Sunday, October 01, 2006

Our friends in the North

Out first stop off was in Preston, where the Dr went to investigate the Harris Museum and I took Nimbos and K. to the Lamb and Packet, which was once something of a fixture in my life. Last time I was there was 9 years ago and I took my Mum. The town is the same only different in a bothersomely eerie way. Am a little shocked by how young the undergraduates appear, and they've also replaced with a snooker table the cosy snug where I'd wolf down roast beef in its own bowl of Yorkshire pudding.

Then on to Blackpool to spend a night with the outlaws, and we ventured out to enjoy the illuminations. At the Bispham end there was a particularly creepy group of smiley-eyed bears enjoying the swings and slides. The Dr also pointed out the Parthenon frieze on a gaudy Greek temple, but chickened out of asking in the Elgin hotel from whence they'd obtained their casts.

Next day to Lancashire where we met up with E. and C. in the Borough on Dalton Square. I had some nice local beer, but not enough to stop me getting some work done on the train up to Edinburgh.

There we met M. and Will and the Dr's old boss and supped beer in the Doric before going for big Chinese eats. Arrived in Dundee in the very small hours, and got a taxi out to M's new home. This is the most norf in Britain I've ever been, and I've only been in Scotchland the once before.

I have learnt some Doric, which as well as an Ancient Greek style is also the local dialect. "Press" means cupboard and "oxter" means "armpit", while "blaaderskite" is, broadly, bullshit.

Discovery on the Dundee watersideNimbos and I were sent away to explore the Discovery the next afternoon, which Scott captained on his first trip to the South Pole just over a century ago. The exhibition was very interesting, with Scott and Shackleton exploring together, and a good amount of detail on all they found out. Though the Discovery got caught in the ice and Scott wasn't very happy about being rescued, it was still a more successful trip than Scott's later one where he died, or Shackleton's one where his ship, Endurance, was lost. So this exhibition is more celebratory than I'd thought it would be.

Minnie the MinxThe ship itself is fun to explore - and not quite so cramped or inaccessible to the tall as other vessels I've been aboard. I bought a big book on Scott, and then we had time to go see Dundee's statues of Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx (who greatly resembles the Dr) before getting the bus back to Invergowrie.

Ladies had arrived by the time we got back, and feasting and fire and much pink fizz ensued. We were still going at half two this morning.

Walking between Longforgan and InvergowrieGot up slowly today, and this afternoon went for several hours walk up to Castle Huntly and back. Basked in the wintry sunshine and the Dr may even have tanned. Were back just in time to see the repeat of the Jane Eyre opener, and I have been allowed to blog in the difficult interegnum before episode two.

Food bubbles on the hearth behind me yummily. Stuffed vine leaves have just been mentioned. And all is rather well with the world.

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