Linlithgow (Joust as wet)
9 Jul 2011
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Saturday morning is not looking too flash weather-wise. In fact it is likely to be more of the same. Yesterday there was flash flooding in the West and South of Edinburgh, some water was around a metre high. We weren’t so badly off in town after all.
We walk to the bus stop, unsure if the bus was leaving at 10 past the hour, or 20 past the hour – Tony couldn’t remember, so we hurry along in case it is the earlier. We are there in plenty of time for either, and it turns out to be the later one. We double check when the last two buses come back today, and buy a return ticket from the same driver as last night.
At the train station Tony checks the timetable, there are two services that stop at the palace, and between them they run every 20 minutes all day. We get a return ticket and hurry to the platform, we have about 5 minutes to catch the next train.
We are at Linlithgow quite quickly, the train is pretty full and many passengers get off at this station. It seems the jousting event is popular. We make our way to the 450 year old Palace and enjoy not having to queue for entry, we show our membership and get handed passes. The palace is much bigger than expected, both in the height and the footprint of the building. It is quite beautiful here, despite the threat of rain looming . The palace was built in the 15th century by King James I, and is the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots in (1542).
There are a number of events planned for the day, demonstrations of medieval fighting and weaponry, clothing that the ladies wore, and the jousting. We decide to head to the palace first as the demonstrations haven’t begun. We walk through the gates, and there is a wedding in progress. We hope they were told that there was a big event on at the same time as their big day. We explore part of the palace, then see how the grand ladies of the times dressed. What a rigmarole! No wonder they needed all those servants.
Outside in the arena is the demonstration of medieval weaponry, armour, and warfare. All very interesting and entertaining, but they must have been pretty hot in some of that protective clothing. Then came the main event, the jousting demonstrations. It was a great afternoon, but those big, black thunderclouds threatened again.
We headed back into the palace to finish the tour, and while we were standing up at the very top the weather packed in and fair bucketed down. We headed for cover, but couldn’t get inside very fast as there was not much room to move up on the top of the tower. Cynthea tried to put her umbrella up, but Tony said not to as it was too windy. One or two others tried, with predictable results. We were pretty soaked by the time we got inside.
We order a coffee in the gift shop, and Tony wonders if the members discount applies to drinks, but before he can ask the girl behind the counter asks if we are members, and then takes our word for it. We get a very hot coffee and head outside as it is very crowded. A young girl is running around so Tony stops walking, but the kid runs full on into him, and the hot coffee slops a bit. For some reason it is his fault the little shite nearly wore the lot, Tony bites his tongue and resists the temptation to give some much needed parenting advice.
Given the change in weather we decide we may as well head back to Edinburgh now. There “might” be a train at 5.10, but Tony isn’t sure (there is definitely one at 6.10). As we get to the palace gates the heavens open even more than before, and Tony runs for cover to get his umbrella out. He needn’t have bothered, he was already soaked. There is a huge queue along the road and we wonder what they are waiting for – turns out it was the bus stop, we are pleased we took the train after all. We don’t have to wait long for the train, and we are back in town before Tony has dried out. We call in at a supermarket in the station and buy some fruit and veges, and then head for the bus. Tony decides it is closer, and quicker, to go to the bus stop on the bridge, rather than walk all the way to the bus station. We wait some time at the bus stop, and just when Tony is thinking that there wasn’t a bus at 5.10, it turns up. The lack of timetable at the bus stop didn’t help, but at least it was covered and we could get out of the pelting rain.
We have the same driver again, and he laughs at the drowned rats getting aboard. As we leave the stop there is a flash of lightning very, very close to the bus, immediately followed by a huge clap of thunder that we felt as well as heard. Someone on the bus yells “Ya missed!” and we all laugh. The rain is very heavy yet again, and we hope it has finished raining by the time we get off. Our driver didn’t need to be asked where to let us off, and as we leave he tells us that there is a temporary bus stop tomorrow, and not to wait at the usual one. We have no plans to go into town Sunday, hopefully the weather will be a fine so we can start building up some hours to take a day off mid week. We hope to meet up with Heather from Texas, and we have yet to climb Arthur’s Seat by Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. We have been told we must do this before we go, so hopefully the weather gods will smile that day. We will also visit Holyrood Palace and other historic sites in the park.
The road is flooded where we get off, but we can walk around most of it, and what we do have to splash through isn’t too bad. At least the rain has eased off a little bit, little more than a drizzle compared to the downpour we had experienced earlier. The cat pleased to see us (feeding time!), and the garden has had a good soaking, so hopefully it wont be too hard to work tomorrow, weather permitting.