J's friend Erica is up from Wales on a visit.

The plan is to show her round. I don't think she was expecting to be walked into a riot though.

OK, maybe not riot, but disturbance certainly. Police and truncheons and a mauling crowd.

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The plan had been simple. Get some lunch, have a wander around. Edinburgh or Glasgow? We opt for Edinburgh. Daughter number one wanted to go to a particular newsagents to pick up her favourite skateboard magazine (1).

I do mention that Rangers are playing Raith Rovers in a cup final in the capital but the consensus is we are not going near Easter Road so there would be no problem.

After lunch and discovering the newsagent doesn't have the magazine in question we decide to walk down to the Grassmarket and have a look around the shops. We are in a clothes store when we start hearing the shouting. Drifting out the door I see a mass of people moving as one singular body, back and forth across the Grassmarket, policemen and women in bright yellow tops trying to corral it as it sweeps around in surges.

Everyone comes out of the shop to watch. The police have their truncheons out now and things - bottles, I guess - begin to fly through the air as the mass moves back and forth, swinging around like an out-of-control waltzer. For some reason the image of an octopus in a disco comes into my head (2).

It is only when it keeps moving towards us that we retreat into the shop for five minutes, decide we probably aren't going to get to the shops in the Grassmarket this afternoon and beat a retreat.

Up on the road that wraps around the base of the castle we can see tourists watching the entertainment. Not quite the Tattoo but still compelling.

We eventually end up in the Portrait Gallery. Over coffee, J asks who is playing anyway. Rangers and Raith Rovers, I tell her. It was probably Gordon Brown leading the Young Kirkcaldy Massive on a rammy, I joke. "Didn't he used to be Prime Minister?" daughter number two asks. "And now he's a football hooligan? That's terrible." (3)

Suddenly I imagine the rumour going round school, going viral on Facebook and Twitter, and myself being taken to court by Mr Brown for defamation.

Later we see a news report saying 13 people have been detained by police. Mr Brown was not one of them, I'm pleased to note.

The good news is that when we were in the shop I noticed something my sister might like. Days later I go back to buy it. First Christmas gift bought. Result.


[1] Turns out there are a few of them. Who knew?

[2] Though as far as I could see there was nobody wearing a white suit a la John Travolta.

[3] Daughter number two wants you to know that's not how she remembers it at all.

Twitter: @teddyjamieson