Saturday, 8 November 2014

Windermere in August

Between the Leeds Carnival pop-up gig in Savile Park and Chapel Allerton Festival [our last Foxwood gigs of the summer] I chose the |Lakes, and Windermere in particular because it had a train station. And the hotel was just a skip away from the station.

So Tuesday I found myself skipping down to the High Street; I left my bags, walked down towards the lake, didn't find the lake, turned round, back for a meal [who knew that Windermere wasn't on Lake Windermere!] then started the letter writing sessions.

The letter re carnival which I wrote in Scotland was printed in the local paper the following week. Hoping for similar success I set about one for the TES.

Wednesday  I jumped on a bus into Bowness-on-Windermere . Went out in a rowing boat for an hour full of Swallows and Amazons thoughts. Rowing seems to be like riding a boat. It just all came back to me.

Diane appeared in Windermere. We found her a hotel; went out on the town, and put the world to rights.

Thursday Diane drove us to Coniston and to the pub at the top of the Kirkstone pass. Then she drove back to Leeds; I went back to writing, sent the letter off.

Friday train back to Leeds. I was waiting on the platform at Oxenholme when they announced that the train was 1. delayed and 2. missing four carriages. There were only four carriages on the train that then appeared from Edinburgh. Passengers were almost crowd-surfing their way on and off. I lost my lovely jacket somewhere in the crush on the train and the rush to change at Picadilly.

But, the TES printed the letter. These letters all cost a lot to write in train tickets and cafe teas and pub wines and lost favourite jackets, but getting published is just the best!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Scottish Trip 2014 Inverness and Thurso

Edinboro not all partying
heron on banks of Ness
outside my hotel window
going north on train
Dear Astrid, decided to split my blog in two, so that steelband connoisseurs don't suddenly find themselves on a Russian train or a boat on Windermere. No idea who will want to see my holiday snaps, but thought you might, so this blog will be A Letter to Singapore.
Anyway my first travel trip blog is my 2014 Scottish adventure. This August, as ever, was characterised by short bursts away and then gigs at the weekend.
I took the train to Inverness, where I had a booked a hotel a short walk out of town. 
Scrabster Lighthouse

Yes in thurso
Inverness in evening
Caithness style slab walls
In the evening I visited a Chinese restaurant which shook the whole time from the vibrations of nightclub opposite. Inverness was almost Leeds on a Saturday night. I was predicting a riot and decided to continue writing back at the hotel bar.

What a haven! Although there was a disco next door and I was invited to dance  by some short-sighted young men, this bar was perfect setting for my letter to the YEP re Leeds Carnival's lack of inclusivity.

The only morning bus (or train) to Thurso was at 8.30. It was a holiday. Were they kidding. Well, I couldn't sleep so found myself on said bus. In Thurso I had a little hotel a short walk out of town. There was a reunion rock gig downstairs. I slept through it all.
No in Thurso
Visited the wonderful "Caithness Horizons" where they talked me through how to spend two half days in Thurso. On Sunday evening, having slept through the afternoon gig, woke up to find two men on a raised platform outside bedroom window. heavens! I went out for fabulous Indian meal on or near Princes Street; in the evening challenged the bartender and friend to a couple of game of pool.
writing out tunes on Thurso train
Next day a bracing walk down to Scrabster Harbour and looked longingly across at Hoy, before missing the afternoon bus and braving the wind and rain back to Thurso and the 4.20 to Inverness.
Had another walk around this beautiful city, and next day made it onto my train home by too narrow a margin - just in time for Mig's birthday!