Sunday, 18 April 2010

INSPIRATION, INDULGENCE AND SHEER BLOODY GRATITUDE

You've all put up with enough of my moaning. There's been the failed heating system and need to replace ALL the pipework beneath the floors of the "new" flat. There's the broken oven, broken washing-machine (which flooded my legs as I tried to stem the tide), blocked sink, broken waste disposal, dripping taps, cellars full of appalling rubbish left by the previous owner, and the fact that when we arrived, the previous owner hadn't left. Nor had his possessions. And of course you had almost two weeks of me moaning about lack of internet access and how I was getting fat in Starbucks just so that I could get online.

Today I bring you the other side of the coin, because there is always another side. And this side is so spectacular that I feel ashamed for moaning. I bring you a story in pictures and you need to know that these pictures were all taken within a ten minute period on Saturday, beginning in my new back garden, all with my iphone.

I bring you the story to do two things: to turn the tables on my moaning and to show you where my inspiration is going to come from while I live in this flat on the side of fabulous Calton Hill, in Edinburgh. Calton Hill is what gives Edinburgh its name - the Athens of the North - and you will soon see why.

First, I stood beneath the palm tree in my garden and looked skywards.
 

Then I walked through our gate, into the amazing gardens owned by all the residents of this street and the next one. We all have keys, and each time I walk into these gardens I have to pinch myself. So does my dog, I think.


Through one of the gates and we're on Calton Hill. I offer no words to accompany the following pictures - they say it all. You may question how the weather could be so different within ten minutes but all I can say is that a) this is Scotland and b) we have 360 degree views from this hill so the pictures are taken in every direction, with the first one taken straight into the sun.
 
 

One lucky author and one lucky dog? To have this on our doorstep? Remind me never to moan again.

And the "gratitude" mentioned in the title? To you for putting up with two weeks of moans. This week I will be bringing you some proper writing / publishing advice and also a very exciting piece of news. But it's currently embargoed. Hehehe.

39 comments:

Simon Kewin said...

It looks fabulous. Even so, with that catalogue of disasters, I'm sure you're allowed to moan a little.

Jan Jones said...

Ah. I was wondering why you didn't move straight out. Now I understand.

But why - after sorting it all - are you only going to be there a few weeks?

DJ Kirkby said...

Breath taking photos.

Nicola Morgan said...

Jan - I hope I'm going to be there longer than a few weeks: we've bought the flat! (Which is the other reason we couldn't just move straight out when everything started to break!) I checked but can't find which bit implies it's only for a few weeks - was it the phrase something like "while I live in this flat"?

Amie McCracken said...

Beautiful. But a palm tree? In Scotland? I'm a tad confused.

And look at it this way, your flat will be all yours from the pipes to the kitchen sink because you redid everything. (Doesn't sound fun now, but it'll be great at the end.)

Cat Clarke said...

Calton Hill? You live on CALTON FLIPPING HILL?! I am so very jealous.

Clearly that's why all the disasters have been happening: to test you. To see if you're worthy of living on Calton Hill. And you are!

Jan Jones said...

It was the "while I live in this flat"

And I thought I had the impression that more moving vans were doing things in a few weeks time. But I'm probably wrong. easily confused, me.

Nicola Morgan said...

Arnie - see, you're a victim of the "Scotland has worse weather than us" message put about by the BBC. We have fab weather. (Sometimes). And the place in the UK with most hours of sunshine is Port Seton in East Lothian. Our garden is very sheltered and sunny, so the palm tree is huge. No coconuts, though!

Jan - ah, you've been paying more attention than you think. Yes, there is another move at the end of this month - when we get possession of the London flat. But that's jointly with our daughter and she'll be living there. A lot of the furniture from our old house has gone down there. It's complicated. Basically, if someone wants me to be in London, I can. But I live in Edinburgh really. Hooray!

Cat - to be honest, I'd no idea it was so special until I got here. I'd only been once before in 21 years of living in edinburgh. It is totally spectacular and i recommend all visitors to Edinburgh to climb Calton Hill.

Ebony McKenna. said...

A palm tree grows in Scotland? Wow!
Congrats on things settling down. I can't believe the previous owner wasn't gone. I'd be moaning and complaining as well - you've had a lot of things go wrong in a short space of time. Hopefully this will be the last of it for a loooooong time.

Talli Roland said...

Beautiful photos, Nicola. Thanks for the inspiration!

The Virtual Victorian said...

It's just so beautiful. That's all.

Catherine Hughes said...

I live in a beautiful part of the world. But, my-oh-my, not quite THAT beautiful. I am awed.

You're right - you're very lucky - but, as we have been discussing with reference to 'Wasted' it isn't luck at all, is it - just bloody hard work and well-deserved rewards.

And you haven't been that whiny, really!

Jesse Owen said...

Love the photos and the views :)

Xuxana said...

Wow! Stunning photos!

Janet O'Kane said...

