01-07-2016-Edinburgh – in general

This blog is slightly different to the usual ones, as it covers a four day trip, so I don’t intend to bore you to death with details of every morsel of food we ate, but merely to let you know where we went and how we got on. Elton John is as Artist I have always enjoyed and admired. I suppose the fact that I have been to see him live on several occasions at places as far away as Wembley and Paris, as well as more local venues probably makes me what you would describe as a Ÿ??fanŸ?. I’m more than happy to accept that label, and so when I heard he was on tour this year, I decided to see where he was playing, and if I was able to see him once again. I logged on to the appropriate website and was pleased to see that he was indeed playing as local as Liverpool. I immediately decided to go and see him on what may be his final years touring. He is now 69 years of age, and has more than hinted that this may be the Ÿ??last oneŸ?. The Liverpool Gig was on a Tuesday evening, mid-June. Perfect. Then, however, my mind started to do its usual overtime working, and I decided that finishing work early on a Tuesday and fighting with the pre tea-time traffic around Liverpool might not be such fun after all. Where else was he playing – preferably on a Friday or Saturday? Edinburgh on Saturday 25th June. Mmmmm, never been to Edinburgh since I was a young Ÿ??girlŸ?, Sue had been recently and raved about how nice a place it was, and 25th June is my late Mums birthday, so something to keep me occupied would be a good idea. Edinburgh is quite a long way to travel (201 miles to be precise), so maybe I could go the day before and make a trip out of it? Maybe I could go a couple of days before and make a bloody good trip out of it? A plan was forming, and with no more ado, I ordered two tickets. I hadn’t asked Sue at this stage if she wanted to go, or indeed if she minded me going, but these were details that could be sorted later. As it happens she had an important horse show on Sunday 26th, so she couldn’t in fact go, but my friend Yvonne was more than happy to join me, so I booked some accommodation and it was decided that we would leave Thursday morning and travel back home Sunday afternoon. Something to look forward to! I made all the appropriate arrangements at work, putting in extra hours to get ahead, working harder the week before, and making sure my sister Anne was happy to hold the fort whilst I Ÿ??did oneŸ? for a couple of days, and even went home early the Wednesday evening after attending Concord to ensure I wasn’t overtired on my Ÿ??holidayŸ?. Thursday morning saw me packing my two suitcases with numerous casual daytime outfits suitable for all weathers, along with a couple of posh night time outfits for the inevitable jaunts. I had decided to wear a jumpsuit for the Concert Ÿ?? smart, but more practical for sitting down in and travelling on public transport in. Yvonne arrived at our house where she was leaving her car, and shortly after 10-00am we were on the road like two excited schoolgirls. We made good progress, and had reached a strategically positioned service area in the Gretna Green area at a suitable time for a lunch break. We went into the food hall, and decided that Burger King was the unfortunate place that was going to suffer the company of an excited, travelling TV. We ordered soft drinks and food, found a table, and enjoyed our food in total comfort. Not one person appeared to notice that there was a girl with a difference amongst them, and after a visit to the Ladies, we left Gretna behind with our marital status remaining as was, and totally happy with my first encounter with the Scottish Public. Another couple of hours or so saw us tackling the streets of Edinburgh, seeking out the NCP car park near our Hotel. With the help of my iPhone Sat Nav, and a bit of crafty navigating by Yvonne, we were soon parked up and wheeling our suitcases out of the adjoining shopping centre, heading for the Hotel. When I say Hotel, I actually mean Travelodge, but for the purpose of our visit it was more than adequate. The rooms were clean and tidy, the bathrooms were perfect for real girls and pretend girls, and the location was perfect. Right at the end of Princes Street. We introduced ourselves, collected our keys, and chatted to the Receptionist about possible night time venues, as well as ideas for our journey to the Concert. Having parked the car up, I was determined to use public transport for the next few days if possible. She was really helpful, providing us with local maps, and adding several biro marks to indicate suitable places for us to go. We made ourselves comfortable, and then headed off out for a walk along Princes Street to see what was where. All the usual shops were there to be seen, but the drinking and eating venues were mainly a couple of streets back. We walked the full length of the street and back, finishing our journey in a local caf€÷ bar / bistro next the Hotel called Martone. Here we ordered a soft drink each just to quench our thirst prior to going and getting changed ready for the night time. This was to the first of two visits to Martone, so I’ll save the details for later. Having donned posh frocks, we met up ready for our night out, and discussed where we might go. I had spotted a Jazz Bar on the map, and quite fancied a visit, so I checked out Yvonne’s thoughts with regard to live Jazz music. They were positive, so a decision was made. We would walk towards the Jazz Bar which was on Chambers Street, and