Wednesday, April 26, 2006
On Edinburgh's Royal Mile, A Pink Bouquet For A Chubby, Toga-Wearing Hero Of The Enlightenment (Clue: Not Mr John Prescott)
As if a vision of the Grim Reaper was not enough, my trip to Edinburgh involved a walk along the High Street, where I was able to inspect the tarmacadam which has been laid over the cobbles in order to make this historic highway a Formula One track for malevolent taxis and hormonal boys with "spoilers" on the tailfins of their Ford Escorts.
While I was there, two things happened. Both were reassuring in their way. First, I encountered the deceased highwayman, Mr Adam Lyall, leading a band of tourists through the closes of the Old Town. Many ghosts and ghouls walk these streets, and I feel cheated if I do not see one, if only to remind myself of the famous court case in which a man, enraged by the screams of the tourists on these haunted walks, emerged from his home waving a machete. The tourists, believing the man to be part of the tour, did nothing, until he gave chase, still waving his weapon. The poor fellow was jailed, but I trust that someone will write a folk song about him.
My second odd moment occurred at the statue of Mr David Hume, who stands guard outside the court at the top of the Mound. Mr Hume is a portly fellow, and somewhat under-dressed, which has led some to believe that enlightenment will be granted by rubbing his toenails as they pass.
But the other night, as this picture shows, Mr Hume was holding a bouquet of flowers. I could find no explanation for this, nor did any of the other passers-by find it remarkable.
I welcome suggestions as to why the flowers were there, but until I hear better, I will assume that they were a random act of beauty in an otherwise thankless world.