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Trouble In Paradise

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Morningside, in Edinburgh, has many obscure interesting nooks and by-ways and none are better known than the profusion of biblical names that cover a stretch of the east side of Morningside Road from around the Dominion Cinema down to the clock.  Here sit the Canaan Lanes, the Jordan River, Nile Groves and Little Egypts.  Edens and Harmonys.

The names just pour out from homes and dead ends.  Even to the extent of that small and most definitely un-regarded patch of semi abandoned ground opposite the Canny Man.  Here um, a bog standard concrete built nineteen sixties public lavy has sat unpleasant, cold, drafty, unloved.  It has no value to the local architecture or history beyond its name.  Unless you had a need to stand ankle deep in wind-blown litter to score a ten pound bag, or take up some grubby liaison there was not much to attract.  For here in Morningside you see, even the lavies are in Paradise.

Suddenly this plot has taken on a life of its own.  People have become interested, nay even to the point of being vocal and giving their opinion on Morningside’s Facebook page.

Last year the Council strapped for any cash following their disastrous Tram project started scratching about down the back of the sofa of their finances and decided to flog off this dreary piece of real estate.  And that was when Morningside awoke in horror to the idea that someone might actually buy this dilapidated eyesore and then threaten to build a block of flats there.  Flats!  In Morningside?  As if!  The idea was utterly repugnant.  The “I love Morningside” Facebook site was communally aghast.

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But looking at the planned development above, it fits in well and certainly much better than a nasty cheaply build 1960’s public shunky that half the local residents seem never even to have known existed.  There were objections that it has no “local idiom” when it is a tenement block placed right next to ah, um, a tenement block in a magnificent collection of tenements that gives Morningside Road its essential canyon feel.  Morningside Road was always a mixed selection of interesting tenement types and this one would fit in well.  In any event Canaan Lane was always a bit mixed.  There is the pub on the opposite side from the proposed development, and then what was once a Police Station, and in later years became a home brew shop.

Not that further up the street had much in the way of outstanding charm.  Falcon House was replaced in the 1960s by some fairly standard and deeply uninteresting blocks, and further over, towards St Peters there are some remarkably undistinguished 1930 tenement blocks.

Maybe if they call the flats Paradise Regained it would become acceptable?

Copyright David Macadam 2017

 

 

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The Scotsman Steps

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If anywhere had the reputation for being “unregarded” then surely The Scotsman Steps were a prime candidate.  Avoided might have been a better term. These steps link the old town and the new towns of Edinburgh by a step flight of stairs dropping from a landing at the side of the Scotsman Building down to Market Street below right next to an entrance to Waverley Station.

They had been build between 1898 and 1902 and had rather fallen on bad times.  The stairs were dilapidated, broken and dangerous.   They absolutely reeked of urine, being used as an al frsco lavatory by a community of junkies and alcoholics. It quite literaly ran with pish.  It was never the safest route and was avoided where possible.

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However in a joint (albeit somewhat belated) exercise the City of Edinburgh, and Edinburgh World Heritage joined forces and asked artist Martin Creed to up the game somewhat.  And what a sucess it was.  First they cleared the undesirables out and resurfaced the stairs.  So far so straightforward but Creed decided to use marbles.  Lots of marbles, all sorts of different marbles 103 of them from all over the world to create a funky jazzy wierd stair which is just so good.

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Would I recommend this as a useful short cut?  Now?  Of course and it would be worth the detour at any time.

Copyright David Macadam 2016

 

 

 

 

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Exam Weather

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Every year just at the time school children and students are studing or sitting their exams Edinburgh literally bursts into blossom in a week or so of full summer heat.  This last week has seen this once again.  The view here is of the back of the tenement at Jock’s Lodge.  Its amazing how such a peaceful tranquil oasis can be only a couple of hundred feet from a constantly busy intersection.

Copyright David Macadam 2016

Adelphi Place, Portobello

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This little street winding its way off Portobello High Street is a hidden gem.  Small stone built homes from the early nineteenth century (at a guess) and the burn running through it.  Just now at the moment of early spring it just made me stop and pause.  What a delight.

Copyright David Macadam 2016