Edinburgh Royal Mile with Pigeons

A Tale of Illegally Feeding Pigeons in Edinburgh in 1968

While I explore the Alpine village of Tignes, my dad is back in Edinburgh, exploring his old haunt. He’s been working on regaining his British dialect, setting up his accounts and benefits…and reminiscing about pigeons. Here’s the email I received from him this morning. I’m posting it here for your enjoyment exactly as it was written (but typos fixed). His style of writing is a bit different than mine, but I think you’ll find it quite enjoyable. Be warned, he doesn’t hold back his extensive vocabulary as much as I do.

I used to live on South Bridge in Edinburgh. We had a cook who was elderly. His kitchen was many floors above street level. He would prepare rind-less bacon for breakfast and figured out a way to dispose of the rind – gratuitously feeding the ubiquitous Edinburgh pigeon population – but there is a city ordinance which forbids this act – not known to him. What baffled me was how he had fed the pigeons with the rind on the roof of the adjacent building across the alley – which I viewed today – and got reminded of the ensuing events: It was observed that feeding of the pigeons was occurring at a particular time of day – notably around breakfast time and the local constabulary was called upon to witness said misdemeanor – in the act of perpetration. Which act occurred at the punctual moment – caught “red handed.”

But what baffled me was how could bacon bits be propelled across the narrow Scottish alley? The kitchen window – which was large and faced the adjacent building – provided a space of about 10 feet to accelerate the container of bacon rind to the launching zone at the open window – to be hurled across the alley at a terminal velocity that would maintain the needed trajectory onto the roof of the adjacent building and the awaiting pigeons.

It was evident that he had to arrest the momentum of his body at the moment of launch to prevent fatal consequences.

However – this act was witnessed by a member of the local constabulary – and through me – his presence was requested at the Police department to be confronted with his act and I had to arrange for the pecuniary settlement so that he could prepare breakfast on the following day.

With that mystery solved life went on and I continued with my youthful activities of sailing my dinghy out of Grantham Harbour where the tides were such that at full ebb the bottom of the harbour was water-less and much debris was in evidence – which brings me to yet another tale about said cook.

He was quite inventive – and he had figured out a way to prepare a chicken meal – he divided the chicken into bite size pieces by using a large knife to dissect the birds and then baked them in the oven and made chicken soup. After a chicken soup meal – I observed the remnants of chicken bones in the soup plates and I vocally observed that “it looked like Grantham Harbour after the tide had gone out” – which observation was met by gales of laughter by fellow dinghy crew who were familiar with the harbour – where the Ferry sat on the bottom when the tide was out.

Yes – I have spent many happy moments in Edinburgh and Scotland too.

I enjoyed relating these tales.

While I explore the Alpine village of Tignes, my dad is back in Edinburgh, exploring his old haunt. He's been working on regaining his British dialect, setting up his accounts and benefits...and reminiscing about pigeons. Here's the email I received from him this morning. I'm posting it here for your enjoyment exactly as it was written (but typos fixed). His style of writing is a bit different than mine, but I think you'll find it quite enjoyable. Be warned, he doesn't hold back his extensive vocabulary as much as I do. I used to live on South Bridge in Edinburgh.…

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