Saturday, 24 September 2016

Edinburgh in the warm September sunshine

Cafe sketching!
Well….I thought I had experienced everything with this travelling alone/peripatetic working lark!  But the last 24hours has been quite an experience!

This year I am continuing my ventures into establishing new and improved work practices as well as finding a better work/life balance than has been the case recently!

I work on a very tight budget at the moment, so accommodation solutions need to have the emphasis very definitely on the ‘cheap and cheerful’ side of things.  I’ve lots of experience at finding suitable places where I can both work and relax, as well as being in a convenient location so far as transport, food etc is concerned. The late and much lamented Caledonian Backpackers in Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, ticked all the boxes perfectly for me, but now I have had to start again……

To digress slightly….but it IS relevant to my subject…..last year I embarked on a quest to discover a source for experimenting with traditional fiddle playing . When at school, many many moons ago , I had studied classical violin to a reasonably competent level, sufficient for me to find myself playing 2nd violin in a 3-performance college production of “The Pirates of Penzance”, by Gilbert and Sullivan . But I found this an exhausting experience, and have since found that a slightly smaller instrument suits my frame better!  
I have enjoyed folk session playing in the past when I owned a studio in West Yorkshire, so , to cut a long story short, I now find myself thoroughly enjoying participating in a rapidly expanding fiddle playing group in the Scottish Borders , and am in the process of attempting to fit it into a new work schedule…..!

The logistics are NOT straightforward, as several bus journeys are involved, but I find that by discovering suitable budget accommodation in Edinburgh, I think I can fit everything around a regular Life Drawing  slot, too!  Bingo! (or at least I think this will work!)

So yesterday afternoon found me tramping through Old Town , fiddle and suitcase in tow, painting kit and laptop included, looking for the hostel where I’d booked myself in for a couple of nights…..I hadn’t been to this one before, but it seemed to be conveniently located for being within walking distance of transport and my various other needs….But what a disappointment!   Down a dark and gloomy street...rather grim and terse welcome….dark and gloomy passages...bareness ….nowhere comfortable to sit except my bunk….hmmmm!  Still, I didn’t feel exactly unsafe, so brought ALL my experience into play, draping scarves above my bunk to provide a modicum of privacy and to avoid disturbing others with my bedlight, which I was able to plug into my own extension board, together with my laptop!   At least there was reasonably adequate broadband in the room, and I was able to entertain myself and sleep adequately.

However, I did NOT fancy staying in this particular establishment a second night, and instead had booked myself a bed online at the Budget Backpackers on Cowgate...just along the road as it happens!  
WHAT A DIFFERENCE!  Smiling welcome even very early in the morning, and use of nearly ALL facilities , even though not yet checked in!   I was able to store all my stuff VERY securely, buy an excellent breakfast, and am as I write very happily ensconced in a corner of the excellent chillout room….I might even get some work done today!
Preparing my sketch kit for the day's work

Note the (nearly) unique bag!

  This hostel is well located , just by the Grassmarket, so is very convenient for shops and eateries etc.  There’s lots of sketching material around here, both inside and out, so WATCH THIS SPACE!
Handy seats for the sketcher in the Grassmarket!

One does take just a teency weency bit of a risk when choosing an independently run hostel online, and I know where I WON’T be staying again next time, but I’m delighted to have found the jackpot so soon!

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