Thursday 5 July
Barbara has spent her Edinburgh days mooching around the museums, and today got to wave the Scottish flag in front of St. Giles' Cathedral as the Royals gathered for the meeting of the Order of the Thistle. In the past three days of "Holyrood Week," when the Queen is in residence here, we have seen more men in kilts and more women in silly hats than in our entire previous lives. (Note for the future: wearing a tiny "fascinator" hat makes anyone whose butt is bigger than a twinkie look ridiculous. Get a rear view mirror, ladies, and reconsider.) Even Kate M. wore a reasonable-sized hat that didn't quite match her yellow coat for the ceremony, and Princess Anne looked very dashing despite the enormous feather. The Queen, unfortunately, didn't hove into view from this aspect.
But in the meantime Holt has been conducting serious business at a conference on Roman popular culture. Tonight was the obligatory conference banquet, so we gathered at a restaurant called Spoon near the university. It's the sort of place where the tables, chairs, plates, and cutlery are all unmatched - typical university boho vibe.
For a set menu, the Scottish-style food was good, and there were always three choices, including a vegetarian option, which we, of course, avoided.
For starters we had Cullen Skink, a thick creamy smoked haddock soup with potatoes; and a clod of Dingwall haggis (again, unobnoxious - and now we've even had black pudding with it as a Full Scottish Breakfast) on a potato and apple rosti with some greens and mustard dressing.
Mains were venison stew with carrots, neeps, and potatoes; and a little tranche of grilled salmon with "spring cabbage" (apparently there are also summer and winter varieties), thyme, and lemon dressing.
Desserts were cranachan (a little pot of lightly flavored cream with raspberry jam at the bottom) served with a stick of shortcake; and a rich dark chocolate and coffee walnut slice with Campbelltown (whiskey) crème fraiche.It was great to chat with the conference organizers and participants at Spoon (rhymes with "Scone," as in "Stone of").