Whitby Gothic Weekend + Scotland, 2002

I decided to head to the UK for Whitby Gothic Weekend again and to visit Scotland for the first time. To force myself to get enough time in Scotland, and to skip London entirely, I booked my flight via Edinburgh, and took the train from there to Whitby and back.

Wednesday October 30th

Hell is being in a trolley engulfed by 13 to 15-year-olds, mixed gender. *shudder* One kid tipped over my case on the green line, another almost elbowed me three times, the girls shrieked, the boys punched, one almost fell in my lap. All after I was so pleased to get my boss's laptop done at 2:15 and got into an almost empty train car. Time passed. Slowly. Finally got to government Center and off to the blue line. Only quiet kids there. I got to the terminal and into the check-in line right before two snotty women. My passport and ticket were checked while I was in line and at the counter - some connector flight or something had just come in. The woman who checked me in suggested a French restaurant in Edinburgh, in the grass market, second one uphill. I put my Whitby ticket in my purse, just in case, as I have a short connection in London to get to between terminals 1 and 4. There was no one in the line at security, I went straight through and went up to a sandwich shop where I made a painful attempt to use my debit card - they didn't seem to understand me when I asked if I needed to have the visa affiliation with that. I took cash out of an ATM to get 100 pounds from the currency exchange. I was in the gate area an hour before my flight was to leave. When the plane pulled out it had a new paint job (British Airways). I was in the middle seat, J., so the plane must be twelve seats across. I cued up the Tom Waits disk in my CD player, grabbed a bottle of water and settled into my seat, with comfortable clothes on for the red eye flight. I was also dead tired, and my trapezius had spasmed too. I'd been pushing myself to get ready for this trip. May call Joy while waiting for boarding call in Heathrow. 5:05 PM

Approaching London Heathrow, Thursday October 31st

And suddenly it's 5 AM Thursday. I had a good veggie dinner, watched Reign of Fire on the seat back screen, took a rest break, napped and rested with classical music on headphones. Had a good breakfast, took my brace off to rest my arm a little bit. Discouraged my seatmate from conversation, I kept having to adjust his always on reading light. We had the softest most unexpected landing at London Heathrow, and I updated my journal from the waiting area for gate 74, terminal one, while waiting for the flight to Edinburgh. I first felt like a sheep being herded into terminal one, to buses, then like a rat in a maze through security than passport check, and then into tubes for the final approach to the gate. I just had time to visit the bathroom before my flight was called. This plane is a 737 this time it's only three plus three seats, the last one was huge 777, three plus three plus three. It's misty out. I'm right over cargo, my suitcase was not in the last short transfer batch. There are only people in the window and aisle seats for this flight, it's nice to have room. I was tired by this point and was talking to myself. Being confronted with confusing reflections and driving on the left side of the road first thing in the morning is very disorienting.

10:45 AM Edinburgh

I'm at the Waverley train station waiting for my train. There are three Goths up the way. I got off the airport bus when the driver called Waverley at Haymarket. Took the subway to Waverley. I spend 20 pence to use the washroom, washed my face and brushed my teeth. I took some Scottish pounds out of the ATM. I bought a vitamin C drink, and water, and shivered while waiting for the train, because the station is open to the air. I made another entry in my journal right after I switched off trains to Darlington, on a two-car train now, with a a gaggle of Goths on a way to Middleborough, on our last leg. I ended up sitting backwards from Edinburgh, still napped on and off because I had no seatmate. There are lots of people with yarn hair, top hats and some comfy traveling togs. I made another journal entry on the train to Whitby. It slightly larger, even more Goths were picked up at Middleborough. The crazy quilt of fields is not that noticeable here as from the air. I saw tons of pheasants, thought they were pea hens at first. We passed a moss covered arching stonebridge at an angle from the newer one, still vainly spanning the creek. I saw a blackbird with white shoulder flashes, a heron, tons of sheep, cows, horses and a Shetland pony. It's more overcast, but very green. The trees have dropped some leaves already. It's chilly.

10 PM, Whitby

The train conductor had to climb out and get a token from a box and order to go on the single track to Whitby. I got off the train, and dragged my suitcase up the cliff and found my bread and breakfast, the Old West Cliff Hotel. Breakfast is served from 830 to 915, very funny. Maybe I'll make it down tomorrow, but doubt it. The room is decent, but it has no shower, but the tub has a nice shape for soaking; double bed, small kettle, wardrobe with lots of hangers. I cranked up the heat, and took a bath to get the travel sweat off. I felt a bit odd in my work clothes on the train, so I wore cargo pants, and boots, turtleneck and the wool sweater. It wasn't very cold out as I went over the bridge to find food at 6pm. The Duke menu looked good but it was full inside. I wondered over to another place on the water. Eight Goths came in after I ordered from the one waitress, my vegetable curry and chips were very good. The music was good, and my view as well, I have to go back. On my way back, I found the Elsinore, and popped in. There was no one I knew but for some fellow train passengers. I walked around for a bit, found Boots and the grocery store, will get water and apples tomorrow for sure. I went back to the Elsinore as I got turned around, and went in again. I had a half pint of cider and started chatting. Uncle Nemesis and Andi were introduced to me by HiRez. It started getting crowded so decided to leave, and then ran into GothPat. I got my laminate, and gave her the pound for it. I then ran into Stevie from Bristol, EdVamp, the Swarf crew, fross and his girlfriend, scary lady sarah, Dok, Alexander X. [had found a mention on my diaries page he added me to his friends list on lj], Dag, and was introduced to Loki, fuzzy dave, and fuzzy goth. It was very very fun, and I was very glad that I didn't leave and go back to my room. It was fun surprising people. It was great standing on the street outside the pub in Whitby and knowing so many people. Though cold and tired the adrenaline kept me going this long. I skipped the Metropole, but diverted two people there. But this point I need to sleep, been up 33 hours now. Even though napping on the trains helped, and walking in the cold also helped, and so did chatting and reconnecting. And dizzy now. Sleep!

