Look what I spotted: a bungalow on stilts!

Entrance to the Royal Victoria Hospital has a small house built on top of an archway.
One of the entrances to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Today I celebrated a Eucharist at St Ninian’s, Comely Bank for the first time. It was quite a lovely wee service, using the 1970 Scottish Liturgy (the grey book), followed by coffee in the hall. I look forward to going back and becoming more involved in that community for the next few months.

On my walk back to the car, which I’d parked across the road from the Royal Victoria Hospital, I noticed this entrance (above) to the hospital. I’ve seen it loads of times before as I’ve driven or cycled past, but today I stopped and really looked at it properly for the first time.

It’s great! It looks like a perfectly normal bungalow. Built on top of a … well, it’s not even a proper arch! It’s definitely an entrance, though. It’s a bungalow built on stilts, and as far as I know it’s not built on a flood plain. It’s the sort of thing I used to build with Lego™. And if you look closely the walls have all been slated, as though the slater (roofer) just got carried away.

“Right! I’ve finished putting slates on the roof … You know what would look really cool …?”

A couple of hours later.

“Finished! Ta-da!!”

I suspect that it originally had more windows too! I mean, the whole bungalow there does look a bit like the roof for the non-arch, so I’m not surprised that the slater got confused!

I saw a light on in there as I passed, so it must be used for something. A gang hut for the nurses, perhaps?

Scottish regions on web forms

Map of the 32 local council areas in Scotland

Here’s a page on Wikipedia that I wish more web designers who write UK address forms would read: Subdivisions of Scotland.

It annoys me when I come to fill in an online form that the form designers haven’t done their homework and instead present me with an outdated list of Scottish regions from which to choose.

Living in Edinburgh I’m usually presented with either Lothian, which no longer exists, or Midlothian, which is south of Edinburgh and includes Dalkeith and Penicuik (I once managed to convince an English friend that it had a soft ‘c’ and was thus pronounced Penis-wick; it’s actually pronounced Penny-cook.).

To be fair, it wasn’t until I moved to Edinburgh in 2003 that I discovered the various regions and districts of Scotland that I’d been taught in school had been abolished on 1 April 1996, in favour of the current 32 local authority council areas of Scotland. I remember at primary school learning that Scotland had nine regions: Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Central, Fife, Grampian, Highland, Lothian, Strathclyde and Tayside, and within those 56 districts. I was living in London in 1996, which is probably how I missed the change. Now there are 32 local government areas in Scotland, with some councils sharing responsibility for Police and Fire, Health, and Sheriff Courts. Nothing is simple these days, is it!

So a gentle plea to web form designers: please replace “Lothian” on your forms with City of Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian, and East Lothian. And include the other 28 regions … sorry, areas too.

What the fog?!

A foggy day in Edinburgh
The (lack of) view from my study window at 16:15 today.

It’s been a freezy, foggy kind of a day here in Edinburgh. I went out to church this morning at 10:30 this morning only to discover that not only was the car still frozen, everything else was too. It was -3°C.

And it’s been much the same all day. ForecastFox has told me all day that the temperature has fluctuated between -2°C and -3°C. Although it’s also told me that it’s raining. Which is itsn’t. It’s just foggy.

Jane is still out there. So I’ve placed a candle in the window … and I’ll just have to wait until Captain Ahab gets home before I … oops! wrong blog.

No Cameo disappearance

Cameo cinema
The Cameo cinema, Tollcross, Edinburgh. (Photo: Surviving Scotland Cinemas)

Last month I blogged about the campaign to help save The Cameo cinema in Edinburgh’s tollcross area.

Great news: the campaign has been a success! I just read about it on the Edinburgh Evening News website:

Cameo campaigners celebrate victory after bar plan shelved

Brian Ferguson — City Council Reporter

Campaigners battling to secure the future of the Cameo cinema were celebrating a double victory today after its owner abandoned controversial plans to convert its main auditorium into a bar-restaurant.

