Plaque shame

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At the time of writing, BBC Radio 4 was broadcasting ­Inventing Scotland by Mike ­Harris, a comedy based on the arrival in Scotland of George IV in 1822.

The event, dramatised as a comedy, has continuing topically too. I observed the “historic” landing stage on the Leith ­waterfront last July while visiting for the Commonwealth Games – just as visitors for the Festival stay in Glasgow, the ­reverse takes place when the prices soar ridiculously, an ­unexpected gain for Edinburgh.

Not all gains are being realised, however.

The City of Edinburgh Council seems to be having the last laugh by ­allowing considerable depreciation around the plaque detailing George IV’s landing, an event widely regarded as leading to the modern tartan and shortbread image of Scotland. It ought to be on any tourist trail, even a Unesco site, and all to the benefit of local restaurants.

However, it is a joke, resembling little better than a tip. The informative plaque was under a tree, behind parked motorcycles and half hidden by large rubbish bins belonging to the eateries, which themselves show little imagination for their surrounds.

The casual visitor to many parts of the city, like myself, would also have observed a clever stencilled message on pavements.

Presumably addressed to dog owners using the letters “Edinburgh” emitting from the rear of a caricature dog, the less than cryptic appeal is for owners to stop their pets fouling and the city becoming “urgh”.

Such a good idea, but lost on considerable numbers of ­pigeons that cover the pavements with their droppings under most railway bridges.

You can watch where you walk but wee messages from overhead are harder to avoid.

Maybe in this situation bridge owners Network Rail, like the City Council at the Leith steps, can’t be asked!

Leslie Freitag

Cravells Road

Harpenden, Herts