Monday, 19 February 2018

#7 #Monday Meanders with #Keira Drummond

Today I’m hogging my #Monday Meanders slot to take you on a little trip with my fictional friend Keira Drummond, to Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland.  

I love visiting Edinburgh, thoroughly enjoy the culture, the sights, its history. The streets teem with tourists all year long though there are obvious times when it’s even busier than normal and that would be in August when the Edinburgh Festival is in full swing. Yet Edinburgh also has many other festivals throughout the calendar year, so it’s easy for tourists to tune into what’s on whenever they arrive.

unicorn,  Abbey Strand, Edinburgh
As a born and bred Glaswegian there was a kind of rivalry when I was growing up in the 1960s that meant Glasgow was considered to be the city for the manual labourers and that Edinburgh was the place for the banking and white collar workers. The reality was, of course, something of a mixture in terms of occupations though Glasgow did have the edge on having more of the dirty manual labour jobs in manufacturing, shipbuilding and engineering works. I wasn’t very familiar with Edinburgh when I was a schoolgirl but enjoyed my few trips to the capital. I was in my twenties before Edinburgh became a more regular venue for going to the theatres; museums; eating out and even pub crawling. It was a fabulous city for all of that and more and it still is.

When I planned out my contemporary mystery Topaz Eyes I wanted to add a Scottish dimension to it. In deciding to make my main female character Keira Drummond be from Edinburgh it meant I could add in scenes which take place in the capital city of Scotland as well as all of the other fantastic European and US locations.  

In my aim to be realistic, as I am with my historical novels, I went sleuthing to find a name for my lead female that would ‘fit’ Edinburgh. The Keira aspect was because I knew of a Keira who came from Edinburgh and Drummond is a name that has historical associations with Edinburgh city- though it's a clan name that's found in the Outer Hebrides and across much of central Scotland and the borders.

(Colinton 19th century engraving - public domain)

I then decided on where Keira would be from, as in which part of Edinburgh. I’m only a little bit familiar with approaches into Edinburgh from the west—the Corstorphine, Newtown, Princes Street and Royal Mile areas— but I wanted somewhere for her to live that was quite old. I chose Colinton.

Colinton dates back to approximately the 11th century and is around six miles south west of the city centre. However, as the centuries progressed the city grew outwards and by the twentieth century it became a suburb of the city. It still has a range of architectural styles reflecting its age, the ruins of Colinton Castle (not available to the general public as far as I know)  being from the 15th century, Oliver Cromwell having destroyed most of it during his occupation of Scotland in 1650. The author Robert Louis Stevenson spent summers at the Manse in Colinton where his grandfather was the parish minister.  

Although more of the action in Topaz Eyes takes place in other gorgeous locations I’m delighted that I also featured Edinburgh. If you go to the city today there are so many recommendations to fit every pocket and every preference.

  • Like castles and historic houses? Edinburgh Castle; Palace of Holyrood House; Holyrood Abbey; the Scott Monument
  • Enjoy outdoor green spaces? Climb Arthur’s Seat; Princes Street Gardens; Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Love Museums? National Museum of Scotland; Scottish National Portrait Gallery (video above-see below for details) ; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
  • Like Visitor Experiences?: Dynamic Earth; the Edinburgh Dungeon; Underground Vaults; the Real Mary King’s Close
These are only a tiny handful of many, many things to see and do!

All of this talk makes me want to pop down to Edinburgh for another visit. ( A 3 hour drive/coach ride, a little shorter by train)

The video above is of the fabulous front foyer area of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The frieze was designed and painted by William Hole c.1897 depicting notable historic figures important to Scotland. It begins with a seated figure of Caledonia then pans left to Stone and Bronze Ages man and then for the Iron Age it's Calgacus, the Caledonian leader named by Tacitus in 'The Agricola'. The helmeted figure next is Agricola, who 'almost' conquered Scotland for the Ancient Roman Empire c. A.D. 84 - **my Celtic Fervour Series of novels.

Meanwhile, Keira and I are off to have a cup of coffee in Princes Street Gardens. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading my blog. Please pop your thoughts about this post in the comment box. :-)