Edinburgh and Oxenfoord
15 May 2012
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9th & 10th May
We don’t do a lot these two days, the weather is on the wet and dreary side, and we don’t venture out that much. Cynthea decides today (Wednesday) we are going to the movies. We search the websites to see what theatres are close by. She wants to see The Hunger Games, we find a theatre that has £6 tickets before 5pm, and there is a screening of the movie at 3.50pm. It is 3.30, and the theatre is past the other end of Princes St, near the St James Centre. We will have to hot foot it to make it in time. We cannot take a bus, the service is a shambles with the road works, and by the time we find the right one we reckon we could have walked there. We head off, hoping that the theatres here have twenty minutes of ads before the movie. We have found that in other places, it is awful.
We arrive at 3.55, and then wait ten minutes in the queue to buy tickets. We are pleased we brought snacks with us, the price of snacks at the theatre is horrendous, it is a wonder that they sell anything at all. We still have to sit through a few ads before the movie, Tony is not overly impressed with The Hunger Games, perhaps it was the storyline.
We head to the supermarket to get a couple of things for tea, we have a few left overs from yesterday’s shop. The hostel kitchen is busy again, we didn’t think that there were that many people in, looks like a lot arrived while we were out.
Thursday was much the same as Wednesday, but wetter. We headed to the shops after lunch and Cynthea got some clothes from M&S. We headed to Poundland for some giftwrap and Tony finds a wee clip on reading light that could be good for the Kobo (e-reader). Unfortunately the clip won’t fit the e-reader, but the light can still be used by holding it in place against the book.
We head to the Co-op for something for tea, and Tony meets up with some of the Aussies from the hostel. They are looking for cheap veges to go with the roast they got, a kilo of pork for £1!! They tell Tony that there was another one over there, so he heads over and grabs it quick, there is also a haggis for 30p. He also got cheap veges – 2.5kg of spuds for 25p, and the same for carrots. Our tea tonight cost less than £2, and we have a heap of spuds and carrots left over, pretty good going.
The aussie and kiwi group start a drinking game after tea, they have a couple of bottles of vodka, and are getting a bit noisy, so Tony buggers off to the quiet room. There is a lot of noise coming from the kitchen, sounds like they are in for an all nighter. John better not get too drunk again tonight, the night before we arrived he got really drunk, and when he passed out the miserable shits drew on him with a permanent marker. Not just his face, someone took his pants off and… yes, they did draw on "that"!!
Friday 10th May
We are off to Oxenfoord this morning, not sure what time Torty needs us there, or what time she is leaving for Wales. As long as we are there by lunchtime, we will be fine. We have breakfast and once we are packed head down to the kitchen to get the bag of veges. Tony is on the way downstairs when he runs into John, he is in a hurry, late for work. He is still drunk, how the hell he will work in that condition is a mystery. He is bouncing off the walls, literally, as he runs down to breakfast. A few of the others from the drinking game are there too, all looking pretty much the worse for wear.
We grab our packs and walk down Princess St to the bus depot. Cynthea asks about taking a bus, but Tony thinks that it will take too much time to look for the right stop, and then there is a wait for the next one. We get there in plenty of time for the 11am bus, and we are dropped off at the stop on the corner, about a mile from Oxenfoord. It is raining lightly (surprise, surprise), and we had hoped Torty could pick us up from the stop, but we haven’t heard back, so it looks like we have missed her. It takes us a few minutes to walk down the road, and as we arrive at the castle entrance we see Torty. She was running late, and had just got our message. She offers a lift down the drive, but it isn’t raining hard, and we continue walking so she can head away.
The animals are pleased to see us, and Digby is on Cynthea's bed - Torty had taken him out of the posting bag because she didn't think he would like it in there, haha. There is a small list of jobs on the table – Cynthea has ironing, and Tony is to be in the garden. We did extra hours last visit, so it will be a bit more relaxed this time. The weather is not co-operating much, Tony spends a lazy afternoon catching up on the week of Coronation Street before tonight's episodes, Cynthea gets on with the ironing.
