Cost of living crisis: Edinburgh, one of the world's greatest cities, is a pretty good place to see out the tough times ahead – Susan Dalgety
These days, reading the Evening News can make for a sombre time. Headlines warn of supermarket prices “hitting hard”. Even my favourite discount supermarket has been forced to increase the cost of basic foodstuffs like butter and cheese.
Meanwhile, our NHS is collapsing, with the Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, forced to agreed that A&E waiting times are “not acceptable” after it was revealed that thousands of people have to wait more than four hours to be seen.
It seems everyone, from teachers to staff at the local aerospace factory, is about to go on strike. Councils face energy bills running into millions, which will threaten jobs and services.
And down in Leith, M&S has been forced to close its Ocean Terminal store because of “changing” shopping habits, sparking fears for the future of the centre itself.
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One of my fondest memories is interviewing the late Terence Conran for this newspaper in his new Ocean Terminal restaurant, the Zinc Bar and Grill.
The design guru, who founded Habitat, enthused about the bright future he saw for the mall. Twenty-two years later and it’s fair to say it has never realised its full potential.
It would be all too easy to stumble into a slough of depression, wrap oneself in a heated throw and spend the next few months slumped on the sofa bingeing on A Place in the Sun and the cheapest chocolate biscuits you can find.
But lurking alongside the gloomy headlines that warn of imminent nuclear attack by the crazy Russian president Putin and impending economic collapse are some reasons to be cheerful. Not many, but enough.
Last Friday’s climate justice rally outside the City Chambers shows that young people are still fired up about the effects of global warming, not least the terrible flooding in Pakistan that left one third of the country under water.
We need our young folk to be full of righteous anger, because it is their generation that will have to get us out of this mess.
The many beautiful images of Edinburgh when our city was the focus of the Queen’s funeral procession reminded us that we live in one of the world’s greatest cities.
It has its challenges – not least the dearth of affordable housing, particularly for people under 30 – but there is nowhere on Earth quite like it. We are lucky to call it home.
The city’s cultural life is as vibrant as ever. A new festival of poetry, Push The Boat Out, enjoys its second year at the Summerhall Arts Centre in November. And my particular favourite: the world’s leading bartenders will meet in the Capital next month for a “cocktail grand slam”, the first time the event has been held outside London.
Nothing sums up our wonderful city better than a classic dry martini, made with Edinburgh gin of course. Traditional, but always in fashion.
The next year or two is going to test us all. There will be days when we won’t want to get out of bed. But our city will endure, and so will we. So whether your tipple is gin or a cup of tea, let’s toast Auld Reekie, the place we call home.