May 30: Edinburgh Walking Tour & Conference Day 1

Since I was in a mixed bedroom dorm and a common mixed bathroom I had to perform an act that I like to call “The Shower Shimmy.”

How to Shower Shimmy:
Step 1: Quietly gather your room key, clothes, toiletries, fast drying towel, and flip flops from the dorm in attempts to not disturb anyone

Step 2: Determine how to hang clothes in small shower stall in attempts to not get clothes soaked from shower

Step 3: Shower quickly

Step 4: Dry self in moist shower stall with quick drying towel

Step 5: Get dressed slowly in moist shower stall in attempts to not get clothes for the day or jam jams wet.

Step 6: Emerge from shower

Step 7: Avoid slipping in the bathroom swamp

Step 8: Gather all things in bathroom and return to mixed bedroom door dressed and half drenched

Step 9: Quietly brush hair & exit to eat breakfast

Step 10: Declare victory

One thing I loved about this hostel is they cook scrambled eggs and toast for their guests in the morning. It brought a kind of b&b feel to hostel culture which I appreciated.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Maggie Dickson's story is insane! Read below

Maggie Dickson's story is insane! Read below

Greyfriars bobby  - the most loyal dog - rub his nose for good luck!

Greyfriars bobby - the most loyal dog - rub his nose for good luck!

Some of the names from these tombstones inspired characters in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter 

Some of the names from these tombstones inspired characters in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter 

The rest of the day was spent wandering, engaging in a free walking tour (the tour guide accidentally spit on my face while speaking but he bought me a tea to make up for it), and meeting fellow Baltimore friends for lunch at the conference. Lunch was amazing. For anyone who is used to spending a lot of time at conferences, you know that the lunches are usually boxes of smooshed sandwiches. We were surprised to find a large spread of amazing fresh salads, pastas, and cheese plates. This is what happens when the Greeks who are studying in Edinburgh are in charge of the conference food. :-)

Hello luxury.

I attended the second half of the presentations that day and they were fascinating. People are doing incredible things with in the field of digital arts. Everything from digital glass blowing to fabrication hallways. It was incredible to be a part of a community of creatives from all around the world.

At the end of the day, we all walked to dinner at Mother India and the food was amazing. It was great to be able to meet people and socialize about the different projects we are working on and our goals for the future. I walked home in the evening glow of Edinburgh after a lovely dinner, worked on our presentation for the next day a bit, and then attempted to sleep.

My office for the evening

My office for the evening

The Story of Maggie Dickson

This is one of those stories that makes your blood boil but then the twist ending blow your mind. I'm going to copy part of the story and then add the rest that is missing.

"Maggie Dickson lived in the Early Eighteenth century as a fish hawker and would certainly have remained an anonymous figure had she not been the subject of a public hanging. 

Her misfortune began when her husband deserted her in 1723 forcing her to leave the city and move further south to Kelso near the Scottish Borders. Here, she worked for an inkeeper in return for basic lodgings. 

Soon after she started an affair with the Innkeeper’s son which led to her becoming pregnant, not wanting the innkeeper to discover this as it would surely lead to her instant dismissal she concealed her pregnancy as long as possible. However the baby was born prematurely and died within a few days of being born. Still hiding the baby's existance she planned to put the baby into the River Tweed, but couldn't bring herself to and finally left it on the riverbank.

The same day the baby was discovered and traced to Maggie. She was charged under the contravention of the Concealment of Pregnancy Act and she was taken back to Edinburgh for Trial and execution – the latter taking place in public in the Grasssmarket on the 2nd September 1724. 

After the hanging she was pronounced dead and her body was bound for Musselburgh where she was to be buried, however the journey was interrupted by a knocking and banging from within the wooden coffin. 

The lid was lifted to the sight of Maggie, quite alive. The law saw it as God's will and she was freed to live for a further forty years. She became something of a local celebrity and the locals gave her the nickname 'Half Hangit' Maggie.'

Some said that she had seduced and manipulated the ropemaker, to engineer a weaker noose. 

A pub in the Grassmarket is named Maggie Dickson's after her memory, which means her name and story will be remembered for some time yet." Source - The Grassmarket

Here is the rest they left out of the story. Since she was technically already proclaimed dead. They could not "kill" her again AND she didn't have to pay taxes because she was already "dead." Her man came back for her and apparently they lived "happily ever after" in Edinburgh. But talk about the bullshit they put women through. Of course her guy was not charged with any crime for the affair or the pregnancy...*feminist grumble* 

Crazy story right?

I love history.