Whitby, UK 1998

How I Spent my Hallowe'en Vacation
October 28 to November 8, 1998

Oct 28/98 Toronto to London

At some point Dylan decided that he wanted to take his vacation days and go to England. He asked me if I wanted to come along to the Whitby Gothic Festival. I hemmed and hawed and looked at my money situation and then said yes. A few misunderstandings and one major freak out on my part later we arrived at the airport, three hours early for our flight to Heathrow. I was totally surprised I was that early since I'd missed the bus from work to the bus station where I'd get to the airport from and ended up taking a cab. Picked up a few presents to lubricate my way in the UK, then hopped on the GO bus to Pearson. I'd called various friends the night before to say goodbye, I'll be gone for a while, just in case something horrid happened. Nothing did, made it back safe (sorry to ruin the ending :) ). So we sat. Watched the plane be readied. Watched other planes readied. Boarding time came and went. They checked our passports and eventually let us on the plane. Sat on the tarmac. Finally they said that the winds were favourable and we were delaying so that we wouldn't land in Heathrow before 6am. Dylan had no leg room - we'd obviously misread the seating diagrams online. :( I had lots, but I'm also a foot shorter than he is. Got to watch the X-files again. I popped a Gravol and took advantage of the blanket and eye mask that British Airways provided and napped my way across the Atlantic. Dylan got up at 5am for breakfast and we gawked at the UK as it slid into view.

Oct 29/98 London to Manchester to Whitby

In Heathrow I managed to read the signs to get us to Terminal 1 via the inter terminal train, for our flight to Manchester. Stood in three lines to get on the earlier flight (the Air Canada strike had put our Canadian Airlines co-share flight to a time two hours earlier than we'd originally booked for and we didn't feel like sitting around in Heathrow until our connector flight). I was unimpressed by the security guard who patted me down - I'm used to the wands that they use in North America, no contact. She managed to hurt my wrist a bit as she checked that my watch wasn't James Bond-esque. But we made it through and onto the flight for Manchester. Enter mega turbulence and two tries at landing in Manchester. Made it on the second one, the pilot expected the cross winds that time. We managed to find the car rental desk and Dylan decided that since he'd not slept yet (it was about 5 or 6 am our time at this point) that he'd upgrade the car to an automatic transmission. Good call. We passed some scary smokestacks that reminded me of Springfield from the Simpson's tv show, and continued down the motorway. We were fine until we got off the main highway and into the maze of country roads and roundabouts and secondary roads. I managed to get us to Whitby through the process of Zen navigation. We then drove around until we found our B&B on John St, apparently the place to be since it was basically a street of B&Bs. We checked in and wandered out for fish and chips. Since we had it our first meal in Whitby we attempted to avoid it for the rest of the stay. We were successful but it took some doing - it's a sea side town and not very imaginative when it comes to cuisine. Took a brief walk by the steps to the Abbey and looked out on the breakwater - it was very windy so we went back to bathe, change and get ready for the evening. My aunt called from Bristol to organise when I'd get there, but I said I'd call her when I found out when I could get there. I of course put on multiple layers of clothes so that I wouldn't freeze when we went out that evening, and broiled in the overcrowded conditions in the Elsinore pub. I asked a random net.goth if they knew Frossi and HiRez happened to be standing next to him and pointed me to GothPat and said that Frossi was supposed to show up at some point that night. Dylan bought me a pint (I managed to only pay for one drink while I was in the UK, don't ask me how) and we settled into a corner to be stunned. I thought I recognised Jennie and Aidan, and eventually Donald came over and grabbed me to go talk to her - I was right. I was also brain dead, jet lagged and over heated, so the resulting conversation was a bit lacking. :) I passed on greetings from Elixxer and Ron and made plans to meet the next night at the Spa where the bands were on. We never did find each other until Sunday at the net.goth meal. :( A guy who managed to walk into the women's washroom (or the ladies' as they insist on obfuscating over there) dashed back out in a tizzy, but invited Dylan and myself to go to an art exhibit nearby. It turned out to be a very neat display of paintings and photos of gothy people. Had a part of a glass of wine that was being given away. Tried to visit the Buck Inn, but it was even more crowded than the Elsinore. I thought I spotted Pete Scathe but got pulled away by the crowd before I could say hi. We skipped the Angel pub and went back to the Elsinore. Got my laminate from GothPat and chatted for a bit - we'd met very very briefly at C1 and I'd emailed her that I'd be coming, so it was nice to have a chance to talk. Frossi arrived and had Holly in tow, which utterly floored me since I hadn't heard that she was in England, just that she wasn't in Ontario any more. Monk was to arrive the next day, but never did. Dylan and I eventually gave up and went back to the JayDee (for Jean and her husband who's name begins with D) Guest House to sleep. I annoyed Dylan for the first time by writing in my diary before going to sleep.

