Driving into Edinburgh, the long road behind me.
The Forth sparkles to my right, the signs up ahead say,
Bill comes on the radio – seems kind of fitting.
Welcome back, Stu
AT THE TOP OF THE YEAR it was reported that the Waverley Steps in Edinburgh had undergone a transformation with a new covered walkway and escalator. The 145 year-old thoroughfare’s new look is said to have cost a cool £7m.
My own first thoughts on seeing newly released images of it were that the construction looks quite incongruous with the surrounding architecture of the adjacent classic Balmoral Hotel, particularly in the way the roof is situated half way down the hotel’s windows. I really can’t see what else the designers could have done too differently though, apart from shelve the project completely. I’m satisfied that they’ve probably done all they reasonably could with the new structure.
The new Waverley Steps construction
As it was – a formidable sight for the weary traveller
Although the design perhaps seems a little ‘chancy’ when considering the historic environment, there are some good points regarding this improvement of the old access to Princes Street. It always seemed to be blowing a huge gale down those steps and it could be a slightly inhospitable first experience of Edinburgh to the visitor. The fact that disabled access to Waverley Station is improved is also a very welcome addition.
Blowing a gale!
I guess I was just interested in this story as that familiar trudge up the steps was always a bit symbolic to me. I never minded it because I knew I was visiting back home again and I was always anxious and pleased to see the old place again sometimes after a long wait and that few expectant hours on the train. Edinburgh really does show it’s best face to the visitor almost immediately after alighting the old stairway – much more than most cities where the railway stations are often situated in less attractive areas. I tend to drive to Edinburgh these days but the thought of a quick pint or two, with my travel bag chucked in the corner of the Guildford Arms or Cafe Royal after climbing those steps would always set me up for a nice stay. That familiar brewing smell in the Edinburgh air, the old sights followed by a pint in one of my favourite pubs always felt good and welcoming. ‘The holidays starts here’.
It’s heartening to read that most people appear to be pleased with the the Edinburgh institution’s new incarnation.
It’s been a fairly austere time to be a Hibs supporter for the past while. Positivity has been at an all-time low and good fortune is indeed always hiding. There is however one chink of daylight, one source of fun that’s always a guaranteed source of mirth. It comes in the form of Heart of Midlothian’s soon-to-be former owner and loopy Lithuanian, Vladimir Romanov. Many have been his sparkling statements over the past seven years via the organ of his club’s official website (the webmaster must run and hide when he sees the latest pearls of cranky wisdom heading his way) but I honestly think this might be one of the most messed-up yet. Here it is in all it’s glory:
Press me to listen
Vladimir Romanov statement
“As soon as Hearts moved closer to the third spot the monkeys start to squeal, lie and create conspiracy plots.
I thought I had expressed myself clearly – I am selling the club and I am not going to give any more money away. It is pointless to support show business, not football. Hearts is now living out of its own budget.
Everyone knew, including players, media and SPL that the wages are going to be paid as soon as the money was received for Eggert Jonsson, who was sold last year. But media still tried to create conspiracy plots about the team and managed to get a prompt and unwise decision from the SPL meeting, which the club asked it to postpone until next week in order to get opportunity to pay the wages.
As such I have not cheated anyone. The monkeys tricked the SPL, fans and themselves and showed who is in charge of the football mafia. They will continue to cheat as this is their job.
I am used to their lies. I remember when the fight started between two people at the end of one of our AGMs and all the cameras were there as they were expecting it. Later that episode was covered by all major stations as backdrop of the AGM, trying to portray the club as a mess.
I feel sorry for the poor monkeys. Mowgli is asking to work for the publicity of the Old Firm, that’s why they have to lie and tell tall stories.
But there is no future for Scottish football while these media monkeys are in charge. Not just for football, but for the whole country. When people tried to protest in the streets, media turned it into chaos, demonstrating masked instigators and hired gangsters in front of the cameras.
