I was seeking refuge from the builders, who were busy destroying and rebuilding the bathroom. But I didn’t want the week to turn into a bookshop crawl, seeing as I have only read half of the previous Edinburgh haul. How ever would I occupy myself?

Day One (Monday)

Rossetti decided to stay at home, preferring to work on his van (!), giving me free reign to go literary sightseeing. Drive to Edinburgh. Check into airbnb. Go food shopping. Spend evening reading!

Day Two (Tuesday)

Take a long coastal bus ride to North Berwick. Glorious sunshine, if a bit windy. Time to enjoy the views of the Bass Rock (featured in Evie Wyld’s eponymous Stella-award winning novel), and take a bucket-list tour of the NB Distillery, home of the best gin in the world (which Her Majesty The Queen enjoyed on her 90th birthday). To think, it all started with the pressure cooker, pictured bottom right!

Top: The Bass Rock / Bottom: Fine choices at the NB Distillery

Day Three (Wednesday)

Another sunny, dry day, so take the bus to Dean Bridge to join the Waters of Leith Walkway. Heading in the direction of Leith.

It was lunchtime when I arrived in Stockbridge – a flashpoint for booklovers in need of refreshment and a comfort break … Just a hop, skip and a jump from the Oxfam bookshop, where I have never failed to find a bargain Persephone. It didn’t fail me this time either. But, hark, what is this? A new bookshop …. First an online bookclub, now their first bookshop, dedicated to women’s writing … I had to take a look inside …

Just a sneaky peek. There was a long walk ahead of me, and lugging a bag full of heavy books was not an option.

x miles later (I can’t be sure – the signage on the walkway is inconsistent to say the least) I staggered into Leith. In need of sustenance, I enjoyed a wonderful bowl of seafood chowder. It might have been my destination for the day, but I forgot to take any pictures!

This summer’s reading began with Craig Russell’s Hyde, which last weekend won the 2021 McIlvanney Prize for Crime Fiction. The novel starts in Dean Village, just slightly upstream of Dean Bridge, and has scenes set in Leith, which thankfully on a bright sunny day is much less sinister than in Russell’s novel. (Mind – I wasn’t there after dark.)

Spent the evening pretending I was at a literary festival with online events from Fum D’Estampa and catching up with Bloody Scotland.

An exhausted but sleepless night followed – news from home was that the builders were working to the wrong plan (!) and our energy company has just gone bust. (First the pandemic, now the pain …)

Day Four (Thursday)

Shattered. Issues with bathroom sorted. Ofgem can deal with the energy issues. Sky overcast with sunny intervals and time for a wee meander through Holyrood Park, enjoying the Edinburgh skyline from afar. Arrived eventually at Holyrood Palace, scene of the heinous crime recreated in Denise Mina’s Rizzio.

Took a wee gander at the new shopping centre, St James’s Quarter – sorry nothing special, and the shops that have migrated there have left Princes Street looking derelict! (The next urban regeneration project, methinks. Who would have thought?) Too tired to check out the new kid on the Edinburgh skyline. (Once viewed you cannot unsee its likeness but let’s stay polite even if these guys don’t.)

Back to flat for rest and relaxation before an evening Oktoberfesting in September at Edinburgh’s gluten-free brewery, (Not aware that Oktoberfest with gf draught beer is possible in Germany – if it is tell me where!)

If there’s a German connection, I’ll find it.

Day Five (Friday)

Just one thing on the agenda before the drive home. Back to Leith – this time by bus – and a planned bookshop visit. I had to check out the Pay What You Want Bookshop located at 120 Ferry Road, until next February.

Of course, I wasn’t going to come away empty handed. Not with prices like those advertised. Besides a week in Edinburgh wouldn’t feel right, without acquiring a bag full of books. But at least, I didn’t spend the whole week in bookshops, and neither did this haul stress the bank manager.

Books £12.50 all in. Moomin bookbag almost, but not quite, as much!

P.S 50 mile drive home, on a bank holiday weekend, a nightmare. I have travelled home faster from Berlin! More bathroom issues emerging. Rossetti’s van-work still WIP! Projects to continue next week. Currently seeking another refuge ….