Old Stone


Here’s a song for this post: Laura Marling’s ‘Old Stone’. I like to think the ‘you’ she is addressing is the city itself, and the volcanic rock much of it sits on.




A refrain of rock and clinging moss. The ground under these leaves I think where once the Nor loch stood. Outcasts – unwed mothers, ‘deviants’ and like criminals were occasionally thrown into the loch to drown, and their bones lie under the bones of the respectably buried. But this time let’s not linger. The city is not all steeped in such a mood.



Most early afternoons I walk back from work thinking of the way the wind and cold have stripped back the greenery and darkened, higgledy stones. Here the ivy persists on one side, forming a contrast that highlights the absence, the dying, elsewhere. Environment as editor, removing excess. Elsewhere, humans have more actively written themselves onto the canvases of near ruined space:



This is up behind the University of Edinburgh main campus. I can’t help but feel more could be done with these mews. Maybe because I’d like to live in one myself. Little cottage in the city.




I love the way the shadow covers the cobbles and washes against the side of the mechanics. I love the difference each cobble carries, the breakages, the inconsistancies which mark a lingering presence, something repaired and patched over time. The road was not the only thing I found repurposed but left fragmentary, left with its half-sentences intact. The grammar of this city might have changed over time, but the words don’t always alter.


Closer to home I came across a mysterious sign –



Clearly, in this area, there was no longer a bowling club (that’s the more frequently found outdoor lawn bowls, rather than the American indoor style).

Behind it, there is some kind of official looking building – perhaps Crown Lands or Parliamentary business. And yet, the doorway to this non-existent place remained:



Did I push the doorbell? Of course! It went in, and though I listened, I couldn’t hear the bell. No admittance to the club, this time.



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8 responses to “Old Stone

  1. Ah, that Kafka like door beckons bell and all.

  2. I very much enjoyed the grammar of the city and the half sentences of the roads…ever words…very nice Helen….

  3. Pingback: Edinburgh: Old Stone | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

  4. Eerie doorbell ringing somewhere/not here. I’m feeling Poe.

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