John Gibson: Where the Mercure-y is rising

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It’s called progress. And he’s having to make a sacrifice in the name of it. What has James Fraser in sacrificial mode is a room with one of the finest views in Edinburgh.

James is general manager of Mercure, the Princes Street hotel formerly known as the Mount Royal, and he is about to shunt up to the dizzy sixth storey partly to accommodate an additional ten rooms, to be completed by the spring.

“Princes Street and the Castle were grand to behold but Mercure’s adding ten rooms, taking us to 168, and up on the sixth floor my office, at the back, will assume a less than grand outlook,” he’s saying.

This will be his sixth Christmas in charge, where Mercure has enjoyed a record year, the more so in the restaurant where diners, gazing from the massive windows, can virtually reach out and touch the Castle and the Scott Monument. And, in due course, the trams. Risking indigestion.

Slipping into his kilt as he spoke. He and wife Pamela are bound for New York and a relative’s wedding.

Paws for thought

Told you before and I won’t tell you again. A dog isn’t just for Christmas. Can I stress that at least one in three dogs isn’t allowed to run around off the lead daily?

Frankly they don’t get enough exercise, so we have pot-bellied pooches in our midst. Pot bellied or just plain “portly”. Consequently we have stressed, aggressive pets.

The charity Dogs Trust are barking. One in four dogs is left alone at a five-hour stretch when they crave the company of humans or animals. You didn’t know, by the way, almost one in four homes in the UK have a dog.

So you and the family are going to have a pure dead brill Christmas. But what about the dog?