The Scottish Government has announced Covid-19 lockdown restrictions throughout mainland Scotland starting from Tuesday 5th January 2021 and lasting until at least the 26th of April 2021.
This means our wee shop will be closed, and our walking tours suspended, for that period.
We aim to reopen as soon as it is permissible (and we deem it safe) to do so. We will update this information as soon as the situation changes.
As Halloween looms, we are preparing ourselves for what will be the most surreal 31st October we've experienced since 1985. Can you believe it? Thirty-five years of ghoulish endeavours in the Old Town of Edinburgh on what was always our busiest night of the year.
The summer of 2020 was a surreal experience for all of us.
It was a double-edged sword for tourist guides as tourism ground to a halt. The upside, however, was an eerily quiet capital city to explore; including Greyfriars cemetery, which was a joy to wander through as the kirkyard was as silent as its long-term occupants.
It's great to be back on the streets of Edinburgh's Old Town conducting our evening outdoor walking tours.
We've adapted very quickly to a socially-distanced tour with a limit of 15 guests in each group. It's been a creative challenge reinventing aspects of the trip which require audience participation, but so far so good. For their part, the customers attending the tours -- a mix of locals and visitors -- are acclimatising well to the "new normal" by keeping a respectful distance from other family groups and wearing face-coverings when required.
17th May 1718: On this date Edinburgh's Greyfriars Kirk was accidentally blown up by gunpowder. Not quite the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 on London's House of Lords but instead just a simple accident.
Edinburgh Town Council at that time stored their gunpowder in a small tower at the west end of the church. "This was surely asking for trouble!" I hear you loudly shout, and you'd be right. The west end of the church was obliterated, and a new west wall was built.
17th March 1514 - From the Burgh Records:
"Extent for walling of the toun.
The president baillies counsall and communite hes grantit and consentit that ane extent be gatherit of the haill communitie extending to the sowme of V li., with the dettis awand to the toun for the furnesing and defens of the samyn, efter the forme and effect of our Souerane Lordis writingis direct for that intent."
19th January 1586 - Yet another outbreak of the dreaded Plague drew to an end in Edinburgh around this time, and on this date the Burgh Council "Ordanis Alexander Fraynche, fowle clenger, to be clengeit and ane vther conducet in his rowme als guid cheip as can be."
That is to say: "Ordains Alexander French, foule clenger, to be cleansed [of the Plague] and another [should be] appointed in his place as cheaply as possible."
It's not every day we look out of our shop window and see a souped-up muscle car careering down the street the wrong way, with a musclebound shaven-headed career criminal at the wheel. Every weekend, certainly, but rarely at about noon on a Wednesday.