Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Eleven go to Edinburgh - Day 3


Day three of our eating tour of Edinburgh - I mean our educational trip to the nation's capital city. The sun was shining as we stepped out with our packed lunches into the balmy air of an Edinburgh summer morning. Our lads, however, were dressed for an Arctic survival course;  we trekked to the St. James' shopping centre for some retail therapy before our trip to Dynamic Earth. Money spent, shopkeepers relieved, we set off along the Royal Mile. We were a tad concerned to see dozens of school parties walking in the same direction, all sporting unusual canary yellow baseball caps. The offer to kit out the Stronsay Eleven in a similar fashion was firmly declined. To reach Dynamic Earth we passed Holyrood and the Scottish Parliament, both beautiful buildings. In an unusual turn of events, we were early for our tour of Dynamic Earth so we sat in the sun and nattered. The lads started on their packed lunches - well it was an hour since they had eaten - while the staff basked in the sense of achievement that came with being early. I introduced ourselves to a young man at Dynamic Earth: "Hello, we're the group from Stronsay School." to be met with the cheerful response. "That's no problem." I've pondered over this for the rest of the day. Anyhow, apart from the alarming sight of so many yellow baseball caps, we had a great experience time-travelling, visiting both Poles - complete with an enormous block of ice - the rainforest, as well as a trip through space to Titan. All in all, an hour well spent before embarking on lunch. The trip to the Scottish Parliament was fascinating. The architecture of the building was explained to us; the unusual shapes draw on Scotland's heritage of fishing and farming. There are some beautiful pieces of art inside and daylight streaming in through vast windows and skylights. As usual, the Stronsay Eleven did us proud. We took part in a question and answer session with our MSP, Liam McArthur, as well as two others. The students asked topical, thought provoking questions which elicited some frank responses, as well as comments about the quality of the questions. We were then taken to the Chamber to watch a live debate. Fascinating stuff and our students came away with a greater understanding of how our voices are represented, and the work of the Parliament. Liam - we're now on first name terms- invited us all to his office where we voiced our concerns about Orkney Ferries, building and maintaining island communities, and the air ambulance service. We are to look on Liam's website for the responses. After a photo opportunity with Liam and a look in the Parliament gift shop (?), we stepped out into the afternoon sunshine and marched back to the hostel to psyche ourselves up for the evening meal. You're now up to date with our day. We've just finished a game of ten pin bowling where Rebecca revealed her hidden talent as a demon bowler. I might point out that we arrived early for the bowling as well. Twice in one day. We're getting the hang of it now, but that doesn't mean to say that we wouldn't like to see Mr Pietri sprint one more time. Must go. Supper is calling....

Barbara Deavin, Antoine Pietri and Andy Rose.

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