Indoor Camping

DSCF1533.JPG We’ve been living in our Edinburgh flat for almost two weeks already. It’s been quite transformed, albeit only superficially – all walls, ceilings and woodwork covered in at least two coats of paint, new carpets and vinyls, new door and window handles. It’s light and bright, and the slight residual smell of new paint and carpet is infinitely preferable to recalcitrant stale nicotine.

Our goods and chattels arrived from store in Nairn last weekend. About half of them went immediately into store in Edinburgh, whence we can fetch a few boxes at a time for sorting. Some of the larger pieces of furniture for which we have no further use (and no room) are destined for Belgium, some stuff will go to Glasgow, and some will be rehomed or repurposed courtesy of the local voluntary sector.

DSCF1535.JPG Life in Colinton is very fine. I’m listening to a free bagpipe recital at the moment, from the Redford Barracks parade ground just behind the house. Otherwise the main extraneous noise is a gentle chink chink from our next-door neighbours the Colinton Bowling Club, and the encouraging shouts (I’m being delicate here) from the squaddies’ training ground out back. There’s a great wee parade of shops, (including a bakery, a deli and a pharmacy where Dee is already on first-name terms with the pharmacist), a couple of decent pubs and an Italian carry-out that smells quite nice even through its back door. The side-streets are wide, there are some lovely gardens and some quite spectacular hedges. Our living room has grand views of Capelaw and Allermuir Hills in the Pentlands (which are definitely to be ascended ere long). We’re on quite a busy wee road but there are certain advantages to being on a bus route, and if you’re going to live in a city you have to accept a certain amount of traffic and light pollution….

DSCF1536.JPG Our principal problem this last fortnight has been coping without a kitchen. This is a challenge to which Dee has risen with her usual culinary imagination and skill. We’ve not just been living on cold compilations and salads, it’s amazing what you (she) can concoct with a kettle, a tin-opener and an electric egg boiler. Chinese noodles never tasted so good than with a few sliced tinned mushrooms, beans and surimi sticks, in a miso broth, spiced with chives and shiso from the garden. She can make a wicked potato salad with a tin (thank goodness for Waitrose Morningside) and some herbs. We’ve not had takeaway once yet although we did go to the Goth(enburg) in Prestonpans for fish and chips one night (washed down with a glass of the porter they brew in the room behind the bar).

DSCF1537.JPG We’ve been using our plastic camping plates and mugs, despite being reunited with our sideboard filled with our best crockery, on account of washing up in the bathroom basin being slightly hazardous to breakables. This is as close as I ever want to come again to camping or caravanning – there is no real comparison in terms of hassle or angst with trundling across a frozen campsite to a communal washing up area three times a day.

We’ve fetched the cats from their refuge in Glasgow, and they have more or less settled in despite the ongoing upset and the presence of workmen (the kitchen is currently being installed). Both Bob and Aggie have assigned themselves nests behind the couch, where they spend most of the day, and pole positions on the bed at night. The family is complete and at home.

I’m now magnificently bald, by the way, although some grey fuzz has started to reappear which looks and feels a bit odd. A bit self-conscious, I’ve been alert to people’s reactions – some give me a big broad smile, some look away, most don’t seem to notice. Being bald is only a stigma for women, of course. But as Rose says, rumour has it I’m too sexy for my hair.

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