Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Edinburgh's Floral Clock Used To Be A Riot Of Colour, Now It Is A Dismal Mossy Verge. Will The Summer Ever Bloom?
It is, I confess, a couple of weeks since I was in Edinburgh, but on reviewing the package of pictures I received this morning from Krappy Snaps, I was reminded of the disappointment I felt on visiting Princes Street Gardens. This, you must understand, was quite separate from my usual catalogue of disappointments, and was not even related to the act of corporate vandalism which has obliterated the putting green (putting greens, like public lavatories and water fountains, being a measure of civilisation) or allowed the construction of a carbuncle on the site of Castle.
This disappointment related to the floral clock. It is, I understand, the oldest floral clock in the world, and I have fond memories of being taken to see it whenever the Elder family visited Edinburgh to purchase new balaclavas. I loved its gaudiness, and the fact that it was possible to observe the mechanical advance of time. On my 14th birthday, my mother, Mrs Elder (or Ma'am), explained to me that the clock was a symbol of the cycle of life, which I understood to be a Raleigh Sports model with an upholstered saddle and a dynamo for the dark winter mornings.
There was sadness, too, if we happened upon the clock during winter, when the hands were removed, in case anyone should get the idea that the bad weather might pass.
Imagine the dismay I felt on my recent visit: the hands of time were turning, but the floral display was muted to the point of dreariness. I hope this is not a foretaste of a dismal spring.