writing off the wall

Running up the Cowgate area of Edinburgh where lanes wind in and out of tall buildings one August I stumble upon the old India Buildings where in every nook and cranny a story is being dramatised.   The building give me inspiration, power and permission to write stage plays.

Stone pieces are cut into shapes where fabrics were shredded to create a building that has known a number of past lives, such as a Linen Bank and Registry Office. Wedged between a trio of Jacobean buildings at the top of the steep Victoria Street this ashlar stone work has found a new purpose during the Fringe Theatre Festival, namely protecting the stories being told inside.


After a steep climb up Grassmarket it feels automatic to stumble into the timber panelled Registry Bar. This is my first taste of the historic India Buildings which tell the story of the future and carve out intriguing site specific spaces for theatre makers. 

Built to store items ready for shipment to India by David Cousins in 1866, the architect chisels his initials under a third floor window. 

Gateshead’s Victorian Playwright Githa Sowerby’s life story is being told here in a room containing intricate plasterwork.  The room is found by holding on to decorative cast-iron balustrades as audiences are lead through round arches that branch off circular balconies all the way up to the top.

The principal entrance has the inscription above it reading ‘Dominus Providebit’ or God will provide. With a bay window curving onto the street and grey slate shining in the sun, passing the building makes the spine snap straight and the eyes point upwards. Inside there is an irresistible hunt for what is new and the source of fresh concepts seems endless. The abstract leafy pattern on the stones outside let the exciting ideas on the inside breathe.



With the gateway at the base of the stairs originally intended for wooden carts it is clear that what goes into the creation of a new building is as important as what comes out.  In a place where items bound for India were once stored, in a tiny room downstairs the fantasy of a shelf stacked with toys is built.

 Everything housed inside the India Buildings is still precious cargo.




I never mind trekking up steps now.  Who knows what new horizon will be waiting at the top to be enjoyed?

More reflections on inspiration gained ffo

gardens can be found here



55 thoughts on “writing off the wall

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    • Brilliant Kathy! Look forward to checking out your post. They are always such a joy to read. Be great to find out a little bit more about your creativity. Big fan of your narrative style. I shall read and enjoy tomorrow with a nice cuppa!




  3. Wow, Lita! As always, you take us on an amazingly beautiful journey with your words… One of the things I love the most about your writing is the power and the passion they convey… Thank your for taking us on this journey of inspiration, power and permission!


    • Thanks Gisela for your encouraging comment. The architecture was full of creativity to give me more permission to express myself! Hurrah 😀

      I am a massive fan of your poetry! The opening line of your recent work (for the Golden Years theme) is so achingly beautiful it stays in my imagination –

      “we were young

      thirsty, amazed and wide eyed”

      (Quoting ‘Us’ by You)

      Empowering creativity!


    • Thank you! 😉 It was such a find to stumble into an old building (admittedly during the Theatre Festival) that was for the first time being used to do alternative theatre. It was good to see the boundaries of what is possible stretched a bit!

      Enjoyed so much the look back at childhood classics in your recent post. I love the way you pick out half forgotten gems to fascinate the reader! Great blog.


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  7. You’ve put me in the mood for a visit through to Edinburgh. I haven’t been in such a long time. And my local train station takes me directly there. You really made it come alive. I love all the back streets and the old buildings each with a history and story to be told.x


    • Nodding in agreement. What a city. I love the variations of grey in the stone. And of course the castle!! If the rock could speak..!

      Loving your poems so much. The recent post whispers the poetry beautifully ‘Lifting’ the reader up!


  8. Loved the opening. You did a great job of putting the reader in Edinburgh, right next to you.

    Thanks for sharing this!


    • I enjoy the grey stone of Edinburgh, such a pleasure to share!

      Loved the crescendo of swirling emotions in the writing of your recent post… quoting… ‘this bubbling, this curdling, this turbulent slop’. The words convey feelings of the writer so well (IMO).


    • This is such an honour! I am flattered and thrilled. The good news is I have just had my followers increase over the 200 mark but the bad news is (I think) I can’t have the award for that reason 😦

      Your blog always gives me a valuable new take away recipe that is simple and successful. The Magic Detox Water is an easy way to feel refreshed. Filo parcels with yogurt, spinach and leek is a healthy twist on a classic.

      I am so overjoyed you thought of me! Thank you. I am going to check out the blogs you nominated.


    • Thank you Julie! I do enjoy theatre festivals ;-D Glad I could capture some of the fun.

      Loved your post about lifelong learning, I was nodding in agreement whilst reading it. Education is for everyone.


  9. It feels like I’m always on a field trip every time I read your posts Lita. I doubt it if I’ll ever see Edinburgh or your country but I am still keeping this on my list. Beautiful. 🙂


    • Thank you Zara. It’s great to hear from you. I loved reading your recent post about some of the ideas that helped shape your writing. I think the beauty of WP is we can all visit each others part of the world without leaving town! You write effortlessly and beautifully about your world. Hope you have a lovely weekend 😉


      • You are absolutely right Lita. WordPress is a good venue for improvement and discovery. Cheers! Have a lovely weekend too. Looking forward for more posts.


    • Thank you Chris. So many fascinating old building tucked away off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. I find it inspiring that there are so many historic buildings to discover. I had a great time visiting your site! Found your excellent post on Qigong. It seems to be growing in popularity. I love learning something new from your posts. Have a terrific weekend.


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  11. This is charming as it is dramatic–well done indeed. I too was struck by the vertical drama that is Edinburgh. I love that you do not lament the repurposing of architectural wonders for their more pedestrian modern uses. Instead you invest in the possibility that the modern use could have relevance as well. I shall try to be as generous in my view of all structures from now on, as well!


    • Thank you so much for this insight. Your inspiring comment makes me realise how the purpose of the building is a lens through which to enjoy the design of it. Great perspective!

      I was just enjoying a second read of your Sentimental Journey post. Terrific philosophy and humour! This was such a great read.


    • True. I couldn’t have guessed about this building, the little lane up looked so quiet.

      Loved your stunning photographs in the post showing so much excitement in street life.


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  14. This is a nice atmospheric post. The cowgate is a mysterious sort of place, with its winding roads and stairs leading to other parts of the city. It can be a wee bit dangerous on a Saturday night though! Thanks for reminding me of it 🙂


    • Ooh I hadn’t thought of the danger side to it! Haven’t braved it on a Saturday. I love the narrow alley ways of it. Thanks for reading Charlie. Your recent post on Scotland’s famous poet, Robert Burns was such a joy to read. You make a great connection with your reader. Happy days!


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