Leith gave way to the New Town and the Festival bustle, if the more civilised Edinburgh International Book Festival in Charlotte Square Gardens. I was there anyway to see Kathleen Jamie and had got there a bit early to buy books and sit. It was busy, being a sunny and warm August Saturday evening and I plonked myself down on the grass. The connection with Leith Links came through me being a voracious reader but also through Charlotte, the square named after the Queen and confusingly also first daughter of George III or so Wikipedia tells me. Queen Charlotte Street is just off Leith Links. The Gardens are closed for most of the year, opened only if you know the right person or for everyone in August during the Book Festival. The rest of the time Charlotte Square is quiet, one of the nicest parts of the New Town. August it is busy, not as bad as the High Street but enough to be doing with.
To the connections, then, and I could go anywhere related to any of the authors speaking at this year’s Book Festival or indeed anywhere in Scotland which has a book festival, like Wigtown, Dumfries House or Lennoxlove, to pick three off the top of my head. Gin trollies could take me to just as many places which make gin, a burgeoning industry in these islands. I don’t know nor particularly care if our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, drinks gin – she’s a big reader, though – and the fact her official residence is on Charlotte Square could take me somewhere linked to her, the SNP or the nationalist cause. Or just to a square someplace. The possibilities are endless, just as many as could be found in the books across the way in the bookshop or the heads of those writers talking away at the Festival. As long as we read, we’ll be all right. That’s what I think.
Incidentally, soon will come the 700th post here. I’m opening it up to suggestions. Any ideas of what I should write about will be gratefully received. Or questions for a question and answer. Any thoughts, put them below or in a message another way.