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Aberdeen

How could I not like a city whose wide medians are full of energetically-blooming roses! My favorite guidebook note said that, for some number of years, Aberdeen was disqualified from competing in the annual Cities in Bloom competition, because it always won.

My intial impression of grey buildings, grey sky, and grey sea wasn't wrong - but neither was it nuanced. The grey isn't all one shade. The grey is a source of pride, all the granite dug up from what the taxi driver said was the world's largest man-made hole, just a few miles west. A hotel was going to be built in its depths, with cable-cars to ferry residents up and down to it, but it never happened and gradually filled in with water. Now, a waterpark is envisioned for it. The grey is not drab uniformity, it's civic pride in the city of Bon Accord.

It also claims "Europe's Capitol of Energy", which, if singular, means oil trumps windmills and solar power. Unless Europe has multiple capitols of energy? Capitols of Culture move around on a regular basis, so it's entirely possible. For all my taxi driver's worrying over global recession, British job losses, and local institutions being taken over by multi-nationals, Aberdeen has benefited hugely from North Sea oil since the '70s.

Tonight I went down to see the Dee, emptying its wide expanse into the North Sea. Steady traffic passed by, in and out, support ships carrying out the supply and maintenance business of oil rigs along the shore. Once, it was a medieval powerhouse, the largest fishing town in Europe (according to my taxi driver). It's been a hotbed of papermaking along the way. Now oil carries it along. So far, so good.

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
gylfinir
Jul. 21st, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
Lovely writing. :)
owlfish
Jul. 22nd, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
zcat_abroad
Jul. 22nd, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
That final paragraph is very poetic! Hope to see more of Aberdeen through your eyes...
owlfish
Jul. 22nd, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
geesepalace
Jul. 22nd, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
Curiously I had lunch with a classics person from Aberdeen just today, da Nico, as the guest of Gerry S. He (the classics human) wondered what the venue of your meeting was, and I couldn't tell him. Apparently the choices are the University and some commercial place well out of town, neither of which has a good assortment of pubs nearby.
owlfish
Jul. 22nd, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
We're at the university, so just the in-house bar.
desperance
Jul. 22nd, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
I hate - as you know! - to be pedantic, but I think that's "Capital" throughout. USians seem to mean something slightly different, with "capitol"? We don't have that.
owlfish
Jul. 22nd, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
I was ever-so-careful to spell it "correctly" throughout, since I don't often have reason to refer to capitols. (While there are many more things in life which are capital.)

I am fascinated to learn this! I had no idea that this was a spelling/misspelling which existed between these two languages! How very odd.

I shall leave it, since otherwise a lifetime of training will tell me I have spelled it incorrectly, but it is valuable knowledge indeed for future composition and proofreading of texts in British Englishes (all of them, I assume?), so thank you.
desperance
Jul. 22nd, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
I could be wrong, but I'm fairly sure about this. For reference, my own preferred dictionary (Chambers) says:

Capitol: the temple of Jupiter at Rome, built on the Capitoline hill; the building where Congress or a state legislature meets (US)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )