Sunday, August 19, 2007

Edinburgh, Festival City...

As we all know from my last post, I woke up bright and early the day after the performance, ready to go to Edinburgh. Only one task remained - to pack up the costumes and post them back to Australia.

This whole process started with a trip to Waitrose to collect boxes - Robert had asked one of the staff to put aside the boxes after they stocked the shelves that night. Brilliant idea, but nothing is idiot-proof - nobody had actually thought to pass the message on to the shelf-stockers, so we were boxless. My morning thus began in pouring rain with a tour of Green Buxton, where everyone does their bit for the planet by crushing and recycling their boxes. Laudable and under other circumstances, I'd have been overjoyed, but at the time I'd had two hours sleep and I needed to post several dozen costumes back to Australia.

By 11:30, the costumes were in a van heading to the post office and I was walking towards the station. Luckily, there was a train at 11:38 and I made it. Less fortunately, there was a train to Edinburgh that left about 5 minutes after I arrived at Manchester, which I missed because I was looking for someone to tell me when and where the next train to Edinburgh left. To spice up the two hour wait that ensued, some nice lad left his luggage lying in the waiting room and vanished. If you want to see major excitement, leave your luggage in a train station.

When he came back, it turned out that he was of a dusky complexion, so all I can say is, he was bloody lucky nobody shot him. Or else I could say we were all bloody lucky that he was a nice young man who'd naively assumed that he could go grab a cuppa without lugging his backpack along with him.

Anyway, all musings aside - let us go on with the journey!! Sitting in a train for four hours is not very exciting so I won't dwell on that (apologies to Michael and Chris the train spotters!). However, Edinburgh made up for that lack because they have a festival on about this time of year...

All I will say about the festival is, unless you're a complete masochist, don't go. I was feeling rather tired and wussy when I got off the train about 6pm and decided to take a taxi to the University where I was staying. Since every other human being in the world was also in Edinburgh and also wanted a taxi, this was a silly idea.

Eventually, I got to the head of the queue and was picked up by a driver whose accent was so thick, it was completely unintelligible. That was OK, he didn't understand me either. I ended up waving the Visit Scotland booking letter at him and he finally drove off.

Herriot-Watt University is the Scottish equivalent of Monash. It is miles away from the CBD, set in parkland amidst disadvantaged suburbia and it has the same 60's ambiance. I was glad I'd taken the taxi!

When I got out at the Reception, dinner was being served. A large Rotarian convention had taken over the dining room proper, but us plebs could eat in the canteen. I surveyed the choices carefully. It seemed that I could eat Orange Something or one of two different Brown Somethings, with two veg, chips or salad. I selected one of the Brown Somethings, purportedly a lamb hotpot, and the two veg. To my surprise, it was actually quite tasty. I sat beside a window overlooking The Wood (a small sunken area full of trees between two of the buildings) and watched the rabbits grazing peacefully.

After my hotpot, I went to bed. Early in the morning, I was awakened by merry Rotarians in the room below me and also by someone screaming 'Shut up!' repeatedly. Was she a Rotarian screaming at me to stop banging on the floor with my hiking boot or was she another annoyed resident? At about 2:30 am, the Rotarians took the hint and packed it in. I dropped my boots and returned to my fitful slumbers...

Insight into Scotland 1

In a souvenir shop, I discover a postcard which shows two Highland Cows in the process of creating a third. No, there really is nothing so tacky that a tourist won't buy it...

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