Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Sunday, August 06, 2006

Into the books: Day 2, Edinburgh Witchery Tour

***Joy's Book Link***

Edinburgh will appear (briefly) in Immortals: The Awakening

If you ever get to Edinburgh, I highly recommend that you take one of the evening walking tours of the city. There are several to chose from--completely by accident, we hooked up with Cadies & Witchery Tours, based at 84 West Bow Street, not far from Edinburgh Castle. (tel: 0131 225 6745 or There were two tours that night--we chose the earlier one, which started at seven pm. Our tour, consisting of about twenty tourists and one rather strange-looking local man who was apparently a regular tour groupie, met at the top of the Royal Mile at the appointed time.

The atmosphere wasn't too ghostly--at 7 pm the sun was still shining high in the sky. In late June in Edinburgh, sunset is after 10:30 pm and the sky doesn’t get truly dark until after midnight.

Our tour guide was Doctor Alexander Clapperton, Deceased. Despite having been dead for over a century, Dr. Clapperton looked pretty young and healthy and not at all gloomy. He was attired in a long black coat and top hat. He had another cheery bloke for a partner, who during the course of the tour appeared in a half dozen different costumes--first a monk's robe and ogre mask, then medieval garb, then as a plague doctor, an executioner, and finally--a Highlander's kilt. Not sure where this guy had his clothes stashed--he kept dashing off as we walked around town, only to appear a couple minutes later in a new get-up.

The tour was great fun, the constant banter between the two hosts contained no shortage of the worst corny jokes. Dr. Clapperton asked what countries all the tour members were from and made a point not to show favorites. He (jokingly) insulted each foreigner's home country at least once. We spent a lot of time laughing (and groaning) on this tour.

We were treated to a quirky history of Edinburgh, heard some tales of ghosts, witches, and grisly executions, and learned useful tidbits like why the Scots and Brits refer to the bathroom as the loo. (It comes from the charming medieval habit of dumping your chamber pot out your window into the street below, preceded by the polite call of "Gardy-loo!" Gardy loo is a corruption of the French phrase "garde l'eau," or "watch out for the water.") Yum.

Here's a pic of my son, helpfully modeling a plague doctor's mask for our tour guide. Supposedly the herbs stuffed into the duck bill of the mask keeps the "quack" who wears it healthy.

And here’s another one, of the deceased Dr. Clapperton and his equally dead partner.

Next up: Dunnottar Castle


Joy Nash


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