Posted by: roamingolivia | January 11, 2011

New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh

It’s hard to blog in January. It’s hard to do anything in January, really. Late December is this kind of slow descent into gluttony and levels of consumption that are more or less obscene by any standards. I go home, sit on the couch, eat at ridiculously short intervals, sleep, wake up early from jetlag, watch new American TV (Bridalplasty!), and open presents. I become essentially comatose – metaphorically, if not medically – and then return to working life days or weeks later in a daze that is hard to break.

This year, I went home for two weeks and was off for New Year almost another full week. This meant going back to work last week was, as I wrote to my flatmate (she’d not returned), “worse than you can even imagine.” Plus, I am changing jobs so lacking motivation even more than usual.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t blogged for the first 11 days this year. But I’m starting again, ready to tell you at least about New Year’s Eve, although I only had the camera on my phone, so my pictures are terrible.

David and I went to Edinburgh, where he has lovely friends living in a nice house, and started the festivities with a trip down the ice-covered canal path to Leith. What I mean by this is that we started off our little jaunt down the path, and then it turned out to be COMPLETELY ice-covered, and I slipped and fell and my tailbone (hilarious name) is still bruised.

Anyway, when we were there we went to a good fish restaurant, The Fish, where I ate something fishy probably – definitely there were scallops, but I think I had the special of salmon and sweet potato mash, a simple dish that I have made at home – less deliciously – and enjoyed. We had tried to go to another restaurant nearby that is apparently amazing, but they were packed, and given my jetlag and general laziness, this place suited me better – the waiter came over very rarely, but at good intervals, and we sat talking around a rustic wood table.

Then we headed over to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which is a private members’ club and has an incredible variety of delicious whisky. I personally like very mossy/peaty whisky that tastes more or less like wood, and that was definitely on offer, as it was at our hosts’ home.

The next night was New Year’s Eve. We went exploring at the castle for a while, where I took some spectacularly bad photos of the archway (we couldn’t be bothered to pay to get in) and the view:

There were a lot of tourists there. You can probably search for their pics on Flickr.

We also went to the Edinburgh Writers’ Museum, which has a bit of info on some Scottish writers, and also a really amazing upstairs room where you can listen to a pretend dialogue between a publisher and his apprentice from the early days of publishing. It’s very weird.

Anyway for dinner we went slightly fancier and had dinner at The Witchery – I think they had reserved tables several months before. The room we sat in was amazingly dark and candlelit, with a low ceiling and old tapestries, and I had a fish soup (good), “three little pigs” (three types of pork – bacon, loin and belly) for main (so good, but so much pork), and probably a dessert? But possibly only Armagnac. I don’t really remember the dessert.

Anyway, then it was about 11, so we had to get into the street party area (New Year’s Eve – or Hogmanay – in Edinburgh is very organised), which closed sometime around then. We had tickets to the Céilidh, which has dancing and folk music. Basically it’s like a square dance, but for some reason in Scotland it is fun and has young people going to it. I don’t really know how that happened – where else have you been where a folk dance is cool? – but it actually is.

And it is fun. So I have some more bad pictures of that…

And then it was time for fireworks – short but nice –

And then back to the dance floor.

The good thing about the Céilidh is that no one else knows how to do the dances, either, or at least not that well, so they tell you what steps go with each dance. It means everyone looks kind of dumb at the beginning of a song, but it is fun. To demonstrate, I provide this video, which is probably the best piece of documentary evidence I got:


New Year in Edinburgh – Céilidh from Olivia Jean on Vimeo.

Then we went to a nearby pub, and the rest of the trip was kind of less interesting, both culturally and culinarily.

The end. I’d be happy to know about your New Year’s adventures!


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