​Scrooge would find Edinburgh has changed a lot - Vladimir McTavish

​​Anyone visiting Edinburgh during the festive season would be amazed to discover that the character of Ebeneezer Scrooge has its origins in this city.
Edinburgh Christmas Market and Princes Street Gardens. Picture: Ian GeorgesonEdinburgh Christmas Market and Princes Street Gardens. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Edinburgh Christmas Market and Princes Street Gardens. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Dickens named the villain of A Christmas Carol after a name he read on a tombstone in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Old Ebeneezer would be turning cartwheels in his grave were he to visit Edinburgh today, dressed up in its winter finery.

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Despite being a fully paid-up member of the Bah-Humbug brigade, I do think the city looks wonderful at this time of year. From a distance, at least.

Taking the bus home from The Old Town earlier this week, I found the view breathtaking. From the top of The Mound, Princes Street sparkles like a magical wonderland. It truly looks beautiful. From the top deck of the 27.

At street level, it’s not quite so awe-inspiring. I was rushing to catch a train the other day and made the mistake of taking a “short cut” through Princes Street Gardens, only to get ensnared in the Hell on Earth that is the Christmas Market. Having obviously missed my train, I was left with plenty of time to ponder on who actually buys any of this over-priced crap.

And where does it all go for the other eleven months of the year ? I doubt it goes back to anywhere exotic like Lapland. I’m reckoning it’s probably all stored in some faceless warehouse off the M8.

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I guess my attitude to Christmas is similar to that which others have to the Fringe. Yes OK, I grudgingly acknowledge, it is really good for the city’s economy. Yet I can’t wait for the whole thing to be over. But, talking of the Fringe, areas of the city centre such as St Andrew Square and the west end of George Street were denied permission for temporary bars and pop-up venues in August. Yet permission is granted for similar events in December. Show me the joined-up thinking behind that decision making, if it exists.

When night starts at four o’clock in the afternoon, we obviously do need the lights to lift everyone’s spirits on the darkest days of the year. But does it really have to last this long? We’re one week in, and there’s still a month to go. Bah humbug!

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