Friday November 1st, Whitby.

The alarm woke me up from a sound sleep 10 hours later, at 830. My back was sore from the soft foam bed, but I threw my clothes on went down for breakfast. I had cereal, orange juice, yogurt, tea (horrid, I should just have asked for water to make my own), toast and then they asked me what I wanted for breakfast! I turned down any further food and got stuffed with the cold veggie stuff. Went back to my room and updated my journal again, debating sleeping more vs. waking up and hitting the bizarre at 10. I ended up sleeping until 11, when the housekeeper came in woke me. I threw on my jeans and a turtleneck and went down to the spa. I got a huge surprise, Holly from Toronto was giving out wristbands! She was busy, so I only said a quick hi to her, and found out that she moved here about when I'd moved to Boston, and gave the book I brought to GothPat. I grab some water and entered the fray of the bizarre. I tried on one skirt that was too long, and one that was not quite right. I found a rubber top which shall be mine, either tomorrow when the girl doesn't come to get it, or by custom order. I tried on some wrist restraints, but the hole placing was wrong. I ran into EdVamp, wanted to eat so I left the spa. I browsed through various local shops, I found a velvet tank top and an architecture magazine with really good pictures. I had a late lunch at Alexander's -- ate the haddock instead of the batter and put lots of milk and sugar in the tea to make it drinkable. Dropped into the Safeway and got water, scones, croissants, apples and walked home in the rain -- gales and more wind are forecast for tomorrow according to Loki. I stopped for moleskin and moisturizer on the way. Prices are pretty high. I ate some snacks, listened to L'Ame Imortelle CD, it was good, but not good enough to grab the rest of them. I tried to called Lee, but the phone wouldn't take coins. From going to get ready that hits the Elsinore first I think. I made to tea and watched TV for awhile. Then I had a bath, dressed in my plaid dress and spider top and painted my nails green. I went down to the Elsinore but no one I recognize enough to sit with was there [Dag was there but I did not feel up to sitting with him]. I went over to the spa, but the doors weren't open until 8 in the main venue. It was raining harder so I stayed in the lobby. I grabbed another half pint of cider, it was very red I think they put black and it, and spotted Etienne at the wasp factory table. I chatted with them for a bit, then went into the main room to see beautiful deadly children the first band. They were pretty good and had elaborate costumes. I tried to see the seat, it mostly worked. I went out into the lobby and Sarah was there, she and Etienne went off to drink and I was left with Lee's pass. I spotted him and Siobhan and Axel and JV coming, and we got Lee his band. Aidan and Narnia came in but I couldn't find them to speak to. I got money from Pat for the book that I brought her and then got validated by Erythromycin, sticker and everything. I talked with Jenny and Donald for awhile, Donald looks like Kiefer Sutherland if you are bald and liked head rubs. I went into see the band play and lost people. Hirez stopped me at one point, and I spotted Jordan and Channing! I chatted with Channing for a bit, and Aidan kept introducing me to people I knew, including Jordan. I hung out with Axel and David Gerrard for awhile, until my being sober ceased to be fun. I caught sperm whale's set, they're very good, I got the single with the Abba cover on it. I went upstairs for awhile, then left at 2 AM. We walked over to Dag's apartment to get his whiskey, his hotel is cater corner from mine. I walked towards the Elsinore with him, Lee, Astrid, Casper, and JV. We got there (an after party) eventually after trying to wrong door. Donald was there and Sheridan who sat on my coat. Fury was our red haired silver PVC clad hostess. I sat with another sober goth and Astrid and Dag and Donald for awhile. Aidan and Narnia came as well and sexbat that dropped in. My Swiss Army knife came in handy to open bottles. I walked home by myself in the wind at 4 AM. I need to be at the bizarre at 10 AM, uh oh.

Saturday November 2

I woke up with my alarm at 9:30, grabbed an apple and walked over to the bizarre. There was no sign of the proprietress, eventually her assistant said she was running a bit late. I bought Ben a CD and then went back to sleep again. I fobbed off housekeeping and slept until about 2 PM. I watched TV and ate some snacks, 28 days later is about of diseased zombies and was compared to a music video by cradle of filth but with less depth. I need to go out and get more food.

