Quick shot from top deck of the bus to work as it was paused at the lights – this it Tom Gilzean, fundraiser extraorindaire and well-kent Edinburgh character. Mr Gilzean is a veteran in his mid 90s, yet is regularly at his post, usually outside the old Jenners Department Store on Princes Street, right across from the towering Scott Monument (I’m sure the statue of Sir Walter Scott looking across the road to him approves of his diligent work). He’s raised over £100,000 for charities, quite remarkable, as he is seen on Princes Street, medals polished, a charity collection box in each hand rattling away.
Yep, Christmas beckons, the horrid and unwanted, useless tram works mean Princes Street is still closed to traffic, but at least in the meantime they are using the now vacant street space for something fun, like this open air cafe-bar stalls and the pair of old Routemaster buses now being used as booze buses. Hot drinks, food, booze, but at this time of year on a frigid December night I think the sign declaring “warm inside” is even more attractive!
Every Wednesday I’d see this wee, old Salvation Army lady in the doorway of Jenner’s department store on Princes Street, right across from the Scott Monument. She was there every week, winter or summer, hail, rain or shine. Back when Jenner’s still had a doorman (complete with livery and top hat) I’d often see him chatting to her. I don’t know why, but it always made me happy to see her there every week as I passed by on the bus to work. A couple of years ago I got a quick photo shooting from the top deck of the bus as it was waiting to move off. Just as I clicked the shutter a young woman walked into the frame and I actually liked the result: the old lady and the young, the old lady in her uniform doing her bit of duty, the hip young thing in shades, trendy clothes, ciggy dangling from her hands headphones on, away in her own world, the contrast between them appealed to me, even though it was the simple result of her walking by just as I took the shot, so I can’t claim I was trying to do anything clever here with my pic:
Sadly I haven’t seen the Sally Army lady for a couple of months now. I keep looking every Wednesday when I pass on the way to work but she hasn’t been there, so it looks like she has had to stop doing it now – I don’t know if her age or health has meant she had to stop after all these years, but I do hope she is alright. I was used to seeing here there every week and I have to confess I found it almost comforting that this old lady would be there each week with the War Cry, there was something touching about it and it always made me smile to see her at her post. She was one of the little fixtures in my map of the city.
Some amazing pavement art outside Register House at the start of Princes Street. It’s been there since just around the end of the Festival and despite rains and wind I noticed it was still mostly there the other morning, wonder what materials they used on it for it to last like that? Presumably not just the usual chalk pavement drawing.
The new artwork on the side of Saint John’s church in Edinburgh makes a nice comment on the greedy pigs-in-the-trough mentality of so many of the right dishonourable Members of Parliament who’ve been caught with their sticky trotters in the cookie jar, grabbing every bit of tax payer’s money they could rip off.