Adventures in Edinburgh

Part One
Todd and I ascend to Edinburgh for two weeks of hard work in the office. This time, we attempt to leave the flat.


It was an absurdly hot day, so clearly this meant that me and Todd had decided to travel for four hours up to Edinburgh so that we could have a look at the Huawei office. Although I had scheduled this time to work on my paper, during the journey there was also football game on between Engerland (that’s us!) and Croatia, our foes from the world cup semi final. Todd, a known football fanatic, had set up a janky viewing platform on his phone propped up by his hat so that he could watch the game. I observed that I had earlier struggled to load a text document over the Avanti wifi so I seriously doubted his ability to stream a football match in HD over BBC iPlayer, but he proceeded nonetheless. At one point he showed me five pixels and claimed that I was watching Raheem Sterling score a goal, so clearly I had been proved wrong. Of course, I had already received the live text notification and knew that the goal had been scored. In fact, I had spoiled the surprise for Todd, so who had really achieved true footballing greatness?

The train journey was otherwise uneventful, apart from seeing lots of nice hills once we had passed Lancaster. About five minutes before we got into Haymarket, Todd forced me to stand in the vestibule and wait for the train to stop. I vocally objected to this but ultimately I just follow Todd around so really I had no choice.

Eventually the train stopped and we could disembark. We hurried towards the gateline and prepared our tickets. The throng of passengers all seemed to be headed for a single wide gate, which I felt was pretty strange, but nonetheless I executed a flex and headed directly to a narrow gate, intending to lift my suitcase through it and avoid the need for a wide gate. But I had been set up! These gates did not let you use mobile tickets. And in fact only the single wide gate did, so there was a huge queue, a moronic use of infrastructure. We were forced to wait, and when we got there, my ticket didn’t even work. Fortunately, the man let me through without even looking at my ticket.

We now proceeded to the Airbnb that Todd had booked. We located the key inside a lockbox on some random set of railings and recovered the keys. There were a plethora of keys inside, including a peculiar sawed-off key that Todd suggested that I should immediately remove, as it had not been required to pass the two barriers of security into the flat.

Todd examines the lockbox

Todd examines the lockbox

After having a look around the flat and me calling dibs on the double bed, we decided that we had to go shopping. After much perusing of Google Maps, it was decided that the nearby Tesco Express would be the perfect place to obtain some groceries. This was a bit of a punch in the heart to me, as I had believed (foolishly) that we would be traversing to a Sainsbury’s Local, a destination fit for my exotic tastes. There was even one on the corner of Semple Street! But alas, the Tesco Express was closer, and it was 24 hours too! This fact was of course irrelevant, as we were going at the early hour of about six o clock.

We made our way down the stairs and arrived in the foyer. I then made to open the door, and to my dismay the twisty bit came off in my hand! This rendered the front door effectively inoperable, which was a mild problem as we were required to use this door to exit the block of flats. Todd tried to use his tight grip to twist the remainder of the lock and open the door, but to no avail.

Unperturbed, we set out to find an alternative exit from our new prison. Immediately behind us was an open door: surely this would lead somewhere? We exited into a luscious garden with some trees in it, along with a woman and her dog. The garden also had a massive hole in it, which led down to the underground parking below. The underground parking had been touted as a particular benefit to this Airbnb, as it is a rarity in Edinburgh! Alas, this was completely useless to us, as we had not driven to Edinburgh. The Airbnb man had suggested that it would be a good place to leave a bike, but in the end I hadn’t brought a bike either, so this was still pointless.

We wayfared across the garden, past the woman and her dog, who ignored us. I hopped over a waist-height wall to find a narrow channel that led past a lot of bikes and to a gate. But the gate said ‘emergency exit only’ on it, and we weren’t sure if this was considered an emergency. I motioned that it was, as we were effectively being held hostage by a building. Todd was not so sure. Forunately, there was another gate at the other end of the channel, so we went that way. Less fortunately, this gate was also labelled ‘emergency exit only’, so our position was not improved. We had to find a different way out. On the way back to the foyer, we passed the dog again and Todd stared at it a lot in an attempt to charm it into becoming our companion. The dog didn’t care.

Suddenly, we had a brainwave. Perhaps there would be an exit within the underground car park that we had earlier observed! We went into the stairs but there was no way down. Instead we had to use the lift, which had a button for -1, the universal underground number. The lift dropped and let us out into a vast expanse of concrete. There was so much space!

The sunlight from the hole we had earlier observed streamed down, illuminating our search. Before we looked for an exit, I made a beeline for the promised space belonging to our flat, and saw that there was indeed a bike left near it. Now it was time to escape, but we realised that we had left the garage door remote in the flat! Thus we had once again run into a dead end.

Todd explores the underground car park

Todd was baffled by the abundance of space

Todd suggested that perhaps we could escape via another block of flats, which were accessible via another lift. However, we discovered that this lift was protected by a lock, designed to keep out unruly folk such as ourselves. Dejected, we returned to our lift. It was then that we discovered that our lift was also protected by a lock. Had we moved from being trapped inside a block of flats containing a flat that we could access to being trapped inside a car park? The answer might surprise you.

Thanks to my genius, I had ignored Todd’s earlier advice to remove the sawed-off key. And as it turned out, that key was the key that unlocked the lift. Triumphantly, I unlocked the lift and we returned to where we had started.

The next plan was that Todd would try to use the flat intercom to buzz me out. He ascended and I stood by the door, poised to attack when I heard a click or buzz or other noise that might have indicated that the door was unlocked. But there was no noise, and the door did not unlock. This was bad.

I then decided to inspect the twisty bit. The problem was that the outside had somehow become loosened and fallen off the oily mechanism. I decided to use my famed vice-like grip. And after a little bit of jiggling, the door opened. I had taken on a solid door, and I had defeated it. Truly my powers were unparalleled. They were definitely better than Todd’s anyway since he hadn’t been able to open it.

I didn’t bother telling Todd that I had opened it, and when he came down I dabbed through the glass. Finally, we had both escaped from the block of flats, and we could get on our quest. As we entered Tesco I was astounded to see Todd holding two huge bottles of original recipe Irn Bru! But that’s a story for another time.