Berwick, Spittal, Souris and Crapaud (2005-07-18 - 5:04 p.m.)
It's Monday AND I had to walk to work today as the Lothian busses are striking. There are no busses at all today, and it's Saturday service for the rest of the week. Not the end of the world (and I'm sure I can use the exercise) but even for me, walking nearly two hours just to get to and from work is a bit much.
However, the day's going quickly as we're so busy, so it's all good.
Had a pretty good weekend - one that felt like a proper weekend, and didn't just fly by. On Friday night I went for a pint with Kevin from the hotel. I was pleased and smug to hear that since I stormed out in April, the entire reception department, the entire accounts department, and the food and beverage manager have all quit. HA. They should treat their staff better! He also said that should I need a place to work in the fall, they are looking for people... I am tempted. I know, I know, it was horrible working there, but then I wouldn't have to look for another job if I want to work for a month or so in the fall, and the cash would come in handy. We shall see. I probably won't take him up on it.
Anyway, it was nice to catch up. That hotel is crazy.
After Kevin left I headed up to the Royal Mile to meet up with Brad. Suddenly there were people everywhere, and the whole street was closed down. I was thinking, "What the HECK?!" when all these black horse-drawn carriages suddenly came parading up the street. The horses had feathers on their head-dresses and the drivers were dressed in black cloaks, wearing top hats and carrying lanterns. The carriages were full of very excited-looking kids. It took a second to click - of course, it was the Harry Potter launch on Friday! I was hoping for a glimpse of JKR herself, but no such luck. Apparently she appeared out of a secret door in the castle to read the first chapter of the book to all the kids.
I love living in Edinburgh. Everything happens here.
Jen bought the new Harry book on Saturday. I am longing to get my teeth into it, but not nearly as eager as I was for the last one (which I actually pre-ordered). This time I think I can wait until I can borrow a copy.
Friday night I got a text at 2 am from Kelly asking if I wanted to go to Berwick-upon-Tweed the next day. Come Saturday morning I was seriously tempted to just spend the day lazing about, but I have been meaning to see Berwick and it's nicer to walk around if you have company. So I managed to get my butt in gear and made it onto the 12:00 train (after a series of mishaps including accidentally booking a child's ticket, then having to stand in two different queues to get it cancelled and then reinstated - at 11:56 pm - and then running through the station, up the stairs, over the bridge and down the other stairs, dodging old ladies and their luggage all the way, and leaping onto the train just as the doors started to close).
Berwick itself was lovely. It was a beautiful sunny day and the sea was all sparkly under the bridges (okay, technically the bit under the bridges was the River Tweed, but never mind). Berwick-upon-Tweed's main draw is that it still has existing city walls and ramparts, which were indeed cool. We went for a nice long walk along the top of them, and there were some magnificent views of the very pretty bridges. We also stopped for the most amazing strawberry ice cream ever - I think it was 90% pureed strawberries! yum.
Berwick is a bit of a strange place. While technically in England, it's been annexed back and forth by England and Scotland so many times that it seems to be unsure which country it belongs to. Kelly was very excited because we were in England, except there were nothing but Scottish flags and postcards everywhere you looked, and the accents sounded a lot like the Scottish borders!
After walking along the walls, we crossed the bridge and saw a sign for a place called Spittal. We couldn't resist walking along the Spittal Promenade, so that we could say we spent the afternoon in Spittal. It turned out to be a nice little beach, which we spent the a couple of hours lounging on. (Somehow, every time I go on a trip with Islanders we somehow manage to end up on a beach...)
Speaking of place names, it turns out Kelly is from a place called Souris (the French word for mouse) - only those crazy Islanders pronounce it Surrey! This amused me to no end, because they aren't using the English pronounciation, which would be something like Sore-iss, they're using an Anglified version of the French pronounciation. How strange. Even better, however (and I was laughing at this all afternoon, because I am a dork) is the town called Crapaud. Not ONLY is it named after a toad in French, the Islanders pronounce it Crappo! So not only would you be from a town called Toad, you would have to tell everyone you lived in Crappo. Are people from Crapaud called Craponians, I wonder?
I will definitely have to visit Prince Edward Island someday.
Anyway. After our nap on the beach we finished off the day with Pick'n'Mix from Woolworths (though I managed to refrain) and a stop in a charming garden right beside the train station. It's actually on the site of Berwick Castle, which I am saying I saw despite the fact that there are about six stones left standing. Apparently the train station is built in what used to be the Great Hall of the castle.
I'm very glad I decided to get off my rear and go see Berwick. So much for staying home in July and saving money. It seems like such a waste not to see what you can, though. We'll see if I'm thriftier in August...
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