Days 1 & 2- Banks, Walking, and Happy Dances

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January 12th 2022
Published: January 12th 2022
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A big blog for you all today! On day 10 of isolation the rules changed so that fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to isolate until they receive a negative result, so although we didn’t have our test results back yet we were given free reign to leave the house. And it was THRILLING.

For our first day out, on Friday, our first task was to head to the post office where I had nominated to pick up my biometric residence permit- which is essentially my visa. I had to pick it up within 10 days of arriving in the UK so thank god we were able to get out on this very day! The post office lady seemed pleased with the fact that it arrived on Christmas Eve, and then I very excitedly skipped out of the post office- my anxiety about it not being there was relieved. We then headed to the bank where we hoped to set up an account however they told us to download the app and all would be sorted (more on this later- all was not sorted). Afterwards we just HAD to head to Waterstones which is our favourite bookstore in Scotland, where we had hoped to get a coffee but the cafe was closed. We still had a lovely time perusing the store though- it is just beautiful.

After our trip into town we caught a cab to Nana and Pop’s place and stayed for the afternoon with plenty of hot tea and soup- I have to admit, I was not well dressed for a 2 degree day and was a tad freezing so tea and soup was extremely welcome. We left at about 5pm and walked down to the grocery store to get some things we had neglected to bring with us, and, in the middle of the shampoo aisle, received a very exciting phone call.

So a few days earlier, whilst in isolation, we had an online FaceTime inspection of a flat in London- a cute 3 bedroom top floor flat in the middle of Finchley, close to my workplace and about 30 minutes on the tube into central London. We loved it and sent in an offer of 2 months rent upfront. And this phone call we received in the shampoo aisle of Sainsbury’s was from the real estate agent congratulating us on our new flat!!

We did a mini happy dance right then and there, and quickly headed home to do a BIG happy dance in the kitchen. We settled down on the couch then with a gin and tonic and watched a few episodes of game of thrones, before falling into a lovely happy deep sleep.

So, Day One out of the house. Steps: 13,413. Ecstatic level: infinite.

Day Two out of the house! We walked into the city, which is about 40 minutes and I can imagine it being quite beautiful if it wasn’t mostly construction work. Our first task of the day was to find Bec a pair of jeans that didn’t cut too far above her ankles. On the way however we found a bookshop (Topping & Company) , and, the three of us being the three of us, had to stop in. I am not lying when I tell you this is the most gorgeous bookshop I have ever been in- forget Waterstones! The ground floor seems to be quite a normal bookstore, but after walking up the stairs the store seems to turn into something very familiar. It was like an old Queenslander home. It had beautiful high rise ceilings, and each room you walked into seemed like you were entering someone’s personal living room/library. Coffee cups, coats, and chocolate wrappers were strewn all over the place, but in a purposeful, delicate way. Little hallways that led to nowhere except shelves full of books, and each window looking out onto the streets of Edinburgh. I could have stayed in there all day. But the books were quite expensive, so alas, we moved on.

We reached the shopping centre but before we began clothes shopping we were desperate for a coffee. We saw “black sheep coffee- level 3” written on the directory, so headed up to level 3. But do you think we could find “black sheep coffee- level 3” anywhere on level 3?? Absolutely not. It was incredibly confusing. We ended up on level 4 where we saw a shop vaguely resembling somewhere that one might find a cup of joe, with a few people mingling outside, so we headed in. Turns out we’d actually skipped an entire line but they gave us a table anyway. And thus we found ourselves in a very interesting place! It was a bit like an indoor marketplace- there were coffee shops, delis, pizza places, ice cream shops, you name it, you could order from it. And then the seating was distributed in and amongst all the places, sort of like a cafeteria but very refined and fancy.

Anyway, we got our much desired coffee, and then did a spot of shopping. Bec found jeans, Trudi found a jacket and I found a sweater for work. Our plan was to then head back to the bank, as we’d downloaded the app but were unable to go any further as we had to upload proof of address- which, I’m sure you can imagine, we do not have. BUT would you believe we got to the bank at 1:32, and they closed at 1:30. They wouldn’t be open again til Monday. Sigh. It’s our fault for not checking their opening times I suppose.

We were then heading over to Nana and Pop’s again but we took the long route. We climbed up the New Steps, crossed the Royal Mile, and passed Greyfriars Bobby. Just before we got to the meadows we stopped for a cinnamon bun (a hearty and nutritious lunch), and then crossed the meadows all the way up to Nana and Pop’s. We stayed a few hours here laughing and chatting, and eventually caught the bus home at around 6pm.

The bus was…interesting. A man hopped on and proceeded to sing a song he had clearly made up, the lyrics of which I simply cannot repeat. His words were not very….respectful of women, I think is the best way to put it. Anyway, it was a nice, Scottish-sounding tune, and I was bopping along to it. At different points he stopped singing and said “right, who’s gonna buy me a packet o crisps” or “tonight, I’ll be eating tuna with sweetcorn and mayo- the healthy option”. I found it incredibly amusing, until he said “aye, you with the ponytail, you’re going down”. He was right. I sank very much further down in my seat.

Thankfully we got off soon after that and walked the rest of the way home singing his song (with some edited lyrics). So, that was Day 2! Steps: 17,300. Pounds spent: no comment.

Days three and four coming your way very soon...


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