Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Trip to Remember

It has been a long time between blog posts.

I had decided to go home and for the last few months getting organized for this trip took up a load of time. Liz and I have been writing, just not as prolific as we could have been. We have started the next book in the Dorothy Dennehy PI series while we wait on the edits from Black Opal Books with our first book to be published, The Silk Shroud.

Home for me is Edinburgh, even after almost fifty years in Canada. I feel Canadian in all aspects of my life, but, I had a yearning to see all my family. A visit to the Netherlands to visit my sister Caroline and family, England to party it up with my sister Rosemary and her family, then on to Edinburgh to see my brothers Raymond and Alister and their crews. In-laws, cousins, old friends and new.

There were many highlights and one was Amsterdam.

 What a vibrant city. The canals and windmills and the sheer beauty of the buildings. Oh, and the bikes. Everywhere. My sister has lived in Holland over thirty years and hearing her speak dutch with such fluency; wonderful. A visit to the Microsoft offices with my niece who works there. Never had nap cubicles any place I've worked!! I had to visit the Van Gogh exhibit and it didn't disappoint. Loads of laughs and remember when evenings with terrific food and drink.

There is a theme going on here as I was spoiled with all the lovely meals and the few bottles of Prosecco that were consumed in my travels. It's a drink of choice for women at the moment. I'm nothing if not on trend!

Short flight to London, train to Peterborough dragging my two suitcases. Wish I could travel with a backpack. Again spent long hours reminiscing and eating, drinking, seeing the sights. Did I mention shopping! Peterborough Cathedral and walks by the river Nene. Met my two great nieces. All a whirlwind. A Spa visit courtesy of my niece Claire was just the ticket. Stayed in London two nights in my nephews apartment overlooking the Emirates soccer stadium where Arsenal play.Or should I say football. Very hot and crowded and mega expensive. We still managed a few shops on Regent and Oxford.streets.Fashion is years ahead.

Next on my itinerary was KingsCross to Waverley Station in Edinburgh. The city of my birth and a UNESCO  World heritage site. The International Festival was in full swing so the city was packed, but that is nothing new. One of the reasons I wanted to be there at this time was the International Book Festival in Charlotte Square.

My brother Raymond picked me up at the train and I was soon ensconced in his abode. More eating fine foods and a few Gin and Tonics. It is summer after all. Talked for hours until I conked out. My husbands nephew picked me up next morning to stay at his place for a few days. A visit to North berwick, golf courses, he loves golf courses, and I had to stop every ten minutes to take pictures.Birthday party for a great niece with all the Blances. Where else would it be? At the golf course clubhouse! I met a FB friend Joan Blanch and we visited the Book Festival. Wonderful and so well organized. More eating and drinking.

I saw many changes in Edinburgh. It is still one of the most beautiful cities on earth. When you have a castle set in the middle of town looming over the inhabitants it looked very special to me.

Our nephew Peter had bought tickets for the Book Festival to see two Crime writers. Yes, folks. You pay to hear authors read from their hard work and what a privilege it was to hear them.

Doug Johnstone from Scotland  and Gunner Staalesen from Scandinavia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunnar_Staalesen//   https://dougjohnstone.wordpress.com/

This event was further enhanced for me as the organizers went out of their way to make sure I could hear properly and gave me a special headset with volume control. A+ to them.
I missed Ian Rankin by a day and most venues were sold out. The book tent was enormous and I only bought two books as carrying them back to Canada well...

Talking of castles...Stirling castle and "Bloody Scotland". I would like to have been there but maybe next time. Our own Linwood Barclay is headlining this conference and I was sorry to miss it. Val Mcdermid, Denise Mina to mention just a few.  Check the website. Looks like a good time.

My next venture was into the wilds of Scotland. Well, not quite the wilds but the border country between Scotland and England.

The countryside was beautiful after the hay had been harvested and the weather cooperated.My friend Glynis picked me up in Edinburgh for the w/e with her family. We have been friends since we worked together as telephonists at fifteen. We were civil servants working for her Majesty at the telephone exchange. This was in the swinging sixties!
We did what we've always done every time we meet. Have a good lunch and then hit the shops. The Edinburgh Woolen Mills outlet and that venerable shop of all good British folks, Marks & Spencers.I could have gone mad. Perhaps I can find what I'd like on-line.

We drove through Earlston where Glynis was married, Chirnside where she now lives, Berwick on Tweed, Kelso and Jedburgh. My trip to Jedburgh was special, but I'll tell you about it in another post when I can figure out how to transfer my pictures from my Ipad.

Back to Edinburgh for my last week before returning home. Busy meeting nieces and nephews, and the greats. Dinner with brother Alister and another dinner with my lovely cousins, Eleanor, Anne and Maureen with their significant others who are all called Ian!! It was explained to me that the way to distinguish them all is to call one, RARE, the next one MEDIUM and the other WELL DONE !!!.They are not all dour in Scotland, some still have a sense of humour.

My time is running out and still not spent one day on my own so decided to take the bus into town. The Mound where the National Gallery is, The Royal Mile and all its glory, The Writers Museum, St Giles Cathedral where I had lunch in a very nice restaurant underneath the church. I was starting to wilt so I took another bus to the Botanic gardens in search of The Corpse Flower for Gloria Ferris. It had just bloomed weeks before and the stinky part was gone, thank goodness, so I took a few hundred pictures of the rest of the gardens!

Another bus and visited my old high school, took pictures of the flat I used to live in and kept walking past Conan Doyle pub. I didn't go in as at that time I could have killed for a cup of tea! Walked to Princes Street and found a bus back to my brothers.

Last day was a trip to South Queensferry and a look at the bridges that cross the Firth of Forth taking you into the Kingdom of Fife.

Last repast was dinner at the Spylaw Tavern in Colinton with Raymond and Linda. We took a walk through the town and followed the footsteps of a walk that  Robert Louis Stephenson took as a child and inspired his novel A Child's Garden of Verses. It was a fitting end to a wonderful holiday.

I will post again with my visit to the Writers Museum and Swanson Village the birthplace of RLS. also my visit to Jedburgh and my childhood home was very special.

Are you still with me? This is a long post so you may have fallen asleep.
There were many other things that I missed seeing but the object of the trip was to reacquaint myself with my family and meet some new members.
It was wonderful to see everyone and spend laughs and reminicences with you all. 

I think I'd better let Peter know that I have invited you all to come and stay with us in Canada. Just don't all come at once!

Talk soon,



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