June 26 to Good-bye, Edinburgh

Thursday, June 26
Went to the Falkirk Wheel by taking the train to Camelon (pronounced came lawn). Then we walked 1.5 miles to the wheel. We took the trip, which was about an hour. Then walked back to/through town a different way.

The Falkirk Wheel was a cool experience.

We had a small sweet after the Falkirk Wheel (even though it was lunch time) and caught the train back to town, planning to eat somewhere in Edinburgh.

I worked on work while we were on the train. Made some more progress on figuring out what to do about what and where to send things.

We actually went to Grassmarket to the other Armstrong and Sons and the costume shop. The other Armstrong and Sons had a piper’s doublet, but it was way too small for Ron. It also had two space girl costumes in the silver and purple in large. One was priced at £22 and one at £10. I tried them on. They both fit. Neither seemed better than the other. (Though both would be better if I actually lost weight.) So I bought the cheap one, of course.

On the way to those two stores, we went in about 10 charity shops, which were right in a row. None of them had anything particularly worthwhile, though one had some funky material in silver (like net but stronger) and one had a cute little silver dress, but in the totally wrong size for me.

I think the charity shops are a bit funny as Ron said we had gone to all the charity shops in Edinburgh already. Yeah, not so much.

Friday, June 27
Ron has the symposium all day today. He’s also going to go by and pick up his kilt.

I worked all day. I finished the research on what reading lists folks are using in Brit lit surveys; this time I did three different search topics (wrote them down!) and found a total of 77 reading lists for colleges.

Since I finished the survey, I also finished the SMART paper, which ended up only being about The Wife’s Lament, due to the length limitations. The hardest part, honestly, was putting it into Chicago.

I sent it off and then, working on the paper for CEA, discovered that I had spelled Helen Damico’s name wrong once in the SMART paper. So I sent a corrected version.

I worked 8 hours.

I also watched two Time Team shows. I needed voices! The first was on Salisbury Chapel and was quite interesting. They found the body of an illegitimate great-nephew of the bishop buried in the chapel, but not reburied when the chapel was dismantled. The second was on searching for a Roman road and actually finding where it was AND finding a church/temple AND finding an actual Roman mosaic floor. That was kind of sad/funny. The floor had been repaired, as the owner’s financial situation worsened, and instead of the tiny tiles laid correctly, big chunks in the right colors were “slapped” in.

Since we decided to go to The Dome for dinner tonight, I made reservations.

We went. It was not as cool as it appeared from outside. The Dome Garden Café, despite the sign giving The Dome address and phone number, does not have the same menu. I actually ORDERED fish. It came with skin on. Gross. But I ate it and the fennel and the carrots and the noodles they gave me, since the rice had spices in it I was allergic to.

Saturday, June 28
Today Ron wanted to stay in and do nothing. However, since this is our last weekend, we didn’t.

Really he couldn’t stay in anyway because his kilt (with the necessary adjustments) had not come in yesterday. So he had to go by Geoffrey the Tailor’s and pick up his kilt. He also needed to get there early enough that if we needed to go somewhere else to get it (since he went by twice yesterday and it wasn’t there) that we could go to that somewhere.

While Ron went to get his kilt, I stayed home and worked.

I received a reply from Kristie Bixby, the SMART editor. She said it would be several months before I would hear from them, since it had to go out to reviewers. That’s fine. I just wanted to get it done. (Is it great? No. Would it be helpful? I hope so.)

I worked on the paper for CEA (teaching women in British lit survey) and I worked on my ideas for the two panels I am on for WorldCon/LonCon3: Constructing Genre History and Fantasy and Medievalism.

I sent the Fantasy/Medievalism panelists an email, asking if they had specific things they wanted to talk about. Since I already had several things I could talk about for that, I wanted to make sure I didn’t prepare something unnecessary.