Decided to pop by the bizarre, the Psiclone woman was there, so got measured to order the rubber top. Forced her to take a 20 pound deposit despite her not wanting to seem like she did not trust me. I ran into Dag, he was going to the Elsinore. I took some pictures off the cliff, and walked along the pier to the Elsinore. We ended up sitting down across the street from it with Jennie and Erythromycin. We talked a lot about cars bikes and science. I waited for Dag to finish his pint, and he and I went off to eat. Hardly anyone was serving food, or they were too busy. We ended up at the Dolphin, I had a potato based veggie burger and chips. We talked about animation and modeling. It started to rain a little bit then, it had just been misty before. We went back to the Elsinore, and I had a half pint of cider and black on purpose time. I talked about music with Dag and Morph. The pub was getting smoky by then, so I went back to my room in harder rain. I passed Etienne who was carrying his fines from the bizarre, sex pistol and sisters records. Walking from the pavilion to the Elsinore, one woman commented that it would have taken a sight of work to get green yarn braided hair done. Another commented to her husband "did you see those fishnet stockings?" He harrumphed. My room wasn't made up, apparently if I miss the first round of housekeeping that's it. It looks like tickets for the Sunday night event are all gone.

I took a nice long bath and dressed in the lace top, skirt and PVC corset. I put on my coat hat and scarf for a wet walk to the spa. I got a Sunday ticket for Laughton's. I talked with Pat and Hirez for a bit. I tried to get a cranberry and amaretto to drink, then an orange juice and amaretto, but ended up with another cider and black. I sat for a bit, I got there at around 7pm, the first band went on at 8pm, and I wasn't that fussed about it, so I went out and found people to talk to. Swarf went on at 8:30 and did a good set, with lots of people there to hear them. I talked with Holly for a bit, then went back to the main room to see Narcissus Pool, but didn't enjoy them, they were very guitar heavy. There was a cute punk with cheetah spots on her head beside the mohawk. The lead singer reminded me of an 80's idol. Last Rites (I got a t-shirt for Ben straight off so I wouldn't forget nor miss out) were too guitar-y for me as well, I tried to get some pictures, but they came out really blurry. I talked to Dok for a bit during the set, and had Astrid tighten my corset for me. It took a while for me to settle into it, it must have been down close to 24 inches. Went up to the lobby, it was very crowded, and very few were in fancy dress. I perched and talked with the usual suspects. Siobhan and Axel went back to their place. I found Jordan and Channing and brought them with me when I went over. Their friend Axis startled me and hurt my arm. They got me carbonated water as an apology. We went to the Avalon hotel go get their Absinthe and then went to the cottage. Saw Astrid and Casper sitting outside, and eventually made our way in. I got an introduction to Scary Lady Sarah (who apparently always rented this cottage at Whitby, and the Toronto crew was cost sharing with her), and Jordan and Channing met people they already knew. The place looked big until people started arriving. I sat in the kitchen for a bit and then went out on the patio, bundled up. The stars were clear, but Lee Chaos was setting off fire works, but Liz and the Swarfs arrived and she sat out to look at the stars for a while none the less. Etienne and Liz were still up drinking when I left at 6:45. I sat on the couch in the living room for a while with Jennie, Erith, and Dag, and talked with Sheridan and a woman who were on the window seat. JV and Nicky (Dag's gf) were on chairs in the living room, and EdVamp was there as well. I drifted off for a bit while they were talking about war, with electrified machetes being the weapon of choice. Byron the skull headed walking stick was used to perturb systems. Aidan and Narnia came in near dawn and Donald slept across our feet. Stayed up to write my journal once I got back, dead tired at 7:15, wish I could put up a "Do not disturb" sign, but need housekeeping to drop in.

Sunday November 3

Put a hand written sign up after all, but they knocked at 11am asking if I was ill and promised to bring a tea tray (that never materialised). Went back to sleep but was woken up by yelling at 12:30 or so. I took a quick bath and went out to walk along the pier. I checked in at SLS's cottage, no life signs, got tea at the internet cafe and waited outside the tapas restaurant for the net goth meal. It turned out that they were in the upper room already, I went up but didn't really know anyone. I had an omlette and talked to girls from Sheffield and Wales. A few more people trickled in, but still no familiar faces. A black hen named Linda (www.lindasnet.com?) was petted outside. The fries were sitting heavy in my belly, so I left first. Back to the cottage, JV was doing dishes. He walked me over to Top and Spin (?), Pat, Hirez, DG, Liz, Jodi etc were there. Said hi, then walked up to the Abbey, but didn't go in, walked out to the headland and took pictures. Went back by the Elsinore, only Loki was familiar so went back to the BNB. Grabbed my journal and took it to the bench by the whale bone arch. Going to be going to Laughton's 80's night tonight, need to figure out what to wear so I'm not being hit on by boys. The waves are pretty big in the sea, there were surfers out in the water earlier. It's chillier now, but the sussuruss of the waves is very relaxing. Tummy's feeling dodgy, and I wish I had my scarf. 4:30pm.