Oct 30/98 Whitby

We managed to drag our carcasses out of bed at 8am and went down for the breakfast provided. Saw two other people here for the festival. Jean offered us far far too much food, I'm sure I worried her when I just had some cereal, toast and fruit, which even so was about double what I normally eat in the morning. Plus a potato waffle, tea and orange juice. The tea sucked. Dylan got me some Lady Grey. He and I were both sick the whole trip, we learned a lot about the chemists and how to find places to buy Kleenex. Dylan was amused by Kleenex for Men. I fell asleep again and Dylan went out to the Abbey and Safeway. I managed to wake up for lunch and we went to Alexander's, hidden in a side alley down by the Elsinore. I decided to indulge and have a Death by Chocolate cake slice for dessert with some Grand Marnier. The waiters were singing as they wandered around. Walked off lunch and took some pictures by the harbour. Managed to make it up the steps to the Abbey. Went back to the B&B until supper when we wandered around trying to find some place w/o fish and chips. Ended up at Trenchers across from the train station. Had a very odd turkey sandwich - I was expecting slices with cranberry sauce but it was more of a salad type thingy. Back to the B&B to change for the evening at the Spa. Broke out the velvet cat suit, pouffy lace skirt and my corset. Wandered into the Elsinore in the hope of finding some familiar faces to lead us to the Spa but no luck. Followed a likely looking person in black, a guy with really long red hair who I think I got introduced to later on, but forget his name. We ended up finding the Spa right at the end of the street where John ended. Nervosa were playing when we came in. I spotted Donald then Aidan and said hi in passing. Holly and Frossi arrived later but Monk never did show up. Funhouse were next up and they were a bit doom and gloomy but fun. A conga line formed and wound through the crowd for a while. Sunshine Blind came on last and were well appreciated. I was right down in front and managed to get burned by a cigarette, stomped on, scraped, head butted, and elbowed during the set. It turned out that earlier when I was wandering around the merchandise tables and was hovering near the SB table, that it was the drummer who'd dared me to go up to the table and talk to Caroline. I felt bad for not buying anything, but they didn't have a t-shirt in anything other than huge. I spotted Pete Scathe and didn't want to interrupt his conversation so wandered away and lost him for the rest of the night. I talked to GothPat for a while and -bat (I think) who laced Holly back into her teeny tiny waist cincher. The lights shocked me by coming on at 1:30am and we all went home to sleep. Gotta love seaside holiday towns.

Oct 31/98 - Happy Hallowe'en from Whitby!