I wrote:
I’ve thought of addressing a couple of different angles:
early medieval revenants of literature used in fantasy–what they add to the stories
other mythologies than “typical” Europe (though still medieval)
urban fantasy building off medievalism, though not particularly using it

I went online and got us tickets to the Historic Vaults tour put on by Mercat Tours. We arrived early and walked around. Ron got a hot dog and an Iron Bru. The vault tours were interesting, but the vaults were built in 1785-1788. That was less interesting. However, it was still cool and interesting.

One other interesting fact is that the vaults, having been excavated in the late 1980s, were used to help a Romanian Olympic athlete defect. The bar that had access to a vault put him down the hole into the vault and left him there. His minders searched everywhere for him and couldn’t find him. He stayed in the vault for a few hours and then went to the police station to request political asylum, which was granted.

Learned that poor drank claret before the Napoleonic Wars. Everyone drank claret. And 130 oysters cost 10p.

We went to Pizza Express for dinner. Ron wanted pizza and it was raining, so we went there. I had dough balls and dessert. The brownie was more like heavy chocolate mousee with a crunchy crust than our cake-like brownies, but it was all right. The hot chocolate was good.

Sunday, June 29
I woke up at 4 but went back to sleep. When I woke up at 6, I got up and started working. Today I did two hours worth of work before Ron got up.

I received a response from two of the three panelists. Robin Hobb, the novelist, did not answer.

K. A. Laity, who is a writer and professor, said she liked the ideas I sent. She is planning to talk about the top ten myths of the Middle Ages. That sounds fun, but not something I can necessarily add to. –Depends, I suppose, on what her ten myths are. If she does (or doesn’t) talk about women as not having any roles, I could add to that. Cite Christine Fell. Talk about the women listed in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Talk about Abbess Hilda from Bede, and the widow and daughter who became abbesses after Hilda. Talk about the active women with agency in OE literature: Judith, Elene, Juliana. Talk about the female gendered poetry: Wulf and Eadwacer, The Wife’s Lament.

Marieke Nijkamp said she liked the other myth ideas. She also said she would like to explore the influence of medieval storytelling as a whole—and maybe the fantasy of medieval literature, histories, and myths. Interesting idea that takes the panel in a different direction, but one I could contribute to. How were their histories fantasy? They took the stories they liked and ran with them. Composites. Creative expurgation. The normal PR stuff, but done over centuries, perhaps.

Marieke also said that she’d like to talk about medieval cities and urban culture. I’m not sure how that relates to fantasy. However, urban fantasy that builds off medievalisms –like Briggs, Andrews (the European trip), Adams? (Russian czarina), … That might be a way to go or for me to start and then she can go wherever she wants to with it.

I woke up Ron as if I were an alarm and he snoozed me. Two snoozes and a bit of a cuddle and we were up.

Went to Word of Mouth for breakfast. I ordered a crepe with ham and cheddar. It was excellent. I got it without the egg, so there was a lot less rosemary, which meant I liked it a lot better than last time. Ron got it with egg this time and had the rosemary. I am guessing he liked it as he scarfed it down.

We had both eaten and Ron said he wondered where his second crepe was. What? He ordered two crepes? Yes. A crepe with Nutella came to the table. Thankfully he let me have half. I might have had to order my own otherwise and they had turned off the crepe machine.

Needless to say breakfast was excellent.

We need some hydrogen peroxide and Ron needs magnesium, so we went up to the little Tesco, then down to the big Tesco, then to the nearest Boots. The first two had nothing. The last was closed.

Sadness! I found another Bethany Shop in Leith, a big one, on Duke Street. But, since it was closed, I didn’t get to buy anything—or even have a look.

For dinner we walked into Leith and went to La Favorita, which is an Italian restaurant with a lasagna made without tomatoes on its menu. I had a strawberry daiquiri, which was mostly rum, and Ron had a pina colada, which was mostly coconut.

I ordered the lasagna, which was very good, but came with cut tomatoes on it. I asked for a plate and a spoon and cut everything off. I hope I don’t have a reaction.