I went back to my room, watched TV for a while, had a bath and dressed up: tux pants, delihaus t-shirt, and my wool army sweater. I went out and past the Elsinore and got tea, then in to see what was up at the cottage. JV was getting ready, Sarah came down, and I went up to Sio, she was feeling better after being ill for most of the day. Sarah and I went over to Laughton's to see Axel and Casper, they announced that tickets were gone as we arrived. They were a bit peeved, no tickets for them. They went back to the cottage to hatch a secondary plan, and I eventually went back to Laughton's with my pre-purchased ticket. I only knew EdVamp and Dag at first, and the music was crap 80's rap. I didn't stay for long, only dancing to one and a half songs on the over crowded floor. Went back over to the Elsinore, ran into Pat and Hirez outside, and they recommended stuff to see in Scotland: McIntire stuff, and Banshee recommended the National Gallery and modern art. I gave Pat and HR goodbye and went into the pub. Joined Erith, Weeble, and Jennie. Weeble does origami and he made an elephant and a pig while we were at the table. We talked a bit about space technology, we found and lost seats, Fury came by and she'd found my swiss army knife, I dropped back into her place to get it later on and then went back to the Elsinore. Etienne, Sarah, Axel, Siobhan were there by then, I had some water and they closed down some lights and gave last call at 11pm. The Toronto crew and I went over to Laughton's with found passes, one from me, plus they gave my ticket back when I left, so we got in. We sat upstairs overlooking the dance floor, and Dag found us again, as well as Aidan. Stayed to the end and milled about in the street afterward. Sio went off to bed, still not fully recovered. I went with the bonfire brigade to the beach, where the stars were very clear. Orlando Axis was there and Simon and EdVamp and Dag. The fire wasn't starting easily, so I drifted away and went to the abbey stairs. I climbed them with Nat, I think, and was given responsibility for a very drunk tranny with blonde hair - Bronwyn? We hooked arms and got her up to the short wall. Nat boosted me over and we made our way toward the abbey, not really nervous of guards. It was very dark, but we spotted some glowsticks glimmering dimly. We moved into the corner of the abbey out of the wind. I stepped out for a bit to see the Zoo's boomer fireworks, and more and more people arrived. Dag, Thomas from Brute Force Leather (PA), a woman from DC, also an army Chicagoan, Alan from Dublin who has an uncle who lives in Ottawa. Adian and Narnia showed up eventually too. Someone had a coleman lantern, and glowsticks, sparklers, torches, and lighters were used to good effect. I sat on my coat and was pretty warm until smoke went down my lungs and sparked a coughing fit. At one point a star was centered in the peak of an arch, and it was achingly beautiful. I could see constellations through open windows. It was a pretty respectful crowd, everyone watching to make sure that nothing was disturbed, and people sharing warmth and light and drinks. Alan walked me back to my hotel, and we saw the bridge rotating back into place as we approached it. Met Simon there and he walked along with us. They got regaled with the wonders of stripper bingo, and I got Alan's card in case I made any trips to Ireland (he works the door at a club in Dublin). Got back to my room around 3am. Need to call Casper in the morning to sort out breakfast.

Monday November 4

I woke up at 11, before the housekeeper could knock. It was quieter today in the hotel. I still rushed and got ready, called Casper's cell and got Siobhan. I went over to their place to say one last goodbye, and ran into Dag on the way there. I wondered around for a while, but didn't have any luck finding the Captain Cook Museum. I did get postcards and stamps, and walked out on the sea wall, with a gorgeous view of the waves. The skies are very blue today. I sat for a while there and went into Victorian Whitby Museum for free (some lights were broken) and bought a bath bomb and candle from the association shop. Went to the Tap and Spire for food, and had the mildest Thai curry ever. At some point I realized that I didn't have a pen to write postcards. I got more fudge and buttered Brazil nuts and butter toffee, though I think I'm slightly allergic to the nuts. Then went back to the Elsinore and in sat with Jennie and Weeble, then Drew, and Goilla and Donald came in. Weeble made a camel out of paper and we discussed making Lego millennium falcons and tie fighters to scale with the Lego star destroyer, and ate Goilla's jelly babies which were very good. I went back to the hotel to get my coat, ready for a bit and wrote cards. There'll be bonfire on the beach tonight at 8 PM, its 520 now.

I ended up going to the Internet cafe, but one-woman was still online and I couldn't get a computer so I went over to the Safeway for water and matches to go with the two cans cider that I picked up at the off license. I went back to the Internet cafe and ordered tea and the woman was off the computer then. I browsed a few sites and grabbed the numbers for six or so bed and breakfasts in Scotland, JV came in to say, hi, he was not going to Leeds and would be around tonight. I answered some e-mail and then went back to the hotel to call for room in Scotland. I called through all but one on my list and finally got a room. Then I took a bath with my new bubbler and candle.

