Newly-invested monks launch into Edinburgh (Rousse)

I needed to get home quickly to welcome our unexpected American visitors. This was a couple that we knew from the boom days of the late 1990s: we had met them on an incentive holiday in the US.

My journey by foot was slow because I had lost my familiarity with the layout of Edinburgh during the coronavirus pandemic. The biggest problem for me was Edinburgh Castle. I just couldn’t work out how to make my way from the south side to the north.

On this occasion I first got stuck on a busy dual carriageway, then lost in a tangle of cobbled streets. Eventually I came to a complete standstill atop one of the castle walls, giddy with vertigo that prevented me from going any further up, yet also from picking my way back down again.

I sat on my perch and watched the action below. It was the day of the monks’ graduations. Each one was dropped from the ruined abbey onto the lawn below as part of the ceremony. Their habits formed perfect parachutes to soften the grassy landing.

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