see what we could spot food wise on the way. It didn’t take long before we had stumbled on a small Whiskey Bar / Restaurant called The Royal MacGregor, located at 154 High St. Here we were able to go in and enjoy some good pub type grub, which was promptly served and reasonably priced. Needless to say, they didn’t appear to have any issues with serving a TV from over the Border. Once we were fed and watered we continued our walk, and were soon stood on Chambers St. at the top of the stairs that led down to The Jazz Bar. We went down the stairs where we had to pay a ô?7-00 entrance fee, and then entered the Club. It was obviously located in a basement, and had all the hallmarks of a James Bond set. Booths, dark almost seedy atmosphere, bar at one side, and a stage at the far end. A trio were busy performing live jazz music, and all that was missing was lots of cigar smoke and a husky voiced female singer. We sat at a table, ordered drinks Ÿ?? which were reasonably priced, and sat back to listen to the music. The clientele was surprisingly mixed from a young single lad, to a couple of girls, to a middle aged couple, to a much older couple, and pretty much everything in-between. The trio left the stage around midnight, and were replaced by a five piece local band who were playing funk fusion and jazz, this time with some vocals. As time went on, the place got busier, and by the time we left somewhere around 2-30am, it was pretty full! We managed to hail a cab within 10m of the door, and were soon heading up to bed back at the Travelodge. Friday morning saw us up bright and breezy (ish), and we were soon setting off out to look for some breakfast. This particular Travelodge didn’t have breakfast facilities, but we wouldn’t have used them anyway Ÿ?? we prefer to Ÿ??eat outŸ?. It didn’t take long for us to locate The Booking Office which is the Wetherspoons venue located next to the vast Waverley railway station. Two large Scottish breakfasts were ordered along with fresh orange and coffee. A big mistake! Two large Scottish breakfasts would feed four people! Believe it or not, we did manage to finish them off, but we decided that the following day we would just have Scottish breakfasts. Not large Scottish breakfasts. As always with Wetherspoons, the price was right, and the service was efficient. It was a very busy place with hen parties starting the day off, and lots of blokes about. If Paula was going to have any mither, this may be the place it would happen. She didn’t. Everyone was perfect. Next on the agenda was a walk up onto the Royal Mile, where we would proceed to The Palace of Holyrood House. This is where the Queen entertains when in the capital, and is well worth a tour. We did the full touristy thing with the audio commentary on the way round, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. We toured the house, the gardens, and the adjoining Abbey ruins, finishing off with a cold drink at the Caf€÷ at the Palace. The cakes and other food looked very tempting, but we were still busy working off two large Scottish breakfasts, so I’m afraid cold drinks it was. After that, we walked back along the Royal Mile and called in at The Scottish Museum. Again, very interesting. Another hour or so later saw us heading back towards Princes St. where we did a little shopping and then nipped up Fredrick St. where we happened to fall upon a little bar called The Boozy Cow. How appropriate! We sat outside and enjoyed a couple of beers (through straws of course!), before heading back to the hotel to change. It was on this journey that Paula had her first experience of a one to one opinion from an Edinburgh resident. We were stood at some traffic lights waiting for the little red man to go green when a girl in front of me turned around, looked me in the eye, and in a lovely Scottish accent said Ÿ??You look fucking greatŸ?. I blushed and said I thought not, but she replied with another reassurance that I did. Hell, now I know why I do this! Talk about feel good! Anyway, two showers, and two frocks later, we were once again ready to set off out. We jumped into a cab and went to George St. which runs parallel with Princes St. and which houses lots of eateries. It was Friday night, and we hadn’t booked, so we just took pot luck. There was a Gusto, but we had just eaten at Gusto in Manchester, so we decided to do Browns. It was very busy, but they managed to find a nicely positioned table for two and we were well looked after by a very friendly, very young Waiter. He was extremely polite and chatty, and didn’t appear to be one bit worried that he had drawn the short straw and ended up with The Tranny! We had a nice meal Ÿ?? 3 courses, drinks, coffee for Yvonne, and a Baileys for me. Total price including tip – ô?100-00. About right for what we had and where we had it. By the time we had finished it was after midnight, so we decided to call it a do and get a taxi straight back. This turned out to be a wise decision, as by the time we got back to the hotel it started to rain. Hard! Saturday morning saw a repeat performance of Friday morning, but as previously mentioned we downscaled the breakfasts. Just the right amount to set us up for the rest of the day. We then crossed the road and jumped onto an open top tour bus which took us around the streets of Edinburgh for about an hour, complete with pre-recorded commentary. Very interesting, and definitely worth the ô?15-00 hop-on hop-off ticket price. By the time we had finished the tour it was time to get a late lunch. Tonight