Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Day 2

Bedlam Theatre

Can toddlers have demons?

This is the theological question I pondered during our flight yesterday, as toddlers sitting on their nannies’s laps, screamed at the top of their lungs for 15-20 minutes as our plane made its descent.

This was not mere crying, mind you, but sustained, blood-curdling, full-throated screaming.

Because I only saw nannies and no parents, I concluded the parents took a separate flight.

After arriving in Edinburgh I was not thinking about screaming children but sleep.

When you are young, the excitement of being in a new place overrides basic physical needs; when you are older the opposite is true. It’s the Benjamin Button effect. After about forty, we are on the steady digression from mature adult to the screaming toddler on the plane.

When we arrived at the hotel around noon and found our room was not ready, I was content just sitting in the lobby and resting with my eyes closed, but The Wife, who has made it her life’s goal to keep me from being boring insisted we go out. 

Our goal was a modest one: find what I thought was a very large antiquarian book store near the Royal Mile and see what else we could see on the way. What we found was a very small unimpressive book store with an impressive (and somewhat misleading) website. It was time to improvise.

Nearby was Greyfriars Kirk, home and final resting place of Greyfriars Bobby and his master, John Gray. As the story goes, John Gray, a security guard, who had a Scottish Terrier named, Bobby, died in 1858 and was buried in the cemetery at Greyfriars Kirk. For the next fourteen years Bobby guarded his master’s grave. When Bobby died in 1872, he too was buried in the cemetery. The story is a great illustration of how creation is and can be reconciled from its broken state and animals can resume their God-created role as helpers to man (Gen. 2:19-20).

Next we came across what looked like a church but on closer inspection turned out to be the Bedlam Theatre. It had been New North Free Church at one time. Depressing, I thought, a dead church converted into a theatre. Then I thought of my church back in America, which began in a theater. Such is the kingdom of God—while it appears to be retreating in one place it is expanding in another.

From the Bedlam Theatre we walked across the street to the National Museum of Scotland, where we lunched. By that time I could barely keep my eyes open, and I fought to stay awake as we sat there. This is always how it is on the first day of a European vacation after having been awake for two days. The Wife once fell asleep in a bathroom stall at the Tower of London on one of those first days and someone had to go in to wake her up. Her experience taught me to avoid bathrooms when I was in such a state.

The museum had a very interesting collection from the Roman and early Christian history of Scotland, but I was practically sleepwalking, so I decided to walk back to the hotel.

During the long walk back to the hotel I felt like a participant in the narcolepsy parade until I happened upon a bookstore with many leather bound books. I popped in for a quick search, and it paid off. I found a leather-bound two volume biography of Andrew Melville, by Thomas M’Crie. More about Melville later.

After The Wife coaxed me back out for dinner, we all headed back to hotel for a good nights’ rest on mattress and pillows that felt hard as rocks. The Wife said she felt like we were in an episode of The Flintstones. Fortunately, by that time It didn’t matter. GS

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