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I've just returned from two idyllic weeks in Scotland and it's a struggle getting back into London life. The country where I spent four happy years as a student boasts stunning scenery, its capital is often voted the top place in the UK to live, and despite the fact that most of my friends and family are south of the border, my heart's in the Highlands. (actually, like Burns, it's in the Lowlands, or more precisely a Georgian flat or sandstone tenement with perhaps a bolthole in Perthshire, the Borders, Fife, or Deeside).
I'm seeing North Britain through unashamedly rose-tinted specs. Scotland isn't one long ceilidh. The weather can be dreadful, Scottish cities lack London's enviable transport links and Edinburgh in non-festival months can be a bit dull. But the architecture, the food, the accent, the history, the coastline and mountains...
As well listening to lots of great music, we managed to visit Scotland's first free public lending library - Pontius Pilate's alleged birthplace, now a stunning Arts and Crafts village and home to the oldest living yew tree in Europe, the Gothic splendours of Mount Stuart , castles galore (Crathes followed by Kellie and then Menzies)Robert Smail's printing works and Tom Kitchin's great restaurant in Leith.
If you live or work in Scotland, please tell me it's truly grim up north to help get me over my post-holiday blues. Or just offer me a job so I can find out for myself. And if you too pine for a place where you once lived or hope to at some stage, offer me some support. I need it.