Coffee Talk Disability Humor Travel

If We Were Having Coffee In Edinburgh

20th August 2018
Starbucks Edinburgh city mug.

If we were having coffee, and catching up on blog news, I’d tell you Sonia at Losing The Plot won the recent blog promo video giveaway.

And Christine at I’m Sick and So Are You, in her infinite wisdom, has come up with 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Read Gin & Lemonade. 

Do you think sarcasm is the highest form of flattery?  Please say yes. Because then we can be friends.

In real life, the fam and I took a week-long road trip to our old home city.

Starbucks Edinburgh city mug.

Starbucks Edinburgh city mug.

I imagined journaling every day, and blogging our travelogue every night. If we were having coffee, I’d say that kinda didn’t happen.

However. I did manage to drink copious amounts of coffee. With actual friends. In Edinburgh. Some of those friends are reading this now. Hello. Thanks for the coffee. It’s nice to be known.

We set off on Sunday, with a new playlist to mark the occasion. One song for Neil, one song for me, one song for Isla. My daughter now sings Red Solo Cup. I’m not mad.

We rolled up to our flat for the week, after having lunch at an upmarket tourist trap somewhere in the middle.  While in line for the accessible toilet, someone asked me if Isla was my sister.


This is not because I look young for my age. I used to, not so much any more. And this is not because Isla looks about 17, though she does.

People think Isla is my sister because disabled people don’t get married.  Or have sex. Or have children. Or go on road trips. Disabled people are never seen in public. And we never need to pee.

Disabled people are not normal human beings like everyone else.  That’s why people think Isla is my sister.

I took her into the toilet with me. Because I’m her mother and I can’t pee alone. Someone knocked while we were in there. ‘Use your own toilet,’ yells my kid. Thank you, my favorite advocate.

We got to our home for the week, unpacked and Isla explored the kids toys while I explored the holiday reads.  Lots of Maeve Binchy in there. I read them all though.  When I was 13.

We ordered Chinese food. And guess what? They delivered it. I was almost giddy with excitement.

We ate on the balcony. Because it’s August. And there was a balcony.

And I swear to you, my kid’s out there and she goes, ‘Hey look, Ma. It’s a whole different world up here.’ Indeed it is.

The next day, Neil walks down the block and brings back coffee. I was actually giddy with excitement.

Then we met some friends and drank more coffee. It’s nice to be known.

Now. We were in Edinburgh during Festival season. As locals, in the past we avoided crowds and watched boxed sets in our living room.  If we did venture out we implemented a point system every time I ‘accidentally’ nipped a tourist’s ankles.

This time, we still avoided Festival stuff.  There was only one show I wanted to see, but it was sold out while we were there. Even though I didn’t see it I was happy it was sold out, too.

However, we braved the warm rain (I hate warm rain) and went to my Mecca, The Book Festival. Isla contributed to a community art project and we bought her a book about a kid who is a vampire, but also a fairy. Or something. Because that’s the book she asked for. We took our various book hauls to the till, but not before I took this shot.  This shot that means everything.

Isla and Neil reading.

On Tuesday, we wanted to take Isla to some museums.  But we couldn’t find parking that wasn’t 14 bucks and miles away, so we went to the movies instead.

Something else strange and ableist happened in the snack line. Isla was haggling with us over some popcorn and gummy worms. She was crouched on the floor with all the added sugar, and I asked her to get up. She didn’t get up. We moved along.

A stranger touches my child, pulls on her dress.


Are we bothering you? Do I look like I don’t know what I’m doing? Did I ask you to touch my child?

‘Did I ask you to touch my child?’

‘Um.’ And then she slinks away.

‘DON’T TOUCH MY SEQUINS,’ says Isla.  She was wearing a green sequinned dress, because my child, whom strangers should not be touching, thinks she’s a unicorn this month. Don’t touch her sequins.

But seriously, would you touch a stranger’s child in the movie line?  A child who is obviously not unattended? A child whose mother is right there, handling things fine without you? A child whose mother can actually see behind her head?

Getting back to the movies. The seats were leather recliners. I love the city.  I reclined. Isla held my hand through the whole show. Even though I didn’t ask her to. Even when I fell asleep in the middle. Because I was in a recliner. We stayed til the end of the credits and Isla danced in the aisle, like she did at Mama Mia.

The next day we met a table full of friends for dinner. Which we were an hour late for, but that’s why they love us, really. Maybe.