I have nothing to prove. Seven years ago I proved that there was no football, but only show business. When Kaunas threw Rangers out of the competition you switched your TV off to avoid embarrassment. Fear takes away the wisdom.
I am going to reiterate once again – I am not going to gift the club money anymore. The only thing left for the club to do is to develop its own youth and attempt to enlighten people who have been deceived and held as part of a stupid crowd by Mowgli.
The progress is there – Mowgli is under prosecution and in exile. But until they open a zoo for the monkeys and keep them in cages, they will keep jumping on people who are straightforward and not afraid to speak.”
Yes, you read that right. Pull back your chair, go and have a cup of coffee and some fresh air or something. Collect yourself.
Boy, I’m going to miss this man when his wagon finally rolls out of Edinburgh. All we need to figure out now is who is Mowgli? This could take as long as it took to discover who shot JR.
On a delightfully warm June day a few months ago, I had the good fortune to do something that had been on my mind for some time now, whilst back on one of my many sojourns to Edinburgh. How many wonderful days and night’s have I spent in Hibernian FC’s new and old stadium watching those bright emerald green jerseys with the white sleeves, yet never ventured much beyond the stands for that couple of hours spent supporting my team from boyhood?
In truth, that’s not strictly accurate. Way back in 1978, whilst visiting with a friend, I wandered into the very different ‘ER’ of the day and was kindly taken on an impromptu tour by the then groundsman. My memories of that include an explanation of how the recent ban on alcohol in Scottish football had cleared the Easter Road match day aftermath of two skips full of empty bottles and cans. They also extend to a little tour through the players changing rooms and observing the Hibs youth team playing out a five-a-side training game. This tour was entirely due to one man’s hospitality but now things are a little different.
As you can see, a peek behind the scenes at the ‘new’ Easter Road was well overdue. With that I mind I was very happy to have my phone booking accepted for myself and my partner’s father, visiting from Canada, by the friendly and helpful club staff that June morning. A couple of hours later and we duly arrived to fulfil our booking and were ushered through to the man reception area where a group of people were already gathering for the Easter Road experience.
I was glad and happy to re-make the acquaintance of a friendly face in the tour guide Bill Bryson, something of an old Hibee friend by the good grace of the Internet. As we sat down for Billy to offer us his wide knowledge and intriguing stories about the club and its residence, it felt great to be ‘home’.
Of course the whole of the West Stand in which we sat was completely rebuilt and refurbished within the past decade. Space abounds in this new and modern facility and there was an airy atmosphere of potential for the numerous yet-to-used areas of this excellent resource. This is for the future however and we were there largely for history and plenty of it. Our friendly tour guide, Billy, did not disappoint in this respect. Read more »
In Edinburgh each year an event called The Stockbridge Duck Race is held in that most pleasant of north Edinburgh areas. For the 21st time this year, 2000 numbered plastic ducks will be launched from over the bridge at Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge into The Water of Leith. The ducks float/speed (depending on your fortune) past the Canonmills apartments along The Water of Leith, Edinburgh’s river, where my partner and I and our friends have stayed for my Birthday celebrations the past two years and this is what caught my eye.
All photographs are from here.
The race has it’s own Facebook group. You can find more details of the fun here.
The Water of Leith just outside the car park of where we stayed. Unfortunately there were no duckies out in the bracing November when we stayed.
01 Riordan does it again! Is there any Hibby, with the possible exception of Ian Murray, that takes so much pleasure at putting one over Hibernian’s Edinburgh rivals?
It ended in high drama last night – with a penalty eleven minutes from time after Hibs hit man Riordan went tumbling in the box before getting up to coolly side-foot the ball inside the oppositon’s right-hand post. It was all too much for some of the home supporters as the goal triggered a small pitch invasion. Comically, one Hearts fan, in his attempts to get to the jubilant Riodan managed somehow to punch himself inthe face and was led off with a ‘sair yin’! (see video)
What is really remarkable about this famous victor is not that it means Hibs are unbeaten against Hearts this season but that Hibernian had a full ten first team players absent through injury. In effect, Hibs visited Tynecastle with their ‘B’ team and still ran out winners!