was Concert night, so we had to be ready for out by about 5-30pm. We hadn’t a clue where we were going or exactly how we were going to get there, but we knew there were buses, and we knew it wasn’t too far away, so we decided to make an adventure out of it. Late lunch saw us in Martone again. Martone is an Italian establishment that is open throughout the day advertising everything from breakfast to dinner. It would appear that their speciality is homemade ice cream! I think we know where this is heading! We started off with a steak sandwich and chips each followed by the inevitable, largest, stickiest, most calorie ridden Ice Cream Sundaes you have ever seen! I’ll never get in most of my dresses ever again at this rate! Washed down with a cold beer, it was perfect. Next, it was back to the room, shower, yet another make up application, and dress ready for the concert. The weather forecast was a bit mixed, with the possibility of early evening showers. This wouldn’t have been a massive problem apart from one minor fact. The concert was outdoor. We debated what jackets to wear, and whether to take waterproofs or not. It was warm, and didn’t actually look like rain, so we decided to risk it and go out with little denim jackets. It was that warm, we weren’t even wearing them. We went outside to the bus stop and were soon chatting to some locals where it was decided that pretty much any bus coming this way would get us to Meadowbank where the concert was being held, so when an X14 arrived, we all jumped on with no more ado. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, we were alighting about 200 yards past the venue. We walked back to the gates, showed our tickets, and were soon stood inside the arena. Yvonne decided to pay a visit to the Ladies (portaloo!), and I was left standing on the grass wondering why I had decided to wear platform shoes with about 5Ÿ? heels. I soon got the answer as a Scottish girl came across to me, complimented the shoes, complimented my jump suit, and complimented me in general. By the time Yvonne arrived back we chatting away along with her boyfriend as if we were long lost friends. All through a pair of shoes (Oh, and a bit of make up as well perhaps!). Unfortunately, whilst all this chatter was going on, a large black cloud had parked itself overhead, and was now depositing its water content over us. It was soon raining pretty hard. There was nowhere to go, other than our seats, which of course, were now pretty wet. We found our places, counted to three, and sat down on the soaking wet seat, putting our little jackets over our heads. What a horrible feeling as the rain soaked up through the thin material of the jump suit into the rather flimsy underwear I was wearing. We had the brief inquest as to why we had not come more prepared, laughed, and decided to enjoy it whatever the weather. Besides, there were still lots of blue sky around and I was sure it was only a shower. Thankfully I was right, and by 7-00pm it was fine and sunny again. That said, a wet bum is a wet bum, and my knickers were still clinging to my arse several hours later! Lol. The concert was superb. Elton as I said earlier is 69 now, and to be fair, he looks it. He moved around the stage a lot slower, and fluffed a couple of lines, but we forgave him. The overall event was great, and he literally reduced me to tears with the second to the last number as he sang Candle In The Wind Ÿ?? my all-time favourite song. I think it was a mixture of Mums Birthday, Elton’s song, and Paula’s hormones all kicking in at once, but whatever it was, I made a very serious attempt at smudging my mascara. The end came all too soon, and it wasn’t long before we were filing out of the stadium, thankful to be stood back on tarmac. Now all we had to do was find a bus stop, find a bus that went where we wanted to go, and then find enough space to get on it! I think we did rather well Ÿ?? by 11-15pm we were back on Princes St. It was too early to go back in, so we took a detour via The Booking Office, where we discovered their wine and sodas are just as good as their breakfasts. They threw us out somewhere around 1-30am, when we rolled off back to the hotel. Sunday morning. It was horrible. We had done the meals out, we had done the touristy bits, we had done the concert, and now we had to do the packing. I was seriously pissed off. I had really enjoyed my visit to Edinburgh but felt there was more for Paula to see and do. I suppose the only thing to do, is maybe go back again sometime? Anyway, we packed and took our cases to the car, and then went for one final breakfast in The Booking Office, before hitting the road and heading for home. We left sunshine and 21 degrees in Edinburgh and within an hour of travelling had the wipers on and a temperature of 13 degrees. As always, I have to admit that it was nice to get home, but I must also admit that I secretly wanted another day or two away! That said, seven shaves and seven make-up applications in four days begins to get monotonous and uncomfortable. A stark reminder why to me it will never be more than a hobby. No disrespect you full time girls, but full time isn’t for me. So, now to sum Edinburgh up: Is it TV friendly? I’ll say it is! I did not see any other obvious transgendered people, but this one got treated perfectly. Value for money? This doesn’t really apply apart from the fact that all I can say is we spent a few bob, but didn’t feel we had been ripped off anywhere. Would I go again? I think you all know the answer to this one.