There are certain things I am looking forward to on return to Edinburgh. Things (excluding of course family and friends, and cats) that will drive me through the form filling at a good clip. One is that hopefully, when D and I arrive, Scotland will still be in the throws of the mild summer. I have so greatly missed those cloudy days, wandering the gloomy cobbled streets of the old town…and how the air in the morning and at dusk has a deliciousness to it, as my heading suggests…
Tea. I have my favourite tea bags here in New York, thanks to the efforts of friends, but I will enjoy going out for it in Edinburgh. Teapots, and strainers for real leaves. The window seats looking out on autumnal calmness, the buses going by, or students, and the frail sun on the wet pavement. I have missed the milder, wetter, closing in of nights, the perfect time to coorie down under a pile of blankets and read. I have missed silly things, like mince pies, and the gaudy tat of Christmas crackers.
Sadly, we won’t make the Edinburgh Book Festival. Edinburgh at its most vivacious. Next year, hopefully. We have also missed StAnza, the poetry festival that takes place in St Andrews (where D and I met, at the university, where D proposed). Next year, again.
There is often a wonderful invigorating feel during these festivals’ sessions and panels and readings, from the meeting and mingling of international writers and thinkers, of works and verse both old and new, science, arts, treatise and opinion, in English, Scots, Gaelic…I may not always have studied the topic, or think, going in, that I will be able to keep up with the issues and wordplay, but it is always rewarding to have gone, to sit, listen, and come out blinking and heading for the bookshop tent, or the little sales table. Or to just go home to mull it over by myself or with companions, over those endless pots of tea.
But – the paperwork and settling of affairs, and the weeks remain.