Glory Glory To The Hibees!
An interesting story came my way this morning by way of an internet discussion forum. It concerned the case of convicted murderer, Patrick Nicol, a young man who is serving twelve years in Shotts Prison in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Nicol’s conviction came after he was found guilty for the first-degree murder of George Reid, who was stabbed by his assailant Nicol over one hundred times.
Napier University, Craiglockart Campus, Edinburgh
The Scottish Sun newspaper reports that Nicol is now studying economics at Edinburgh’s Napier University, regularly attending lectures and participating in general student life whilst under the guard of a security firm. His fellow students are reported to have no knowledge of Nicol’s conviction. This brings up many discussion points for me. It is important however to be wary of that particular newspaper’s usual dismal style of sensationalist reporting when viewing the ins and outs of this story.
Hibernian yesterday completed the signing of former striker, Derek Riordan from Celtic after a torrent of rumour regarding a possible deal. Fans’ nerves were stretched to breaking point waiting for the Messiah-like return of the former golden boy of Easter Road until an announcement during the evening. Although the talk of a return seemed well-substantiated, it was far from a formality with Hibs having to comply with Celtic’s wishes regarding a sizable sell-on fee.
Hibs’ pre and early season form has been poor and erratic and Derek’s return will give a great boost a to a beleaguered club board and concerned and angry supporters alike. It’s just the fillip required at Easter Road and one can almost feel the tides of goodwill and optimism flowing from club’s faithful fans today.
The rarest commodities in football are surely true goalscorers- those that have the happy knack of being in the right place when it matters and able to despatch the ball into the back of the net in a variety of methods. Derek Riordan is just such a player. Not for him the most robust aspects of the game as a very slimly built forward player it must be stated. His tackling won’t trouble too many apart from nuisance value but his talents are far more valuable in and around the opposition penalty area where he excels like few others. A study of Riordan’s goals is an examination of how to score in a myriad of ways. Twenty-five yarders, tap-ins, mazy dribble and finishes, all taken with a cool clinical precision. Hibs are very fortunate indeed to have the player, who is also a life-long fan of the club back in the fold. It is perhaps a regret to the player and at the same time incredible, that the Glasgow club seemed unable or unwilling to unleash his considerable talents too often. That is for them to reflect upon. In the meantime the whole of Leith (and those of us further adrift) with a love of the old club will be celebrating and have a new spring in our step today.
DEREK RIORDAN IS BACK!
Quite often these days I like to listen to a little music when running alone. I succumbed from this practice for a lot of years, mainly because I like to appreciate some of the attractive environments I chose to run in. After all, what could be more pleasant and uplifting than listening to Spring birdsong when gliding through a dappled glen, or listening to mighty waves beating against a sea wall on a beach. Sometimes though it’s good to have the company of a little music, especially when the running might be trying for whatever reason.
I see many people that run along in time to personal stereos these days, we all know what a common sight that is on the streets and pavements. Apart from one or two very significant safety drawbacks it’s easy to see why people are still continuing the jogging boom of over thirty years ago with the encouragement of a beat or a melody to step out to. On a shorter run I tend to like up-tempo music, perhaps not surprisingly. There’s a tendency to seek out music with a personal meaning or history for me too. One such piece of music I fins particularly stirring is the title track from a little-known, low budget movie from years ago entitled Restless Natives.
A run at Portobello seems the most apt start to the day once more. I smile when passing the public bathrooms at Joppa noticing that the water in the block is heated by solar power. Good old Edinburgh, in spite of what some may think I still believe it leads the way in quite a few areas of thinking and planning.
Back home refreshed, I veer towards a plan to enlarge my ever-increasing supply of available reading matter. This means a visit to West Port near the infamous ‘Pubic Triangle’ to take in a several second-hand book stores.