John Gibson: RAF still flying the flag in city

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You can’t miss it in the passing. Keeping the flag flying and it’s the biggest Royal Air Force flutter in Edinburgh, at Learmonth Terrace. The 130-year-old building currently is undergoing an extensive makeover.

So extensive that by the time the work is finished in the spring, the builders will have been on the job for a year. No Leuchars, no Turnhouse but, says a spokesman, “we haven’t closed at Learmonth and we’re busy as ever”.

Webb feat

Makes you think. Jesus, if only I’d written one of Jimmy Webb’s songs, say By the Time I Get To Phoenix or Wichita Lineman, I could sit back and relax, cushioned by the million he’s earned from his trade.

But, like so many smash-hit songsmiths, he is by no means happiness personified. It’s a sort of disease endemic among them. Webb wandered into London’s Chelsea the other day to offer a rare live performance. Just him and a grand piano.

By the time he got back to his Los Angeles home, where he is a champion of songwriters’ rights, a kind of union man, Webb was wishing he’d made Edinburgh for the first time, where we could have provided the grand piano. There’s a shop down Duddingston way that keeps them in their window.

Afterwords . . .

. . . here’s something Rick Stein keeps simmering on the gas: “You can’t deal with something, so you lose your temper. The reason I lost my temper is not because I was a nasty chef – I’d always apologise – but it was because I was panicking and couldn’t cope. What do you do? You’ve got this kitchen full of not such good chefs, too many customers, absurd conditions. You just blow your top.”