This weekend marked our second trip to Edinburgh to visit with Mark and go and see his football team, Dunfermline Athletic, the Pars. By ‘we’ I mean Nicktor and me.
We set off ridiculously early this morning for our second sojourn among the Scots. For traffic reasons, he decided to pick me up at 5:45am for a foggy drive to Southampton Airport. There we met Phil, a financial department guy from Nicktor’s work – he was attending the meeting with Nicktor then joining us at the football match tomorrow.
The plane, sadly, was delayed because of the fog. Not because we couldn’t take off though. It was because the planes due to arrive couldn’t land, meaning our plane was somewhere in a holding pattern. However, the delay was only 45 minutes (sleep I could have done with, nonetheless) and we were soon in the sky for the relatively short trip to Scotland.
Arriving in Edinburgh, we met up with Andy (from last year) and Mark (who works with Andy) and we all travelled into town together. I left them for their full day of dull meetings and headed up to a nearby Starbucks to make my plans for the day.
I had decided to visit the National Museum of Scotland in order to see a bit more of it than I did years ago when I came up with Mirinda for a meeting in Livingstone. Fortunately, it was just a short (but steep) climb from where I sat with my usual latte.
Arriving at the museum, I left my bag and raincoat (rain had been predicted for the entire weekend) at the coat check and started heading up the tower, roaming through industrial Scotland.
There were some wonderful models (including more than a few ships from shipbuilders I’d researched at work) and a fantastic red train engine.
Finally, I reached the roof and stepped out into a wonderful view. The castle stood high and proud, while Arthur’s Seat just sat.
Having filled my mind and eyes with numerous pleasures both historic and pictoric, I headed down to the Balcony Cafe which sits, unsurprisingly, on the second floor balcony running around the central hall of the museum. I enjoyed a ham and cheese roll and latte, and carried on a humorous Twitter exchange with a couple of guys who work at the museum.
Eventually I left the charms of this wonderful museum (leaving stuff for my next visit) and walked down to Masson House, the student accommodation Nicktor had once more booked us into. I checked in and chilled for a couple of hours, waiting for Nicktor to arrive.
He turned up at about 5:30. The plan was for all of us (there were seven of us) to meet at the Jolly Judge pub first and then on to dinner at the same place we ate at last year…which we did. And it was all wonderful. Then, after dinner, we walked across the road to another pub. And it was here that I hit a wall.
Not literally. I mean, I didn’t actually hit a wall. But it felt like it. Too little sleep, too much beer. I wanted to go back to the hotel. Everyone else was animatedly discussing their five favourite copses and something called AMCs so I just slipped away. By the time I reached the hotel, I’d more or less sobered up (it is a mile after all…and it was raining) and felt even more tired. I’m really too old to be staying out till 1am and drinking like I was 25.
I collapsed onto the bed and slept, fitfully.
And I missed one of the funniest things to happen all weekend.
Nicktor left the pub about an hour after me and decided to walk back to the hotel. This shouldn’t be a problem because most people would not attempt walking back to their hotel in a strange city without having some fundamental knowledge of the route. Of course, things change when alcohol has impaired the internal navigational skills somewhat.
All he remembered from our earlier bus ride into town was that the bus turned left then went straight up to the Royal Mile. Therefore, his addled brain assumed, he would have to keep walking then, at some stage, turn right. He knew it should take about 20-30 minutes. After 40 minutes, he figured he’d walked a bit too far and decided to turn right at the next street. Unfortunately, he hadn’t considered the impact of not remembering that the bus, after turning left, then turned right to head for the Royal Mile.
Hopelessly lost he hailed a passing taxi, telling him where he wanted to go, explaining he knew it wasn’t far but that he was completely lost, being a stranger in town. The driver set off for the hotel, turning left off the main road. This set Nicktor off, telling the driver he was wrong, that it should be right, that he didn’t know where he was going. The driver, clearly a veteran of drunk southerners telling him how to get from A to B in his home town, patiently explained he was right and Nicktor was wrong.
Nicktor wouldn’t have it. He was convinced the driver was wrong. Full credit to the driver for not just throwing Nicktor out of the cab but he probably wanted to prove a point by this stage as they pulled up outside the hotel. The fare was £3.80 and hardly worth the effort required in putting up with Nicktor.
Nicktor rather sheepishly paid the driver and fell onto his bed.