So we are back from Edinburgh – the final stop on the whirlwind world tour that we’ve been making before the big move. It was an easy, sweet and comfortable week, which we spent surrounded by many of the people who know us best. It was an oddly calm and unemotional reunion with the city I once loved so much I dedicated to an entire A-Z to it on this blog.
DorkyDad stayed in the centre of town, and spent most of the week focused on his festival shenanigans. I did steal him away for dinner at our favourite fish restaurant in Leith one evening – the first Dorky date night in a year – and I also made it along to watch the final of the BBC Poetry Slam that he was hosting.
That night was a lovely opportunity to see friends both old and new. I’ve known @housetoastonish and @betaraycarrie for almost ten years – there is not a better-suited or more adorable couple in Scotland, and we will long treasure the copy of Dr Seuss’s Oh The Places You’ll Go that they gave us to say goodbye. I heart them hard.
Lovely C was a high school friend, who was beautiful and poised, and ran 10 metres ahead of me in every cross-country race for six years, and was then a stellar university flatmate, and is now just a good, brave person who I admire and love with all of my heart.
Donna is someone I had never met before, but I think her blog is bloody brilliant, and I envy her passionate, honest writing skills. We have given each other many virtual cuddles, and I was very touched that she made it possible to give her a real-life, arm-in-arm, cheek-to-cheek cuddle too.
We had a few wee day-trips.
I scooted down to Berwick on the train, walked the walls, bought a souvenir camper-van, and had an honest-to-god real conversation with my best university friend. K and I used to dance in the student union at night, knocking back fifty pence vodkas and pogo-ing to the Proclaimers. She has seen IT ALL. And I have seen IT ALL. And now we are both very sensible and mature, and we only drink vodka when our children have gone to bed.
For the most part, though, DorkySon and I wanted to tuck in and spend plenty of chillout time with my Mum. It will likely be the last time that we see her lovely Portobello flat, as it’s currently on the market (if you know anyone looking for a sweet wee hideaway right on the beach, do send them her way!) and DorkySon did his usual thorough job of covering it in toy cars, books and crayons within the first five minutes of us being there.
I’ve never lived in that flat, but Mum has a real homemaker’s touch, and it is full of beautiful, soulful things that make it cosy and welcoming. DorkySon and I share a bunk bed when we’re there, and we sleep under the same woollen, patchwork blankets that I had on my bed as a child. We all eat around the wooden dining table that used to belong to my Grandpa, and at my request those meals are all childhood favourites; baked potatoes, beans on toast, egg and chips. It is the place where, more than anywhere else, I can relax.
DorkyDad and I have learnt a lot of things over the years, but the most important of those lessons was the one that taught us who our real friends are. They are art teachers and fishmongers. They are butchers and cleaners, buskers and bums. They are tailors, they are taxi drivers, and they are shopowners, sales assistants, singers and poets. They are Muslims, midwives and MSPs, they are doctors, and drivers, and the dude who brought our dry cleaning. They are Green and they are Greek and they are so totally gay. They are nine years old and ninety, they are starting school and retired. They are every one of them true of heart.
We left Edinburgh knowing who our friends are. We left Edinburgh feeling loved. We left Edinburgh so very, very grateful. Filled up with the good stuff.
But we left feeling entirely confident that we are making the right decision. It is not our home anymore. It’s time to find a new one.
This time next week, we will be on our way.