I just warmly in two layers of socks, pants and tops, and was all set for a night on the beach. I popped my head into the Elsinore to check if Drew was there then went down to the beach. Drew had dug a pit and was chopping wood. I scavenged from last night's pile. Jennie and Weeble were there already, and Donald arrived later. A small fire was used as a seed for the big one. Goilla set off a box of fire works, some tipped over and went off horizontally along the beach, I ran behind a stone wall so as not to be set on fire. A skip across the way was raided for 2x4s and broken boards. A woman got a split lip when something slipped. Odie helped Goilla - G would hold rockets in his hand, or else set small ones in the ground and stalk away. I drank a can of Strongbow, popped over to the Duke to use their washroom, and had a glass of mulled wine while I was there, for warmth. I eventually followed Odie to the little angel for a beer before his place. Had a pint of water and then talked with Jennie, Drew, Donald, and Weeble. Then went with them to Bits 'n' Pizzas, they only had burgers for sale, I stole a few of Donald's fries when he wasn't looking. Jennie called for a cab back to their cottage (it was a ways out of town) and I hugged them all goodbye and said I'd see them in Glasgow when I made my way there. Then I went off to my BNB expecting to sleep, but then I found that I'd grabbed the wrong key upon leaving, I had my room key rather than the outer door key. I tried the buzzer once (it was midnight, I didn't really want to wake anyone up, plus there were signs saying that they'd not open after 11pm or so), but there was no answer. I scooted back to where I'd left the Glaswegians, but they'd gone, the Angel was dark, so I went out to the beach to see if anyone was left there, luckily getting warm from the walk. Dave the Hat offered me crash space, and I stayed hanging out with the new fire crew until 1:30 or so. Fuzzy Dave burned his bathrobe (everything was going into the fire at this point) and later found out, after a pop in the fire and wondering how a cell phone battery would burn, where his phone was. Later the board was fished out of the fire, to much giggling. He'd borrowed a cell to call a friend and ask them to call his, the number you have reached has been burned up. Dave the Hat hurt his knee breaking a piece of wood from the skip (a dangerous source of wood), and the melamite (sp?) covered cabinet door dripped disgustingly as it melted. Deathboy (I think that was him) disappeared for a bit then threw his pants on the fire (before the cell incident), and a woman burned her socks, which were gently taken off by a braided and metal implanted man (Creature? he had bars up his arms). A woman in the Elsinore had a bar on her chest, near her throat, and scarrification on her breasts (shown off by a deep v top). I ended up giving Fuzzy Dave my other can of cider, as I wasn't in the mood to drink another cold can. Luckily Dave the Hat left fairly early (in Whitby terms), as I had to be up at 8 to pack and check out, so we walked over the bridge an d past the train station and up the hill to his bnb. He's also from Glasgow. His room was way up at the top of a house, and had two firm twin beds, and not much else - there was a wash stand, sleeping bags and pillows on the bed, and the other rooms were open and empty. I went back down a floor to the bathroom to brush my teeth, divested myself of my outer layer of clothes and slept in a turtle neck and leggings. I think I half woke and talked in my sleep as I had anxiety dreams about keys, but Dave never woke. This is what it means to be a net.goth, never being left out in the cold.

Tuesday November 5

I woke up at 7:45 at Dave the Hat's cell phone alarm. I threw on my outer layer and boots and he let me out. I stumbled back up to my BNB, and they let me in at 8:15 at the buzzer press. I went up to the room and made myself presentable, and then went down for breakfast. I had OJ, my own tea, toast and scrambled eggs. I went back up to pack and bathe, and was checked out at 10am. I picked up a VAT refund request form, will see if it works. Meandered over to the cliff side to write for a bit in the journal and to make up Steph's post card. I'll probably see if the Elsinore is open, if not, will hang out in Java Hut for a while. I got a stamp for Steph's card and mailed it, picked up the Whitby gazette and went to the Elsinore. Dave the Hat was there and others from the bonfire last night. I had a glass of OJ and looked at the pictures they'd published in the paper from the festival. At 11:20 I went off to find some lunch, the Indian restaurant in the train station was closed. Ended up in Passage to India and had vegetable kasmir and rice, mild but good after I picked out all the bananas. Went over to the station to wait for my train, Fuzzy Dave and Creature and others were there as well. Creature wandered off to get the bus to Leeds, and I boarded with the rest of them and wrote more in my journal, noting the passing of a roman acqueduct over us. Did a quick change of trains at Middleborough as we were late, and I had to go under the tracks to get to the other platform. It was a short ride to Darlington, and waited there on track 4. I ate some left over snacks (fudge, cookies) at 3pm, as the train was a bit delayed. I napped in my reserved seat as it grew dark. Got off at Edinburgh, grabbed a taxi from the queue after buying a laminated map. Found the BNB okay, Six Mary's Place, and checked in with the nice lady, who directed me to the free internet enabled computer. My room had a high ceiling, a shower, blonde wood furniture, a fireplace, and a non working TV. I read for a bit, worried that my throat was getting congested and a fever was starting. Walked over to Princes St. and back, grabbing some veggie pakoras on the way back. Ate and read some more, through to 10:30pm. Needed to email Lee to get contact information for his brothers, and Siani to get in touch. Tomorrow plans are for the National Gallery, the castle, and the video game exhibit - lots to do.

