Youngest Child is not happy. She’s been to “our” shopping centre and found it full of tourists, strolling along at a holiday tempo, clogging concourses, “not even shopping”.
“It’s meant to be a shopping centre,” she rails. “For local people. Us.”
Oh no, she’s becoming one of those Edinburgh folk who moan about the tourists. One of those torn-faced miserablists who sit brooding on the bus, sighing and chuntering away when an unsuspecting visitor boards and politely enquires about the best stop for The Castle. Or likes to stomp full pelt up the High Street, sorry Royal Mile, at the height of The Festival, tutting loudly if a lost soul has the temerity to pause in front of them to glance at a Google map or admire a Freddy Krueger lookalike juggling chihuahuas. And let’s hope she never sees what they’ve done to Greyfriars Bobby’s snout.
“Why are tourists even IN our shopping centre?” she says. “They should be up in town, looking at history stuff.”
“Isn’t the shopping centre for everyone?” I say. “And it’s good for the economy if tourists visit and buy things. Anyway, what harm are they doing? Just ‘cos you and your pals have to queue a bit longer to get a table in your favourite flame-grilled chickens’ feet/chunderburger eatery, don’t be so mean. They’re here because we live right next to the cruise ship terminal – they’re just off the ship, unsuspecting, probably nice people, harmless. They’re spending cash and providing jobs too. And we do have history stuff here for them to look at – they’re visiting Britannia, the Queen’s yacht, remember?”
“Tut. Why is that even at the shops? What’s that about?”
“Because the shops are at the docks and it’s a boat. It kind of has to be in the water.”
She laughs. “Oh yeah, forgot about that. ‘Spose. But if they put it in the centre of town... how about where they used to hang the women they said were witches?...”
“...yeah. Or up at the Castle? That would be better for everyone wouldn’t it?”
Right. I dread to think what she’s going to be like when the Festival starts.