Day 426: Swallow Craig

Since it is a relatively short drive across the Forth Road Bridge, many of those who live in Dalgety Bay work in Edinburgh. Since Laetitia’s pervious group had only done a few of the many things to do in Edinburgh, she decided to go back there. They started the day by going to the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Museum next door. For Lunch they went to the Hawes Inn, overlooking the Firth of Forth. Robert Louis Stevenson was a native of Edinburgh who is said to have returned there and stayed at the Hawes Inn when he wrote his novel Kidnapped. The story is about a young orphan whose next of kin has him kidnapped and shipped off to the American colonies to be sold into indentured servitude so the uncle can steal the lad’s inheritance. In the novel, the scene of the kidnapping is the Hawes Inn.

They returned that afternoon to Dalgety Bay and visited Swallow Craig, the second of the town’s streets listed in Rude UK. It is a cul de sac near the Inches, visited the day before. There was nothing in particular about the street or the events of the day that inspired a limerick so she simply made one up.

When Daisy went to Swallow Craig
She took advice from her friend Meg
To glide through the town
In a red evening gown
That was split up the side to show leg.

Day 424: Fleshmarket Close

No visit to Scotland would be complete without a visit to Edinburgh, so Laetitia brought her group there. They began with the Royal Mile, a succession of streets approximately a mile in length through the medieval part of the city between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Perched atop a volcanic plug, the castle is a dominating feature of the city. The castle’s history is lengthy and complex, so Laetitia arranged a private tour guide for her group rather than lead the tour herself. When the tour was over, Laetitia met her group on the esplanade, a relatively level cobblestone area leading to the outermost castle gate.

Walking down the Royal Mile, they stopped for a drink at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. The tavern’s namesake was a respectable citizen by day, but by night gambled, drank, philandered, and robbed neighborhood houses and businesses. His crimes were eventually exposed, and he was hanged. Brodie’s hypocritical double life inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

When Laetitia told her group that they were going to visit Fleshmarket Close (number 97, Rude UK) many expected that they were going to a red light district. Instead, when they arrived they found a narrow passage connecting Cockburn and Market Streets. They found no ladies of the night, but they did find a meat market at the Market Street end, likely not the original for which the close was named. One member of the group named Jed seemed especially disappointed. The meat market advertised haggis, and when some of the group expressed curiosity about it, Laetitia decided to look for a pub that served it.

They went to a pub called The Covenanters, a curious name, since the real covenanters tended to be dour folk who were often teetotalers. At the pub Laetitia ordered drinks and a haggis appetizer for the group. When the order came, Jed asked the waiter what the haggis was made of. “It’s offal,” replied the waiter.

Jed said, “I’ll judge for myself whether it’s good or not, but what’s in it?”

“It’s mostly organ meats and oatmeal,” said the waiter, “though what we make here is likely much tastier than it was in the old days.” Satisfied, Jed tried the haggis and seemed to enjoy it. Later, Laetitia presented the limerick of the day.

When Jed went to Fleshmarket Close
He found no loose women in hose
That he hoped he’d encounter
But instead a meat counter
Where haggis and cutlets repose.

Day 423: Dickburn Crescent

Laetitia began the day by taking her group to Stirling Castle. Located on a crag at the furthest downstream crossing point of River Forth, it was a royal castle where kings and queens lived, where coronations were held, and where important battles were fought. The presence of a castle on the site was first recorded in the twelfth century, but it was added to and modified many times since. It changed hands several times during the Wars of Scottish Independence. William Wallace’s forces occupied it after they won the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1296, but they abandoned it after they lost to the English at Falkirk. Robert Bruce took the castle again in 1299, but lost it to the English in 1303. The decisive Battle of Bannockburn, when Bruce defeated the English in 1314, was fought within sight of Stirling’s walls. During the era of the Stewart Kings, the King’s Old Building, the Great Hall, the Royal Palace and the Chapel Royal were built, and these were the focus of Laetitia’s tour.

Late that afternoon, Laetitia and her group arrived in Bonnybridge, the mostly industrial Stirlingshire town of around 7,000 residents where they were spending the evening. The stone and turf Antonine wall built in AD 142 runs through the town. The group viewed a well-preserved section of the wall and the remains of a Roman fortress. They ended the day on Dickburn Crescent, number 32 in Rude UK. After a walk to view the street, Laetitia arranged a meeting place for dinner, dismissed her group, and went to a pub to write the day’s limerick. The bartender’s story about a local man named Sean, whose philandering put him in the hospital on Dickburn Crescent, was her day’s inspiration.

When he chased a tart on a floor sanded
Sean slid into a stove and was branded
And on Dickburn Crescent
In a ward convalescent
His wife, at last, caught him red-handed.

Day 412: Brown Place

As she walked down Raglan Road in the fresh early morning air, Laetitia was already thinking about work. She would spend a couple of additional days in Glasgow, and then move north across the highland fault line into Argyle. She passed through the ornate front door of the Emerald Victorian and browsed the library’s collection, delaying the serious business of planning the tour by skimming through two books: Mrs. Brown, a book about Queen Victoria’s relationship with a Scottish staff member at Balmoral named John Brown, and a book about the 1933 obscenity trial of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

She also found a Glasgow street named Brown Place listed as number 28 in Rude UK, and then moved on to several Scottish guidebooks. She decided on a visit to a tall ship and a museum called the Lighthouse. The ship was a three-masted barque named the Glenlee, built in Glasgow in 1896. During her heyday, the ship had circumnavigated the globe four times. At the Lighthouse, they had a guided tour.

Brown Place is a short residential cul-de-sac in Cambuslang, Glasgow. When Laetitia walked down Brown Place with her group, she stopped to talk to a woman, who introduced herself as Blanche. Blanche told Laetitia she liked living on Brown Place, except some of her friends made catty remarks about the name of her street. She said that she eventually got fed up with it and told them all off. Blanche’s story became the multiple verse limerick of the day.

Her friends said it was a disgrace
When Blanche chose to live on Brown Place
Which caused her to frown
And say that things brown
In society hold a high place.

In a rant that she gave with euphoria,
As she loudly rebuked her friend Doria
She said, “Mrs. Brown
Is widely renown
As a nickname for good Queen Victoria!”

She then evoked Joyce’s Ulysses
Where Molly Bloom was Leo’s missus
And when she said “brown part”
It was literary art
Despite all those prudes’ boos and hisses.

She proclaimed that she’d live there with pride
And ignore all remarks that are snide
Made by folks who are crass
Who can kiss her crab grass
Which is brown when it’s winter outside.