Wednesday November 6 - Edinburgh

I set the alarm for 8:30am and was up close to then. I dressed and went down for an amazing breakfast, I hadn't realised that it was a veggie place. Fruit salad, toast, grapefruit half, earl grey tea, OJ, yoghurt. I may try veggie haggis tomorrow. Throat's still rough. Heading out to the castle now, near 10am.

Found a way to the castle fairly easily, picking up some Sucrets along the way for my throat, and the rain held off. Popped into the weaving museum first, saw tons of looms with plaids set up on them, ready to be finished. Bolts and bolts of fabric were piled up, and they had a display of tartans and kilts. Gorgeous view from the top of the hill, but it did eventually start to rain, so I popped into the cafe for a scone, clotted cream and straub jam (expensive but oh so good). Came back out onto the battlements just before the 1pm gun: I held my ears and didn't jump too much when they fired it off. The ball dropped a couple of seconds after at the Lord Nelson (?) monument. I walked down the Royal Mile, turned right on Saithbridge and found Flip clothing. Down in the basement I found Converter cds (bought one of the three, Blast Furnace), they had other stuff but nothing else on my to-buy list. The rubber spiky collars were all too big. I went back to the Royal Mile and grabbed a (mild) Mexican pastry and walked and ate. Went down past the new parliament building to Holyrood Palace. They were only offering guided tours, so I signed up for one: saw the Queen's portrait, Mary Queen of Scot's bedroom, her hair, and where her secretary was murdered and his bloodstain not cleaned off. She fled, 6 months pregnant, back to Edinburgh Castle and gave birth to James in a small closet there. We were left on our own to take pictures outside and around in the Abbey ruins. A huge hill and Arthur's Seat just behind it all.

I took a different way back, via back of Waverly Station. I picked up some OJ and water for the room, and went up to finish reading my book and rest a bit. Went down to the lobby and used the free internet terminal to post to LJ, email Joy, Jennie and Drew. Put off booking a BNB in Glasgow until get email from Jennie or Drew, can do it tomorrow. Finally pulled myself off the computer and set out for dinner. Ended up at a Venezuelan restaurant up the street who's door caught my eye. It was really good, I had mussels in a wine and tomato sauce with fresh bread, grilled tuna with salsa, rice and a tomato and avocado salad. I indulged in a piece of chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream and couldn't finish it. Two women at a table next to me talked about relationships throughout dinner. I walked for a bit the other way past my BNB, tried listening to my new cd but wasn't in the mood. Ended up going to sleep just after 10pm.

Thursday November 7

Got up a little later today, went down for breakfast at 8:45. My cold was still miserable, but at least I slept through the night. The breakfast room is below the entry level, reached by green carpeted stairs that spiral down. Through the cheery kitchen with cold food set out to the left and shining appliances to the right, to the conservatory. Glass walled and ceilinged, with venetian blinds custom made for the triangular ceiling panes. There's a stone wall enclosing the autumn garden and a flame yellow tree peeks over the back wall, mute testimony as to where the brilliant drifts of leaves come from. They hide the compost heap, up a few steps from the main garden. A birch branch bench sits against the right wall, just out of reach of the climbing ivy. Inside, it's warm and inviting, with blue and yellow napkins at alternating places. Blonde wood and white ceramics (all from Ikea I'm guessing) make it feel homey.

Went back up to my room to shower after tea (the chrome pot reflected me, windows and an autumn blue sky), rhubarb yoghurt, toast, OJ, scrambled eggs and fruit salad. May try the veggie haggis tomorrow. Off to museums and galleries and will try to find the Lush store as well. 10am.

Got caught up on the computer, spending far too long on it, to almost noon, trying to book a BNB in Glasgow so I'll know where I'm going, found the Corus Hotel, but lost connections as trying to confirm the reservation. Finally used the computer in the office to finish it up.

I managed to stick to my plan, starting at the farthest point, first going to the Royal Museum of Scotland and taking in the Game On exhibit. The Millenium Clock in the atrium was disturbingly bleak, amid the wide open space of the entry. I played Breakout, two guys were on the Pong station so I skipped it. SimCity, GTAIII, Amato drawings for Final Fantasy, Wolfenstein 3D, Pacman, Dance Dance Revolution, hentai books (??) were all on display in a pretty large exhibit hall that I wound through, looking for old favourites to replay. There was a small arms and armour section, mostly with Iranian pieces, but the Japan exhibit was nice. I reclaimed my coat from the check, grabbed a brie and tomato roll and munched on it as I walked to the National Gallery. Titian was well represented, one Tintoretto that I saw, Seargent's were as lovely as always, and Raeburn was good as well - the Scottish floor was breathtaking. It was after three at this point, so wandered past the Walter Scott monument (a blackened and spikey tower) and up toward Carleton hill (with a short stop in a graveyard). The sun was setting over the city, I saw the ball on top of the Nelson monument, pillars at the crown of the hill , and a good view of Arthur's Seat. Back down and walked along Princes St and went into the Lush store, but didn't buy anything (saving it for just before the flight home). Got a light book and kleenex and cough syrup and a wash cloth at Boots (they carried Urban Decay and Rock Candy cosmetics, but I resisted). It was chilly by this point. I stopped into Sitara Spice and got a good chicken tikka masalla and naan. I brought it back to my room, and ate while reading. Made a pot of tea afterward, as well. The internet terminal was busy, so took a walk, but my fever came back and cut it short. Needed to pack, but stayed up too late surfing and sleepless.

