This weekend is Edinburgh Doors Open (the equivalent of London's Open House weekend). This morning I went on a walking tour by the Scottish Waterways Trust along the Union Canal. It was a nice walk through some countryside, and I also learned about some of the industrial heritage of the city. I used to be fascinated by this stuff in London, and I'd missed that.
In the afternoon I took a bus over to Portobello to visit the house of two architects and their family. They have a child who is a full-time wheelchair user, and they designed the house from scratch around the idea of step-free access - it's interesting, and beyond the whole "ramp" theme, it's always nice to see what happens when creative people can be daring without worrying about their clients' reactions. I remember thinking, years ago, about the lighting scheme I would put in my own house if I had the cash, which I would never dare propose to a client.
Lothian Buses had an open day at their depot today, and to co-incide with that they had lots of vintage buses running on a particular route, which would take me home from Portobello. That didn't especially interest me, but by pure fluke the bus that came along first was not an old one but a very new one - one of the first all-electric buses that is on trial in Edinburgh. I'd never really thought about electric buses as a possible thing, for the same reason that I'm sceptical about electric taxis or trucks, at least with current technology - heavy load and long continuous use. We only drive our cars for about 5% of the time, but commercial vehicles get used a lot more, which had made me discount battery power. BUT buses spend an awful lot of that time stopped, or moving slowly, and electric ones don't need power when they're stopped, and regenerate a lot of what they've used when they slow down.... so a 150 mile range probably is enough for a city centre service to go all day, and then some. This bus had some fan noise on the back seat, which is next to the batteries, but was otherwise quiet, vibration-free, and not pouring particulates into Edinburgh's air. I like!
Tomorrow I must start work on the final chapter of the thesis. Also, clean the house.