Since becoming Lord Provost in May, I have been involved in a wide variety of events and engagements. I thought people might be interested in hearing about some of these and the fascinating people that I come across while carrying out my duties.
I've therefore decided to write a blog and what better way to start than to write my first posting on the opening day of the Olympics...
'Allthebells' and all the best!
This morning, at 8.12am exactly, I joined 200+ other enthusiastic bell-ringers on the Scotsman Steps. We were joined by many thousands of others across the UK, including Big Ben, in marking 12 hours until the start of the Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Interestingly, it was the first time Big Ben has been rung outside its regular schedule since 1952, when it tolled for King George VI's funeral. There was also some history surrounding my own choice; I was ringing the old bell from the Edinburgh Central Library - more used to calling time on borrowing and reading in the evening, as it did for well over 100 years, than leading events early in the morning.
The location itself was particularly fitting given that it was Martin Creed, the artist behind the refurbished Scotsman Steps, who came up with the idea for 'Allthebells', suggesting that all the bells in the country should be rung as loudly as possible for the opening of the Olympics and culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. I'm sure he wasn't disappointed.
As we count down to the Opening Ceremony, I think it is worth remembering that we all have a part to play in the Games and the Council have been working closely with the organisers to ensure that the people of Edinburgh have every opportunity to get behind the event and those taking part. The Big Screen in Festival Square, in particular, will be a hive of activity over the coming weeks, kicking off this lunchtime with a spectacular Red Arrows flypast and continuing well into the evening with a packed programme of singing, dancing and celebration.
I took the opportunity to wish the British Team the very best of luck when the torch relay reached the Castle Esplanade last month but, now that the start is upon us, I am pleased to do so again. Can there be a greater honour in sport than to represent your country at the 'greatest show on earth'?
Of course, we in Edinburgh feel a very special sense of pride thanks to Edinburgh's very own Sir Chris Hoy being chosen to fly the flag for TeamGB tonight. What a fantastic ambassador for our city and for our nation.