Just Frances

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Stepping from the train…

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 17th, 2013 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: writing, scotland, random, edinburgh

I carry a notebook everywhere I go to jot down thoughts and inspirations when I’m out and about. Sometimes I immediately make use of those scribbles and other times they just linger on the pages, forgotten.

The following is some rubbish I wrote this past spring when I went to Edinburgh for the day. It’s not interesting, but I’m certain some of it might find its way into a novel I’m (meant to be) working on.


I step off the train and into the bustling activities of the ancient city centre. Wandering through the windy, cobbled streets, I find myself smiling at the excitement all around me. My eyes and ears are constantly stimulated and my sense of smell is jolted awake with the mixed fragrances of flowering city gardens, hops from the local brewery, and the inevitable lingering of human odours.

It’s the modern era and I find myself needing to re-charge my phone, so I find a coveted power outlet along a wall at the museum, where I sit on the cold, marble floor whilst I re-juice my communications device. I then take this plugged-in moment to un-plug and absorb my surroundings.

There are families with children and shoppers taking a break from their day’s spending. The crowds are diverse: Young, old, tall, short, well-dressed, and the down-and-out. They’re gazing at works of art and history’s reminders. They’re asking questions. They’re having conversations. They’re laughing and smiling and learning. It’s loud and echoed, yet it’s peaceful and relaxing.

(There was a break in writing whilst I relocated.)

I’m in a small pub enjoying a quiet pint of IPA. It's the first time I’ve ever gone to a pub alone but I feel oddly comfortable. Sitting in a corner listening to a couple of guys ‘jamming’ out some simple Scottish folk music as I take in the atmosphere and I feel relaxed and at home.

I can’t imagine myself going to a pub alone on a Saturday afternoon in the homeland without a certain amount of gossip and chatter, yet here I am just left to feel like a normal person. I’m just someone having a quiet pint in a pub.

This is bliss. This is happiness. This is home.


So when you see me scribbling in a notebook somewhere, looking focused on my thoughts and words, just know that it’s not necessarily some big, important, ground-breaking revelation. It might just be rubbish; complete and utter rubbish. But it relaxes me and brings me a level of peace, so that’s OK!

Comments

I think that’s a cardinal feature of Scotland in general and Edinburgh in particular: the presence of pubs with that traditional feel, where music is real and not piped, and the relaxed atmosphere that accompanies it.  Music often dictates the nature of a hostelry, at an emotional level as well as its physical properties, and there’s something innately welcoming about Celtic folk and roots music.  A pint in such surroundings, with music as companion, feels the most natural thing in the world.

by Nick at 3:28pm (GMT) on August 27th, 2013

Yes, I’ve always quite liked the feel of pubs here. Before I first moved to Edinburgh in 2001, I had imagined myself sitting in a pub, listening to music, and writing. But I never got the courage up to actually do it. In part, I’m sure, because it’s not the done thing where I’m from.

I have had a couple of attempts at taking myself out for dinner now though and am getting used to dining alone. I’m sure that when I settle in for my PhD I’ll be able to find a nice little put to sit in. It’ll take time to find the one that’s best for me, but I’m willing to take the time to find it! (Good IPAs and guest ales is mandatory!)

by Just Frances at 3:35pm (GMT) on August 27th, 2013

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