Ron ordered the risotto and duck. It came in a Parmesan crust bowl—very good Parmesan, too. He liked the duck and really liked the risotto, as he ate all of it.

Packing was a chore. We bought things we aren’t taking with us—mostly to live in the flat more comfortably. We are taking our new smaller suitcase. I’ll be pulling that, as Ron already has two rolling items.

We did a load of towels and since I woke myself up with a tummy upset, I went into the living room and when they got done I put them up on the drying racks. The small ones might be dry by in the morning.

I tried folding up the drying rack we purchased. It won’t fit in the new bag, so we’re leaving that. Hopefully the other flats we are at will have a drying rack and we’ll recognize it.

Monday, June 30
I was up at 5:30 this morning, before my alarm went off.

This morning I realized I could put my purse in the new bag and keep my backpack out… That will actually mean there is room and weight to put the toiletries and anything out that we forgot and maybe some things from my overstuffed bag in there.

I rearranged my stuff so that worked. I didn’t pull out anything from the big bag, but I did put the stuff I had out to give away and the scarves and my coat and Ron’s toiletries (which he had forgotten to pack).

At 20 till 7 I took out the trash and the recycling. They moved the recycling so only the glass was where the trash was so I had to go in and out. Then I went to Sainsbury’s to get hairspray, a Coke Zero, and maybe a pastry. Despite having checked online, it doesn’t open till 8.

Went back and woke up Ron. We both worked on our computers for a while. I got one of last year’s SCMLA sets of notes up.

We finished packing everything. I called a cab. We went down to catch the cab. He dropped us off at a roundabout next to the lift. Very helpful that. Then we got our tickets and went to Burger King.

At Burger King I got an egg and cheese butty. A butty, which I did not know till today, is a soft white bread bun. I also got six mini-pancakes and syrup. They’re rounded like those flying saucer candies and they don’t hold their heat well. They do, however, taste like pancakes. I ate about 3/4s of the butty and 2 of the pancakes.

Then we went to the platform.

The train we are taking goes all the way down the entirety of Great Britain from Edinburgh. (It could go from farther north, but I didn’t see anything about where it started. Folks did get off, so it probably did make the whole trip—which was from Aberdeen.)

Cross Country Rail goes from Aberdeen to Plymouth. I stood looking at the map while Ron was getting the tickets. I saw that we’ll go through Leeds (or Sheffield) but not through Oxford and Reading—as that veers to the east. We’ll get off this in Bristol, but if we didn’t, we could go to Exeter and then a few other places.

I wonder if the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock left the British Isles from Plymouth.

I’ve been amazed at how many small towns and places have names I recognize from the US or Australia. For example, Melbourne and Perth are both in Scotland, but I think of them as Australian cities. …I mean, sure I knew that London, Paris, and Moscow, Texas were all named for other places, but I didn’t realize how many towns are.

I forgot to take my Dramamine till Ron reminded me. We’re riding backwards. So I’m typing and not looking out the windows much until it’s had time to kick in.

Right now our London place has no television. I honestly do not know what we will do without television. We are getting on each other’s nerves now because we are almost always together… Though at least one full day a week we’ve been separated for mots of the day.

Plus, we don’t talk to people. That’s been very hard. Yes, we’re not extraverts, but we still miss chatting with folks. I’m really going to need to find classes or something that gets us chatting with people.

Ron keeps saying the Brits don’t believe in ephemeral. I will have to think about that more…

The trip from Edinburgh to Newcastle was very nice. I looked out the window and wrote it all up, talked to the four-year-old sitting in front of me, and generally enjoyed the trip. Upon arriving in Newcastle, however, we were told that the trains south are all stopped due to a fatality near Darlington. I assume the fatality involves a train and/or the tracks. They said the transportation police are generally fairly quick, but at least an hour and our train (with our reserved seats) will be returning to Edinburgh.