Tag Archives: Edinburgh

fear and longing in scotland

Here’s the beginning of a piece I wrote for a reading about Drink that was held in a local bar.

When I was twenty I got on a plane and went to Edinburgh, Scotland, to live for a year. It was 1978 and I had just graduated from college and was headed to Scotland because I had won a fellowship from a foundation that wrote me a check for $6,000 and said have a good time. I had to do a project outside the United States and I chose one in Scotland because it seemed more exotic than England and yet they still spoke English. Kind of.

When I left my little village in upstate New York thirty years ago and landed in Edinburgh in the beginning of September I didn’t know a soul. I’d never traveled before, and wasn’t connected to a college or university so I knew there would be no one to help me make plans or to fall back on when I failed miserably at whatever it was I was going to do. I took a cab from the airport to the university and had the cabbie drop me off at the student union along with my suitcase and my backpack. Three hours later – after making one phone call to a number found on a card pinned to a bulletin board – I was standing in my bedroom in a flat in Morningside, a nice neighborhood of row houses just beyond the university. My flatmates were Phani, a man from Greece who had a brain tumor and was studying political science at the university; Amir, an engineering student from Iran; and Michiko, Amir’s girlfriend from Japan. We had varying degrees of proficiency in English from my less-than-perfect use of the language to Michiko, who spoke no English at all. (click here to read the rest of the piece.)


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i want that contract . . .

NBC Bird and Pest Solutions has a 44,000 pound (that’s about $71,980) contract to scare the pigeons off the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. According to one of the falconers, there are approximately 20 pigeons in residence and NBC is under strict no-kill orders. Hmmm.  The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles who died in 2000 (aged 45) a few months after construction on the building commenced

scottish parliament building 

Here’s the beginning of the piece that ran in Deadline Scotland

“A DEAL to hire hawks to rid the Scottish Parliament of its pigeon poo problem is costing the taxpayer a staggering £2000 – for every bird they chase away.

NBC Bird and Pest Solutions have signed a lucrative £44,000 three-year contract with Holyrood bosses to have their birds of prey patrol the skies to chase off the doos.

But handlers admit they think there are only around 20 birds posing a problem – making it a very costly solution to the public purse.” (read the rest of the piece by clicking here)


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