North Berwick, Stirling, Melrose (2005-05-23 - 5:57 p.m.)
I am happy again! Possibly not big news to the world at large, but I am pleased. Was very depressed last week for no very good reason, and I just couldn't shake it. I think it's shook, though, for the moment. Despite the fact that it seems to have just started raining, so I will get quite wet on the way home.
I just bought a cool grey bag today, that is an exact replica of the cool grey bag I already own. However, it's come down £2 in price since I bought mine and it was a deal anyway, and I can always use more ways to carry stuff. Have I justified it yet?
So. I have actually been up to fairly interesting things, despite that "bored and depressed" stretch last week. Last weekend Brad and I hit Waverley Station in an attempt to get to Dunfermline Abbey. I seem to be having an effect on Brad's infallible organizational skills, because he didn't check the schedule and we were five minutes too late for the train - and the next one arrived in an hour.
So we went to North Berwick instead. What a great town! The first thing we saw was an old-fashioned sweet shop that sold ice cream. Second thing was a beach. All good, as far as I'm concerned. (And mind you, this was the day after our flat-warming party, so a beach was about all I had the energy for). We watched all the little kids eating sand and old people baring far too much white skin and stick-girls also baring far too much fake-tanned skin. It was great - had no idea there was a beach that nice so close.
Then Brad got all energetic and wanted to climb North Berwick Law, which is a bizarre pointy hill (I think it's also a crag-and-tail, like the one Edinburgh Castle is built on) that suddenly starts right beside the town. No gradual slope this! It wasn't much of a climb but for some reason I barely made it up the hill. It was quite pathetic but once I finally did crawl to the summit, there was cool stuff to see in the form of a whale's jawbone, a compass thingy (one of which seems to be at the top of most hills) and some ruined buildings. I liked the jawbone especially. Rather a bizarre thing to set at the top of hill...
I will leave the following week a blank, as it basically just sucked. But the weekend was entertaining. Friday was Keri from PEI's leaving do. As per usual we started at the Cumberland Pub where Grand works. I love knowing the bartender, because all you have to say is "mix me something I'll like" and he does. Brilliant! Brandon and I both went, and ended up wandering around town with Grand at 4 am, desperately searching for an open chippy. Brandon's the healthiest guy I know but the chippy is his only vice.
Oh, I should add that our new flatmate moved in. She's called Linda and is South African and a good bit older than us. She's a waitress and so I don't know her very well yet because she works such odd hours. We both thought she was really laid-back and easy to get on with at first meeting, though. I hope we are right.
Anyway, Saturday I was woken up very early by the guy to reset the gas meter, and went back to bed "just for half an hour, then I'll get up and do something". Needless to say I didn't end up leaving the house till 2pm. I decided to go to Stirling to see the castle, as it had nearly a page to itself in my Historic Scotland handbook. Now THAT is what I call a castle! It had everything you could possibly ask for, castle-wise. I particularly liked the statues (including the devil dressed as a woman and a guy grabbing his groin), climbing along the walls and up the towers (very castly-feeling) and the tapestries. They don't actually have the original tapestries from the castle, as they've been spirited off to New York. So they're weaving new ones!
They've basically set up a whole room for weavers, who work all day. It will take them up to four years to complete a tapestry (though two are done already). They've even dyed their own wool, to match the old tapestries and using the same techniques. I stood watching the weaver for ages - she was working using only the cartoon (a tracing of the picture on the finished tapestry, held up behind the loom as a guide) and a chart showing the colours. And medieval weavers didn't even have that! I have no idea how they managed to do such intricate work with so little guidance. Absolutely fascinating. She wove the wool in and out and then sort of tamped it down using a wooden tool. I wonder how hard it is to learn to weave?
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