The alarm went off at 8am but I let Dylan go down for himself for a while so I could drag myself out of bed and have a few seconds by myself to hear myself think and de-stress. Just had cereal, toast and grapefruit this time. I made the mistake of lying down again after breakfast and ended up dozing while Dylan went out to mail postcards. At 10:30am we headed over to the Bizarre Bazaar downstairs at the Spa. I finally found Doktor Joy and talked with him a bit as he was manning the Pengallian Dreams stall. He promised to introduce me to Wendi from Bristol who might be giving me a ride to my Aunt's place. Found a pair of PVC lace up leggings and tried them on in the tiny little washroom just outside the booths area. Went back outside the washroom to lace up my boots since it got very crowded in there. Decided to treat myself to them since they were cheaper than I'd ever find them anywhere, despite the hideous exchange rate. Dylan got a red crushed velvet pirate shirt at the same booth. I got the VAT number of Void with the receipt just in case I could claim it back as we left. Was tempted by the steel arm bands and bracers with big spikes, but decided that they were just dangerous. We walked back to the tourist office and couldn't get any decent driving maps, though they pointed me to the travel agent to get my train ticket to Bristol from Sheffield. Back to the B&B and went out again to drive to Scarborough (far too many town names around Toronto mirror the ones around Whitby - which on the sign coming in states that it's twinned with Whitby Ontario, so we got pictures by it as we came back) to see the castle ruins there. Passed Anne Bronte's grave as we walked up to the keep, and we walked back through that church's graveyard on the way back. Stopped at a cafe for lunch first, and had the waiter singing Sinatra tunes as he worked and knew all his customers. Walked around and into the keep and peered into the dungeon and the well - very very deep, gave me a new perspective on all those fairy tales where someone gets trapped in a well. Walked along the defensive wall and then along the cliff - the warning signs were nice and understated: "Danger Cliff" as opposed to how you'd be screamed at in North America. Nice not to be treated like an idiot. Walked around the Roman ruins that have partially washed into the sea. Got a couple of postcards of the castle since I promised Jihad a card with a castle. Wrote up cards when we got back. Drove back to Whitby and stopped to take the pictures by the sign, but Dylan had to take both since the batteries in my camera died in the castle just as I finished the roll, but before I finished rewinding. After writing up the postcards we wandered out to try to find something to eat. Ended up over the bridge, near the Abbey steps at the Walrus and Carpenter. A family were playing trivia very very loudly and our curry took forever to arrive. Back to our room and changed for the fancy dress evening. I spiffed myself up in a striped suit and a drawn on moustache (eyeliner is always useful) and combed my hair with a part down the middle, and emerged as Gomez Addams or a close facsimile thereof. Dylan dressed up as Number 6 from the Prisoner tv series, partially since he went to Port Merion where they filmed it after we split in Sheffield. At the Spa I hid in the back for a bit since not a lot of people were dressed up when we arrived. Faithful Dawn was very bouncy. Emma Conquest was okay, but more rock than goth. There was a group of three people up on each other's shoulders and the top girl was waving around a huge sword that was part of someone's costume. The devil was waving his pitchfork and a few Jedi had their lightsabers hoisted also. Found Holly by the coat check line. Talked for a bit with GothPat and HiRez though it took them a few seconds to realise that it was me under the costume - John mistook me for Cab Calloway. *sigh* :) Pat took a picture of me that came out well, and the one I took of them was also decent. I took pictures of the devil, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (loved her ruby Doc's), but then the flash on my camera died. The line up for the ladies room was snaking all over the room, so most were using the gent's. Got Dylan to take pictures of the fetish nun (for Xthlc) and statue boy. Rosetta Stone came on and announced it would probably be their last gig since they were sick of the politics. Managed to find some space to dance. The costume contest went on after Rosetta, Dylan gave me his camera and I took pix for him - he managed to get into slot #6. He'd received a lot of comments on his costume, apparently a fair number of goths like the show. The statue won, then Anthony and Cleopatra, then the S&M candy girl. Sexbat managed to mix Ich Bin Ein Auslander and This is Hallowe'en into a really fun dance tune. Talked to Frossi briefly to make sure he'd be at the net.goth meal the next day. Passed Sunshine Blind trying to find parking for their van as we went home, again at 1:30am.