City Screen, the London-based owner of the Tollcross cinema, has officially withdrawn the planning application for the overhaul after a wave of protests.

The chances of the building being sold to new owners who would keep running it as a cinema have also been increased by the invervention of the city council.

The local authority, which owns part of the Cameo building, has refused to renew the present owners’ lease, which is due to run out in three years time.

The council says it wants reassurances about the future use of the building before agreeing to extend the lease.

Great news indeed. It just goes to show that not all (local) government decisions are made by numpties, or based on policies that bear little resemblance to the needs of real people and real situations.

For those of you who’ve never been inside The Cameo, check out these photographs of the exterior and interior of the cinema at Surviving Scotland Cinemas.

I grew up in Selkirk, in the Scottish Borders, where we didn’t have a cinema. Our closest was the Kingsway in Galashiels, which before it was the Capitol, and before that the Playhouse. (You can see photos here.) It is now called the Pavillion, and thankfully they did away with the garish 1970s-style facade. I remember when the plans were mooted to reopen the Kingsway as the Pavillion I read in our local newspaper that they were converting the space from one screen to four screens. I began telling people that that simply meant they’d have one cinema and three televisions in the foyer!

I was wrong. It has four cinema screens. Sometimes my Mum’s cousin and his wife go near the end of a film’s run and get the small screen all to themselves. Mind you, Jane and I have been known to get that here in Edinburgh! I love the cinema.

Save the Cameo

Close-up of a movie projector

This is shocking news!

Potentially dark times are looming for the historic Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh, Scotland. After nearly one hundred years of standing as an authentic forum for the visual arts, as well as being a primary venue for the longest-running film festival in the world (EIFF), the Cameo’s historic screens are in peril.

It would appear that there are plans afoot for the independent, arthouse Cameo Cinema in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh to be closed, to reopen as a bar/restaurant with small private screening capabilities:

The development would include the conversion of the 250-seat Screen 1, currently unaltered from its historic 1914 orientation, into a large bar area with levelled flooring, gallery eating area above the screen and kitchen facilities. The current bar is to be converted into a small, 31-seat venue with screen for “private corporate hire”.

The Edinburgh Evening News reporting this week that actor Ewen Bremner, (Trainspotting, Black Hawk Down) has now also joined the protest campaign

“I really love the cinema, I’ve been coming here all my life. I think it’s a real asset to the city and a big part of its culture.” (Ewen Bremner)

There is a protest website Save the Cameo which, you will not be surprised to learn, is a little cross about the plans:

The proposed conversion of the Cameo would be a great historical, cultural, and artistic loss not only for its local patrons, but, indeed, for the world…

More is at stake in this development than the walls and seats; it would be an attack on an aesthetic and cultural philosophy which, though steadily disappearring from the world at large, was housed safely within the doors of the Cameo.

Join the cause: Save the Cameo.

The development would include the conversion of the 250-seat Screen 1, currently unaltered from its historic 1914 orientation, into a large bar area with levelled flooring, gallery eating area above the screen and kitchen facilities. The current bar is to be converted into a small, 31-seat venue with screen for “private corporate hire”.

Efforts are being taken to convince Historic Scotland that The Cameo deserves historic status, effectively protecting the historic auditorium from these types of changes.

Now, this isn’t an example of a “why does everything have to change?!” rant. I thoroughly agree with those others who’ve complained. In a world that is becoming more and more homogenous, High Streets are become cloned, and corporations are monopolizing the entertainment ‘industry’ genuine, home-grown culture is being destroyed.

I love the Cameo. I don’t go often enough, but I did when I lived in Marchmont (just 15 minutes walk from the Cameo). I love that they screen the kind of films that you wouldn’t be likely to see at your local Odeon, Vue or Cineworld (formerly UGC Cinemas). Tonight, for example they are showing:

I’ve seen some great films there, that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of seeing prior to them going to VHS or DVD. My favourite was Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster — cos that’s the kind of un-arty-film metalhead that I am. Sorry!