After living in the Scottish Borders for 18 years and regularly visiting Edinburgh during that time, but only for M&S, John Lewis and the art galleries, I shall be taking a trip up Calton Hill the next time. Thank you for the eye opener.

Spider Griffin said...

Excellent; it certainly does look inspirational! Here's hoping you settle in quickly.

>> "This week I will be bringing you some proper writing / publishing advice and also a very exciting piece of news. But it's currently embargoed. Hehehe."

I for one, look forward to that!

:-)

Colette said...

Ah, you are indeed a lucky girl!

KarenG said...

Thanks for the pictures! So fun to see (sort of) where you live, and I know the feeling-- moving can be hell, then once you settle down, you realize why you picked this place with incredible gratitude and excitement for the future. I'm wondering if Scotland is something like Utah. Northern part of Utah is cold and snow, Southern is palm trees and 70 degrees in winter.

Sally Zigmond said...

Yet another reason for me to cast green envious looks in your direction. But I knew it was all there. I read Ian Rankin, don't I?

Nik Perring said...

Wow. Most beautiful! But that kind of thing is easy to overlook when other things are a problem.

Deb Salisbury said...

Wow, what a view! I was sad you had to leave your old garden (I was in love with it) for a horrible little flat, but you have a wonderful new vista for inspiration.

Sarah said...

Oh my word, Nicola. That was beautiful.

adele said...

Very beautiful indeed. And I bet the interior will be too once you've sorted all the teething problems. Lovely!

Whirlochre said...

I'd have custard tipped over my head for a week to experience that kind of view.

Katherine Langrish said...

Yay, lucky you! Love the views. I'm from Yorkshire, currently living in exile in (so pretty) Oxfordshire, but still miss the hills.

Best wishes for life in your new home. xxx

hampshireflyer said...

So how did the classical colonnade get there...? :)

Nicola Morgan said...

Thanks, all. (Deb - fear not, it's going to be lovely inside, too!)

Kath - Oxfordshire AND Yorkshire are lovely, too. And both have hills, though different.

Adele - indeed!

Hampshireflyer - exploitation of the workers, probably, I'm afraid...

catdownunder said...

Sigh...sorry about the excess of cat hair across the screen...I am HOMESICK! (Not that I have ever actually lived there but I felt totally at home on my brief visit - indeed had a very strange 'home' experience there I have never been able to understand. Purrhaps it has something to do with Edinburgh and my current sleeping spot being about the same size.)
And - summer is coming for you. It is going to be glorious.

Laura Marcella said...

Gorgeous view! My view is a brick apartment building. But all of the apartments received new windows last summer so the view is improved.

I desperately want to tour the United Kingdom!

siebendach said...

What a wonderful spot!

Harry Markov said...

Ah, you are one very fortunate author. I am positive that this scenery will beget many wonderful stories. You can't live in such a wonderful place and not experience a Renaissance in your writing.

I feel excited for you.

Catharine Withenay said...

Beautiful pictures. I love and miss Edinburgh so much: there is no place quite like it!

The Wicked Lady said...

It's been many years since I've been in lovely Edinburgh (and in fact the last time I was on Calton Hill an evil January wind was whistling through those grecian columns, inflating my leather jacket to Michelin Man proportions, so I probably didn't appreciate the view as much as I ought), so I have to ask: WHAT on earth is that white spiky carapace lurking in the photo of Arthur's Seat? Someone call Torchwood ASAP!

behlerblog said...

It appears as though you don't have the new buyer protections we have here in the States. If there were than many problems with your new house, the previous owner would be in very big trouble.

That said, I'm in awe of your "backyard" and want it for my very own. I, too, pondered the palm tree. Seems that's something you'd find in my part of the world.

May your words overflow in your new abode, and not your washer!

Nicola Morgan said...

Lynn - yes, indeed, but don't worry: we do have that type of protection. Though it's only relevant for certain aspects. We were told the washing-machine was on last legs so I bear no grudges about that. Other aspects being sorted.

"backyard" - you Americans!

Wickedlady - the spiky white thing is actually a rather wodnerful thing when you get down there: it's "Our Dynamic Earth", a journey through time and the universe from the Big Bang. It has an earthquake room where the floor shakes, etc etc. No doubt lots of other places like it now but when it was built (1999, i think) it was v innovative. It's a great place to take kids and guests.

What you can't properly see, just to the left of it, is our controversial Parliament building. Now there's a monstrosity!

womagwriter said...

Amazing pictures! There is nothing like a bit of local beauty to simultaneously calm and inspire you.

Jo Treggiari said...

Wowza! What a spectacular place! Especially excited for you about the communal garden. What a wonderful thing!

Glynis said...

Well done for turning a negative into a positive. Wonderful views and gardens, enjoy every writing minute you look at it.

I am having to take a little blog break (see blog post for reason). I will pop in and read when I can.

Kath said...

You lucky person, to be living there, despite any teething troubles. We were on Calton Hill last June during a first fantastic visit to Edinburgh.