Nov 1/98

Written Nov 2 on the train leaving Sheffield, since Nov 1 was a late night

Managed to make it down for a quick breakfast again. Took a shower then dressed and we took off for Robin Hood's Bay. Just finished reading Possession by A.S. Byatt and it was very neat to be able to follow Ash's journey around North Yorkshire with my own impressions of the area. We parked in the first carpark and it was a good idea since the second one, closer to the steps, was full. We walked around the church next to the parking lot and looked out over the rolling hills. We climbed down to the lower part of the town where the sailors used to live, as opposed to the masters who had houses on the top of the cliff. I managed to find some batteries for my camera and a couple of post cards in a little tourist shop and took some pictures on the beach. The water wasn't as cold as I expected and it was nice to see seaweed again and rocks embedded in sand. I miss living in British Columbia. Very very steep streets. Got myself some ice cream at the top of the stairs down. My knee was sore by the time we made it back up again - lots of exercise this trip. Back to Whitby and Dylan crashed out for a while since his cold was getting worse. He wanted to figure out how to get to Port Merion also. I went out to call my aunt Cynthia to let her know when to expect me in Bristol, and also to wander around for a while. I managed to get a map of Sheffield at the tourist office. Found the Cook Museum - he left from Whitby on his trips of discovery - but for the time left that it was open, not worth it. Walked past the Abbey steps but couldn't get out on the bridge down to the breakwater. Went back down to Trenchers for the net.goth meal, first to arrive and saw lots of old people streaming in to eat. It was their last day of the season. Went in and waited by the stairs, but when more people arrived we moved outside to let them call us in in groups as tables cleared. Talked with Jennie and Aidan for a while and got a decent picture of her as she was gracious enough to take off her green sunglasses for a second and brave the sunlight. Dylan showed up and borrowed my Visa to try and call the hotel he was to stay at the next day, since there was some worry of flooding from the Severn. Turned out that it was more around Bristol than that area of Wales. He ended up using coins anyways, and came back so we could go in in the second group. Sat with Jennie, Aidan, Neil, Iona and Alexander (who ate a whole fish and was in the costume contest last night as James Bond). I was tired and quiet during the meal, but went off to the arcade with them after we were done. Dylan went back to sleep. Played Spider Stomp (65% killed) and tried to get a picture of the game, but it was a bit too crowded around it. Nils and a guy in high heels did quite well - the two foot industrial stomp managed to kill lots of spiders. Jennie and I watched some shooting games then I found the crocodile whack game. I went first then after her turn I managed to get a screw loose in one of the crocodiles. The staff came over and fixed it and gave me a free game. I decided to try to play the coin toss games where they fall over a lip and hopefully carry over prizes. I didn't managed to win the Marvin the Martian notebook, but had fun flipping 2p coins with Pete and Margo. Jennie and Aidan took off to change for the 80's night since their B&B was fairly far away. I wandered up to the Abbey and sat for a while alone. It was very beautiful with the moon out but hidden a bit behind some wispy clouds, and twilight descending. I sat by the edge of the cemetery by a wall and it wasn't too cold since the wind was blocked. The gravestones were mostly sandstone and were blackened and eroding, and cast shadows in the moonlight. Looked out over the lights of Whitby and watched the outline of the Abbey as the clouds shifted and thought about leaving tomorrow. Wandered back to the B&B running into Fross on the way, checking when he worked so that I could show up to stay with him in London on Thursday. Changed into a light long shimmery skirt, lace body suit. Got to the line up at Laughton's at five to seven and got in the door at 7:30. Had come early since were warned that it was limited to 500 people. The walk up the stairs in the line was precarious, reminiscent of the Sphinx in Montreal. The Bats and Red Velvet money asker was accosting people at the top of the first flight. Checked my coat. Dylan bought me half a pint of cider. Aidan had brought Sheryl's whisky, and Neil told me that also. Talked to Doktor Joy for a while and he pointed Wendi out to me. She looked familiar, and gave me her phone number in Bristol so I could call and we could meet up when I go there - no room in her car, so it was good that I'd picked up a train ticket. Talked with Holly and HiRez for a while and amused him with the fact that I'm a rocket scientist. :) Walked Dylan back to the B&B since he wanted to sleep and I wanted to stay out as long as possible to extend my time in Whitby. Just wore my sweater, but walked fast enough to stay warm. Talked to GothPat for a bit and let them know that I planned to go to Full Tilt on Friday. Talked to Aidan for a while about wearable computers, looking over the balcony down on the dancers, and he bought me a pint. Was sharing it with Holly on the stairs when someone kicked over a can of beer and splashed us both. Luckily it didn't hit us directly though, it was a long drop. Also shared the pint with Jennie as I was trying to fix her necklace. Ended up putting it in my pocket for her since we couldn't get the clasp fixed. The music skipped a bit when people started bouncing in the wrong places. Jennie got up on a railing to dance for a while, I danced behind it since the dance floor was packed. Lots of blacklight, so it was good that I'd forsaken velvet for the night. The Whitby regs closed us down at around midnight I think, and Aidan and I waited outside for everyone to trickle out. Popped round the corner for a veggie burger while we were waiting and the server teased me about being Canadian. Saw Neil at the end of the line so we waited for him outside Laughton's. Jennie managed to find us and tried to convince everyone to come along to the bandstand party. We walked over and waited for a while. I met Gioalla and talked to him a little. We huddled in the lee of the bandstand ledge and shivered and waited. Aidan, Jennie and Neil left, gave Jennie a good long hug since Dylan and I would be leaving before they got to the pub tomorrow. No one else I knew showed up, most were apparently changing first or going up to the Abbey. It was too cold for me so I took the whiskey and crept back in to the B&B attempting not to wake Dylan.

