Car culture deprives me of some fine sights

I walkedto work today. No mean feat (no pun intended), as it is a fair hike from Marchmont to Bonnington.

I love Edinburgh, so should really do this more often. I’d forgotten the simple pleasure of ambling through town and taking in the sights. Or what sights I could see through the forest of traffic wardens (now called “Parking Attendants“) who were also pounding the pavements.

That was certainly the first thing that struck me – the sheer number of men in fluorescent jackets and peaked caps out at 8am getting ready for a hard day issuing parking fines. There must be a veritable blizzard of tickets handed out in this town judging by the number of meter wardens on duty.

A walk through the Meadows was the first highlight and I was amazed at the progress taking place at the Quartermile development on the site of the old Royal Infirmary. For me, the jury’s still out on this site. The old Royal was a magnificent building and I’m not sure the new development is entirely sympathetic. And there’s certainly not much to love about the new Royal Infirmary at Little France.

Other sights that caught my eye included the brass plaque lovingly polished and place prominently on the imposing black railings outside a New Town townhouse – snootily warning the plebs that they’s lose their bikes should they dare park them against the railings. So much for encouraging people to cycle to work.

I even managed a bit of networking on the hoof , when I bumped into former gentleman of the press Bruce McKain, one time law correspondent with The Herald, and now head of communications with the Faculty of Advocates. As well as being a doyen of Scottish journalism (he co-wrote the legal bible, Scots Law for Journalists), Bruce is married to Helen Lennox, who just happens to be my boss at Scottish Water. Bruce has always been dapper and I got an insight into how he keeps in such good shape – as he took the Playfair Steps at The Mound two at a time without breaking sweat.

But the best thing about the brisk walk was that it turned out to be the perfect way to blow away the cobwebs of my hangover. The reason I had to walk in the first place was that I left my car at the office to attend a bash thrown by posh people’s estate agents, Hamptons International.

More of which later …


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