Tuesdays Edinburgh – Around Paisley Close

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Today’s collection of Edinburgh photos are from around Paisley Close, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, or High Street. Despite the fact that this area had some of Scotland’s worse slums back in the 19th century, nowadays it’s all very pretty and rather upmarket.

Paisley Close was the site of a disaster, in 1861, which saw two, 250 year old houses collapse completely. The falling masonry crushed to death 35 people who lived here. This high number was due to the chronic overcrowding which was prevalent in the slums at the time. When the firemen approached the rubble to begin clearing it away they heard a young lads voice shouting to them. “Heave away lads I’m no deid yet.”

The tragedy and survival are remembered in the stone carving above the archway into the close. I always think about our human capacity to survive despite the world tumbling around us whenever I pass by. The McIver boys frail human voice echoed through the piles of destruction and pulled the firemen onwards towards an eventual successful rescue. Neither gave up, and as a result something precious was saved from the heart of terrible loss.

This precious gold which we can uncover from the heart of our own deep losses, sometimes adds beautiful highlights to an emotional landscape which may have been painted grey by grief. I find this is good to remember whenever I feel despair sweeping darkly through my life. Choosing to be mindful of life even in the midst of death or loss can help to bring us back to a balance between the two.

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
This entry was posted in Edinburgh, history, philosophy, photos, spiritual and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Tuesdays Edinburgh – Around Paisley Close

  1. Edinburgh is just a great city and you have some lovely shots here, I particularly like the Paisley Close shot – the steps at the back make a glorious feature. MM ๐Ÿ“ท

  2. dorysworld says:

    Do you know what? I have had one of those ‘perfect storm’ weeks and was in danger of wallowing in it a little and then I read this and my perspective is back in balance. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • My pleasure, and I’m glad to hear you’re feeling back in balance. I had a perfect storm week, so I know what you mean, but isn’t it amazing how it all passes and sinks back into perspective ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. ladyfi says:

    So much history in that stone!

  4. A big tragedy with a small yet huge happy ending. Beautiful photos, Seonaid, and I loved reading your story about the brave young man and ditto firemen. Thank you for telling it x

  5. I like the photo of the reflection of the building in the window; I love your words about the resilience of the human spirit. Your post was very touching, thank you.

    • Thanks Charlie, I was pleased with that photo too. I find window reflections fascinating and satisfying, as though you can show an extra dimension.
      The resilience of the human spirit is an amazing thing to witness. It is incredible what we can recover from ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. โ€œHeave away lads Iโ€™m no deid yet.โ€ Not bad words to be remembered by!

    • Indeed, I find it touching that he is still remembered all these years later, when the rest of his contemporaries have been long forgotten. The McIver lad lives on, continuing to inspire ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Tina Schell says:

    Well said Seonaid – never heard that story; really interesting! Sort of reminds me of the woman they pulled from the Bangladesh factory fire after 2 weeks just recently. The human spirit – amazing

  8. Hear, hear. Well chosen words of wisdom we should all take to heart. And, as always, a nice anecdote mixed in with lots of beautiful pictures to go along. What more could one ask for? You are a model for drawing insight at the slightest provocation. D

  9. colonialist says:

    The first picture is impressive, but has rather a dour feel to it which I would have associated more with Glasgow, a city I failed to relate to although an ancestor came from there.
    I love that story about, and tribute to, human spirit.

    • It was taken nearly a month ago, towards the end of the day so the weak winter light was fading., which might explain its dour feel ๐Ÿ™‚
      I know what you mean about Glasgow….it has very different light, architecture and atmosphere….and of course isn’t nearly so compact and gets twice as much rain!!

  10. A wonderful winding exploration, I suspect many have passed this by without a second look. Mindfulness of architecture, mindfulness of emotions. Thanks for this post.

  11. Lovely post and the second photo is spectacular. Thank you for sharing your visit.

  12. Clanmother says:

    Excellent post with a profound insight. I loved walking the Royal Mile with you.. Thank you for starting my day with grace and beauty..

    • It’s my pleasure, and what a lovely comment. I’m always amazed when someone uses the word profound about my thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Clanmother says:

        ๐Ÿ™‚ I walked past that very doorway when I visited Edinburgh in 2008 and now I know the rest of the story. I am enjoying following your blog!

      • I always love it when I see something familiar in a photo, I think it hits a pleasure point somewhere deep in my brain ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy memories, and I’m glad to have given you the history of this doorway.

  13. ginnietom says:

    love these shots…

  14. Nikki says:

    Great post. Beautiful photos and words. ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS Whatever the sky was doing in the first and third pictures looks really cool with the feel of the post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Very kind Nikki…the sky was mostly a bright grey with the occasional splash of sunlight, but the effect is caused by some post-prossesing using the drama filter on snapseed.
      I liked how it looked so left it, and as you say it gives a moody atmosphere ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Seonaid, another wonderful post. The last line is amazing.

  16. Caro Woods says:

    You are very good at bringing the past to life. This is palpable. And beautiful photos as always. Thanks.

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