Yep, we have started or slow journey south and with quite a bit to catch up on I’ll dispense with the usual introductory drivel and get straight in to the main er, drivel!
Thursday 17th and the day after Nessie stood us up will not go down in Nonsense! history as one of the better days of the trip. It was raining, obviously, but we needed to head out to find some WiFi or a decent mobile signal to get the last blog sent.
It would have been easier had we been willing to fork out for a parking space in town but as it would only have been for a few minutes, felt disinclined to. We found a cafe in the end near the sports centre which offered not only a parking space right outside but a decent mobile signal too. Food was off the menu however as the dishwasher was broken. Presumably using dishcloth and a bottle of fairy liquid is against ‘elf & sayfety’ these days. We settled for tea and crisps. I got the blog sent but discovered on the way out of town that the pictures hadn’t carried with the email version. We spotted a bar offering free WiFi and parking and so pulled in and got the blog sent again, this time over a pint. Nothing to report for the rest of the day - apart from rain.
Friday, and off to Perth, about 110 miles away. The journey was probably one of the easiest we have even done - just straight down the A9 passing through the edge of the Cairngorms. It was cold, wet and bleak but still beautiful and the road was good too - in fact we could have gone straight to Edinburgh easily.
The site itself was a little way out of Perth, in Scone. The Satnav app guided us successfully through Perth and over the river before trying to send us the wrong way again. Apparently putting in the right postcode helps! Anyway, using common sense this time we ignored it and got to the site just fine. It was a pretty site, just behind Perth racecourse and just a a couple of miles from Scone Palace. We arrive early but they were happy to accommodate us.
It didn’t really stop raining all day, but thanks to our early arrival we were able to watch all the later arrivals. It is fascinating to watch how others - many no doubt far more experienced than us - site and set up their van. There are the mature couple, who have clearly been caravanning for years who arrived, get the van sited then quietly attend to the various jobs with hardly a word uttered. They’ve done it so many times and know exactly what each of them does and it flows like clockwork - a pleasure to watch. Then, another pair, clearly the man was more in to caravanning then the woman. Not having a motor mover attached he spent ages, reversing, then pulling forward, then getting out to check, while she sat in the car with her arms folded. Then later on, the size queens - families, with big 4 x 4’s and even bigger twin axle vans. Several of them arrived and were clearly together. Obviously using a motor mover was a sign of weakness as they spent ages shunting backwards and forwards to get the vans sited right. All had vanity plates too - there were some serious egos being massaged here. Later, as the women passed between vans with glasses of wine, the men stood around talking and clutching bottles. None of that girly wine stuff for these - that most manly of all beers - Miller Lite - was the beverage of choice. How butch!
Saturday, and with the empty promise of some sunshine we went in to have a look around Perth. Pleasant enough but not really enthralling, the local (and free) museum was good though and we had the most gorgeous sarnie at a little cafe - the accompanying tea was good too. We also came away with a new rug for the van. In the afternoon both Patsy and the car got a wash.
Tv reception was good here and there was cheap WiFi too. STV - that’s really ITV rebadged for most of the time - has been running trailers for the upcoming Euro 2012 football championships. The trailer features a catalogue of England misses and gaffes. Bless ‘em. Scotland do not feature in the trailer however, because they erm, didn’t qualify.
Sunday, and off to Edinburgh just 35 or so miles away. There was this weird bright thing in the sky making everywhere feel warm - it was quite remarkable. The journey was straightforward enough apart from negotiating the numerous pot holes and ruts on the Forth bridge .The SatNav app had chosen the shortest route to the site, and the directions provided by the club seemed to take us all around Will’s mothers. We settled instead for something in-between using, again, that old fashioned thing; a map and got there with no problems. having had a brief drive around later on we done the right thing.
The site itself is very pretty and is in contention for one of the best so far. Beautifully laid out and with a number of trees it is just yards from the banks of the Forth and only a short bus ride in to the city centre. With the awning erected we enjoyed the late afternoon sun.
Monday, and a dull start but with the promise of some more of that bright stuff later we headed out to the bus stop to start exploring. We’d decided to give the usual hop-on/hop-off tour buses a miss. For £3.50 you can jump on and off the local buses all day and that’s what we planned to do. First up was a ride along the coast to Leith, home of the Royal Yacht Britannia which was on the ‘to do’ list for later on the in week, then up Leith Walk, through Edinburgh town centre then out through Morningside to the less salubrious suburb of Oxgangs in the south. I am a keen fan of Ian Rankin’s ‘Rebus’ series of books and was already seeing street names and places from the books.
We took another bus back in to town and paused for tea and scones - and an overdraft - at a pretty little courtyard cafe. Then, back on another bus and out east to the end of the route to Tranent. On the way back we stopped at Portobello and it’s divine city beach. It was purely coincidental that beer o’clock approached just as we arrived back in the city to swap buses for the journey back to the site.
Tuesday, and with another sunny day in prospect it was time to prise open the wallet for a visit to Edinburgh’s castle - along, seemingly with half of Europe. One can only imagine, if it’s busy now, what it will be like in the summer. However, for the views alone, the entrance fee was worth it. Over to the west was the Murrayfield Stadium and to the north we could just catch a glimpse of a cruise ship in dock at Leith. What makes the castle special though is how wonderfully preserved it all is. We gathered with everyone else for the firing of the one o’clock gun then with all nooks and crannies explored and camera battery exhausted we left. It was a fabulous afternoon and having been starved of decent weather for so long we decided to make the most of it by going to the er, cinema. Friends will know that we are regular cinema goers at home and it was at least six weeks since we last went, although to be honest the film was average at best. The complex though was fantastic, with a couple of IMAX screens too - far better than Cineworld’s Brighton setup.
Right, almost up to date. It’s Wednesday morning and the sun is out. Plans for this afternoon are loose - maybe a trip into town later this afternoon - or maybe not. It doesn't matter What I do know is that I’ve already fallen in love with Edinburgh and we’ve not even ‘done’ the centre properly yet. It really is a beautiful city and I can’t wait to see more of it.