This past weekend a friend visited me in Edinburgh and she suggested we checked out Craigie’s Farm in South Queensferry. Usually when people visit Edinburgh, they hit the main sites like the castle and Holyrood Palace, Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill, and the tourist infested Royal Mile. We still did some of the typical touristy things, but Craigie’s Farm is definitely a new gem I’ll add to my show people a good time in Edinburgh list.
We were actually pretty darn lucky with the weather, which is probably a funny thing to say considering it threatened to rain every ten minutes, but then the sky cleared and it was blue skies with fluffy white clouds and the sun shining over the fields. We opted to pick raspberries and cherries, so we got our little basket and began. It was surprisingly satisfying to pick fruit for an hour or two with a friend. It felt therapeutic doing such a mundane task but talking and giggling at the same time about random things like how the chickens on the farm had a radio in their pen that was playing club hits for some reason (obviously the chickens weren’t ashamed of liking the Top 40 like me, either). I would imagine it’s like running or playing basketball with friends; it’s an activity you can do together, but a great excuse to just talk.
At first, we weren’t quite sure what was considered the perfect raspberry, but after twenty minutes we were raspberry snobs, lifting our noses as we enforced the criteria we had soon deemed appropriate for judging them. I will probably regret admitting this, but I’m not quite sure what we expected cherries to grow on after picking raspberries off these sort of tall bushes and risking bee attacks to reach the prime raspberry real estate between the little branches. Cherries grow on trees, duh Ashley. I mean I can think of a few songs now that reference cherry trees, but my mind obviously wasn’t working that day. So when we had finished being raspberry connoisseurs, we walked to the cherry tree tent and began plucking them off the branches. I think by the time we were picking cherries, we had reached a point of delirium (something that often happens when you reminisce with old friends in my experience), so after a while we headed back to the weighing tent to pay for the fruits of our labor, literally, and went inside to the shop and café.
We had to eat in the café first to regain our strength to then scour the shop because it was the best little country farm shop that I have ever seen! Fresh eggs, dairy, meats, cakes, chocolates, jam, literally everything you could want and then some gourmet savory snacks as well. Ultimately, we went for these gooey brownies and lemon loaf cake because we already had plans for dinner, but if not the meat pies looked amazing.
Just as we were leaving and walking to the bus stop to head back to the city center, the sky started chucking it down with rain. We couldn’t complain though because we were dry with a thirty-minute bus ride ahead and a fun afternoon behind us. All throughout the afternoon and honestly the rest of the trip, my friend and I kept saying wow this is so fun, why don’t we have more adventures like this, and so on. But it’s true and it’s had me thinking about how does something so simple, inexpensive, and outside bring so much joy? It was just the whole experience from getting off the bus stop and walking up a dirt road, passing horses, chickens, and pigs along the way, to being outside with some fresh air for what feels like forever as a student. Being around people that are happily together not in front of computers, TVs, phones was also refreshing. Families, couples, and friends enjoying an afternoon together just like my friend and me. It was simply a nice and relaxing day. And not that Edinburgh is a crazy, massive, stressful city most of the time (except for Fringe now actually), but it was good to get away from the city center and be on the outskirts where I couldn’t think about my work or my to-do list. I’d really like to enforce a casual rule or add one more thing to my updated New Years Resolutions list and it’s to spend some of the weekend outside doing something different. Maybe next weekend it will be taking the train to North Berwick or going to the Botanical Gardens, but just something to channel last Saturday and how that felt. Lately, I’ve been trying to be more conscious of what makes me or the people around me feel good. For instance, I really enjoy catching up with a friend over coffee or brunch on the weekends, or just taking a walk through town. What simple pleasures have been excluded along the way because I felt I was too busy to do them or I just got lazy? I’m not saying I’ll start eating an entire chocolate cake every day or I’ll take a three hour nap every afternoon, but life really should be enjoyed in the midst of trying to make something of yourself.
What things are so simple but just make you feel good that you could start doing again after work or on the weekends? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading,