I was in Edinburgh on Sunday with an old old friend, Simon. We were there to take Will to play cricket- a region match, West Scotland against the East. West won easily thanks to a century from one of the lads. Will only bowled 3 overs (1 for 11.)
Simon and I found time to walk the streets of the posh part of the city. It seemed like a place in a country I did not recognise; massive houses, posh cars, private schools (we were overshadowed by the massive gothic confection that is Fetters College, Blair’s place of unfortunate education.)
We stumbled across Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and as Simon is a Landscape Architect by profession we had to go in. Not that I minded- I love gardens. I love the tranquility that an organisation of green things can convey. It was a lovely thing to do- walking round the place with my old friend, not needing to worry about silence but still quick to find slow moments of humour. It was hard to escape a slight feeling of unreality though- all the plants are imports, aliens, refugees, asylum seekers. Some were stolen by Victorian plant hunters and collected for their sheer weirdness, even though their survival in this new climate required a vast heated glass house. In the midst of those wealthy tartan streets it was easy to empathise.
The gardens are free to enter, although you have to pay to go in the glass houses. It is worth it though. (Locals to Dunoon- you get in free if you are a Benmore Garden ‘friend’.)