Friday November 8, Edinburgh to Glasgow

I woke up before my alarm at 8:15am. I was totally stuffed up and feverish. The alarm sounding from next door was very annoying - they left it on when they went down for breakfast. I rolled up my clothes, took a shower with my new washcloth and went down for my own meal. The server was very twitchy, it was raining, a chatty woman was nearby, a non ideal environment to relax in. Ate a small breakfast, couldn't really taste anything, then went back up to my room and finished up packing, slowly, and then went down to check out. There wasn't anyone there, so I used the terminal to check mail, nothing useful. Got the woman who eventually showed up to write the VAT on the receipt, and I almost forgot to reclaim my credit card. Took a taxi to Waverly station, got a ticket from a vending machine, and had 10 minutes to wait for the next Glasgow train.

The train ride was uneventful, I scooted my suitcase into the window seat leg well, it was never crowded enough that I had to movie it. I ran into a guy in military dress who directed me to Argyle (he'd lived in Mississauga for years, and insisted on knowing where I'd lived in Toronto). Found Argyle okay, it was perpendicular to the street the train station was on, but I'd turned the wrong way at first. I bumped my rolling suitcase up and down the corner edges at intersections, and made my way to the correct number, found the hotel and checked in at about 1pm. Everything's lime and burgundy in my hotel room. I scooped a handful of water from the bathtub and splashed it onto my face: half of it is cool and half warm from the two streams coming from the taps.

I went back out, to the Gallery of Modern Art (link between Scotland and Ireland, book very cool). Missed McIntire tower, found the Lush store here, popped into an inviting bookstore and picked up "The Rider" by Tim Krabbe, then found the Willow Tea Room - Mackintosh's design was reproduced, it was reached by walking through a very shiny shop, had an open balcony, tall chairs, but sad plastic strips for the grid on the walls. The almond honey tea tasted so good, I wanted to kiss someone to share the taste. Also had a scone with whipped cream (the clotted cream at Edinburgh castle was better). I read the book I'd picked up and sipped contentedly at my tea, then headed back to the hotel, and it turned out that the tea room was right up the street from it. I called Jennie at 5pm and we planned to meet up at 7pm. I read for a while longer, had a bath with a Lush bath bomb, and met them on time, though Weeble was a bit late joining us. We went to Ichiban sushi - sushi was the appetiser, no edamame, salmon teriyaki was very good. The udon dish was good, though I declined the fish cakes. We went out to a basement club - Delerium? It's held once a month, I lucked out in being in Glasgow when it was on. Upstairs is a vegan restaurant, I grabbed some tea from them and water from the bar below. Drew started me on my lemsip addiction - there must be crack in blackcurrant lemsip, can't stop drinking it, it makes my cold symptoms go away. Bliss. It was pretty loud, and the cardboard covered dance floor stayed empty most of the time. Made plans with Donald for him to tour me around more bookshops tomorrow. Weeble left, then Drew walked me out to Argyle and he caught his bus. In bed close to midnight, the lemsip helped me sleep.

Saturday November 9

Woke before 9am wake up call, happy. Lemsip is a miracle drug. Back is feeling okay, bed not as soft as I feared. Need to find breakfast now, maybe tomorrow get room service? Skin still feels soft from the Lush bomb from last night. McIntosh and Nero today, I think. Had breakfast in the restaurant on the first floor, long wait for bad tea and cold toast, but grapefruit juice was great. Had corn flakes as well, then up to room, grabbed my coat and went out. Stopped in at Borders as I was trying to figure out my way, and they had on a special 3 for 2 on the Lemony Snicket books! Grabbed three and then carried them all day. Went over to St. Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art. Apparently St. Mungo's brother monks had it out for him. The museum was four floors, they had Dali's Christ on the Cross, very moving, but it and Shiva had been vandalised in the past and restored. A photo of a girl being circumcised was painful to see. There were two samples of northwest coast American Indian lore, also Jewish, Shinto, Buddhist, Hindi, Taoist and Muslim exhibits. Lots of Christian and Jewish quotes. The Zen Garden was very neat as well.

