The Rebus Tour …. Edinburgh, Scotland – Saturday 11th April



There are no co-housing communities as such in Edinburgh itself that we could find. There is one being formed in Fyfe that we didn’t manage to contact. We did however go on a tour that took us away from the touristy, economically thriving areas and into a more down-at-heel part of inner Edinburgh – a sobering context in which to consider the vicious cycle of many aspects of our world and the great need for the nurturing cycle that can come with the benefits of co-housing and the building of affirmative communities.

The Rebus Tour – the well-known character of Ian Rankin’s novels and the TV series of the same name.

Here is my experience of that tour …..

It was a chilling day under a darkening sky. The solitary ray of sunlight – momentarily mercifully warm – was quickly obliterated as the purply black unambiguous cloud rolled in.

The wee group of ‘Rebus’ tragics, dragged reluctantly into a huddle by the tour leader, Colin, froze as they were educated and entertained.

The context was Edinburgh – historical, contemporary, warring, criminal and, always looming nearby, the Crags. The Salisbury Crags – ancient, impressive, brooding and beautiful – a huge craggy cliff-face upturned ten million years ago.

By the council flats we were there to look at, and the skips and other sad signs of the unsustainability of ‘normal’ life; on windy street corners and wet, cobbled roads, Colin immersed us in the place and mind of Rankin and his famous character, Rebus. Standing there freezing in the frozen rain – incredibly we had actual hail stones bouncing of us all – the images conjured up by Rankin’s words were framed and underscored and accentuated and made indelible. Each hail stone was a full stop on a sentence of a day. Colin’s ‘Rebus’ readings were made all the more palpable in this setting. A community by any other name would be all the sweeter.

Even me, on the brink of bailing, somehow got through and was grateful to have completed the tour of these less known parts of Edinburgh. It was an ordeal but I now anticipate reading some Rebus and knowing the place oh so well. If only I had brought along my umbrella.

About Giselle Wilkinson - 4allsentientbeings

Environmental conservation, community and cooperatives have been enduring threads in my life. Promoting sustainable lifestyles and more lately, focussing on restoring a Safe Climate, is work expressed predominantly through organisations such as The Sustainable Living Foundation (which I co-founded in 1999 - current President) and the others listed as links below. I am some way into a professional doctorate with MIECAT on "Mobilising Whole Communities to Restore a Sustainable Environment" and have in recent years moved into MURUNDAKA – a (more) sustainable, (more) affordable co-housing community / housing cooperative in Heidelberg, Melbourne (for which I gave up my co-op house of 19 years including veggie garden and small orchard) and it's great. I'm also a mum of two grown up daughters and have five step children.
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