I have a bit more time on my hands again after 8 months of university study. There is now a 3 month break before I start next year’s module. The exam last week went well; thanks for asking. 🙂 I’m sure I passed, but will not know my score until December. To celebrate completing the course I spent a few days away on a city break to Edinburgh. It was less about celebrating and more a case of this being the only time that we could fit in a holiday. The exams take up so much time, so getting away in August or September wasn’t really an option. Another reason for not going sooner was that my wife has been writing her debut book this year, and September was very busy for her completing the editing phase. Fortunately for her, all the work on it is done now, and as soon as I can talk about it I will no doubt send out a link.

Edinburgh was fantastic, it was the first time that I had been to the city, (if you ignore the time I drove through it on an epic drive from Guildford to Peterhead). It reminds me of my favourite city: Bath. I’d go so far as to say that I rate the two cities equally. It seems to have managed to avoid the worst of 1960s town planners/architects. I remember the disappointment the first time I went to Oxford and saw that whole swathes of it had been ruined by concrete monstrosities.

We had some great food whilst we were up there. Of particular note were two spectacular meals at The Gardeners Cottage. The menus are the most inventive I’ve seen in a restaurant, if you click on the link you can get a flavour of what they are serving up. It was like going to a supper club, with its 7 course set menu (you get what they are cooking), and the long communal tables. The only other place I’ve eaten at that has a similar clever use of ingredients is The Ethicurean. Every single plate was stunning, one dish I’ve had nothing like before was the Lovage Jelly which came with Roast Pear Sorbet and Barley Meringue. We loved the meal so much that we booked up to go the day after, saying that we would get there for 5pm and be out of there by 7:30, so that they could squeeze us in before people who had already booked. As we were leaving the second night the waitress gave us an extra treat of some small donuts filled with a sea buckthorn custard and some lovely fruit pastille things that I have no idea what was in them but were delicious. I just wish it wasn’t a 6 hour drive to get there otherwise I’d go there every week. If you haven’t eaten there before then stop reading this, jump in the car/on a plane and head straight there.

We also managed to get a walk in the Trossachs, where we saw some gorgeous red squirrels. See the video I made:

If you want read of what we got up to, only written better than I can then see the recent post on my wife’s blog: wellywoman.

Whilst we were up there browsing in one of the shops, Clair de Lune started on the radio. Hearing it again really made me want to play it again. I had started learning it about a year ago, and had the first 2 pages pretty much sorted, but abandoned it before tackling the difficult middle bit from bar 27. Sunday night when we got back I dusted off the sheet music and gave it a go. Mostly it is still in the fingers, so I should be able to get back to the level I was when I stopped playing it, fairly soon. I’ll keep you posted on the progress and hopefully post up a vid of it; (Because as we all know there’s not enough videos of Clair de lune on the internet). But don’t hold your breath as I’m also learning a Chopin Waltz and a Beethoven sonata.

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