10 years on – Michele manoeuvres us back to the Alma Mater

Spent a great weekend in Scotland – Edinburgh, St Andrews and Fife.

Got off to a dodgy start, with what turned out to be a 4 hour delay to our easyJet flight. Not a disaster, but only reaching the home of Scots family Robertson at gone midnight put paid to our plans for a civilised catch up over dinner.

EasyJet’s sop of a refund looks like being a damp squib, albeit one which magicked away a plane load of passengers’ anger at the delay and complete absence of information during that delay. It’s less airport taxes, and having looked at how their fares are structured, is bound to be for the one way flight. So much for H and my plans to use the refund to fund a flight to take advantage of H’s dad’s new flat in Antibes.

Vegged in Corstorphine with Helen, Mark and Emily, and Hel’s parents (Quite a houseful!) before driving though to St Andrews in the Fiat Stilo (fingers crossed that turns out to be the bargain it seemed when booking fri to sun for £39 all in.

I love the way the Forth Rail Bridge looks under blue skies in bright sunlight, which were the gorgeous conditions which celebrated our entry into the Kingdom of Fife.

St Andrews seemed bereft of Students, so we made up for their absence by taking over Ma Bells for the afternoon, window shopping (and playing “what usesd to be here”) around the town shops, reconvening after an afternoon nap for dinner at The Dolls House. That ended up to be a drunken affair, complete with serviette tricks and a spectacular spillage of main course sauce down my front. I like to entertain.

The diners were:

Michele & Jamie
Ruth & Peter
Liz & Will
Allan & Lynda
Catherine & Chris (engaged!)
Kirsty
Hazel
Me

Photos here!

Returned to Brownlees B&B (recommended) via whiskeys at the Russell hotel, and continued the indulgent theme, watching Angel from our beds.

Sunday was more sedate, but equally well fuelled food-wise. Walked the West Sands for an hour, back to cross the 18th Green and the ?swiliken burn bridge – no rounds on the Sunday you see….

Coffee and newspapers in the (new) Janetta’s cafe before meeting up with everyone for lunch and trashy papers at the Vic Cafe. Walked off the potatoes wedges down at the Harbour – the pier is still fenced off – and along the East Sands.

Prize for the Most Extreme Transformation of a St Andrews Watering Hole goes to the West Port. You’ll have to experience it for yourself to appreciate it. If you never experienced the 1/2 pint max rule under old Mrs X’s proprietorship, you won’t really be able to appreciate the extent of the transformation.

Drove around the fishing villages of the East Neuk, and the less attractive industrial towns which line the north banks of the Firth of Forth.

Our flight back to Gatwick was only 30 mins late taking off – result!

Shattered, but happy after a busy, lazy, indulgent weekend.

09 February 2014: Photos now appearing on Flickr in St Andrews, October 2002.

The Map of Love – Ahdaf Soueif

I spent a lot of my teenage years and early 20s reading blockbusters of various types, largely working my way through historical novels, of which I rate Dorothy Dunnett’s 2 Scottish series most highly (but more about Lymond and Niccolo elsewhere). Since joining the Clapham commuting masses, the opportunities for indulging in longer works of fiction have been reduced. However, The Map of Love proved worth lugging between CJ and Moorgate, and even all the way out to Walton.

The novel deals with the story of a London widow who travels to Egypt in the closing years of the 19th century seeking inner peace after the death/demise of her husband.

A true blockbuster complete with parallel love themes, the novel also educates the European reader on “Victorian”,

Ship Fever – Andrea Barrett

For once, choosing a book by its cover proved a good decision!

A great collection of short stories, themed around the scientific explorations flowing from the Enlightenment, and set against the backdrop of daily life – ordinary, and, in Ship Fever (the novella which closes the collection) extraordinary.

Ideas crop up in different guises throughout the collection – the most memorable being the part played by amateurs and women in piecing together the small discoveries and theories into the patchwork of the sciences we are taught today.

It’s COLD!!!

The past few days have been really nippy – clear skies today and c.o.l.d.

Have packed thermals for a weekend in St Andrews. Brrrrrr.

Off to bed now – enough of this Moveable Type re-addiction!!

in other news….Blinds!

I knew I’d forgotten some major flat event – The Blinds!!!

– Purchased painlessly and pleasantly parsimoniously from The Discount Blind Centre shop just off Northcote Road, from the young and helpful Gerhard.

– Collected (breathless after a 7 minute dash from Clapham Junction so as to arrive before the 6pm closing time – it rained, so ‘SWT services were subject to delays’) on Tuesday evening, in advance of annoyed/ing Antoinette’s visitation.

– Installed the same evening (after le depart d’Antoinette) with assistance (and drill) from the lovely Phil.

Dad will remind me that venetian blinds are plagued by dust, but I think mine look Just Right