Friday, June 20, 2014


So.  I had a day and a half back at work, after out jaunt to Ireland - and then disappeared on the lunchtime train to Edinburgh, this time leaving The Builder and Farley languishing at home with Marlo the (real) cat.

I was off to the almost annual Geoforum, hosted by Digimap, for whom I am the Site Rep at SHU.  I have been to them in Edinburgh (where Digimap lives), London and York. These are all get-at-able for me from Sheffield, although Edinburgh requires an overnight stay. This does not worry me!

I enjoyed the Geoforum yesterday.  The key note speaker was Peter Gibbs, a BBC and Met Office weather forecaster.  He talked about how you make weather predictions and how you make flood predictions and environmental things.  I sometimes find, not being either a geographer or a cartographer, that the key note speeches are a bit beyond my grasp of science.  Not this one.  I thought it was extremely interesting and understood pretty much all of it. The rest of it was equally interesting. Plus, we got to go outside at one point and play with a field trip app that they have been developing.

You couldn't fault the food.  They provided Tunnocks caramel wafers, delicious and interesting sandwiches, water that was flavoured with pieces of watermelon and mint. And in the afternoon break, where oh-so-often I find that places proved nutty things which I can't eat, they offered more caramel wafers, chocolate shortbread thins - and slices of watermelon and kiwifruit. Not a nutty thing in sight!

You couldn't fault the weather, either. The sun shone brightly from when I arrived until I left again at 6pm yesterday evening.  I realise that by Australian standards 20-25d is not especially hot, but it is about as hot as it gets here. Also, once it gets to 24d or so, it gets very humid.  It was quite humid (and about 25d) when I arrived and had to walk up a big, steep hill to my hotel.  I was quite hot and sweaty and ready for a big drink of water when I got there. It was less muggy, and there wasn't a big hill to walk up yesterday :-)

I stayed in a really funky hotel, right in the centre of town, amongst pubs and restaurants and cafes.  My room was very small, but plenty big enough for me and my needs.  It had quirky decor and lots of pretty things dotted about.  It's not especially cheap, and you wouldn't expect it to be in the centre of Edinburgh in the height of the tourist season.  But if you book ahead, or go out of season, or save up a load of dosh,  and don't mind stairs, I would recommend The Grassmarket Hotel for something a bit out of the ordinary.

Day off today, to compensate for a very long day yesterday.  The sun is still shining :-)

The view from my bed at the Grassmarket:

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