Sunday, 7 November 2010

North of the Border (and The Big Silence, last time)

A couple of days north of the border to mark our 20th wedding anniversary. It was a wet and cold Friday evening when we arrived. The city in the twilight looked every bit as gloomy and unforbidding to my French wife as it must have done to Mary Queen of Scots roughly 450 years earlier. But a bit of sunshine transforms even the most sombre of places and so it was on Saturday morning.........

.... we set out reasonably early and visited Edinburgh Castle in bright autumn sunshine. By late morning we were ready to continue the well trodden path down the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Royal Mile has turned into a bit of a tourist trap with plenty of opportunities to part the unsuspecting tourist from their hard earned groats. I thought we were doing well when we stopped to pay a visit to that most uncommercial of venues, St Giles Cathedral - only to discover that if you did want to take pictures, that would cost you. In practice the extensive restoration works there meant that we should perhaps await a future visit before taking pictures.

So....back to the Royal Mile and on to the Palace.............

.........which greeted our arrival with a traditional Scottish deluge. You'll have to take my word for it that we actually visited. It was too wet to take pictures of the Palace from outside whilst, inside, photography was strictly forbidden.

For all that and in particular the rain, a wonderful couple of days. But for our next anniversary I promised my wife to chose a location with a more equable climate. That will be a challenge given we were married in early November. The UK certainly is out!

Returned home and caught up with the last episode of The Big Silence. The programme finished with each of the 5 volunteers setting out to find silence in their everyday lives. That each of them appeared to be determined to succeed, in spite of initial difficulties, was enough to reassure me that silence is more than golden, it really is transforming.

For obvious reasons we were not at home when the programme went out. A few years ago I would have attempted to video the programme on the Delay Timer facility on my Video and hope for the best when I got back. Nowadays the video recorder is pretty redundant. Many channels show their programmes more than once a week; or they have a +1 (Hour) channel (Channel 4, for example); or they allow you to view programmes on-line through facilities like the BBC's i-player. It was the latter I relied on to catch the last part of The Big Silence.

The downside of the BBC i-player is that programmes are removed a week or so after transmission. Fortunately some very bright person has put the whole series on YouTube and you can find it here . As far I can see it has been uploaded in the form of 12 x 15 minute segments. Perfect to digest in small segments if you don't want to watch it all the way through in one sitting . And a case of Youtube matching the BBC in Public Service broadcasting.

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