Writing this under extreme duress.  No clue what I’ve done, but my right wrist is back in its restraint as doing anything sends my hand into fits of agony.  Getting through this without jarring it in any way is quite the lesson in word processing grace.

This weekend actually marks an important anniversary for me.  Its 5 years ago today that I graduated from university, and I fully intended to write a blog about that.  However, fate had other plans.  Plans that became apparent when the sound of bagpipes filled our kitchen (much to the distress of my very hung-over roommate) around 11am.

ImageIt’s a parade.  Turns out it’s the International Youth Festival parade – one of many performances happening throughout the day.  On top of Tartan Day celebrations, and the finale to the Granite City Festival, and the regular Farmers Market.  Everything is happening today – one of the hottest days in a summer that has already seen more hot and sunny days than the last 3 years combined.  And even though I knew I should be working on my thrice damned costume, I’d been holed in too many days to not jump at the chance to enjoy this kind of atmosphere.

I ran into half a dozen performances, a multitude of tartans (making me sad that I technically own nothing tartan and am getting through the day with a plaid shirt) and splashed out money in the Farmers Market for proper raspberries.  The type that grow in a field and actually have a taste, unlike the supermarket blandberries that fill the shelves half the time.  Worth every penny – but it was so hot I found myself driven back inside just for protection.

Of course, that’s not even an option anymore.  With the windows closed and my door shut my room is less of a haven and more or sweatbox.  Ram the window open and flee once more, heading back into town and wandering into the Granite Festival.

ImageIMG-20130727-00006 Image

Needless to say, granite’s a pretty big thing here.  Nearly every building is made from the stuff.  The majority coming from our local quarry, though nowadays a significant amount comes from abroad too.  The festival’s been on all week, but it’s coming to its finale today – in the graveyard-turned-city-centre-park, they have stone splitting and letter carving, along with a tour of the city at 2, so I figure why not?

ImageNot…quite what I was expecting.  Rather than a tour of the city it was focused on the art and metaphors around the use of granite in the city.  I got flashbacks to my English class, when you had to overanalyse a book and were just pulling ideas out of thin air in a desperate attempt to flesh it out.  Though can’t deny the guy made some interesting points, and I did start to look at my city in a different light.

IMG-20130727-00013aThis, for example is something I’d never thought twice about until he pointed it out.  The Travelodge sign is normally in blue, but on Union Street the sign is grey.  Much like the McDonalds on the Champs D’Elysee, the council refused the sign unless it didn’t detract from the street’s aesthetic.  There’s also a multitude of buildings that are clearly from different eras, but you never quite notice because your eyes never look past the first floor.

2013-06-02_09-34-08_809Sadly, the tour ended with us at the city’s current financial black spot – Marischal College, home of the city council and directly opposite to their former building, which is currently being demolished at the same cost of redeveloping MC (despite the fact that they still haven’t paid it off to begin with!). 


Though will admit, that is a FAR superior view to the old building.

The MC is a little bit special because the council actually had the building cleaned, and it stands as a testament of granites hardiness as it now looks brand spanking new.  To the point where it kind of looks fake in a city of dark and dull.  Right next door is the church, showing the colour it used to be before they brought out the power hose, as a permanent before and after shot, reminding us of just how shiny the rock can be when treated right.

And since I can’t figure out where else to put them, here are some photos from my day, showing off my city on one of the rare occasions its got the weather to enjoy it.


The art gallery with granite pillars from different quarries.


Much like the traffic cone in Glasgow, Robert Burns ALWAYS has a seagull on his head…


The lion upon which every graduate gets a photo op on.


The very old building meets the rather new.