Nov 2/98 Whitby to Sheffield to Bristol

Managed to get up for breakfast at 8:30, shower and finish the last of the packing. Dylan and I went out so that I could get stamps for my cards and mail them. Dylan needed some cash also to pay Jean. I used travellers cheques for my portion of the B&B charge. Lots of goths out on the street, packing up to head home. I took a picture down John street as we toted our cases back to the car. Drove over the bridge and headed out to Sheffield. Many wrong turns later we found the right motor way, then Sheffield, then the train station, but went past to get gas for Dylan's trip to Wales. I put it on my Visa - $80 for a full tank! - after Dylan manoevered into the space for the one working pump. Got a bit lost trying to find the station again, and when did I had to run in and jump on the train as it was arriving at 2pm. Dylan and I were both cranky by this time due to lack of sleep, illness, driving and just stuff, so it was good that we split up at this point to go our separate ways. He later told me he got to Port Merion fine, once he managed to get out of Sheffield. Ate on the train, and listened to my CD player to try to ignore the kids being annoying. Someone yelled at a business man when he got off his cell phone since he was talking very loudly. Jumped off the train in Cheltenham to try and get a chocolate bar, but the machine wouldn't take my change and I didn't want to have it leave without me as I hunted for a person to buy one from. The train went backwards from Glouster to Bristol, I did not enjoy sitting with my back to the direction of motion. Cynthia managed to recognise me on the platform in Temple Meads, Bristol, as I was trying to find the news agent's where I was supposed to meet her. Tons of traffic as we took a black cab (tons of space, the seats across from us flipped up, the doors opened backwards) to her place in Henleaze. The driver carried my case in and my cousin Alex was there and made us tea. Watched the news and talked and had a far too meaty pizza for supper. I was very very tired but at least my stomach was settled from the touch of car sicknesses in the morning, since the train ride was fairly smooth. I felt bad about not saying good bye to Holly, but I've got her new email account at least. My aunt liked my twenty hole Docs. Got a bit depressed as writing and waiting to go to sleep, mostly since I felt lonely and didn't really get a chance to flirt much in Whitby due to feeling sick. Was nice to have a room all to myself with a double bed and down comforter. Nice and relaxing.

Nov 3/98 Bristol and Bath

Had a couple of disoriented jolts out of sleep before getting up at 9:30. Struggled with the water in the shower, ended up with a cool shower and a hot bath before heading down to breakfast of OJ, good tea, cereal and toast. Talked with Cynthia about relationships while watching Murder 2 about an English woman accused of murdering her husband in Florida. Got ready to head out and caught the bus down to Bristol town centre and the out of town bus terminal. She gets to ride free since uncle John used to work for a bus company. Picked up the coach schedule for London. Got on a stair stepped express bus for Bath, but express just meant that it went straight there with no town detours, but it still stopped a lot. Found a couple of tourist maps on the walls near the Bath bus station and we headed towards the abbey since it looked to be walking distance. Had to ask since the streets were a bit confusing. Found it after going through some columns by the side of the street, and it was right beside the Roman Baths Museum so we went in there first. Got a double pass to include the Costume Museum. The Baths were impressive. Walked out on the portico and saw down into the steaming green water. Took pictures of the Abbey and the statues that line the portico and one of Cynthia. It was in the open air. Went down into the museum with the audio tour handset. We saw the other baths and the sacred spring and the male gorgon head. The audio tour had tons of information. Changed my film down in the big room with cooling pools. The hypocausts, used to transmit heat up to the tile floor that rested on them, were still standing. The walls were also heated with warm air flow behind them. The water was warm to the touch though they warn not to drink it. Cynthia bought me a pewter celtic cross necklace to remind me of the day. It was amazing to walk on the very stones that the Romans walked on and to hear the curses and prayers to Minerva that they'd inscribe and toss in the spring. We found the costume museum, or rather I did, since Cynthia has no sense of direction. We were hungry so we went back to an antique mall to eat. Had tandoori in naan and 2 pots of tea. Got lost looking for the toilets since the signs were misleading. Walked back to the costume museum and I think I tired out Cynthia since I wanted to listen to every audio blip. Couldn't take photos, but there was one waistcoat that was an amazing example of whitework. Saw the assembly rooms also where they held balls. The museum was in the basement with low lighting and controlled humidity. Dress of the year display was quit interesting - one was a long black velvet dress accessorised with a large cross and neat shoes. A coach group caught up with us in the tea room but we lost them, and then a school group getting a lecture in the dress of the year room left soon after we came in. Went to Marks and Spencer to get some groceries. Walked back to the coach station and just caught the return 39X to Bristol. Missed the Bristol bus back to Henleaze though, the groceries were heavy and I couldn't really run. Waited for the next one and crowded on. Called Sarah, Cynthia's grand daughter, and asked about plans for the evening, and at 7pm Richard, her brother and the only one of them that I'd met before other than Cynthia, and that when we were 12 or so, and his girlfriend Natasha. I was a bit nervous walking in after washing my face after we got in, since I just barely remembered playing with him at my aunt's house in the Laurentians and how much he'd teased me. He's gotten tall, and darker haired and is very very busy with his work as a head hunter. He and I got along well though, we talked a lot over dinner at Cynthia's. Sarah showed up during supper. Richard and Natasha left to go to another appointment at 9 but we made plans to call him at lunch tomorrow to give him the number at Fross and timmie's since he and Natasha were to go apartment hunting in London while I was there. Made plans to meet up with Wendi. Sarah stayed a while and we watched the news about a girl gone missing in Bristol, and a body that they'd found but no id yet. My cold seemed a bit worse, felt really tired and not like going out. Up to bed just after 10pm. Cynthia had liked my black sparkly nail polish but I felt really underdressed against Richard's and Natasha's business suits.