If my happy place is among books, Neil’s happy place is the zoo, with the penguins. We spent the whole next day at the zoo. Got up early, plastered our penguin parking permit in the window, and lined up.

So, we’re getting tickets.

There’s this thing, sometimes, where a disabled person’s plus one gets in to places for free. There’s a card, and I have one.

Sometimes, the question to me is, ‘Do you have a Plus One Card?’

Last week the question to Neil was, ‘Are you the carer?’

Well. I answered.

‘No, he’s the husband,’ I said. ‘And he usually doesn’t give a shit.’

‘I’ll make a note.’


If you asked Isla what her favorite part of the zoo was, she’d tell you the two play parks she played in, and the four strangers she made into friends.  Neil communed with the penguins,  as he does.

I thought the lion looked a bit depressed, but I enjoyed the meerkats, and seeing my family happy.

We had yet more (but very welcome) takeout at my in-laws house, where Isla was able to test out her new ‘farting putty’ to a captive audience.

Our last Edinburgh day was spent with one of my best old baby group friends.  Her daughter started ‘big school’ last week, and wears a uniform now. How did that happen?

That will be Isla next summer. Please shut up.

If we were having coffee in Edinburgh

We had so much fun in Edinburgh, we extended the trip. To Dundee. That’s Wednesday’s post. Our Dundee detour is now up over here.




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  • Reply Ritu 20th August 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Why do people feel the need to comment and assume so much?
    I’m.glad you had a good time regardless ?

  • Reply johnrieber 20th August 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Terrific post – so much going on! Agree that the Lions look very unhappy as they pace and look at any – ANY – opening in the enclosure…and you continue to raise awareness about how people in a wheelchair are perceived. Whether you want the compliment or not, I’m giving it to you. Fire away

    • Reply Lorna 21st August 2018 at 10:54 am

      Like Neil says, I’m very trying. Or something. Thank you, John.

      • Reply johnrieber 21st August 2018 at 2:46 pm

        I think he meant “you never STOP trying”….either way, terrific posts and perspective

  • Reply TanGental 20th August 2018 at 9:59 pm

    yep. penguins. because. They shut the London zoo penguin enclosure because it wasn’t psychologically stimulating or some such. Which was good and bad. PS I like Ed in the fringe, because it’s London with smiles. And the coffee. The coffee was good.

    • Reply Lorna 20th August 2018 at 10:02 pm

      Sorry we didn’t get to meet up! Next time.

  • Reply Rebecca Moon Ruark 20th August 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Sounds like a pretty great time. I love take-out and delivery–and find it hard to make that happen in my regular life. Vacays are the best. Love that pic of your husband and daughter. And, nope, not touching other people’s kids. My own still require too much hands-on!

  • Reply Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog) 20th August 2018 at 10:30 pm

    You’ve made me laugh – and I needed it tonight!! Dunc is off at his parents in Hereford leaving me in the not so capable hands of son number 1 and the girl…..with a dislocated ankle & shoulder aghhhhh! So lots of coffee and tonight wine too! Love that Isla won’t stand for her sequins being touched….a girl’s got to stand her ground….with Lucy the sequins have turned into Doc M boots these days.
    And yes you are right – disabled people are not normal and cannot be spoken to directly “would she like milk with that?”…..Ummm, I’ right here, sitting in the chair….yes the one with the big wheels you just tripped over!!!
    (BTW I’ve shared your guest spot on Meriah’s blog on my blog share post today) C xxx

  • Reply Book Club Mom 21st August 2018 at 2:23 am

    You packed a lot into your vacation time. Lots of coffee for sure. I do like your line in response to the person asking your husband if he was the carer!

  • Reply Ellen 21st August 2018 at 6:50 am

    I enjoy your posts, this one maybe because I know Scotland, it felt full and rounded but the way you narrate is so full of humour. How dare a strange stranger touch the sparkled unicorn child, I bet you wore that look the one that say’s it all. I haven’t got a second for people who talk to the throne controller and not the royalty upon the throne, ‘Are you the carer,’ indeed! Great visual, great post, had fun I just keep coming back for more.

  • Reply ellenbest24 21st August 2018 at 6:54 am

    Arrrgggh! pleasr correct full of humpour is the worst typo EvEr! full of ‘ humour’ it should say, oh my blooming days!

    • Reply Lorna 21st August 2018 at 9:19 am

      I got you!

