London To Edinburgh

After meeting over a ridiculous game of pass the fruit at a Sunsail resort in Turkey in 2001 my first proper conversation with Colin was about Edinburgh. I couldn’t quite believe him when he insisted he came from there. I mean he didn’t exactly have the Scottish burr and he also seemed to have missed out on the pale white almost blue skintone many of us Scots have been blessed with. In fact, while on that holiday and on most of our subsequent trips abroad Colin actually got mistaken for a local due to his ability to tan at a wink of a sunray. Anyway, back to where I began, I thought this plummy English fellow was having me on but I started to take him at his word regarding his Edinburgh parentage when he told me his father went to a school called George Watsons, my dad’s school, so he couldn’t really have plucked that name out of nowhere . It all became way too much of a coincidence when we worked out that both our dads had been in the school choir and they were only five years apart. Turns out that this funny man, that looked like a Turk but sounded more RP English than the Queen, had grown up in Kenya but had been born in Edinburgh. I was hooked.
Over the years I learned how much Colin loved Edinburgh. Whenever we came up to visit my family he would sniff the air and say it had a distinctive smell (I think it is the brewery whiff he was talking about because it was always just as we were driving along the Western Approach that he would say this). He also adored its rich history – every so often he would insist on doing a tour so we joined the many Italian tourists to discover the haunted city, the city under the city and once we even did our own private tour with my uncle to learn all the stories about the city’s famous Royal Mile. Col loved that while in Edinburgh he could be beside the seaside in minutes in one direction and up in the hills in moments in another. He knew I was obsessed with getting back there to be close to my family and he did say he could see us ending up here but not for a while. He insisted  he had to earn his fortune in English law first because he couldn’t get his head around the fact that Scots Law was so different (he used to joke that our Scottish legal system was akin to the Wild West as we had Sheriffs and everything). 
Our most recent plan/dream had been to spend another 10 years down south earning as much as we could (not sure how this was to be but hey this was our daydream) then sell up and move ‘home’ to buy a big B&B mortgage free and Colin would run it while I freelanced or taught. This plan was all a bit shaky to be honest. I used to say to Col that I would have to be earning quite a bit to pay for the housekeeper that would actually clean the house and cook for the guests as we wouldn’t gain much of a reputation for either if he had been in charge.
That night after he died I didn’t sleep. Not one little bit. I paced the room. I wept as silently as I could so as not to wake the house because it had already begun to fill up with people. I started thinking of how I could go on without him. That night it was an inconcievable thought to do so but I knew I had to see a way forward. Edinburgh was the only answer that seemed to make sense. I remember making the pronouncement to friends and family the next day and being told not to make any major decisions but in my heart of hearts I always knew I would leave London for Edinburgh.
It has been tough. In the seven months since Colin died I have bought a house in Edinburgh, rented our London home to a bunch of strangers and moved my two little girls up to a city I haven’t lived in since I was 18. I wake up in this new house sometimes and have to catch my breath because I am not sure how I got here. That said, out of all the decisions I have been forced to make since Colly left me, I have not regretted it. These past four days have been the lowest I have felt since March, those early weeks immediately following his death, and here I am surrounded by people helping me through. This morning was bleak. The girls woke at 5am and from the minute I opened them my eyes just had a steady stream of tears falling out of them. I had no energy to change nappies, breastfeed a baby, find out what disgusting combinbation of foods Evie wanted for breakfast, and really no desire to empty potties or just continue with any of it. Evie sat rubbing my back saying ‘stop crying mummy’ while I simply froze into a state of stasis and Isla screamed. It was probably only moments but it felt like a lifetime. When I called her my mum was here within minutes taking control of it all while I wailed and wailed, ‘I just can’t do this’. My mum turned the day around for me just by being there and, of course on a more practical level helping me with the girls, and now it is the end of the day I am beginning to see forward again. The fact is though London couldn’t have fixed me today because I needed Edinburgh and all it contains – my family. And Colin has gifted me that. Extreme measures all the same.

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