Friday, September 02, 2011

A Weekend, with friends, in August...

It was lovely round our house last week, with Paul visiting for his by now traditional Festival weekend (when we don't go to see any shows) and George up for the what I hope is the first visit of many.  I'm a sucker for things repeating themselves, finding great comfort and pleasure in repeated actions, and it looks as though these August visits are naturally falling into a patter.

First Paul arrives by train at about lunchtime and, after dumping his bag, we head into the Grassmarket for a pint at what used to be The Fiddlers Arms, but is now called Bar: Alba, I think.  It's a nice pub but one that seems to change hands every year and so the decor changes every time we go in, like an interior chameleon circuit.  After that we wander up the West Port, browsing the second hand bookshops.  Paul piled the pressure on me by buying me copies of The Dark is Rising and Maybe the Moon, neither of which I've read and which are, it seems, his two favourite books.  There will be dark mutterings and dreadful imprecations should I read them and say they're rubbish, I suspect...

Home then, and out to the airport to pick up George, flashily turning up by plane, then back to the house for an evening of chinese food, wine and old telly.  Luckily George likes old tv as much as Paul and I (which is to say, somewhat more than Julie does) but in any case a few bottles of wine and a running conversation soon means that everything we watched took on the form of a single very long episode - so the sub-Avengers Spyders Web leaked into the ITV Avengers of Jason King, and the Two Ronnies acted as an intro to the strange Prisoner-tinged, Patrick McGoohan directed episode of Columbo.  Plans to watch George's brother Scott's silent  Cthulhu movie fell by the wayside, but luckily George kindly left a disc for me to watch later.

No hangover on the Saturday, which was good so (after a detour to take my son to a party) into town for a wander about Stockbridge, buying books left, right and centre - and totally failing to stick to my three book limit.  A Dennis Wheatley science fiction novel, some sf short story books, one of Willows sequels (which looks upsetingly elegiac), a fabulous looking Umberto Eco style medieval mystery from George and sundry other bits and pieces that took my fancy  and that was a carrier bag largely filled.

It can be a bit dull describing a day wandering about, no matter how enjoyable it might be for the wanderers, but some highlights:

  • Watching Steve running (back very straight, like one of the Scooby Doo gang) straight past the end of the street we were having cake and tea in, all the while speaking into his phone like it was a Star Trek communicator.
  • Meeting Mark and Gillian (both lovely, though Mark's views on Cilla leave something to be desired!) and having Gillian say 'Are you Stuart Douglas?  Obverse Books?'
  • Paul remembering a wee pub down a back alley, past a junk shop which looked like it probably contained every trim phone ever inside its walls, where we got a comfy seat out of the rain (I'm getting old, clearly!)
  • In the Blue Moon for great steak pie - the only place in Edinburgh where the staff take the time to act a bit flirty!
 Annoyingly, for the second year in a row CCs was full of people staring into space and intimidating, thieving teenagers with fat thighs, so we didn't stay long but headed home for a last couple of drinks and a bit of chat - a lovely, relaxed end to a fantastic weekend.  Roll on next August!
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