      • Reply ellenbest24 21st August 2018 at 9:22 am

        Phew! *Wipes forehead* ? thank you. X

  • Reply gemmaorton 21st August 2018 at 8:53 am

    Edinburgh Festival is one of my dreams, but I fear it’s accessibility will make me rage. And sad.
    ‘Use your own toilet’ I’m totally taking that one!
    Even the word ‘carer’ can frustrate me. It’s so needy. Even though I can do nothing without them…

  • Reply rachaelstray 21st August 2018 at 10:17 am

    OMG I had farting putty stuff when I was little it was the best thing ever haha! I bet you’ve enjoyed the perks of city life and not known yourself a bit. I can’t believe that stranger in the cinema queue or the rudeness at the queue for the loo. People are sometimes awful!

  • Reply A Girl and Her Passport 21st August 2018 at 10:20 am

    How many points did you score?!!!

    • Reply Lorna 21st August 2018 at 10:22 am

      Eleventy billion. 🙂

  • Reply Debbie Harris 21st August 2018 at 11:27 am

    You always manage to make me smile Lorna, oh and Isla’s comments too 🙂 There’s something about penguins

  • Reply John CR Duff 21st August 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Ah, yes, but what about the time way back in our Dingwall days when you and I were in the local haberdashers on the High Street and the lovely (theres that word again) ladies at the till thought that you and I were husband and wife?

    • Reply Lorna 21st August 2018 at 2:33 pm

      I couldn’t work that in without it sounding as weird as it originally sounded. But Isla on the balcony reminded me of us in London.

  • Reply englishwithkirsty 21st August 2018 at 2:08 pm

    I insist on calling my partner my care bear in those situations, because it’s not nearly as ridiculous or offensive as carer. Yep, we don’t have partners or husbands, or actually even friends. My 7-years-older friend got really offended when someone accused her of being my mum, and I don’t blame her! Glad you had fun 🙂

  • Reply Lyn Lynski 22nd August 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Aw Dimps this has made me smile , please don’t ever change , let the world know you are one strong cookie and little” mini me” Isla is so you when younger xxx loving the unicorn day episode.

    • Reply Lorna 22nd August 2018 at 1:12 pm

      I actually thought of you at the cinema. Was this close to saying ‘Are you wise?’ True-effin-story.

  • Reply Fancy 25th August 2018 at 6:36 pm

    What is wrong with people?????

  • Reply OurFour Suitcases 27th August 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Your annoyance with people’s assumptions is clear. I understand how it feels when people assume things about your role with the hubby and the kids. I decided to stop dying my hair, several years ago. Rob is 3 years older, has a gamine face but deep wrinkles, dresses like a teenager and until very recently not a streak of gray had appeared on his head. I look older, period, even without a major wrinkle at age 52. I have had people assume I am the grandmother of my twins, ask if Rob is my brother or assume we are not a couple and once some fool thought he was my son, seriously. It’s hard on the ego but understandable. Still…WTF! Society as a whole needs to get over stereotypical images of what “mom” looks like but just getting from Joan Cleaver to working mom has taken a long time so I suppose we have a ways to go before little gray haired ladies and gals in wheelchairs are seen as capable moms.

  • Reply Nathalie Seguin 11th September 2018 at 1:59 pm

    That was a busy vacation! I love your sarcasm by the way!

    • Reply Lorna 11th September 2018 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks. That time I was being serious, but thanks.

  • Reply Denise 11th September 2018 at 6:28 pm

    A lovely and refreshing post! My heart goes out to you about the stranger comments. I was a very young mother and everyone from strangers to pediatricians asked if I was her sister and talked down to me. It sounds like you’re far more sure of yourself in those situations than I ever was, so well done!

    • Reply Lorna 12th September 2018 at 9:13 am

      Thanks, Denise. I wish people would just meet us where we are, or just mind their own business, y’know? I’m going to look up your blog now.

  • Reply Traci Heaps 12th September 2018 at 6:47 am

    Your post made me laugh! I am not familiar with Edinburgh yet, but you painted a delightful picture 🙂
    I have to say, I would love to visit during festival time, as it sounds like a tourists delight.
    Scotland is on the top of my “next places to visit list”
    Can’t wait to read more from you.

    • Reply Lorna 12th September 2018 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks, Traci. There’s plenty to see in Scotland, and on the blog, ha!

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