Then I went up to the Necropolis and took tons of pictures - it was on a very high hill, lots of ivy and changing trees. I went down the hill again, stopped and got a fruit an d nut bar and used the change to call Donald from the front of Queen Street Station. Got onto the underground and took it two stops to St. George's Cross (the cars are very tubular, doors extend to ceiling). He was waiting, buckle boots made for walking. We went past their place to the first sci fi book shop, and I managed to stop after getting 7 books for the price of 5 - the books were piled up waist high and shoulder high, forming an L shaped aisle through the small store. We walked some more, got pakoras (spinach and brie, ate standing at a counter in the shop, surrounded by the smell of hot grease), walked more, and into another store tucked into an alley. They had a whole shelf of Ian Banks, but didn't take credit cards, so I had to stop after I used up my pounds. Walked back to his and Jennie's place and had tea and talked, they've got a nice big place with high ceilings and lots of light. I left at around 4:30, took the tube to St. Enoch and back to the hotel. Read one of my new books for a bit, then ventured out to find dinner, no luck on W. Regent, ended up at an Italian place - Leonardo's, just up from the hotel. Two cute wait staff, one short and blonde and reminiscent of a Kid in the Hall, the other tall and brunette. Had penne and raspberry creme ice cream. Very good. Bottled water from Italy as well, which was a nice reminder of my trip to Venice, though it was expensive. Back home at just prior to 9pm, asked the front desk about the semi broken shower head in the room, made some tea and wrote in my journal. Played a bit with my camera and got some pictures of the lamps above the bed. Was surprised to see that I'd taken over 200 pictures on this trip. Not sure if up to going out to the fetish night a taxi ride away, 9:30pm then, but think that I'll skip it, and not chance a reoccurance of my cold.

Sunday November 10

Wake up call at 9am, and my breakfast tray was handed to me soon after. Very leisurely breakfast in bed while watching Babar on TV. Finally got out of the room a t 11:30, got directions from the front desk to Burrell Collection - train from Central Station to Pollockshawn at 12:12, only 1 pound 60. It was a long walk through the woods to the gallery building, past a field of Highland cattle, but really calming. I had a slice of apple pie when I got there, as I was starving. They have very nice paintings (Degas and Monet), a Rodin garden (including the Thinker), a Knights and Castles exhibit, small arms and armour section. A small kid gave me a heart attack as I was looking at the knives, he came up and latched gently onto my arm - my t-shirt let my arm brace show, and it must have caught his eye. His brother and mum got him off of me, but I was shocked. The tapestry collection was extensive, it was neat to see them all over the walls of a room, and they were huge. I ended up rushing back to the train station, through the woods, up the road, up the stairs, past a woman getting off at this stop and the train pulled away as I reached the top. I swore, kicked things, walked off the chest constriction caused by running so far, and waited half an hour for the next train. I went straight to St. Enoch St., up to Hillside, spotted a few signs for Mackintosh House (through the gallery), but it was closed on Sundays. I bought a drink (blackcurrant again), went back to the tube, and back to St. Enoch. Stopped in at Oasis and got Q some bracelets (and a necklace for me - glow in the dark rubber spikes!), then home for cookies and tea in the room. Threw in a java bath bomb and started writing, but Aidan called, he and Narnia were downstairs. We walked over to Oko for all you can eat sushi, served up on a conveyor belt. We were a bit late for tuna, but salmon was good, and I could have tea or water. Creme brulee was caramelised instead of burned on the crust, with clotted cream underneath - very good. After dinner, we walked over to Borders and got the 6th Snicket book, sneaking in as the doors locked. Went to their place for black currant tea and talk about politics and guns. It was misty out, crossed the river on a suspension foot bridge. Home, read, will pack in the morning, out of tissues again. 12:41am.

Monday November 11

Woke and started packing clothes, breakfast tray arrived as I was engaged in that. Finished up packing, everything fit, big surprise! Went out to Boots by St. Enoch's, and picked up some blackcurrant lemsip to bring home with me. Back to hotel, didn't get a picture of Fat Boab's Restaurant, tried unsuccessfully to find a velour tank top at the Gap. Didn't go in to get a shirt I saw in a bike shop window - "How's my riding? Call 1-800-kiss-my-ass". Finished up my cereal, and observed 2 minutes of silence at 11am for Remembrance Day. Took a taxi to Queen St, off to platform 6. It was raining after a blue skied morning. Good train ride, off at Haymarket, 5 minute wait (no rain) for the airport bus. E-ticket check in because the desk wasn't open, didn't notice my gate on the ticket. Had half of a cold broccoli and salmon quiche, need to try and replicate it at home some day. Used up the last of my pounds on a poppy and an Aero bar. Long wait, was there 2.5 hours before my flight, but it was finally called, and then I was tapped at Heathrow for a hand search, though this time she patted me gently. I had taken my boots off to go through Edinburgh security. Our plane sat at the gate for half an hour as they examined bumps on the plane from hitting a bird. I got a bit worried, but they came by in flight and said a bus would meet me and 2 other boston people and a Capetown person. And we did get whisked away at LHR, long ride through LHR to terminal Y, up near gate 6, small hike to gate 7 and I joined the end of the boarding queue. My arm was sore at this point, got a bit of help getting my suitcase into the overhead bin. In a window seat again, watched BBC news, had a vegan lunch/dinner, and watched Minority Report which was pretty good. Napped most of the way back to Boston.
Back to my diary page.