It is raining. Cold, wet, damp, my jacket is soaked, my shirt, my shoes, my socks.
A smile scrawls its way across my face. The weather has turned. The sun has retreated behind clouds of iron. The weather has turned and with it my mood.
Not everyone is satisfied with this turn of events. No, some grumble and groan, the water too much for their delicate sensibilities. I scoff. I am a true son of the Pacific Northwest. Rain is my friend, my state of being and my life.
The streets of Edinburgh seem made for rain. The water gurgles between slick cobbles in its march down to the sea. For a time we battle against it, like salmon swimming upstream. We have a goal in mind.
Like the pagan Vikings of old, our search is for mead, the honeyed nectar of the gods. It lies in one place that I know of, and so, through the rain and the wind and the howling ghosts of ages gone by we set off for a marketplace.
Floods of tourists trickle down the hillsides that define this city’s skyline. A dozen languages struggle against the gentle hiss of falling rain.
My companions grumble, voices stridently complaining. They are fast approaching mutiny. They are ignored.
The only consolation I make for the rain is a certain hunch to the shoulders, a dogged refusal to be cowed by the weather.
Before us glint the warm and inviting glow of the marketplace, a thousand thousand lights glinting in the gloom of Edinburgh’s night. Music wails up from below, a clashing mix of inappropriate Eighties love songs and the Christmas crooning of traditional tunes.
We arrive at the steps, bedraggled and soaked. A swift descent, made perilous by the damp, on steps worn into bowls by generations of feet and generations of rain.
We join the crowd and weave through. For a time we are distracted by food and by sights of fireworks gracing the night sky. The castle rumbles as if under siege. Fire flashes on its ramparts, smoke curls from its courtyards. It is Saint Andrew’s Day.
We linger and watch, eyes locked on the heavens, but our true goal is not forgotten.
But that, as they say, is a tale for another time.
So stay tuned for the next thrilling installment.