Walking through the Grassmarket this afternoon, the busy square of pubs and restaurants right below the Castle’s southern flank (some of the pubs there were centuries old even when Robert Burns stayed in them during Edinburgh visits). Gorgeous, bright, spring day, pubs and restaurants all busy with tables outside, locals and tourists alike enjoying the weather. And then I just happened across a group holding an open-air Tango session:
Right there in the old square, right below the Castle, couples dancing happily away in the spring sunshine, dappled by the new leaves on the trees. Seemed like it was begging for some black and white shots, so I started snapping away. A lot of the pics I had to junk – would just get lined up and focused on one couple and another pair of dancers would step into my line and I’d end up with a photo of their backs! But I got a few successful shot…
This lady in the pics directly above and below looks familiar to me – I’m sure I don’t actually know her, but her face looks familiar and I have a feeling that perhaps I’ve photographed her before at some other event in Edinburgh, but given how many thousands of pics I’ve taken it may take a bit of browsing to verify! Anyway, while I was clicking away, I got this shot as she danced with her partner and looked right at the camera with this wonderful, big smile (one of those really good smiles, the kind that isn’t just the mouth moving but the eyes and the whole face smiling). Joyful scene to just come across all these people so happily dancing away in the sunlight in the middle of the Old Town.
Spent chunk of the day with visiting cartoonist/journalist I know who was up to cover the referendum, and at one point we strolled down the Royal Mile, passing so many media crews (more camera crews than even during the festival). There was a crowd of Yes campaigners there, this was just after Alex Salmond had announced his resignation as First Minister, although we didn’t know that until we spoke to some of them. This chap got up to make an improvised speech, and, I am glad to say called for understanding and moving on:
Then he finished by calling on the crowd, in Scots tradition, to forget divisions and come together, hold hands and sing Auld Lang Syne, and there they were singing and dancing in front of the Scottish Parliament
This chap started up with his pipes…
And there was the crowd doing some Scottish country dancing, Strip The Willow, right in front of the doors of the Parliament – loved it (and what a contrast to a small cadre of bigoted boot boys in George Square later in the day and their disgraceful behaviour)
And here’s the media village set up by the parliament – think half the world’s media has been on the streets of Edinburgh the last few days
Out for a stroll round the city centre today, heard bagpipe music – live this time, not the awful canned stereotypical ‘Scottish’ music those dreadful ‘tartan tat’ shops (which keep multiplying) insist on playing on speakers outside their windows of dire tourist rubbish (they are the bane of Edinburgh dweller’s lives, we loath them). Walked over the apalling mess the tram works have made of Princes Street and down into the Gardens to find pipe band playing in the Ross Bandstand, then when other performers came on they moved over towards the fountain end of the Gardens and started playing again, to the delight of the tourists (and me, of course I had the camera with me, so snappy snappy, shame the light was so poor, very overcast, dark day). But there you go, highland dress, bagpipes and Edinburgh Castle, can you get much more shortbread tin image of Scotland than that?
The pipers were joined by some Scottish country dancers – the younger girl (in the tartan skirt) had the biggest smile through it all.
This one isn’t as sharp as I hoped for but I took several trying to be clever and frame this young piper girl between the pipes of her colleague with his back to me, but as he bobbed around in time to the music it meant he was moving all the time and it was click, nope, click, nope, never quite in frame, finally got one – not too sharp but close enough, it’ll do!