Wednesday, June 07, 2017

wandering about...

I'm slowly getting to know people and programs in my new parish, and today I thought I'd try to get to know the actual place. The Church of Scotland operates on a geographic/territorial parish system, so there's a defined area that is "ours" (so to speak). So this afternoon, while the sun was shining, I set out with a map of the parish to go for a walk. I walked around the boundaries of the parish, and also many of the interior streets. Here's what I noticed:

* a friend refers to the area as a "leafy suburb" and someone else referred to it today as "old money".... it definitely does have that feel about it...lots of trees, and big houses--mansions, really--(I suspect mostly subdivided into flats), and high walls separating the homes/estates from the streets. And yet there's a surprising number of apartment blocks that could clearly use some work, and also a bunch of small homes or row houses that are clearly subdivided into a lot of small flats. So there may very well be old money, but also struggle, at least with the maintenance of physical buildings.

* I was briefly lost on the campus of a hospital, which was more like a large estate than any hospital I've ever been in.

* Many of the houses have lovely details, like stamped stone or decorate ironworks holding up the gutters.

* At one point I turned a corner and there was a clear view of the castle (which is not in the parish, haha).

* There's a grocery store where almost everything is organic and where the cost of your plastic bag is donated to Save The Children. It's tucked in a neighbourhood...which reminded me that, unlike in the US, mixed-use space is common, and I love it. I love that you can, theoretically anyway, live and work and shop in the same three-block radius. It's so convenient to be able to pop to the grocery store in a 3-minute walk. Or to find an Indian restaurant in the midst of the houses on the block.

* There is a cemetery that has some notable people buried in it....including this gem of church history:

Most of the graves have a surprising amount of information on them, including people's professions, hometowns, favourite things, family members, and who knows what else. But not Chalmers, which I think is fascinating.

 * I was briefly lost, though not for long (thwarted by train tracks), and I also walked to the bus and then home from the ice cream store where I had the bus drop me off, which accounts for maybe 3,000 steps and 30 or so minutes....the rest of these are from my parish exploration today:

* There is a general election tomorrow and I saw a SHOCKINGLY small number of placards for candidates or parties. Compared to elections in the US, the campaigning seems very low-key. I'm not being bombarded with internet ads, there are no signs out in neighbourhoods, and only the occasional window will contain a sign with a name or a party symbol. Honestly, it would be easy to forget there's an election tomorrow, actually. 
This is true not just in the church neighbourhood, but my own as well--I see hardly anything. I have encountered people with tables/tents/clipboards/materials on the sidewalks around town, and of course people are talking about it (and their views) in nearly every conversation, and naturally it's on the news--but seriously: it's amazing how different the atmosphere is the day before an election than it would be in the USA. I can't even describe how strange that is. There's a lot at stake in this election, but the overall feel in the air is nowhere near as frantic or earth-shattering as I've experienced before.

* This is what I came home to:

looking toward Fisherrow Harbor (on the left) and Portobello

* The kitties got a new condo/cave/scratching post today. I'm hoping it'll give them someplace to go when the sun comes up (at 3:30am) and they want to get in the closet....because between their attempts to open the closet door and their throwing of all my clothes on the floor, i can't take the noise anymore. Especially at 4am. :-)

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Crazy cat lady

The rules of the condominium association where I lived for the past 10.5 years specifically state that each unit cannot be home to more than 2 pets...and I've often said that rule was the only thing standing between me and crazy cat lady territory. I love my meows, and it wouldn't be hard for me to take in rescues until my home was overrun.

But two is a perfect number, really. And these two cats are so great...tonight, they even BOTH came out to snuggle and be petted by Nikki, which is so unusual! Generally only Ollie comes out to play, and Andrew hides. But both got some attention today.

Their move was as smooth as I could have hoped. They were picked up in the morning on moving day, and the driver texted me when they'd been checked in at the airport to tell me that all was well and they'd behaved beautifully--no yowling or carsickness or anything. They were well cared for throughout their journey from Chicago to Frankfurt, where they stayed overnight, and then from Frankfurt to Edinburgh. I received photos and text updates at each stop. They were delivered by a kind driver who carried them into the house. Air Animal was great at every step of the way, from planning to vet visits and paperwork to travel day to follow up, and I would recommend them to anyone.

Once the meows got here, they hid for a while...and then they came out to explore a bit...and now they are as settled as can be. They still both seem to prefer to be in the closet or between the bed and the wall during the time I'm not at home, but when I am home they sit on the couch, or snuggle on my lap, or sleep next to me on the bed. They are eating and drinking and using their new litter box. Both of them  have figured out how to get up on the kitchen counter, which is a new development--Andrew has never been a good jumper, so it's fascinating to see him exploring higher-up space than he has before. Today Ollie learned that she can still drink from the bathroom sink, as she has done every day for the past ten years. And I just saw Andrew play with the little mouse that was in the carrier with him on the way over, after days of neglect on the living room floor.

This wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of dozens of people. To all of you who donated to the GoFundMe to get them here, who shared the link, who prayed for them...thank you. From the bottom of my purr-ful heart, I am so grateful for your help. I can't imagine living here without them, and I know that their safe journey is the result of your open hearts and hands. Thanks. :-)

Andrew's favorite "hiding" spot

she's never been in the kitchen sink before, but this one's so awesome she can't help herself

checking out the dreaded carriers, before I put them away