Just Scots Going Around Their Business

Saint John’s Church on Princes Street has been painting large murals commenting on social and moral problems for many years. It’s been a little while since I saw a new one, but noticed today a fresh one had been painted, celebrating the diversity of multi-cultural Scottish society and timed to coincide with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year – in an especially nice touch the figure on the upper right pays homage to Raeburn’s 18th century painting of the Reverend Robert Walker ice-skating on Duddingston Loch in Edinburgh, now famous as the symbol of the National Galleries of Scotland:

Just Scots Going Around Their Business

A short conversation with a squirrel

I was out in town to take a photo of the Easter mural at Saint John’s church on Princes Street last week (they often put up great art works commenting on current social, ethical and political events and concerns) and, having bagged my picture, I was about to head off to the Filmhouse. On a whim I decided not to go back out the gate and along the pavement and round the corner, instead opting to go down the stairs and cut through the church’s cemetery and past the fair trade shop and cafe that are underneath the church in the crypt area (the cafe has seats outside for the better weather, you can sit and have your coffee and cake but the Victorian tombs!). And I am glad I suddenly decided to cut through the kirkyard, because look at this splendid little fellow who I found poised by an old Celtic cross headstone as I walked through. I still had the camera around my neck and so very slowly picked it up so as not to frighten him off, and managed to get this shot:

a short chat with a squirrel 01

To my surprise he didn’t dart off in that rapid way squirrels usually do, he stayed in his spot, little look around and then often looking right at me, as if we were having a quiet little chat, so I moved over a few feet (slowly again so as not to alarm him) and zoomed in for some more shots:

a short chat with a squirrel 03

Even got him calmly looking right at me – how cute is he? And what a magnificent tail! I thought my Pandora puss had a big, bushy tail, but this is something else…

a short chat with a squirrel 02

After a few moments he scarpered away over the wall and the tops of the gravestones, leapt onto a low branch and scuttled up into his tree, but before I left I noticed he had again paused and was looking right at me, so I took one last picture:

a short chat with a squirrel 07

Although the kirkyard is sunken below the level of the nearby roads and streets and a nice quiet, peaceful spot, only twenty feet from where this happened are two very busy city centre bus stops and a main road, hundreds of people and vehicles passing by every few minutes in the middle of the day. No-one else came down the steps while I was there, all those people busily walking by up above on the street just feet away totally oblivious to the wonderful little scene I alone was witnessing. I love when little moments like this happen – especially when I can catch them on camera (another reason I keep my camera in my bag most of the time). With most others walking by unaware it feels like my city is giving me a little present, sharing a little moment of magic with me as a reward for being able to see such things. Little magical moments like this just make a day…

Ploughshares into swords

New artwork up on the side of Saint John’s church in Edinburgh and as with many of their previous works commenting on social and political issues it is bang on the money. I do appreciate their murals and the messages they send and that they are placed facing right onto busy Princes Street in the shadow of the Castle, where thousands can see it. I suspect many are too busy with their face buried in sending text messages to even notice, but I hope a few do see it and think… Always enjoy their artworks and appreciate them, you can find several more photos of previous works here on the Woolamaloo Flickr. St John’s is also a lovely wee oasis of calm in the middle of the city, even for us non believers – there’s a lovely cafe in the crypt (in the summer some tables are outside right by some of the old graves!) and a fine fairtrade shop as well, always a nice vibe around this church. During the Festival in August they hold an annual craft fair with the stalls strung throughout the old, tree-shaded graveyard, where you can walk around the stalls sometimes accompanied by the pealing of bells from their nearby neighbour Saint Cuthbert’s.

ploughshares into swords

A religious tryptich

A form of tryptich on the art board from the always interesting lot at the Saint John’s church on Princes Street, with three things the Roman Catholic Church has had problems with over its history (if they had picked everything the church has been prejudiced against, let alone violently opposed to they’d have needed a canvas longer than all of Princes Street), placed right in full view of where the Pope would go past in his recent and most unwelcome visit (why is the taxpayer funding a trip from a religious figure? It’s not a ‘state’ visit since the Vatican isn’t a real state but a religious theocracy holdover from medieval times. Why are we paying for a homophobic, bigoted, mysoginistic, anti-science, intolerant former Nazi to come to our country and then to insult us?).

Saint John's Church mural for Pope's visit to Edinburgh

some pigs are more equal than others

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.

some pigs are more equal than others