!".

I made my way up the next two flights to discover that, in fact, it was an "Oh! What is that smell that has just hit me round the face like a three-week old haddock?"(which you will certainly agree is a significantly inferior "oh!").

The flat smelled impressively bad. Like, horrifying, kneecap-tinglingly, retina-searingly awful. Later we decided that it smelled as though a dog, or possibly some dogs, had urinated copiously, then died and not been discovered for a few weeks. I do like to employ poetic licence sometimes (read: flagrantly exaggerate) but I promise I am not in this case.

The estate agent tried to tell us he would have it cleaned but we all went into simultaneous lawyer-mode (as learned from Ally McBeal circa 1998) and determinedly lugged all our stuff back down the stairs and demanded alternative accommodation.

After a short phone call ("yeah, no, it is really bad actually") he announced that he had an alternative for us. Taxis were called, luggage heaved once more and he said he'd meet us there.

Again, Sophie and Lowri went in first. "Oh!" I heard one of them say. "A balcony!" I waited hopefully for the hot tub/Champagne dispenser to be discovered, but when it didn't happen I didn't really mind. It didn't smell like a canine mortuary, and for that I was immensely grateful.

It was a much nicer, infinitely nicer, stupidly nicer flat. It was further from town, overlooking the shore, but it meant our balcony had a sea-view, so we could watch ships do disappearing tricks and try and pretend we were on a proper holiday. ("Costa del Sol!" I said, to gales of disapproving silence.) We chose not to focus on the fact that the estate agent was clearly going to charge us loads of money for a dump when they had perfectly lovely flats available, and settled in.

That night we unpacked, drank wine and got excited, nervous about the following day, when Sophie, Lowri and I would start our show on the top of our bus.

4 Comments:

Blogger Davieboy said...

My RSS list is mostly made up of political blogs, a few fantasy writers' blogs and some tech stuff. Stumbled across your blog a few years back and it never fails to entertain. Your writing has real life, warmth and humour. It's a bit sporadic but always a worthwhile read. Thanks!

9:59 pm

 
Blogger Lucy Lepchani said...

Looking forward to the next instalment! x

10:29 pm

 
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