Sunday smacked of summer. Perhaps it reached twenty degrees! All the Scots in the Meadows rejoiced. Shoes came off, so did some shirts. The air filled up with footballs and frisbees and the sound of Tennent's cans cracking open.
We wandered past them to join the tourists hoardes on the Royal Mile. The bagpipers were out of hibernation, dotted at two-block intervals so no one could escape that Caledonia sound. There were plenty of spare pipers too, all bored and twitchy like footballers on a reserve bench. They leaned against ancient buildings, smoking cigarettes and adjusting their hats in the windows.
I want to know how this piping business works. Is there a Bagpipe Buskers' Union with a daily roster? Or are they independent operators who fight each other for the best spots? I like to think it's the latter, and there's bloody turf wars with much discordant groaning and droning as pipes are shoved where pipes don't fit.
Sunday was our last full day with The Mothership so we'd planned the Ultimate Scottish Experience. It's only the Ultimate if like your Experiences full of cheese and cliche. We do. We took her to the Geoffrey Tailor Tartan Weaving Mill and paid £25 to be strapped into horrible highland costumes and have our photo taken in front of a fake highland stream.
Mum and Rhiannon looked rather sweet in their matching regal tartan frocks and jaunty feathered caps. Somehow I ended up in a brown sack with a floppy felt hat with a flower dangling off it.
"I don't look like part of this family at all!" I complained to the photographer, who was also Australian, like 75% of Royal Mile employees. "Am I meant to be a peasant? Have I come roond to milk the coos?"
"Just take that big sword and stand beside the lady with your hand on her shoulder and SMILE!"
The shoot lasted all of two minutes. We squintied under the lights while American tourists watched us and went "Awww!".
Then Rhi and I switched poses and sat in front of Mum. The photographer scattered cotton reels on our billowing skirts and we pretended to weave some kilts for our wild Scottish blokes out there in the hills.
Our prints came presented in brown cardboard folders, just like PixiFoto. We admired the way the brilliant lighting erased our blemishes, but I couldn't help whinging again that I looked like the bastard child in my Peasant Girl getup. My resemblance to Mum and Rhi is shaky at the best of times but now I looked like the spawn of Clan McAdulterer. And what was going on with my chest? I was so tightly laced into my costume that the girls were squished into a giant rectangular mass.
"What's the deal with the Boob Loaf?" I asked the bekilted sales assistant, "Is my chest that horribly huge?"
She peered for a moment, "Don't worry dear, the dress causes some distortion. They're not that bad."
"And you are not a bastard child," added The Mothership.
We cooked up haggis, neeps and tatties that night to round off the Ultimate Scottish Experience. Which came after a trip to Monster Mash for lunch – who can turn down a giant plate of mash and a tasty sausage for under a fiver?
After all the shitty weather we'd had during the week, trust us to schedule our Carbo Loading Day during a heatwave.