Sunday, November 7, 2010

So close...

While strolling down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh this July, I couldn't help notice the narrow alleys between the buildings which were called "close" for obvious reasons. I got very excited when I peered down one and thought it was probably the same one used in a scene of Elizabeth Gaskell's 2004 BBC miniseries North and South. There are actually two scenes with stairs that are similar to what I saw. The first scene is where Margaret Hale is going down the stairs in an alley at the same time as the factory whistle blows for the end of the day and she is jostled by all the mill workers streaming by. Then, one young man teases her by taking her purse and she is rescued by Nicholas Higgins.

The second scene involves John Thornton who is having a conversation with a police constable about the suggestion that Margaret is a possible witness to a murder at the train station.

So there I was in Edinburgh, Scotland on the very streets where they had filmed this fabulous miniseries and I believed that I was actually on the same stairs where Richard Armitage once stood. (Let's just say I was pretty excited!)

Here are my pictures of the stairs:

My euphoria was greatly lessened when I realized later that there were quite a few other Closes with stairways and the one that I happened to find was not in fact the one that was in the film.
I should point out that I didn't actually set out purposely to find these locations. I was aware of them but I hadn't really done the research in order to scout them out. So what I did see was very exciting and completely random.

What I should have done was check out this website before I arrived. Ace Marsupial's Richard Armitage page: North and South locations.

If you frequent this blog much you will know how I love music! Well although I had Frankie Valli's song "My Eyes Adored You" in my head when I thought about this blogpost, I knew it didn't quite fit. After a bit of research I found this song (which I didn't know before!) but I like very much, and is much more appropriate. :)

I was disappointed about not being in the right location but I knew of one more place I had to visit before I left town, and it happened to be near the train station.  So I dragged my long-suffering hubby to Calton Hill so I could get a picture something like this one:

Margaret Hale going for a walk in imaginary Milton (which was actually Edinburgh, Scotland)

It was quite a blustery day and a good thing the wind was blowing toward the tower and not away from it, or I would have been blown right off my perch where I took this shot.

It really is a lovely view "while the weather holds".

Another scene from North and South showing just a hint of the background architecture.
In this picture, you see the crenelations on the edge of Nelson's Monument
Nelson's Monument

I walked along this very footpath that Richard Armitage (as John Thornton) is walking in this picture.

Very gloomy with the added graveyard (not really there).

Here is my shot of the foot path with the Nelson Monument in the background.

You can see the same fence in this screencap (from Richard Armitage Central gallery).
Cheer up John! Margaret will come around eventually.
 John Thornton out for a walk (see the fence?).

I wish I could have spent more time in Edinburgh. It is a beautiful city, especially the Old Towne. I didn't get to Holyrood Palace (which was home to Mary Queen of Scots). So I simply MUST return some day. But I was so happy to see what I did get a chance to see and Calton Hill was simply lovely. The view was magnificent for which I was very grateful because the day we were at Edinburgh castle it was almost completely fog enshrouded! But on this day, with the cloudy sky the weather looked very similar to how it was in North and South and I was so pleased to be there!

Some clever travel agency should market a tour of locations for North and South and I am sure they would have quite a few enthusiasts very interested!


Traxy said...

I don't quite know if it's really sad or not, but reading this post, I had this huge, excited grin on my face. Lovely to read about your trip. :)

JaneGS said...

I got very excited just seeing your pictures of the stairs--next time you'll find the right set, but even so, the feeling was right.

Holyrood Palace was wonderful--next time I'll make it to Calton Hill, now that I know that scenes from N&S were shot there.

Ruth said...

What a great trip! Lovely pictures, and how exciting to be able to draw so many N&S parallels!

littlevictories said...

Lovely post. Thank you for sharing =)

phylly3 said...

@Traxy -- Sad for whom? Not you I hope. :) I'm okay with it now anyway. Maybe if I'd found the right stairs I could have named this post "Stairway to Heaven". LOL
@Jane- Well, if you ever go back, let me know and maybe we can meet up there! :)
@Ruth - I wasn't leaving town without seeing something authentically N&S! My poor hubby didn't have a chance! (Well, he got his Scotch whiskey anyway!) :)
@littlevictories -- You are very welcome and thank you so much for your comments!

Avalon said...

Oh how cool! It is funny how little things excite us. You can find joy in the small things, we do it everyday. Great post as always.

Charleybrown said...

I can only imagine how excited you were! Thanks for sharing!

Myrtle said...

Lovely pictures Phylly. it is do difficult to gauge, because the views look different in the 'modern day' with different lighting etc.

I will be in Edinburgh next summer and will do some 'research' too.

phylly3 said...

@Avalon - Thanks! Yes, but it didn't seem like a small thing at the time!
@Charleybrown - I knew you'd like that post! ;)
@Myrtle - How lucky you are to live so close to Edinburgh. If you do some research, please share the pictures with us!

dvd north and south said...

Margaret Hale from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is one of the extraordinary heroines of Classic Lit. Elizabeth Gaskell isn't quite as known or as celebrated as Dickens or the Brontes, people who had been big friends of hers, according to her biography, but she was a gifted writer in her own right and her talent shows in this wonderful gem which I will reread again in the not-so-distant future.