After the ritual humiliation that was being the on board entertainment for most passengers on the way up there, I knew I was in Edinburgh when the train doors opened and in wafted the smell of brown bread toast. I've never known a city to have such a distinct smell. Though later on that day I ran into some friends in the Pleasance Courtyard. While one of them is keeping daily tabs on the extent of the toast smell in her Fringe Blog, the other maintained that just occasionaly she gets a whiff of Weetabix with warm milk.
Liverpool is "City of Culture 2008," London is "2012 Olympic [and Paralympic] City," maybe Edinburgh should become subtitled "Edinburgh: City of Breakfast Foods."
Another telling sign of Edinburgh is all the hills and the cobbles. What fun! I stayed in a youth hostel I've never stayed in before (I'm gradually working my way round all the SYHA Edinburgh hostels I think), and, guess what? It's on a hill! A cobbled hill.
Cobbles on hills ruin all the fun of hills of just being able to let go of your wheels and frighten people as if you were using a scooter. Because you can't freewheel down. Your front wheels would get caught and you'd be on your chin in a puddle of blood quicker than I can down a Smirnoff Ice.
And Edinburgh cobbles are all so violent that they rob you of any cheap sexual thrill you can usually get on cobbles as a wheelchair user. It's really not possible to roll over them at a normal pace and enjoy the slight vibrating sensation. No. You have to go so slowly and carefully over the wretched things the only sensation you're going to experience is frustration. And annoyance at the people that ask if you need a hand every 5 seconds, which is not an offer you can accept because, as I wrote last year, their pushing would be less attentive than mine, and they'd have me out of my chair and on my chin in that puddle of blood within seconds. Do you reckon it's possible to take Edinburgh City Council to court under the DDA - because disabled people are treated less favourably when it comes to moving around the city simply because the council have ignored the fact that nice, shiny tarmac has been invented?
Bringing together themes of cobbles, the DDA, the Pleasance Courtyard and drinking (OK, it only got a fleeting mention in the post, but, still), something that happened on Monday night got me wondering...
After seeing Richard Herring's show on Monday, and before going over to the Gilded Balloon for my So You Think You're Funny Semi-Final (out of the 8 of us competitors, I was not the lucky one to go through to the final. I shall be cursing the lovely yet too talented Stuart Goldsmith for the rest of my days), the aforementioned two friends and I had a drink in the Courtyard.
I bought my drink from the bar out the back by the toilets. This bar only sells bottles and cans. So, I bought my can of Blackthorn and asked "can you not open it please? It'll be easier for me to carry."
"I'm afraid I have to open it. Licensing laws..." said the bartender.
In the Courtyard I'm at a seriously disadvantaged drinking position... because of the cobbles. I can either down my drink at the bar, or, wind up wearing it as I try to carry it back to a table. The taste of cider mixed with fabric softener where you've had to suck most of your pint out of your trousers really isn't as refreshing as it is straight out of the can.
Which is where my brain ticked. "If the DDA and licensing laws got into a fight, which one would win?" I posed this question to my friends once I'd returned to the table, with surprisingly minimal Blackthorn on my trousers.
"I think they'd battle it out for a while on equal footing until eventually they caused so much trauma that the earth imploded and sucked them in," said my friend. I wonder what she might have thought up if she had a propensity towards melodrama?
My other friend gave me a ginger nut biscuit.