"Maggie, Iíve got to go
down to Edinburgh tomorrow for business. Would you like to come wií me?"
Grandpa asked his young granddaughter.
She looked up at him with
excited eyes. "Grandpa, Iíd love to go. Can we go to the castle? Can we
shop on Princes Street? Can we go on a double-decker bus?"
"Hold on there, lass. I
canít promise weíll be able to go to the castle, but perhaps we can do a
wee bit of shopping and go on the bus," he said. "Go and ask your gran if
itís all right with her."
Maggie ran off to find her.
She was outside in the garden. "Gran. Gran. Can I go with Grandpa to
Gran stopped weeding the
turnip patch. "Aye, lass. Go and have fun."
"Why donít you come too,
Gran?" Maggie asked.
"Iíve got too much work
here, lassie. My garden needs weeded and Iíve got to tend to the sheep,"
she explained. "You go and enjoy yourself."
Maggie hardly slept that
night. Sheíd only been to Edinburgh once before, when she was a wee
toddler. She was up before the sun rose over the horizon. Grandpa said
they were to get an early start. Maggie ate breakfast, which consisted of
porridge and a banana, then dressed and was ready to go. Grandpa waited
for her outside. "Are you ready, lass?" he asked, smiling down at her.
Maggie was wearing a bright
red skirt, a white blouse with little red flowers embroidered on the
corner, a red cardigan, white socks and red shoes, and her brown pigtails
were tied in red ribbons. "Iím ready, Grandpa," she said, excited.
He took her by the hand and
they walked down to the bus station. They boarded soon after arriving and
found a seat near the front. Maggie sat by the window. During the long
drive down to Edinburgh she sat staring out of the window. The bus drove
down narrow streets, going through many little villages. Gran had given
her a bag filled with her favorite shortbread, one or two bannocks, and a
bottle of Ribena, to drink and eat on the way down. She shared with her
grandpa. "Weíre almost there," Grandpa nudged. "Look up there on the hill.
Thatís the castle," he said softly.
"Can we go there? Please,
Grandpa," she begged.
"Iím not sure if thereíll
be time, lass, but if there is, weíll go."
The bus stopped and Maggie
and her grandpa climbed down the steps. She looked around. The buildings
seemed so tall. It was very noisy. She could hear cars honking and the
roar of all their engines. The air was filled with the scent of car
exhaust. Maggie loved it. She and Grandpa walked hand in hand to one of
the big buildings and went inside. "Now, lass, sit quietly while I do my
business. If you do, weíll go shopping."
Maggie sat quietly. She
looked out the windows of the building, watching the cars, busses, and
people walk past. At last, Grandpa came out. "Are you ready to go,
Maggie?" he asked.
She jumped up and took his
hand. "Can we go shopping now?" she asked.
Grandpa simply nodded yes.
They went out and walked a block or two up to Princes Street. On one side
of the street there are shops. On the other side is Princes Street
Gardens, a huge park filled with trees, flowers, and statues. The castle
sat off to one side like a silent giant in a sea of green. They went into
several shops, purchasing a new doll for Maggie, and a big box of clotted
cream fudge, which both of them nibbled on as they walked around. Seeing
that Maggie was beginning to tire, Grandpa suggested, "Why donít we go for
a ride on one of those double-decker busses?"
"Can we, Grandpa? Iíd love
to," Maggie laughed.
When the next bus stopped,
they climbed on board. It was the bus that went up to Edinburgh Castle.
They sat on top, looking down at everything below them. "See that big
monument over there? Thatís the Walter Scott Monument."
"Itís black," she noticed.
"Yes, it is. Thatís because
of all the yearsí people burned coal in their fireplaces. Edinburgh used
to be known as ĎAuld Reekieí," he explained.
"Thatís a funny name," she
giggled. At last the bus stopped at the bottom of the hill near the
castle. "Weíre going to the castle?" Maggie asked.
Grandpa smiled and nodded
yes. He took her hand and they walked up to it. They stood at the wall and
looked down on the city. They saw the Firth of Forth and the two bridges
that spanned it. Maggie climbed on Mons Meg, a giant cannon, even though
she wasnít supposed to, but her grandpa had let her. They went into St.
Margaretís Chapel and Maggie loved the stained glass. Two hours passed
quickly. Grandpa looked at his watch. "Oh dear. Itís time to go. Itís a
long ride home still, lassie."
Granpa and Maggie walked
down the hill, through the park and over to the bus station. They caught
the next bus and started heading out of town. Maggie took one last glance
back at the castle, the gardens and Princes Street. "Can we come back
again?" she asked.
"Sure, lass. Weíll come
again soon," Grandpa assured her. Maggie curled up in a ball on the seat
next to him, cuddling her new doll, and fell asleep, tired after her
wonderful day in Edinburgh.