On Saturday Tony gets a couple of hours outside, the weeds are growing well. The weather is still changeable, beautiful and fine one minute, cold and wet the next (apparently we are headed for the wettest May in 300 years, so much for summer!). the weather is still very changeable. Beautiful and fine one minute, cold and wet the next.
The bloody cat brings us a present, one of the swallows that have been nesting near the house. The birds swoop on Wilf when he is outside, the cunning bugger just lies there, and the birds get closer and closer, and soon they are within reach. The remains of a swallow are left under the kitchen table for Cynthea to find when she walks in. Later Tony is weeding and hears a flapping close by, it is Wilf with another swallow, but this one is still alive. Tony grabs the cat, and the bird flies off, hopefully it survived.
It is great seeing the swallows around, there are a few nesting here. One pair has a nest in the covered walkway between the garden house and the cottage.
Cynthea watches a few talent shows on TV while doing some ironing and mending, and Tony watches a couple of videos on the computer, and reads a book. During a rare fine moment we take the dog for a walk, but Quince doesn’t need too much extra as she has been outside a fair bit.
Sunday 12th May
Torty is due back late this afternoon, the weather is still not settled. Tony does a bit of touching up paintwork in the den, but there is not a lot to do today, we are well ahead on our hours. Another day of reading and videos (a TV series) for Tony, Cynthea is doing more ironing and mending while she watches TV.
Monday – Wednesday
The unsettled weather continues, Tony and Cynthea are both out in the garden when the weather lets up. Tony finishes weeding the main garden (the one he sorted last year). There is still a mess around the back from when the hedge was shifted, so both set about clearing it up and then planting it out. Davey, the gardener, shows Tony where there is a pile of topsoil that he can use. Tony finds a few raspberry plants growing wild, and takes a few of them for the new garden, and splits up plants from the main garden to use in the new area. Our downtime is spent reading and watching videos, a good break to relax and feel “at home”.
We are looking to see where to go next. We have booked in at Fort William on the West Coast for the end of the month. We are going there to ride on the Jacobite steam train. A spectacular journey in it’s own right, but this was also the setting for filming the train journey from London to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. Now THAT will make Amanda so jealous!! Fort William is a popular place, and it is difficult to get (cheap) last minute accommodation. The train trip is also popular, and it takes quite a bit of juggling to get the trip and the hostel sorted. We finally get something for the end of May, now we just need the weather to cooperate, the west coast of Scotland is not known for its’ balmy weather! In fact it is very much similar to the wild west coast back home, complete with the swarms of midges (giant sandflies!), we will have to make sure the insect repellent is in the day bags when we head up there!
We have nearly two weeks to fill in before Fort William, and Cynthea is keen to head to the Lake District, in particular Beatrix Potter’s house near Windemere. It looks like it takes a bit of getting to, especially if you don’t have a car. It is a popular tourist attraction, so sure there is plenty of transport, it is just not that clear on the website. It mentions a ferry ride across the lake, and then a two – three mile walk, surely there will be a bus service that meets the ferry.
While Cynthea and Torty are at the supermarket on Tuesday night, Tony gets an email from a HelpX host in West Linton, about half an hour (car) from Edinburgh, sort of west from where we were. We were asked if we were available more or less straight away, to stay a couple of weeks, Tony replied that we could be there Thursday, and it was all sorted before the girls got home.
When Tony is looking at the map to show Cynthea he realises that West Linton is close to Biggar, and the old family farm is near there, about two miles away at Symington. We hope to get a chance to go back to the village and check out for more family.
On Wednesday afternoon we go next door to see Peter and Anne before we leave, and find Sue and Sarah Johnson (Dunedin) are back Help-xing, so we catch up with them too. Then back to the house to try and pack everything, a bit of a mission there. There is not a lot to throw out, as we still need old gear for painting, gardening, etc. When we went to Ireland and Cyprus we left a lot behind, but now we need to take as much as we can with us. Tony’s pack weighs in at around 25kg, Cynthea’s at 21kg, and then there are the day packs as well. We had bought a roll of gift wrap, but cannot find it, last we remember was Tony threading through the straps on Cynthea’s backpack the day we arrived at Oxenfoord, it must have dropped out on the way.