Sunday, 6 December 2009

Introducing Blackford and Morningside!

Welcome to a beautiful, sunny, winter's day in South Edinburgh! I am going to take you on a short tour of the area where I live. No crafting today just some healthy exercise and fresh air and lot's of interesting things to see.
Above is the lovely, sandstone, terraced street that we live on. Our house is the last one in the terrace with the tall, pointy trees.

I am going to take a walk up Blackford Hill which our street stands at the bottom of. I have walked back to the main road here to take a photo of the grand archway which leads up to the Hill and The Royal Observatory which stands on top. But it is also the way through to our street, which I rather like!

It's a steep climb, but I'm already up to the Royal Observatory. This is the new one (built in 1896, just a few years before our house), the old one is on Calton Hill nearer the centre of town, just to the east of Princes Street. But they had to close it down and build this one further out of town as the smoke and smog from the city meant they couldn't see anything! This was when Edinburgh was known as 'Auld Reekie'. Here is a brief history of the Royal Observatory.

Here I am now reaching the top of the Hill. It is quite a climb but the views are spectacular!
Here is Edinburgh to the east and Arthur's Seat with the sea beyond. One of the things I like most about living in Edinburgh is that you can see out of it. Growing up in London, where you can hardly ever see the horizon or get any idea of the geography of the place this has always seemed such a novelty. Once you get up the hill, you see just how close to the coast you are (Edinburgh has a lovely beach at Portobello and the whole of the East Lothian coast is beautiful).
Then turn to the north and you can see the castle and the Firth of Forth, with Fife behind (and another amazing coastline to explore). Behind to the south are the Pentland Hills and England beyond. Blackford Hill is a very popular place with runners and dog walkers. I love to come up here on summer evenings (when it doesn't get dark till 11pm!). Twice a year, at the end of the Festival and at Hogmanay, hoards of people tramp past our road end, and up the hill to look down on the firework displays in Princes Street Gardens. Blackford Hill is only one of a handful of great vantage points surrounding the city from which you can get a good view. Edinburgh is a very hilly city!
We're back down the other side now and clockwise around the hill a bit. This is Blackford Pond. A little nature reserve with swans and ducks. Very popular with mum's pushing buggies. It's very muddy today!

A pair of swans preening themselves on the little Island in the middle.

We are now going to head off to Morningside and visit my shop. Most of my life revolves around home in Blackford and the shop which is a 20-25 minute walk away. I thought I would show you some of the lovely, big houses that I walk past on my way to work.

Morningside and the Grange (where these houses are) are very wealthy areas. In fact a few years ago, when we first opened our shop, there was a report in the news regarding the areas in the UK that had the most millioniares per head of population, and Morningside came second with only Hampstead above it!

When you see these amazing houses you can see why!

Getting closer to the shop now and I just thought I would say a quick word about why I am taking you on this tour. Lovely Margueritte from Adventures in Quilting and Sailing blog is having a giveaway to celebrate her 100th post. It is the usual thing with one entry for leaving a comment and extra entries if you put something in your blog. But instead of just posting about the giveaway, Magueritte suggested we should take our readers on a tour of our local area, just as she had done recently with her post Introducing Ramsgate. This seemed like such a fun idea, so here we are!

Yes here we are at Jonathan Avery. 2 shops next door to each other, separated by the staircase to the flats above, so they are quite departmentalised.

Here we are in shop 1 (kitchenware, crockery and at the moment Christmas department) with the lovely Alison pretending to do something with the beautiful Bridgewater Pottery.

Here is Alison near the christmas decorations. The display looking a little depleted at the moment which is a good job as only a couple of weeks left to sell it all! Look at Alison's amazing shoes! She is our very stylish, model-like, quirky, student primary school teacher, weekend sales assistant.

And here is Allyson (yes I know, confusing...) in shop 2 (interiors, gifts, childrens things), this is our bedroom department (can you see the owl!). Allyson is also training to be a teacher and is my other weekend lynch-pin and a lovely, sweet girl. Thank you 'Alisons' for letting me take embarrassing photos of you!

The shop is on Church Hill, just round the corner from the main Morningside Road, a major thoroughfare south of the city and the best shopping area in Edinburgh! I could go on and on but I think I will leave you now and head home. Oh hang on, let's just have a look round the corner...

Here is a nice big house behind very secure gates. Hmmm... I wonder who lives here? Well she is a very famous person, probably one of the most famous people in the world. She used to come into our shop quite regularly and could be seen tottering around the area in amazing shoes and working on a laptop in Starbucks. Nobody pays her any special attention as it takes a lot to impress your average Morningsider. I haven't seen her for a while now.

Here's the back of her house. I wonder what she's up to these days...
Well Magueritte, any ideas? If you can tell me in an email who lives in this house I will send YOU a prize!!


  1. Thanks for the lovely tour of where you live. Very informative and I love all the big old houses. Love your shop too!! I'm just about to post about my little town but have been motivated by yours to take one more photo which will involve a bike ride up a hill.

  2. What a fantastic tour Jo! Thank you for going to all the work of taking the photos and posting them with a comprehensive explanation! I know that has taken quite a bit of your time. It is lovely to see where you live, what a beautiful city!

  3. What a wonderful idea, I loved your tour. Have never seen the house of the famous person before!

    You have done a brilliant job - well done x

  4. It was great to see these pictures. They bring back fond memories. What a lovely area. Nice to see the crafts you have done. Obviously not things i would tackle as it seems you got more of the talent than I . Doug

  5. Oh I love Morningside. I used to live in Edinburgh until a few years ago and loved that whole area. Too bad your shop didn't exist yet back then. will have to pop in when I am in town some time in the summer.