Saturday, 24 January 2009

Welcome to St. Mary's Cathedral

Little in the way of writing today; I have too much reading to do. I like it. I have one piece I'm reading about the Tattoo, which is giving me a boost of enthusiasm where mine has been flagging. I really have to get to work on the pod cast. Then there are other reading assignments of sorts, but I cannot speak of them. Because they are TOP SECRET. I would have to kill you. With a fork that has been tipped with the fire of the scotch bonnet pepper. Tongs of the inferno!Anymahoo, even with my fancy new camera, I don't feel I did this cathedral justice. St. Mary's looms above Palmerston Place, teetering between where Edinburgh's busy Princes Street meets Lothian Road, and Haymarket train station. If it isn't completely void of tourists, I can guarantee there will be only one or two. Most of the tourists visit St. Giles because it is on the Royal Mile. But St. Mary's, the biggest cathedral in the city, sits with an empty belly most of the time. The one time I attended a choral service there on a Thursday night, there were only eight people in the audience.
That is what makes this place so wonderful. It is a haven for the deep, reverberating silence that is hard to find in a city. Besides, I like places that feel as if they have been forgotten and are just stewing in their own memories.

The first foundation stone for the cathedral was laid in 1874 and five years later the first service was held in the nave. The Father Henry Willis organ was also built in 1879. That is one old organ (insert unseemly joke about Viagra here).
I always try to encourage tourists to make the effort to see St. Mary's, but as I begin to explain that they will have to walk about 20 minutes from our office, I can see them start to lose interest. They prefer the idea of a cluster of photo-ops to a single out-of-the-way stone matriarch. They are missing out. Gorgeous wooden doors, intricate tile floors, high vaulted ceilings, every whisper an echo...echo...echo...
People-watching moment of the day: Looking out my window onto Gorgie Road, where the punters were heading to the football game. A father and son sitting on a bench, eating chips with little forks. The father's left eye had a fading shiner and he was watching the other we're-so-tough men who were walking past. The boy was sitting squashed up against his dad, leaving the rest of the bench empty. He slowly and methodically reached into the bag with his little fork and pulled out a long chip, and began nibbling at it while enthusiastically relating some story to his distracted father. I wonder how often, as everyday worries vie for their attention, that fathers fail to notice that their sons see them as heroes. Here is a man bathed in light, and yet he cannot see.
Finally: Happy Birthday, Norah! Viva la Revolution!


Dale said...

I wish everyone who had "little to write" would write so much and so well!

Anonymous said...

It looks cold in Edinburgh today, but least your blog got me out of the a mental, imagination kind of way.

Small Boat Sails into Big Mystery said...

Purest Green,
You either have a great camera or a very skilled eye. Your pictures are some of the best I've seen. And thanks for being faithful to my novel. Chapter four is now up for reading.

Jacqui said...

You sell yourself short, these are great photos and as a result of looking at them I may find myself visiting St Mary's for some peace and quiet and gentle reflection when needed. I especially like the shots of the door and the foot.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

indeed, your blog is often a love letter to your city.

C.S. Perry said...

" if they have been forgotten and are stewing int heir own memories."
My heart feels like that more often than I'd like to admit.
And I'll be sure to keep a keen eye on my son the first time he tries French Fries.