We Only Have 24 Hours in Scotland!
08.11.2007 9 °C
Noel Moundie and I caught an Easyjet flight from Gatwick to Edinburgh ok, so it may have been 2 hours late in leaving, but we reached our destination, the handsome capital of Scotland, in the dark, but ready to find our "stunning 2 double bedroom prestigous apartment with spectacular water views" in a newly developed and upmarket area called Leith Harbour in Edinburgh. Midnight, with no map, we drove round in circles, constantly having to stop and ask for directions, getting more tired, and grumpy, until the decision was made to find a new hotel and take any bed on offer!
Thank goodness for the Holiday Inn at Queensferry who had a lovely suite available at a decent price, and for their late night bar being open for a much appreciated cold beer - at 1.30am! Boy did we need that!
Next day bright and early, the boys headed off to play golf at the Ancient Course at St Andrews. They had put their names into a ballot - all very formal - but regrettably had been told they had been unsuccessful in getting a tee off time. However, not to be outdone, the boys were determined to play, after all they had not come all this way not to play golf, nor see the famous old course. But luck was against them, there were absolutely no free tee off times available. The boys meandered around the course and explored the pro shop, and drove out with their hearts heavy and heads hung low.
As for Elsie, well, she met up with a very old acquaintance whom she worked for in 1977! Nigel Davies. It had been 21 years since Elsie had seen Nigel, an ex-lawyer who now lives on the Scottish Borders and is now an amateur farmer. He apparently is the "beater" in a local pheasant shoot, (which means he uses a broom to shoo the birds out from under the bush!), he owns a couple of acres of hardy land that isn't much use but but otherwise it was a pleasant afternoon spent with him in the Dome, a converted old Bank building with huge high stud plastered ceilings and fancy chandaliers, all very posh. A stroll through the famous Princes Street gardens, then some pub grub in a quiet backstreet pub. A fantastic afternoon! Til next time Nige....
Edinburgh is a "sobering" city, we did find it quite dull and colourless in its surroundings, perhaps because of the medieval and georgian architecture and the ancient stone buildings, and there are two distinct areas, one being the Princes Street area, the main thoroughfare and commercial centre with the adjacent Princes St Gardens under the proudness of the majestic Edinburgh Castle.
Then the other being the Old Town with most of the city's medieval history clustered in the alleys of the Grassmarket and Royal Mile areas. Edinburgh is of course a beautiful proud city, its a shame we never quite warmed towards it
Back to London and next day a trip to the famous British Airways London Eye - - what an engineering masterpiece. It stands 443ft high, 32 capsules each allowing unobstructed 360 degree views - each holding up to 25 people, luckily, we only had another 5 or 6 other bods in with us, and it takes a gentle 30 minutes round trip. On a clear day the Eye affords a unique 40 km view which sweeps over the capital in all directions and on to the countryside and hills beyond. Our day was rainy and cloudy unfortunately, but we had a most enjoyable "flight", see photos below. Some stats for you: 80 spokes made from 6 km of cable hold the structure in tension, two cables 60 metres in length suport the entire structure from concrete bases, the wheel rim was floated down the Thames in sections and assembled on site, and more importantly, it cost 14 quid a ticket!
Noel and I have enjoyed 2 full on weeks with our friend Moundie, as the photos depict, we had so much fun, visiting Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Gordons underground Wine Bar in Charing Cross, (our kiwi visitors know where that is), the local Peterborough and The Ship Pubs, Mama Mia musical, Picadilly Circus at night, Tower of London and a visit to the jewels, a curry meal with our friend Maria and her friend Judy, drinking loads of red wine and listening to music til the wee small hours, and generally having a fun and memorable time. Moundie heads off to South Africa now and we are sorry to see him go. Come back soon buddy!
More adventures follow....Noel is off to work in Dubai for 10 days and I am joining him, what will be in store for the Houghtons on this trip.....?