Nov 4/98 Bristol

Woke up at 8am with odd dreams. Washed clothes and turned whites blue since I used the wrong setting on the washer. Cynthia bleached out the whites - I have to get some bleach for my few whites, they looked good! - and washed them again. Put stuff out on the line despite the clouds coming in. Sarah came by for lunch and said she'd come tomorrow to say good bye. Called Wendi at noon, but she was home sick, so would call back in the evening. Called Richard and was turned back by his secretary, but had Cynthia call back later and we got through to organise going out to eat at 9 tonight. We went out for a walk on the downs, with the rain holding off until we got back. Apparently a rich land owner who became not so rich endowed the city with some lands in perpetuity on the condition that they be left green. It was in order to pay off their taxes, but it's a wonderful large area with tons of soccer fields and paths all over it. We didn't find the suspension bridge, apparently it was at the other end of the downs. We ended up taking the bus back to Cynthia's house since it was getting later than we realised, we'd walked far in our search of the bridge. My cousins Raymond and Yvonne came over for tea, first time I'd met them. They're Richard and Sarah's parents, Cynthia's daughter and son in law, and Sarah came over for a while also. I sat in the sun streaming in from the back yard and watched my clothes blow on the line, feeling somewhat contemplative. Richard called to cancel so I called Wendi back and made plans to go out with her for sure around 7:30. We're to meet Richard for lunch tomorrow and Raymond will give us a drive there with my suitcase. Yvonne left as I popped upstairs to wash up for going out. We watched a program on TV on birds that are tool users - the woodpeckers storing acorns in the holes they make in the trunk of a tree were impressive. Wendi arrived before I was done lacing up my boots, so I just stuffed the laces inside and tromped out to her car since it was double parked. Wore my broomstick skirt, black velvet top with the celtic cross, and added some lipstick before heading out. We passed Sam walking along the street and kidnapped him. Jodi came in the back seat with me and a guy from Belfast. Went to the first pub, but no one was there so, after having everyone's offices pointed out, we headed over to the Firkin and settled in. It was a bit of a biker bar, had some people ask us to join in a table hockey tournament but we declined. Wendi bought me a cider. We figured out (finally) that we'd met the last time I was in England and staying with Doktor Joy for a couple of nights. She and her friend Maria had been at Slimelight and then came to crash at his place and we'd watched Schindler's List. Talked with Jodi about Toronto - she's got the accent now after eight years in Manchester and Bristol. Sam's from Liverpool, Wendi from Sussex. Had a fun conversation, bought Wendi and myself tiny little orange juices. Jodi walked home from the pub at 11, as well as the guy from Belfast. Sam stayed with us as we went over the suspension bridge - it was built in 1840 and was all lit up. Drove along the downs and then to Cynthia's where she was waiting up for me. Clothes were hung in back bedroom to warm up. To bed at midnight.

