The air in Old Town Edinburgh is electric this afternoon and evening. Holyrood Park is decorated with HUGE banners – one a big white ‘YES’ and just around the bend, a massive Union Jack flag. The park next to the Parliament Building is packed with vans topped with satellite dishes and all sorts of press packing cameras and microphones, interviewing person after person! As Dallas and I walked down the hill towards Holyrood, we met fit young men sporting Scottish kilts and tight-fitting shirts with “YES’ emblazoned on the front, all wrapped in the Scottish Saltire Flag.
Today was spent touring the National Museum of Scotland. While we only perused the Scottish end of the museum, it still took about 2 1/2 hours! To view it all would definitely take all day. This is a great venue and it’s FREE admission. Most spectacular were the views from the rooftop level. Incredibly, we just happened to be on the roof, just as the sun TRIED to burn through the clouds. Before we descended, the sun had given up – however, the views and skies in Edinburgh somehow always seem to photograph well.
We crossed the road to tour Greyfriar’s Kirk , passing the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby, and while the church itself has had many changes, including several very recently, the history of the location is fascinating. I asked one of the attendants about finding a specific gravestone and while she could show me in a book that the fellow I was searching was buried there, there is little to no chance that the stone still exists, so Nathan took a photo of the page in the book. And there it is, the listing of interment of my 8th great-grandfather, Sir John Falconer, Master of the Scottish Mint under Charles I. However, it seems that he may have signed a contract with the Covenanters and was minting coins for them for 22 months as they sought to overthrow the king. Apparently, auditors were assigned and audits made, but apart from 1632-33, no audits for the 17th century have been published.
On this small plot of real estate, there are at least 75000 people buried. Through the years, stones have been broken or thrown away, some are buried, some graves experience total upheaval when an old tree falls over. In those cases, the curator discretely reburies the bones and finds someplace to stash the stones which is why some of the headstones are placed in a wall or other locations.
After supper cooked in, we were relaxing and planning the next day’s activities, when about 8:30 a loud ruckus chanted its way down the Royal Mile. Nathan joked, ‘they must be having a riot.’ ‘Oh my goodness! you are right!’ and with that, i threw on my shoes, grabbed my camera and room keys and dashed out the door. The boys could not keep up. As the parade waved the Scottish Saltire and the Lion Rampant – Royal Flag, horns honking, and people chanting “Scotland Says Yes! Scotland Says Yes!” exchanged for “Power to the People! Power to the People!” After having followed them to Holyrood and watched as another parade of demonstrators joined them at the front of the Parliament Building, I decided to rejoin the boys back in the apartment, though now I was nearly a mile away and uphill this time! No worries, what an exciting evening!
Streets were packed with onlookers and supporters ignited by the anticipation of a possible change in sovereignty, choosing whether or not to throw off the 307 years of British rule. The polls still show a 50/50 divide between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes.