Edinburgh Day 1. It’s a Mary Queen of Scots extravaganza!!









IMG_2326Having a blogmeet is such a lovely thing, because even though you’ve never met the person before, you already ‘know’ them a bit through their writing. I’m here in Edinburgh with Pam and her husband for a few days, and on the first day we hit the ground running and went out to explore the general area in and around the Royal Mile.

First stop was of course the Castle. I’ve just been reading this link and a lot went on in the castle over the years!  The things I was most interested in particularly revolve around Mary Queen of Scots, as that’s the history I know, though there was another link with the tour I’ve just finished that was a bit exciting as well.


After the tour, we went in and saw the Scottish crown jewels, (no photos allowed), along with the Stone of Scone. I’ve seen the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. 🙂

Then we went into the building next door, which housed the royal apartments and also the tiny room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her only child James, the future king of both Scotland and England.





A bit odd to have a drawing of the first husband here… it’d be like me having a framed picture of my ex-husband upon the wall… Still, I was excited to see what he looked like, poor boy.




A young Charles II. 🙂




I’ve spent the last 10 minutes trying to find out the significance of this trunk. If someone know, can you let me know in the comments? It was in the tiny room where the future king was born.



This is the view from the window, though perhaps there were fewer cars and buildings in her day. You can see Arthurs Seat, where we went after dinner on the previous night to look at the view of the city.


Look up!


This hall was built to celebrate the marriage of Henry VIII’s older sister Margaret to the Scottish King.


The ceiling was made by shipwrights; not a single piece of metal was used and it looks like the hull of an enormous boat. I’m learning very quickly that whenever you walk into a room over here it pays to look up. They really love their ceilings!



This was at the battle of Waterloo. Imagine carrying this huge flag around. It would’ve been so heavy and difficult to control, particularly with a strong wind whipping it around. I know it was an honour to be given the job, but I don’t know that I’d be putting my hand up too quickly for it. It was a bit sad to read about the 15-year-old boy at Waterloo.


She married Malcolm in MacBeth!! Also, remember when I was in Oxford and saw the exhibition of all those first edition manuscripts and rare books? I also saw the actual book that this plaque refers to, the one that was dropped in the river. OMG!!




How glad I am that I took a photo of it. They have a replica in the chapel but here’s the real thing. (Much to Pam’s disgust that the English have the actual prayerbook and it’s not here, which I admit to feeling a bit of sympathy for.)

The end of Margaret’s story’s a bit sad. She was renowned for her good works with the poor, in particular establishing a cheap ferry service that allowed pilgrims to cross the river and go to a shrine at St Andrews. When she was here one day, news came to her of her husband Malcolm and their son/s (can’t remember if it was more than one) being killed in battle. She died a couple of days later of a broken heart.


Her chapel, behind and to the right of the very jovial fellow in the front, is the oldest building in Edinburgh.


Not a great deal of headroom. Pam’s the same size as me.


Here’s Pam, squeezing herself out of the way of all the tourists. You know, all those people who get in the way of me seeing all I want to in perfect peace and quiet. I don’t think the builders of this chapel visualised its popularity 1000 years or so in the future.


Miraculously the view of the altar was free of tourists for 2 seconds and so I can show you a clear view. See the thickness of the walls near the window?


I looked up towards the back of the chapel. No decoration on the ceiling.


This owl was hanging around outside the castle, raising money for an animal park I think. It’s HUGE.


We had lunch at the Elephant Café, one of the places where J K Rowling penned the first Harry Potter. I was too hungry to take more than the one photo, so take my word for it… it was warm, cheerful and the jacket potatoes are very good.

We made our way down the Royal Mile for the rest of the day, but not before stopping at a MUST SEE that was just a few doors down from the café.




Greyfriars Bobby.


I remember Mum telling me about Bobby when I was a little girl. As we were walking along to the church, Pam told me that you are supposed to bring a stick for Bobby to fetch. I looked down at the cuity street and lo and behold! There were a few sticks lying there!

Well, to be honest, they were twigs, but I guess Bobby was 16 when he died, so he wouldn’t be all that strong. A twig would be fine.


You can see that the day had warmed up for 5 minutes. It’s literally the middle of summer and I had my cowl and summer jumper (thanks, Deanna) on, but I’d removed my poncho. Earlier in the day, at Edinburgh Castle, I dragged the sunnies out. Honestly, it’s like being back in Melbourne, but even more changeable! On the way to Hollyrood Palace later on, I had the umbrella out. 🙂


We visited St Giles Cathedral, where I saw this statue of John Knox. We visited his house later. I don’t like him very much. He caused so much trouble for Mary Queen of Scots, and although she was a bit of a ninny and had the WORST taste in men that you could possibly have, I still think he was to blame for much of the misfortune that happened to her.


But his house was pretty interesting.

Particularly this. Look up!


These ceiling paintings date from the 1500s. They were discovered under layers of plaster.


They’ve worked out that they would’ve originally looked like this. The medieval people liked their strong colours!


Outside St Giles, this is where they used to execute people. It’s supposed to be a tradition to spit on it, but I didn’t feel like doing that.


This is the view from John Knox’s house.


This is an amusing shop name.


Edinburgh is built on hills. Quite a lot of them.


Can you see the little passageway someone built above the lane?


Then we came to Holyrood Palace. This is where the Queen lives when she’s in Edinburgh. Thankfully she wasn’t here today, because I got to see the state rooms and all of the artifacts inside. No photos allowed, which was a shame because I would’ve loved to have shown you the tiny little withdrawing room where David Rizzio was stabbed to death; the place where they dragged his body and continued stabbing it for around 57 times, (may as well be thorough, I guess), nd the glass cases that had things like Mary Queen of Scots’ hair (it was white), the tooth of a boar that tried to savage Charles II; lots of things belonging to Charles I and William and Mary… the list goes on. It was terrific.


The abbey that was slap bang beside the palace was hauntingly beautiful.



But the most exciting thing was yet to come. I really hope some people who were on the tour with me see this:


Pam has a squirrel come to her garden every day. A squirrel!!! A real one!


I took 53 photos….




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3 Responses to Edinburgh Day 1. It’s a Mary Queen of Scots extravaganza!!

  1. That was 53 photos just of the squirrel! After a while he began to feel as if there was someone watching him… . After I’d dragged Lisa all round the glories of Edinburgh, she feels that the most exciting thing in her Scottish trip was Cyril the Squirrel. Sheesh. We could have just sat in the sitting room, sipping wine and admiring the wildlife.

  2. Lucille says:

    I have squirrels too and foxes in our garden in England, which makes us even more exciting. Thank you for this post and for supplying the first proper picture of Pam who until very recently we had to call Isabelle and had no idea what she looked like!

  3. thimbleanna says:

    I’ve arrived via Pam – and what fun to read all about your trip. Isn’t Pam wonderful? It looks like the two of you had a wonderful time. Scotland is one of my favorite places on earth — that’s why I keep going back. ;-D Now I must find time to read about all your other adventures!

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