In Edinburgh, the rain actually felt very natural. It's part of the atmosphere. Here we are in a rainy place. It was rainy for Sir Walter Scott and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was rainy for Mary, the Queen, and Sir Sean Connery. If we came to Edinburgh and didn't find it rainy, we might have been a bit disappointed.
In the airport, a woman was returning to Scotland looking like a modern Robin Hood - green leggings, a feather in her cap, tartan vest. If you looked for Scotland in the food, it would be a tough search (tandoori and Thai are more popular than haggis, neeps and tatties), but the façades brood and the people are as brogue-tongued and ruddy-cheeked as you could hope for. Some men even wear kilts, free of irony or pretension.
In the rain, it became a city of nooks and hideaways, especially the convoluted old town. People hid under arches and bridges to smoke their cigarettes or talk quietly with a friend. Tucked-away pubs beckoned down the alleyways. It was all very secretive, wet and grey.
Steep streets, keg deliveries, stately houses and bars full of concert posters. It's a black-and-white, dark early, northern nights kind of city. At five o'clock, the sky was approaching black and the bars were beginning to fill.
We played Scottish-version Trivial Pursuit at the Thistle Street Bar one night, just the two of us ("Who scored a career best 188 against Australia on 8 February 1975?"). The young bartenders were excited for us to try different microbrews, and to talk about foreign beer. They had Red Stripe on tap alongside "real ales." Drops peppered the windowpanes and we had to sprint home in a downpour.