Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Wetherspoons and Harry Potter References

As part of my last day in Edinburgh, Natalie took me out for a full day. First we went to the writer's museum off the Royal Mile, which houses an excellent collection of paraphernalia from Scotland's Golden Age in literature, art, and philosophy, specifically from Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, and David Hume. You can stand close enough to Burns's writing desk to absorb his power of poetry by osmosis, if a pane of glass was, of course, a semi-permeable membrane. Or you can inspect Stevenson's pipe and case. Admission free.

Before this display, these particular works of David Hume had never seen the public eye.

Robert Louis Stevenson, a great traveler in his own right, wrote that "youth is the time to go flashing from one end of the world to the other, both in mind and body; to try the manners of different nations." He firmly believed that "we all belong to many countries"; I like this Stevenson fellow. (Which reminds me, I'll have to dig out my blue-bound, gilt-edged copy of Treasure Island from among my boxes in storage--time for adventure on the high seas!)

 After the Writers' Museum, our intention was to cross over to Hope Street to find the Georgian House, a house restored to its former glory by the National Trust. However, we first came across The Shadows of the Divine exhibit at Divinity College , and we stopped in to take a look at the many reflections of Jesus in recent history.

Calming of the Storm

 Hanging with John Knox

We had lunch at Wetherspoon's The Standing Order, a train station turned pub. It is impressive, so much so that I told Natalie it felt like we were having "lunch at Gringotts." My barrista friend at Cafe Nero told me that during certain time of the year, some festival of some sort, the Wetherspoon serves many kinds of Highland ales at reasonable prices. I am not much interested in ales, and this information is more interesting to those who are.

The beautiful old hall is all dark wood paneling.

I ordered the Roast of the Day, a half-chicken served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, and gravy--all for six pounds.

Natalie ordered the Chilli Cone Carne: "diced and minced British Farm-assured beef, red chilli and kidney beans, finished with cumin, coriander, and lime juice; served with sour cream, tortilla chips and yellow basmati rice."

And for dessert, of course, of course! the sticky toffee pudding, made to a traditional Cumbrian recipe: "baked sponge with dates, covered in butterscotch, and served with vanilla ice cream."

 Life is good with a bendy straw.

The only thing I found puzzling was the overabundance of cutlery. At the end of the meal I still had two additional, unused sets of forks and knives; I am usually the one to have used double the necessary tools for the job, even going so far as to accidentally snag one of my neighbor's dessert spoons, thinking it was my own. I may perhaps not be ready for any fancier dinners.

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