the inky blue hues of edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland, is a centuries-old city of walls, streets, churches, and one fantastic looking castle. I visited Edinburgh back in August 2010, but not the castle. The city, however, did not disappoint. Art and theater abound in Edinburgh–they’re everywhere. And in the capital city of Scotland, you’d never know that there is an endless variety of shades of blue. The blues are everywhere. The Scottish flag is a bright azure blue. Very pretty. I am more drawn to the inky blue hues, which I admired in jewelry, clothing, accessories, and pottery. Adam Pottery at 76 Henderson Row is a gem of a pottery studio a thousand times over. The owner, Janet Adam, is a cool lady. I bought a navy blue piece of pottery of hers that I still enjoy.

There is also the deep marine blue that Glasgow-based illustrator David Fleck uses in a print called The Skating Minister. It’s not often an illustration stops me in my tracks, but this one did. I bought a copy and had it framed when I got back to Chicago. I utterly love it. Treasured possession stuff.

Edinburgh

Fleck is one cool cat. He’s an illustrator and an architectural designer. If you like The Skating Minister, you should check out his other work here.

you have the map of scotland in your face

Chief. My dad (or Chief as I like to call him). He was stationed overseas in the late 1950s and on a train where he struck up a conversation with an older British woman. She inquired about his ancestry. “Where are you from?” she asked. He replied, “I understand my heritage is British. My family is Montgomery, Graham, Good.” She studied his answer and then informed him, “You have the map of Scotland in your face.”

I’m not sure what features are classically Scottish, per se–the nose, the dark blue color of his eyes, his fair skin, the high forehead–but I have always loved this photo of my dear dad. I believe he is in his teens here, and I see his optimism. His keen mind, which he keeps to this day and which I attribute to his love of books and reading.

My dad once pointed out that his life was much changed for the gift of his hometown (Clinton, Indiana) receiving a Carnegie library. If you’ve never visited Clinton, you should know it’s a working-class coal mining town (Grandpa was a coal miner). Clinton is an essentially modest Midwest town. And this Carnegie library–gifted by Scottish businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and built in 1917–was a lifeline for my dad. He would bring books home and read them by flashlight at night when he otherwise should have been sleeping.

Thinking of the Chief today. Grateful for Scots, maps, and books.