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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Josie!

Strictly speaking, I wasn't being entirely honest when I said I had no deadlines. I was (secretly) hoping to have completed the first draft before Josie's birthday, which is today. However, that was always quite ambitious, so I'm pretty pleased with the progress so far despite not having it fully completed.

We went to the Museum of Scotland today for her birthday, and I took the opportunity to do a little more research on the local statuary. The statues of Edinburgh can largely be split into two categories:

1. Historical figures, who are mainly male and close to ground level.

2. Mythical concepts, who are mainly female and adorn the porticoes and domes of neo-classical buildings:

There are a couple of exceptions, but the rule mostly holds true.

I wandered around between the Royal Musuem of Scotland, on Chambers St., and Games Workshop, on the High St. (known to visitors as the Royal Mile, but the postal address is High St.).

It's an area that holds a lot of memories for us. Andrew used to work in Games Workshop, and we lived across the road on the second floor of Geddes' Entry. Geddes' Entry is a Close, which is thin alleyway leading to a common stair. It was built in 1797, and it had a lot of character, by which I mean the floors sloped, and the windows rattled behind the shutters. This is the Close one down from ours:

Anchor Close in the twilight

On my wanders, I was surprised to find a statue of King Charles behind St. Giles (commonly called St. Giles Cathedral, but it's more properly the High Kirk).

I've walked the front of St. Giles countless times on my daily commute, first to Uni across George IV bridge, and then later down the Mound to my first grown-up job. I've walked round the back, to where the statue stands, perhaps ten times fewer, but even then...I would have thought I would remember him. He must have some good ninja skills:

The obfuscating King Charles II

He's dressed as a Roman Emperor, and sits astride a huge horse. He's the oldest lead cast statue in Britain, but originally it was planned to be a statue of Oliver Cromwell. The Restoration of the Monarchy changed that!

I wonder how heavy a lead-cast statue that big would be? And what sound would it make when it clopped down the street? What other statues that I thought were bronze are actually lead? Interesting questions, but they're not getting that final chapter written any quicker!

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