Nov 5/98 Bristol and London

Got up and realised this was my last real bed before I met Dylan at the hotel in London. Fiddled with the shower and got enough warm water to wake me up gently. Very very hungry, so dashed down for breakfast and then packed. Gave Cynthia the Whitby brochure to leaf through and went back to packing. Raymond was a bit early, then he dropped us off down town and we waited a few minutes for Richard. Sam walked by as we were waiting and we exchanged hellos. He was all dolled up in a suit and overcoat. Went to Brown's for lunch, had gone to the one in Cambridge last trip with Frossi. Richard had to leave lunch early, but left us some money for dessert (barely had space after the pesto pasta): frozen fresh berries (odd concept, almost froze my teeth off). Took the bus to the bus station, checked my luggage, ran to bank to cash two traveller's cheques and came back for luggage (should have took it with me, *sigh*). Had a truffle ice cream to tide me over the trip, then Cynthia took off for home. She walked a bit fast when I was towing my suitcase, so it was nice to stand and wait for the bus to London. Slept most of the way on the bus and contemplated people I missed at home when I was awake, as well as eating the sandwiches that Cynthia had made me. Got to London and tried to call Fross and timmie but no one was answering. Found a bookstore and got the one map book with their street in it, and got on the tube. Rush hour traffic braved to Camden and nearly burst my heart lugging my case up the broken escalator. Got asked where a street was by an American, walked the wrong way but eventually got myself sorted out. Bonfire night fireworks were somewhat disconcerting, one guy was selling them out of the back of his van. Missed their apartment first try, but backtracked and ran into Fross coming home. He'd totally and utterly forgotten that he'd invited me to stay with him, but let me in anyways to stay. :)I called Cynthia to let her know I'd arrived safely, and then duchess owlie called, and we agreed that I'd go over to see her around noon the next day, and then meet at the World's End pub at 10pm for a night out. Fross and I did stir fry and he reminded me how to prepare garlic - a few too many hot peppers got added though! Watched Rambo First Blood Part II and then a very explicit sex documentary with timmie - odd what they'll show on TV over here. :)

Nov 6/98 Camden Town, London to Kensington Market, London on foot and back via tube

Woke up at 7:45, Fross up at 8:30 and out the door. I changed and left with timmie, walking him to the bus stop (okay, he showed me the way and we gossiped about C5) and I went on to the tube with the intention of finding Resurrection Records and trying to get a ticket for Death in June tonight. Everything was closed so I went to Safeway and got croissants and apples for breakfast. Walked up to Primrose Hill to eat. Walked through Regent's Park to Baker St. with a short stop to take a picture of the Canada geese that had also invaded. Didn't find the Sherlock Holmes museum, though I did pass by 222 Baker St. and again didn't take a picture of it. Went to a grocery shop again to pick up picnic food for lunch with duchess owlie, and walked to her place down Marylebone. Rang all the bells and she eventually came to answer. Went down to her flat and prepared the meal, then up to the one warm room in the place - the office with the partially assembled desks that will eventually turn into an MRI clinic. Managed to turn on the heaters thanks to my experience in Whitby. Gossiped about alt.gothic and eventually struck out again. Found the Web Shack as per her directions and checked my email and answered one or two. Pulled up my notes on London and wrote down a few shops to try to find. Popped onto IRC and talked to Coeur briefly. Continued walking since the bus that I jumped on didn't take cash, and I therefore jumped off just after Piccadilly Circus. Took pictures of Albert's Hall and the Memorial - they'd finished the renovations since I was here last, all gold now. Called Richard, will call again tomorrow. Found Kensington Market and got my head re-shaved at a basement salon next to it called She-Male - my hair dresser was very French. Tried on some Gladiator boots in KM, but my calf is too muscled and they wouldn't fit there when I had the foot size right. Found a PVC top with a cutout that I liked, as well as a corset - the top was too big, and they had no 24" corsets left. Headed back to Chalk Farm Rd, really tired on the tube ride. Resurrection was closed, just. Made mental note to shop Camden market tomorrow for combat boots. Went back to the flat, Fross was eating, so washed face did makeup and went out again after padding my foot blisters and changing boots to wear away a different part of my feet. Got a ticket at the Underworld box office and went in to the heat. Didn't like the opening band very much, but liked Death in June, though their set was over early: 10:15. Some controversy over if Boyd Rice actually did play - from posts I'd seen, he was doing the stuff in the masks I thought. Had missed duchess owlie at 10pm, though I'd been running up to keep an eye out for her and take some air. Think that Nils was standing next to Fross at one point near the end of the Death in June set, but wasn't sure enough to say hi. Had a drink thoroughly spilled on me in the Underworld. Meandered over to Full Tilt, didn't check our coats (good thing, as the line up was hideous when we left) and got patted down. We found a table but girls in PVC and their annoying white shirted companion who couldn't dance safely kept kicking us as they jumped up on the stage we were sitting next to. Scary PVC boy tried to pick me up when I was dancing. Found John and Pat, but left after we got sick of the techno. I'll see them at Slime anyway.

Nov 7/98 London

Skipped writing today since got back late from Slimelight, so this was written on the plane at Heathrow.

