About this blog

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe blog reflects Alastair Learmont’s interest in the history, literature and landscape of his native city, Edinburgh.  It also contains some associated material arising out of travels further afield,  as well as entries relating to his current involvement with the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies.  See Diaspora Studies Graduate Workshop

The blog began life in the autumn of 2012 as a research blog. As part of his Masters programme in 18th century cultural history, Alastair carried out research into the life of the 18th century antiquarian and watercolourist James Skene (1775-1864) at the City’s Central Library.

In 2013, Alastair began blogging readings and photographs for  adult education classes which he taught with the City of Edinburgh Coucil.  Rather than expecting his students to clutch paper and pencil in the windswept streets of Edinburgh – the “draughty parallelograms” of the city’s New Town -he thought it was an excellent way of sharing further material with students after the event.  But the blog has gone further than that.  Its entries reflect a real desire to share an enduring love for a beautiful city:

.. people will find a charm in a certain consonancy between the aspect of the city and its odd and stirring history.  Few places, if any, offer a more barbaric display of contrasts to the eye.  In the very midst stands one of the most satisfactory crags in nature – a Bass Rock upon dry land, rooted in a garden shaken by passing trains, carrying a crown of battlements and turrets, and describing its warlike shadow over the liveliest and brightest thoroughfare of the new town.

RL Stevenson, Edinburgh:  Picturesque Notes, 1878



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