The sun woke me up at 10am, padded around quietly waiting for da bois to make an appearance. Read Tank Girl:The Odyssey, changed and was ready to go when timmie woke at noon. Called the Great Northern to see if I could leave my bags there, and I could, so packed up everything and said bye to timmie and carried my stuff down to Camden Tube. Carried the suitcase down the spiral stair since the escalators were *still* broken. Made it to Kings Cross station and was able to check in using my credit card as authorisation. Watched some tv, made some tea, and then took a nice long bath which was of course interrupted by Dylan arriving - they wouldn't give us two keys so I had to let him in wrapped in a towel. Have a feeling that I shocked him a bit, now that I think about it, who wouldn't be surprised by their travelling companion opening the door to the hotel, dripping wet and wearing only terry cloth? :) I ran back into the bathroom and finished my bath and changed into something less comfortable. Left soon after to wander out to Camden and Highgate Cemetery - gave Dylan directions to the Embankment tube stop and where to wander around there. A guy in the underground gave me his 6 zone travel pass as I was trying to figure out which zones I was going to travel through. Had cashed traveller's cheques at the hotel - boy did I miss hotel living when camped out at the flat, I'm far too polite to just up and make myself a cuppa tea when I'm imposing on someone, not to mention the other amenities hotels offer, but mostly the freedom that comes with paying rent. :) Headed over to Camden and found boots at an army navy store (only one had any selection). Got German ones, one size too large as usual. Got the VAT # since they were a bit pricy and I wanted the refund, but they worked out to the same price as my short Doc's. Packed them into my backpack and back into the tube to Archway station, since timmie'd recommended walking from there. Walked up a huge hill, past Dick Whittington's cat. Turned on Swaines Lane but got to the actual entrance to Highgate 10 minutes after it had closed, at 4pm. *sigh* Took some pictures through the fence anyway. Walked by some shops, and stopped to get some mixed nuts, chocolate and cider for tonight. The food disappeared right quickly though. Walked along a path and then through Hampstead Heath up to Parliament Hill. Kite flyers were there in force - wing like ones were popular. Sat and ate nuts and looked over London at dusk. As ti got dark, I walked out to the high street. Took the bus up the hill to Hampstead tube but the driver misdirected me and I got off at the stop after the station, and walked back for about 15 minutes. Not like Toronto with stops an easy walk between them. Tried Boots pharmacy for nail polish remover but couldn't find it before getting annoyed at the cramped conditions. Went over to Wax Works and picked up a candle holder to thank Jason for looking after my cat. Finally back onto the tube and back to Kings Cross and up to the hotel room. Dylan had beaten me back. Went down to the hotel restaurant for supper at 6:30. The vegetarian lasagna was okay. Back to room and tore apart my suitcase, then re-rolled stuff for packing tomorrow. Changed into leather corset top and new PVC lace up leggings. Did make up and ready to go at 9, when we were supposed to be at the York to meet duchess owlie. Oops. Walked to Angel Tube station and found the York and Sam again, talking with Steve. duchess owlie found us, Sam agreed to sign us in to Slime. Bar man bugged us after I only had an OJ. I'd have left then, but Dylan and the duchess got some more OJ and a pint. At 11pm we headed over to Torrens St and they let Sam sign in all three of us. We checked our coats and wandered over to the net.goth corner near the goth floor (which was very very smoky). Danced to Nick Cave's Red Right Hand, hard to breath. Visited the Industrial floor and had my scrumpy jack get kicked over. GothPat and HiRez showed up, and Nils and Wendi. Looked at Pat's pictures from Whitby and she showed me the one she'd taken of me on Halloween. I was cold so I kept my sweater on for most of the night - the PVC leggings (not pants, not pants, those go under the leggings) didn't do much to keep me warm when sitting on the steel table. Crammed in on the sofa talking with people was a bit warmer though. Alex, Nil's room mate, treated duchess owlie and me to a rant about chicken legs and he and I talked about Space Station stuff, and I copped a head rub. Pat and John left w/o me saying a proper good bye. Dylan left early and then duchess owlie too. I took off just after 5am, after saying good bye to Wendi. Walked back in the drizzle to the Great Northern and ended up having to call the room on a hall phone since couldn't wake up Dylan by knocking. Fell into bed at 5:30am, and up at 8:45 am to shower, pack, eat the free breakfast and get to the tube to head to the airport. Went through the VAT bullshit where they told me I needed special forms from the merchants, not just their VAT numbers and receipts. It was chaos boarding, they don't do it by rows, but the plane finally taxied to take off and we were on our way home. Didn't sleep very well, forgot to take the gravol, and so was cranky. Caught the Airport express bus downtown and the TTC home. Promptly went into a post-holiday down turn and ignored email and newsgroups and life in general and it took me until January to type this up. Hope you enjoyed reading it more than I enjoyed typing it, and close to how much I enjoyed living it. :)

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